February 2022 News Perspective Online

Faculty Updates: February 2022

Pope-Levison Quoted

Priscilla Pope-Levison, Research Professor of Practical Theology, was recently quoted in a story in Baptist News Global: “Gen Z non-Christians pay most attention to those who live out their faith rather than preach it.” The story detailed new research suggesting that today’s teens – members of Gen Z – are curious about spirituality but disdain overt proselytizing, making them a challenging group for Christians who want to share their faith with others. That challenge is further complicated by the generation’s lack of biblical literacy. In the story, Pope-Levison said: “We can’t assume knowledge of Christianity on their part. Even with the kids raised in church we can’t use terms like ‘crucifixion’ or ‘grace’ or ‘salvation.” Read the article here.

Next Level Preaching Group Launched

The Next Level Preaching Group is a preaching peer group conducted on Zoom and co-sponsored by the Perkins Center for Preaching Excellence at SMU and the North Texas Conference Center for Leadership Development. Participants meet monthly, on the fourth Wednesday of each month, beginning in January 2022 for six months to discuss readings, view sermons and offer feedback. The group’s Homiletical Consultant is the Rev. Dr. Ronald J. Allen. The group’s Convener is the Rev. Cheryl Murphy, Senior Pastor of Holy Covenant UMC in Carrollton, Texas.

Celebrating Epiphany

Michael Hawn, professor emeritus of church music at Perkins, was quoted in a story about a special Epiphany worship service held in early January at Trinity Episcopal Cathedral in Little Rock. Hawn praised the cathedral’s Twelfth Night celebration. “While Advent and Christmas Eve are the most traditional times to schedule a Service of Lessons and Carols, it makes perfect sense to retell the story of the birth of Christ in its completeness during Epiphany, the time when the Magi visited the Christ child and then the Holy Family made the flight to Egypt, and the slaughter of the innocents,” Hawn said. “From a biblical perspective, this completes the nativity story in its fullness. Furthermore, the liturgical cycle is Advent-Christmas-Epiphany. Often we truncate the narrative to only include Advent-Christmas.” Read the Arkansas Democrat Gazette story here.

Recinos New Book

Harold J. Recinos’ latest book, Where the Sidewalks Meet, was published by Wipf and Stock in December 2021.  “In Where the Sidewalks Meet, Recinos uses poetry like graffiti on public culture, to make references to the invisible in plain sight, and talk about border crossings. These poems delicately string together the disregarded world of excluded, muted, and rejected human beings and ‘shouts out the names’ of those the world only cares to look at sideways,” according to the book’s promotional announcement. Recinos’ love for poetry began on the streets of the South Bronx, after he was abandoned by his parents at age 12. On the streets, Recinos discovered a world of extreme poverty and drugs, until four years later he was taken into the family of a White Presbyterian minister and guided back into school. In graduate school in New York City, Recinos befriended the Nuyorican poets the late Miguel Pinero and Pedro Pietri who encouraged him to write and read poetry at the Nuyorican poets cafe.