Gushee, David P. 1962–
Gushee, David P. 1962–
(David Paul Gushee)
PERSONAL: Born June 17, 1962, in Frankfurt, Germany; married; wife's name Jeanie (a nurse, poet, and homemaker), 1984; children: Holly, David, Marie, Madeleine. Education: College of William and Mary, B.A., 1984; Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, M.Div., 1987; Union Theological Seminary, M. Phil., 1990, Ph.D., 1993. Religion: Christian.
ADDRESSES: Home—Jackson, TN. Office—Union University, 1050 Union University Dr., Jackson, TN 38305. E-mail—[email protected]
CAREER: Walnut Hills Baptist Church, Williamsburg, VA, youth minister, 1983–84; St. Matthews Baptist Church, youth minister, 1984–86; ordained to the Christian ministry, Walnut Hills Baptist Church, 1987; Evangelicals for Social Action, staff, 1990–93; Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, Louisville, KY, assistant professor of Christian ethics, 1993–96, acting associate dean of school of theology and acting director of professional studies, 1995–96; Union University, Jackson, TN, associate professor of Christian studies, 1996–99, Graves Associate Professor of Moral Philosophy, 1999–2003, Graves Professor of Moral Philosophy, 2003–; Carl F.H. Henry Center for Christian Leadership, senior fellow, 2000–. North-brook Church, Jackson, member of the Pastoral Leadership Team, 1997–2004; First Presbyterian Church, Humboldt, TN, interim pastor, 2004–05. Affiliated with the Wilberforce Forum, Center for Public Justice, and Empowering the Poor; lecturer and guest professor at colleges and universities in the United States and abroad.
MEMBER: Baptist World Alliance, Society of Christian Ethics, American Academy of Religion, National Association of Evangelicals, Baptist Association of Philosophy Teachers, Society of Christian Ethics, Phi Eta Sigma, Phi Beta Kappa.
AWARDS, HONORS: Francisco Preaching Scholarship, Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, 1985; journalism awards, Evangelical Press Association, 1991, 1992, 1997; named one of fifty "Up and Coming" evangelical leaders under forty by Christianity Today, 1996; named one of the Outstanding Young Men of America, 1996; Pew research grants, 1997, 2005; Outstanding Young Religious Leader award from the Jaycees, Jackson, TN, 1998; Faculty of the Year Award, Union University, 2000; Kingdom Ethics: Following Jesus in Contemporary Context was named the Theology/Ethics Book of the Year by Christianity Today, 2004.
The Righteous Gentiles of the Holocaust: A Christian Interpretation, Fortress Press (Minneapolis, MN), 1994, revised and reprinted as Righteous Gentiles of the Holocaust: Genocide and Moral Obligation, Paragon House (St. Paul, MN), 2003.
(Editor, with Walter C. Jackson) Preparing for Christian Ministry: An Evangelical Approach, Victor Books (Wheaton, IL), 1996.
(With Robert H. Long) A Bolder Pulpit: Reclaiming the Moral Dimension of Preaching, Judson Press (Valley Forge, PA), 1998.
(Editor, with David S. Dockery) The Future of Christian Higher Education, Broadman & Holman Publishers (Nashville, TN), 1999.
(Editor) Toward a Just and Caring Society: Christian Responses to Poverty in America, Baker Books (Grand Rapids, MI), 1999.
(Editor) Christians and Politics beyond the Culture Wars: An Agenda for Engagement, Baker Books (Grand Rapids, MI), 2000.
(With Glen H. Stassen) Kingdom Ethics: Following Jesus in Contemporary Context, Inter Varsity Press (Downers Grove, IL), 2003.
Getting Marriage Right: Realistic Counsel for Saving and Strengthening Relationships, Baker Books (Grand Rapids, MI), 2004.
Only Human: Christian Reflections on the Journey toward Wholeness ("Enduring Questions in Christian Life" series), foreword by Stanley Hauerwas, Jossey-Bass (San Francisco, CA), 2005.
