posted April 7, 2009

Address on Attending Church in the Virtual Age

The Searching the Sacred Lecture Series at Hope College will feature the address "Downloading Our Spirituality: Why Going to Church Doesn't Seem Necessary in this Virtual Age" by Dr. Julie Canlis on Wednesday, April 15, at 4 p.m. in the Maas Center conference room.

The public is invited.  Admission is free.

A native of Seattle, Wash., Canlis is a Templeton Scholar presently living and working in Aberdeenshire, Scotland.  She is deeply interested in approaches to Christian pedagogy and the theological foundations of different educational models.

Her educational background includes B.A. degrees (magna cum laude) in history and the history of ideas from the University of Washington in 1996; an M.C.S. in spiritual theology from Regent College in Vancouver, British Columbia, in 2000; and a doctorate in theology from the University of St. Andrews, St. Mary's College, Scotland, in 2005.  Her dissertation was "Calvin's Ladder of Ascent: Anthropology, Ascension, and Participation."

Canlis notes that the biggest theological influence on her life was her transition from a Ph.D. in systematic theology to directing Sunday school in a rural Aberdeenshire parish church, where her husband is pastor.  She reports that the change was as abrupt as it was welcome, for it was there that her theological training was really stretched.

"It is one thing to write a lofty theological treatise on the human spirit and the Holy Spirit; it is another to have 12 children firing questions at you as to God's existence on a Sunday morning," Canlis said.

The address is sponsored by Western Theological Seminary and the department of religion at Hope.

The Maas Center is located at 264 Columbia Ave., on Columbia Avenue at 11th Street.