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March 6, 2019

Author and philosopher Dr. James K.A. Smith will visit Asbury University for SEARCH, Asbury’s annual academic symposium, this spring. Smith will serve as the SEARCH keynote speaker and will also give an address at a University Chapel service.

SEARCH will be held on Asbury’s campus April 11, with events running throughout the day from 12 p.m. to 8 p.m. Events are free and open to the public. Smith will lecture in Jameson Recital Hall at 7 p.m. To learn more and view the full schedule, visit: asbury.edu/search-symposium.

Smith is a professor of philosophy at Calvin College and the author of “Awaiting the Kingdom,” “You Are What You Love: The Spiritual Power of Habit” and “How (Not) to Be Secular,” among others. He is a Christian thought leader at the intersections of scholarship, the church and society. He also serves as editor-in-chief of Image Journal and contributing editor at Comment magazine. His forthcoming book “On the Road with Saint Augustine” will be released later this year.

Smith’s philosophical training centered on French thought and he currently holds the title of Gary and Henrietta Byker Chair in Applied Reformed Theology and Worldview at Calvin. His written work has appeared in national publications such as the Wall Street Journal, the New York Times, Slate, Christianity Today and more.

SEARCH attendees and participants will hear Smith talk about why intellectual pursuits are crucial to the faith, but also how “enlightenment” can become its own idol too.

“He’s prolific and articulate,” said Dr. Tim Campbell, academic dean. “He’s thoughtful across a broad array of subject areas with no beginning or end to the integration of his faith. Smith in many ways embodies the mutual illumination of faith and scholarship.”

Campbell anticipates that Smith’s presentation will challenge attendees to consider how and why scholarship is important for the body of Christ.

“I think those who come will be persuaded to review their assumptions on how we think about the head and the heart,” Campbell said. “As Christians, we consider the head and we consider the heart, but do we pause often enough to consider the ‘and’ between the two?”

As the University prepares for SEARCH over the next several weeks, Campbell is especially looking forward to showcasing Asbury’s academic rigor and imagination in a tangible format for both the Asbury family and local academic community.

“SEARCH is nearly a literal walkthrough of the Liberal Arts,” Campbell said. “Those who haven’t attended before are sometimes surprised to see in one place what they intuitively know exists across the University but don’t always consider altogether. You can be speaking to a student on Kentucky’s complex experiences in the American Civil War and engage the next student who will be speaking on the effects of naturalistic thinking on perceptions of human value. As one person said to me, ‘This is the first time I’ve ever fully felt like I understood what academic excellence is.’”

Learn more about Asbury University’s SEARCH Symposium.