Roger Lundin, Holmes Professor of Faith and Learning, Wheaton College served as the first Visiting Fellow in the DITA program at Duke Divinity School in Spring 2014. He reflects on his expereince below.
“What a pleasure and honor it was to serve as the first Visiting Fellow in the DITA program! In one capacity or another, I have worked with Jeremy Begbie on theology and the arts questions for the past fifteen years. The Duke semester provided me an opportunity to mine the depths of those questions in a highly focused manner and in several unique and fruitful venues.
In the weekly sessions of a Divinity School seminar, a dozen students and I explored the complex dialogue about belief and unbelief that unfolds in the literature and theology of late modernity. On a number of occasions, I was able to join in the rich conversations of the ongoing seminar Jeremy holds for doctoral students in the Theology and the Arts program. During the semester, I was priviliged to give a public lecture (“A Good Man is Hard to Find: Christ and the Poets”), and I also had time to read a great number of novels, as I began work on my next book project, which has to do with the intersection of religion and American literature over the past hundred fifty years.
For my wife, Sue, and me, the experiences of the semester were topped off by the remarkable DITA events that unfolded during a week in mid-April. For five days, it was theology and the arts all the time, from Michael O’Siadhail’s moving poetry reading on Wednesday evening through Friday afternoon’s Alan Torrance, Sarah Coakley, David Ford panel on the future of theology, to the Palm Sunday U.S. premiere of James MacMillan’s St. Luke Passion in the Duke Chapel. That breathtaking week of lectures and performances captured the essence and highlighted the power of the vision that has driven Jeremy and others in their work with DITA at and beyond Duke. Here, in a short span of time, we saw, heard and felt what the arts can do to open the possibilities and wonders of Christian theology.
I am grateful to have been a part of this venture for a semester, and I am eager to see and hear, both in person and from afar, the sights and sounds still to come.”