Asbury Sociologist Receives Book of the Year Award from Christianity Today Blogger
December 9, 2022
Dr. Lisa Weaver Swartz, assistant professor of sociology, recently received the Jesus Creed Book of the Year Award from American theologian Scot McKnight for her book, Stained Glass Ceilings: How Evangelicals Do Gender and Practice Power. McKnight’s blog, Jesus Creed, is a part of Christianity Today’s Blog Forum: https://www.christianitytoday.com/scot-mcknight/2022/december/jesus-creed-books-of-year.html.
Published by Rutgers University Press, Weaver Swartz’s 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.
“Lisa complicates what we know by unraveling the formative stories at work on each campus,” McKnight said, highlighting Weaver Swartz’s observations, calling her book “always charitable, fair-minded, and evidence-shaped.”
“I was surprised and very pleased to find out about the award,” Weaver Swartz said. “McKnight has been so kind in his treatment of the book. Translating sociological scholarship to a churchly audience can be quite difficult, and I hope his generous framing will help others make sense of the book’s arguments and nudge them to pursue healthy conversations in their own communities.”
Weaver Swartz holds a Ph.D. in sociology from the University of Notre Dame. Her research methods for Stained Glass Ceilings 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.
“My next project tells the story of the anti-human trafficking movement in Southeast Asia, especially in its connections to American Christianity,” Weaver Swartz said. “It builds on several field research trips to Thailand and Cambodia, during which my co-author and I explored some of the ways that the culture, knowledge, and power dynamics of American evangelicalism have shaped the movement. We hope to secure a publisher later this year.”
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.”
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/.