We like to advertise other initiatives that share a similar vision with Faith-in-Scholarship, and today I want to tell you about the Society of Christian Scholars. Actually this organisation hasn't been officially launched yet: it's due to come into existence tomorrow, on 1 March.
This initiative's purpose is prominently stated on its About page. "The Society of Christian Scholars equips missional Christian academics to have a redemptive influence for Christ among their students, colleagues, institutions, and academic disciplines."
The website has actually been open for registrations for some time now, and it looks well developed and organised. Having joined myself, I can tell you that there are already 130 or so members who appear to come from a range of parts of the world. There is a membership fee to pay, but it's graduated according to your salary (on an honesty basis). So don't be put off if you're a student, a poorly-paid postdoc, or in between jobs! The first 'year' of membership seems to run until July 2020, as far as I can tell.
What prompted me to join this new society? Here are the exciting points for me:
- It's primarily for Christian scholars in non-Christian settings, to provide community and mutual support.
- The focus on "mission" and "redemptive influence" resonates with FiSch. Whatever these words mean to different Christians, they are surely central to a faithful understanding of the Kingdom of God.
- It looks truly international. The leadership team of 8 comes from 6 countries! Internationalism, free of paternalistic attitudes, is highly beneficial for challenging our thinking as Christians, in my experience.
- By being international, the SCS might help connect Christian thinkers from around the world when, for example, they go to conferences overseas.
- Its origins owe something to Global Scholars, a well established organisation helping academics serve in universities away from their own countries with the motivation of cross-cultural mission.
- One of its partner organisations is the International Network for Christian Higher Education (formerly IAPCHE), of which I've been a member for a few years.
I'm nurturing a hope that the Society of Christian Scholars might eventually provide the network that we need to help Christian postgraduates find each other, in the U.K. and elsewhere. At present, local groups struggle to maintain continuity in different cities, but if there were an organisation that enough Christians knew about, it could become the perennial point of contact.
In the meantime, I encourage you to look at this new initiative - and consider joining.