Contributor to books by others, including Toward an Evangelical Public Policy: Political Strategies for the Health of the Nation, edited by Ronald J. Sider and Diane Knippers, Baker Books (Grand Rapids, MI), 2005, and Doing Right and Doing Good: Classical and Contemporary Readings in Christian Ethics, edited by David Ahearn and Peter Gathje, Liturgical Press (Collegeville, MN), 2005. Contributor to periodicals, including Christianity Today, Christian Century, Perspectives in Religious Culture, Books and Culture, Sojourners, Journal of Church and State, Catholic Digest, Annals of the American Academy of Political and Social Science, Journal of Family Ministry, Holocaust and Genocide Studies, Theology Today, and Annals of the Society of Christian Ethics. Also author of columns for the Jackson Sun, Religion News Service, and Beliefnet; serves on the editorial boards of periodicals, including Prism and Faithworks; editor of the "Enduring Questions in Christian Life" series, Jossey-Bass.
WORK IN PROGRESS: The Sanctity of Life: A Christian Exploration; Moral Philosophy: Tracing the Traditions, for Chalice Press.
SIDELIGHTS: David P. Gushee, whose field of interest is Christian ethics, is the author of nonfiction books that instruct and guide, as well as those that examine history and culture as they relate to Christian life. His first book, The Righteous Gentiles of the Holocaust: A Christian Interpretation, later revised as Righteous Gentiles of the Holocaust: Genocide and Moral Obligation, examines the part played by Gentiles in rescuing Jews from the Nazis during the Holocaust and then analyzes how these acts of valor should be viewed in the present time. Gushee estimates the number of rescuers to be between 100,000 and 250,000 and considers what it was about these people that they would take such risks to help the Jews. John K. Roth, who reviewed the original edition in Christianity Today, wrote that "Gushee locates that 'something' in qualities of character—for example, self-esteem, independence, willingness to stand up for beliefs—and in communal support that encourage those traits. That support nurtured a sense of responsibility rooted both in moral commitment to love, justice, and mercy and in an inclusive, democratic, life-and-justice-affirming patriotism and political orientation." America contributor Michael B. McGarry concluded that "Gushee has done a great service by marshaling the history, data and thoughts of the Christian rescuers into a well-written, cogent volume."
In Kingdom Ethics: Following Jesus in Contemporary Context, Gushee and collaborator Glen H. Stassen state that their intent is "to reclaim Jesus Christ for Christian ethics and for the moral life of the churches." The book approaches ethics in relation to the Sermon on the Mount, which the authors note is little studied, and applies the principles drawn from it to such social issues as abortion, cloning, stem cell research, genetic engineering, and homosexuality. Reviewing the volume in the Journal of Church and State, L. Manning Garrett III wrote that "in that vein, it clearly attempts to illuminate the interfacing of church and state." In later chapters Gushee and Stassen study ethics with regard to such issues as politics, the environment, and capital punishment. "Resisting postmodernism, Stassen and Gushee insist that Jesus taught rules—concrete directions for action applying to many situations—and the general principles underlying them," commented Thomas Finger in the Christian Century. "More like postmodernists, however, they consider few principles absolute…. The book should appeal to the large, somewhat amorphous but increasingly visible audience that is neither traditionally ecumenical nor evangelical."
The state of contemporary marriage is the topic of Getting Marriage Right: Realistic Counsel for Saving and Strengthening Relationships, in which Gushee includes advice for churches as to how they can help prevent divorce and strengthen marriage. Although he asserts that the bond of marriage should not be easily broken, he acknowledges that in marriages where there is violence, desertion, and infidelity, divorce, according to the Bible, may be justified. He also considers how stronger marriage and divorce laws might prevent broken homes, and in particular the negative impact on the lives of children.
