Faith and Learning Lectures
Open Religious Dialogue
Each year, the College Committee on Faith and Learning sponsors a number of religious dialogue events, supporting the college’s belief in academic freedom, pluralism and diversity.
The James Ross McCain
Faith and Learning Lecture
The committee’s signature event is the annual James Ross McCain Faith and Learning Lecture, which brings a nationally recognized scholar to campus. This keynote address focuses on current conversations about questions of faith and values in American culture, providing timely and relevant points of reference for on-campus religious dialogue. The public is welcome to attend these lectures. This lecture is named for James Ross McCain, Agnes Scott's second president (1923-1951).
- 2011: Anna Carter Florence
Peter Marshall Associate Professor of Preaching
Columbia Theological Seminary
Lecture: "Changing Your Mind in the Belly of the Whale"
- 2010: Tibetan Monks
Creation: Sand mandala "Tibetan deity Green Tara"
- 2009: Rev. Barbara Brown Taylor
Butman Professor of Religion
Lecture: "Downtime: The Sacred Art of Stopping"
- 2008: Professor Rodger Y. Nishioka
Associate Professor of Christian Education
Columbia Theological Seminary
Lecture: “The Gospel in a Culture of Privilege: Jesus and the Spirituality of Entitlement”
- 2007: The Rev. Canon Dr. Samuel Wells
Dean of the Chapel at Duke University
Lecture: "Speaking the Truth in a Culture Committed to Diversity"
- 2006: The Rev. Prof. Peter J. Gomes
Member of the Faculty of Arts and Sciences and of the Faculty of Divinity at Harvard Divinity School, Minister in Harvard's Memorial Church, and Harvard's Plummer Professor of Christian Morals
Lecture: "Sense and Nonsense in American Religious Discourse"
- 2005: Dr. John Esposito
Professor of Religion and International Affairs and Professor of Islamic Studies at Georgetown University, as well as Founder/Director of Georgetown's Center for Muslim-Christian Understanding
Lecture: "The Enlightened Path to Muslim-Christian Understanding"
- 2004: Kathleen Norris
Author of The Cloister Walk and other poetry, fiction and nonfiction works.
Lecture: "Into the Hands of the Living God: Spirituality for the Real World"
- 2003: The Rev. Dr. Cheryl Kirk-Duggan
Director of the Center for Women and Religion in California
Lecture: "Transforming the Nasty Lie: From Sexism to Incarnated Graced Sexualities"
- 2002: Diana L. Eck
Author of Encountering God
Lecture: "Globalization and the New Religious America"
- 2001: Dr. Walter Brueggemann
Author of Deep Memory, Exuberant Hope: Contested Truth in a Post-Christian World
Lecture: "Creature as Consumer and as Citizen"
- 2000: Dr. John Polkinghorne
Author of The Way the World Is, One World, Science and Creation and Science and Providence
Lecture: "Science and Religion in the 21st Century"
- 1999: Melissa Faye Greene
Author of The Temple Bombing and Praying for Sheetrock
Lecture: "In the Crossfire: White Supremacists, Black Freedom Fighters and Southern Jews at Mid-Century"
- 1998: Elaine Pagels
Lecture: "The Gospel of Thomas: Another View of Jesus?"