Mixing Water with Wine? Innkeepers at the Borders of Secular and Sacred

April 13-15, 2018

George Fox University

Keynote Speakers:

Gina Ochsner is the author of the short story collection The Necessary Grace to Fall, which received the Flannery O’Connor Award for Short Fiction and the story collection People I Wanted to Be. Both books received the Oregon Book Award. Her novel The Russian Dreambook of Colour and Flight received the Grub Street Book Prize in 2011 and was long listed for the Orange Prize in 2010. Her stories have appeared in The New Yorker, Tin House, Glimmertrain and the Kenyon Review

Darryl Tippens co-edited Shadow & Light: Literature and the Life of Faith, a popular anthology featuring fiction, essays and poems by 48 writers, now in its third edition and author of Pilgrim Heart: The Way of Jesus in Everyday Life. He served as Provost at Pepperdine University from 2001-2014 and is currently University Distinguished Professor at Abilene Christian University. Tippens is President of The Conference on Christianity and Literature.

Call for Papers: When wrestling with the “secular” / “sacred” divide, many interpreters of the Bible came to see secular wisdom as represented by water, sacred wisdom by wine. In Isaiah 1:22, innkeepers are blamed for mixing water with wine, leaving many to conclude that sacred and secular wisdom should not be mingled. However, Thomas Aquinas suggests that a problematic mixing comes not when the secular and sacred are brought into contact, but only when we lose sight of the distinctiveness of each. By bringing secular works, secular wisdom, “into the service of the faith, [we] do not mix water with wine, but rather change water into wine.” Paper proposals might address:

• In what sense is the “secular” / “sacred” division helpful to our study of literature, either that which is written by Christians or otherwise?

• In what sense can literary or other theories that have origins outside of the Christian tradition be “brought into the service of the faith” through literary interpretation?

• In what ways does this “secular” / “sacred” division obfuscate other fruitful ways of approaching literature?

• Should works of poetry, nonfiction, and fiction be read as a way of doing theology?

• What are the “perils” and the “goods” that come from such an endeavor?

• What are the implications of our current moment as “post-secular” for Christianity and Literature?

• Other questions -- the CCL is open to proposals concerning the relationship of Christianity and literature.

Send abstracts (400-500 words) via email to Polly Peterson, at Or mail to: Polly Peterson George Fox University 414 N Meridian Newberg, OR 97132. Submission Deadline: January 15, 2018



Regional conferences have been at the heart of the Conference on Christianity and Literature from the beginning. Those scholarly conferences offer a window into the rich diversity of current scholarship on Christianity and literature. Regional conferences afford members an opportunity to learn from one another and to build networks of support for their scholarly and professional endeavors. They also offer an excellent opportunity for graduate students to gain valuable experience in presenting their research and writing.

For the themes and programs of past and recent regional conferences, please click on the regions below:








Of ‘Gods and Monsters’: Shelley’s Frankenstein Two Hundred Years On

April 19-21, 2018

Union University

Jackson, Tennessee

Keynote Speaker: Dr. Christina Bieber Lake, Clyde S. Kilby Professor of English, Wheaton College, and author of Prophets of the Posthuman: American Literature, Biotechnology and the Ethics of Personhood (Univ. of Notre Dame Press, 2013). Dr. Bieber Lake is also the author of the book The Incarnational Art of Flannery O’Connor and many articles which have appeared in Books & Culture and elsewhere.

The primary theme of the convention will be a celebration of the bicentennial of the publication of Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein. Union University itself envisions a campus-wide, interdisciplinary commemoration for the calendar year, though the focus for this conference will be, as always, on the intersection of theology and fiction. Within the Frankenstein motif, possible topics and areas of interest include:

  • Mary Shelley’s legacy in contemporary science fiction
  • Creation: Human, subhuman and posthuman
  • Narrative frames and the voice of the marginalized
  • Science, technology, and the limitations of knowledge
  • Maternity and paternity
  • Idealized vs. “monstrous” femininity
  • “Singularity” in terms of AI vs. human intelligence
  • Revisions of Frankenstein in movies/pop culture

As always, SECCL is open to other proposals concerning the relationship of Christianity and literature. Abstracts from graduate students are also welcome. Undergraduates should send complete papers.

Send abstracts (400-500) words via email attachment to Prof. Roger Stanley, at . The submission deadline is January 15, 2018.




Gathering in the Strange: Literary Vision in a Disenchanted World

The Southwest Conference on Christianity and Literature

September 27-29, 2018

Oklahoma Baptist University

Shawnee, Oklahoma

In his poem “Expected,” Mark Jarman writes

     That sense derived from my mother

     who saw an angel by her bedside as a child

     and knew the ghosts who attended her

     as she cleaned house were playful but indifferent.

     Seeing her during her difficult recovery

     naked in her diaper and helping her dress

     and washing her hair, that sense that I would find

     the dimple in her scalp where the prosthesis

           was inserted.


     It gathers in the strange and makes it yours.

For this conference we invite papers on the intersection of faith and literature, especially papers that explore literature’s ability to re-enchant the world, to make it strange again. How are certain authors, or perhaps literary activity itself, at odds with the secularized “social imaginary” that dominates our age? How can contemporary readers recover enchantment in the literatures of earlier ages? Can good literature be anti-secular? Or, conversely, how has the literature of modernity contributed to secularization? What are the hermeneutics of enchantment/disenchantment in literature from antiquity to postmodernity?

We are also eager to see proposals for presentations of creative work as well as for papers on the teaching of creative writing in the context of faith.

In addition to papers on Anglophone writers, we are eager to read proposals for papers on writers in other languages and traditions (though abstracts should be in English).

We are also very happy to review proposals by undergraduate scholars and hope to arrange several panels of undergraduate scholarship.

Our keynote speaker will be Mark Jarman, who will deliver a poetry reading in addition to the keynote address 

Please send a 250 word abstract or a five-page sample of creative work to Benjamin Myers at The deadline for submission is May 31.