News Articles

10/7/97 Union Univ. leadership center named poverty project co-sponsor

JACKSON, Tenn. (BP)–Union University’s Center for Christian Leadership has been named co-sponsor of a new initiative in evangelical scholarship intended to address the ongoing problem of poverty in America.
David P. Gushee, director of the center, has been named director of the project, “Toward a Just and Caring Economy.” The project’s other sponsored is Evangelicals for Social Action (ESA), a Philadelphia-based advocacy and networking organization led by Ronald J. Sider, author of “Rich Christians in an Age of Hunger.” Primary funding is being provided by the Bauman Foundation of Washington.
Union is a 2,000-student Baptist-related college in Jackson, Tenn.
The goal of the two-year initiative is to produce a significant evangelical intellectual contribution to addressing the seemingly intractable problem of poverty in American society.
A team of approximately 20 evangelical scholars has already begun work on the project. The scholars represent a variety of disciplines — economics, government, political science, education, ethics and theology – – and a range of Christian and secular universities, including Wheaton, Calvin and Gordon colleges, Pepperdine, University of Nebraska, Texas Tech and Boston University. As well, two participants come from the ranks of government service and one from a Christian research organization, the Center for Public Justice.
Among the distinguished participants are Glenn Loury, a nationally renowned economist, and Charles Glenn, a specialist in education, both from Boston University; Wendell Primus, formerly a senior Clinton administration official in the area of welfare policy; and Ashley Woodiwiss, a political philosopher from Wheaton.
The project, involving an intensive round of consultations along with way, will produce a major scholarly volume on poverty, expected to be completed by the fall of 1998. Gushee will serve as editor of the volume.
According to Gushee, “Our purpose is not merely to produce another book for the bookshelves but, instead, to make a genuine difference on an issue that, according to Scripture, matters profoundly to God. We aim for a book that helps this nation understand why so many Americans continue to suffer from the ravages of poverty. Even more important, we want a book that provides concrete proposals for how both government and nongovernmental agencies can best address the needs of the poor. Evangelicals have the rare opportunity here to provide leadership on an issue that every American should care about — and that every Christian must care about.”
For further information concerning the project, contact Gushee, who is also an associate professor of Christian studies at Union, at (901) 661-5024 or via e-mail at [email protected].