Asbury Sociologist Publishes Book on Leadership Formation – Asbury University
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November 2, 2022

Dr. Lisa Weaver Swartz, assistant professor of sociology, recently published her new book, Stained Glass Ceilings: How Evangelicals Do Gender and Practice Power. Published by Rutgers University Press, the book speaks to the intersection of gender and power within American evangelicalism by examining the formation of evangelical leaders in two seminary communities: https://www.rutgersuniversitypress.org/stained-glass-ceilings/9781978819993.

Stained Glass Ceilings explores the expectations that evangelical Christian culture places on men and women—especially through processes of discipleship and formation for leadership,” Weaver Swartz said. “Anyone who is interested in conversations about church leadership or gendered relationships within religious spaces will be interested in the findings, including sociologists, church leaders, and lay Christians.”

Weaver Swartz holds a Ph.D. from the University of Notre Dame. Her research methods for Stained Glass Windows involved conducting interviews; attending classroom lectures, worship services, and events; and analyzing material and visual culture. Her ongoing research continues to use these methods to probe the intersection of religion, gender, and culture, this time within a global frame. Her next project, a co-authored book manuscript, interrogates faith-based humanitarian work in southeast Asia.

“We build our communities on stories, which often are more formative than doctrines and systematic theology,” Weaver Swartz said, reflecting on the power of narratives that faith communities articulate. “Stories ground us in the past and give meaning in the present.”

Weaver Swartz remains optimistic for the future of the Church. “Sociology and faith go hand in hand. My hope is that this book will equip communities of faith with new tools to examine their practices and become better versions of themselves. We still have a lot to learn about how religious communities affect the people within them, and sociology can help.”

For students interested in studying sociology, Weaver Swartz offers insight. “Cultural humility and awareness are increasingly relevant in so many vocational fields, including business, education, and ministry. Students that are interested in working with people and making the world a better place would be wise to study sociology. Many sociology majors also go on to careers in fields like law, medicine, advocacy, and international humanitarian work. The major offers helpful tools for understanding and working in an increasingly globalized world that needs effective intercultural and interpersonal communicators.”

The Asbury University Social Science & History Department offers four majors (History, Political Science, Social Studies Grades 8-12, and Sociology) and three minors (History, Political Science, and Sociology). Learn more: https://www.asbury.edu/academics/departments/social-science-history/.