Beck presents as keynote speaker for two conferences

Posted June 27, 2012

Dr. Richard Beck, associate professor and chair of the Department of Psychology at ACU, has given keynote addresses at two conferences this month: Rochester College's Streaming conference and Notre Dame's Theology and Peace conference. At both events, he spoke on the intersection of theology and psychology, and discussed his latest book, Unclean: Meditations on Purity, Hospitality, and Mortality.

Theology and Peace conference

Theology and Peace is an organization interested in building and fostering more peaceable communities. This year's fifth annual conference, June 5-7, was entitled "Christian Community Amid Cultural Chaos." The conference took place at the College of Notre Dame of Maryland. Beck followed 2011 keynote speaker Brian McLaren, popular Christian author.

"My talk, entitled 'Purity & Pollution: The Psychology of Sacrifice and Scapegoating,' focused on how purity and disgust categories are used to mask and facilitate social scapegoating," Beck said.

Anthony Bartlett, board member at Theology and Peace, said this year's speakers provided a rich array of theological insight. "Richard Beck showed us the psychological components helping create scapegoats, playing out so quickly we do not even see them," he said.

Streaming conference

The Streaming conference was held June 18-21 at Rochester College in Rochester, Mich. and focused on topics related to the missional church and equipping church leaders. About 125 church leaders were in attendance.

"I, along with leading biblical scholar Walter Brueggemann, led the discussion on the psychology of missional failure – the social and psychological obstacles that get in the way of the church being people of welcome and hospitality," Beck said. Dr. Brueggemann is a preeminent Old Testament scholar and spoke on the theme of "mercy, not sacrifice."

Dr. Mark Love, director of Rochester's Resource Center for Missional Leadership, spoke highly of Beck's presentation at the conference. "Dr. Beck was engaging, informative, funny and thoughtful. Conference attendees loved his presentations," Love said.

Dr. Mike Cope, instructor for ACU's Department of Bible, Missions, and Ministry, also spoke at the Streaming conference. Cope presented the opening message at the conference on hospitality. Read his blog post about the conference for more on his experience.

For more information, visit Beck's blog or the Theology and Peace conference and Streaming conference websites.