Thriving Congregations Lilly Endowment Grant Initiative Postdoctoral Teaching Fellow and Scholar
Cook’s work with the Lilly grant initiative is focused on forming leaders and congregations to become agents of justice, reconciliation, and compassion. His primary research area could be described as a “theology of identity,” aimed at uncovering the often-unseen dynamics in personal and social identity (trans)formation through good interdisciplinary work. Cook’s first book, Worldview Theory, Whiteness, and the Future of Evangelical Faith, is a critical study of key white evangelical leaders who operationalized the worldview concept to influence American politics and culture over the last century. Drawing from current conversations in psychology, sociology, and other relevant domains, he reveals why worldview theory is inept for grasping real human complexity and sketches a framework for reimagining Christian identity. Cook’s current writing projects extend this research in new directions. One paper is focused on the complex and ongoing nature of religious “conversion” considering current psychological theories of selfhood and how to envision the process of moral formation in churches as a result. A second paper explores how Dietrich Bonhoeffer’s approach to Christian community might have taken on a different texture had he followed through on his plans to learn from Gandhi on the ground in India. Prior to joining Wake Forest University School of Divinity, Cook taught courses in religion and philosophy as a visiting assistant professor at his alma mater, Friends University in Wichita, Kansas, where he also contributed to the work of the Apprentice Institute for Christian Spiritual Formation. Over the last five years, he has regularly taught classes and workshops at his local church, developing strategies to nurture genuine dialogue and action on matters of justice with adult learners. During his doctoral studies, Cook served with the late Baptist peacemaker Glen Stassen as the associate director of Fuller Theological Seminary’s Just Peacemaking Initiative.
BA, Friends University; MDiv, McAfee School of Theology, Mercer University; PhD, Fuller Theological Seminary
- Formation for Moral Agency and Leadership
- Worldview Theory, Whiteness, and the Future of Evangelical Faith. Fortress Academic/Lexington Books, in press.
Select Journal Articles, Book Chapters, Book Reviews
- “Everything, Nothing, Something: Trading in World-Viewing for Everyday Faithfulness in Peacemaking and Sustainability.” In Exploring the Gospel of Peace. Edited by Shawn and Marlena Graves. InterVarsity Press, forthcoming.
- “Toward an Incarnational Theology of Identity.” In Justice and the Way of Jesus: Christian Ethics and the Incarnational Discipleship of Glen Stassen. Edited by David P. Gushee and Reggie L. Williams. Orbis Books, 2020.
- “War, Nonviolence, and Just Peacemaking.” In Discerning Ethics: Diverse Christian Responses to Divisive Moral Issues. Edited by Hak Joon Lee and Timothy A. Dearborn. InterVarsity Press, 2020.
Select Academic Lectures
- “A Free, Responsible Approach to Actively Identifying (with) Jesus in Interreligious and Other Complex Contexts.” Bonhoeffer: Theology and Social Analysis Unit and Christian Spirituality Unit. American Academy of Religion Annual Meeting, San Antonio, Texas, November 2021.
- “Reconceiving the Hopes for and Hindrances to the Conversion of a Plural Self.” Religious Conversions Unit. American Academy of Religion Annual Meeting, San Antonio, Texas, November 2021.
- “Protest and Peaceful Resistance: Quaker Influence on Civil Rights and Beyond.” Panelist at Friends University, February 2020.
- “Toward an Incarnational Theology of Identity.” Invited paper for a symposium in memory of Glen Harold Stassen. Mercer University, Atlanta, Georgia, April 2019.
- “The Dangers of Misplacing the Concreteness of Idealist Anthropologies.” Philosophy of Religion Section (AAR). Southwest Commission on Religious Studies (SWCRS) Annual Meeting, Dallas, Texas, March 2019.
Select Sermons, Educational Series, and Church Presentations:
- “Romans in Reverse,” 13-week course, Chapel Hill United Methodist Church, Wichita, Kansas, Summer 2020.
- “Following Jesus in a Racialized World,” 3-session workshop, Chapel Hill United Methodist Church, Wichita, Kansas, Summer 2020.
- “The Bonhoeffer Sessions,” 13-week course, Chapel Hill United Methodist Church, Wichita, Kansas, Spring 2020.
- “Sexuality and the Image of God,” workshop facilitated, Chapel Hill United Methodist Church, Wichita, Kansas, March 2020.
- “In the Spirit of Improv,” sermon delivered at University Friends Church, Wichita, Kansas, December 2019.
- “Jesus and the News,” 9-week course, Chapel Hill United Methodist Church, Wichita, Kansas, Spring 2019 and Fall 2019.
- “When Peace and Justice Kiss,” sermon delivered at Chapel Hill United Methodist Church, Wichita, Kansas, July 2019.
- “Stories of an Angry God that We Tell Our Children,” sermon delivered at Chapel Hill United Methodist Church, Wichita, Kansas, January 2016.
- American Academy of Religion
- National Association of Baptist Professors of Religion
- Society of Christian Ethics
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