Gushee is also the editor of such books as Toward a Just and Caring Society: Christian Responses to Poverty in America and Christians and Politics beyond the Culture Wars: An Agenda for Engagement. The former is a collection of essays by Christian scholars that deal with economic justice and suggest that the church and the state must work together in addressing poverty and the social ills that result, naming them as problems that must be shared equally by the public and private sectors. The latter book includes essays that were part of the proceedings of a conference at Union University. Subjects include education, welfare reform, divorce, abortion, refugees, and Third World relationships. Richard J. Mouw noted in Theology Today that although the contributors to Christians and Politics beyond the Culture Wars do not always agree, "taken together, [they] exemplify a position that does not fit nicely into current 'left' or 'right' categories."
The editor of the "Enduring Questions in Christian Life" series, Gushee wrote its first volume, Only Human: Christian Reflections on the Journey toward Wholeness. Here he explores what it means to be human, the concept of human nature, and how there can be such differences in the behavior of humans. He studies humans as a composite of body, soul, and spirit who are tempted by sin on the way to finding wholeness. Steve Young wrote in Library Journal that Gushee's discussion of how virtue can grow, as well the biographies he presents that demonstrate how moral people have improved our world, are "his most illuminating contribution."
Gushee told CA: "All doctoral students write dissertations, and most of them are arduous and unmemorable, but I found that I really enjoyed writing mine. It became my first book, The Righteous Gentiles of the Holocaust, and launched me on a book-writing career that hasn't slowed down since then. Another major factor in developing my writing was three years of service as an editor for the publications of Evangelicals for Social Action. This gave me numerous opportunities to write shorter articles and also to sharpen my craft through constant editing of the work of others. Together, book writing and essay writing/editing have continued to be central to my work since that time.
"I have been surprised by the hunger that so many people show for good writing. Even in this supposedly post-literary era, I find that people of all types respond passionately to my writing when I am at my best. And one of the benefits of the Internet is that my writing finds audiences I could never have planned, anticipated, or controlled. Once the words leave my 'pen,' they belong to the audience, for better or for worse.
"My personal mission statement is to contribute to the moral and spiritual renewal of the church and American society through scholarship in Christian ethics and its public articulation. So the main thing I hope that my books will do is to somehow serve this overall mission. I want to help people, especially Christians, think rightly, and live rightly, as this is understood from within the frameowrk of the Christian faith. Secondarily, it is important to me to offer a peaceable, reconciling voice that can build bridges in our deeply divided society."
BIOGRAPHICAL AND CRITICAL SOURCES:
America, October 14, 1995, Michael B. McGarry, review of The Righteous Gentiles of the Holocaust: A Christian Interpretation, p. 27.
Booklist, September 1, 2005, Donna Chavez, review of Only Human: Christian Reflections on the Journey toward Wholeness, p. 25.
Christian Century, May 17, 1995, Wynn M. Goering, review of The Righteous Gentiles of the Holocaust, p. 547; September 7, 2004, Thomas Finger, review of Kingdom Ethics: Following Jesus in Contemporary Context, p. 51.
Christianity Today, March 6, 1995, John K. Roth, review of The Righteous Gentiles of the Holocaust, p. 36; July, 2004, Andy Crosby, review of Getting Marriage Right: Realistic Counsel for Saving and Strengthening Relationships, p. 66.
International Bulletin of Missionary Research, October, 2005, Joon-Sik Park, review of Kingdom Ethics, p. 211.
Journal of Church and State, spring, 2002, Paul Mastin, review of Toward a Just and Caring Society: Christian Responses to Poverty in America, p. 370; winter, 2005, L. Manning Garrett III, review of Kingdom Ethics, p. 158.
Library Journal, October 1, 2005, Steve Young, review of Only Human, p. 84.
Theology Today, January, 2002, Richard J. Mouw, review of Christians and Politics Beyond the Culture Wars: An Agenda for Engagement, p. 651.
David P. Gushee Home Page, http://www.davidgushee.com (February 23, 2006).
Union University Web site, http://www.uu.edu/ (January 8, 2006), author profile.