Students ‘Surprise Visitors’ at Church/Culture Conference

Post a Comment » Written on March 4th, 2008     
Filed under: News
EUGENE, OR (March 4, 2008) – The presence of several University of Oregon students at Valley Covenant Church is one of the reasons the congregation hosts the Church and Culture Conference, says pastor Steve Bilynskyj.

Three students, who said they were not Christians and were intrigued that an Evangelical church would host such an event, attended the 19th annual conference that is also sponsored by Church of the Servant King, a small intentional community. The students also were working on a paper related to the politics of home-schooling and thought the speaker, Chad Pecknold, would help them address several issues.

That is pretty surprising given that the topics of the three lectures were: “How the Church Reshaped the Western Political Imagination,” “Dividing the Body of Christ, or, How We Got into the State We’re In,” and “Communion and the Drama of Political Desire.”

The Church and Culture series was designed to reach out to a community that Beth Bilynskyj once described as one of the most educated in the country, but with “ears that don’t hear (the message of Christ) and eyes that don’t see God’s work.”

Pecknold related, however, that the relationship of the early church to the Roman Empire is relevant even to today. Pagan religion, he said, always was seen as the foundation of the empire and was used by the empire to advance its ideology. The church turned that on its head, which often brought the early Christians into conflict with the government.

Over the centuries, the church has lost or abdicated its role and should be reclaiming it, Bilynskyj said afterward. Some people might see that as one purpose of home schooling.

Pecknold teaches in the Department of Theology at Loyola College in Maryland. Previously he was a research fellow in the Centre for Advanced Religious and Theological Studies at the University of Cambridge in the United Kingdom. He previously worked in the U.S. Senate chaplain’s office.

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