As with historical reflection, honesty is essential in my writing and practice of theology even as this same forthrightness is delivered in such a way that helps reframe the Christian life. Appreciation and celebration of the Pentecostal/Charismatic tradition is essential to helping students within our milieu understand the relationship of that particular story to their own. Beginning in this place provides this vibrant spirituality a platform from which to speak even as it allows “insiders” to feel safe as they begin to explore deeper faithful perspectives and realities just beyond their current understanding.
If mine is truly a “faith seeking understanding,” then such a Weltanschauung must impact all that I do. My reflections on the place of stories—mine, adolescents’, and those of the world—are vital, as is the deep Christian conviction that their bounds remain set and based upon one’s place in the story of Christ. Such a faith is at once secure and flexible, unified and open. In my scholarship this means a deep connection with a practical theology of (his)story; a simultaneously informative and transformative understanding that may just link the apparently disparate patterns of my academic life. Historical reflection and our personal stories of faith are both revelatory and demonstrative in their own ways and must be continually probed and nuanced to stimulate growth. The reality of God in Christ precedes and goes beyond both, yet the work of the each is vital in the “in-between.” Being allowed the opportunity to devote time to such scholarly and practical enterprises at the university I serve is a privilege for which I continue to be thankful.