Annual Baylor Symposium on Faith and Culture Explores Christian Unity Amid Division

October 17, 2023
Faith and Culture Symposium

Contact: Shelby Cefaratti-Bertin, Baylor University Media & Public Relations, 254-327-8012
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By Clarissa Garza, student newswriter

WACO, Texas (Oct. 17, 2023) – Baylor University’s Institute for Faith and Learning will host its annual Baylor Symposium on Faith and Culture, which this year focuses on the theme, Called Together In an Age of Discord. The symposium – which features 110 presenters from around the country – will take place from Wednesday, Oct. 25, through Friday, Oct. 27. Panel presentations and colloquium sessions will be held at the Bill Daniel Student Center, located at 1311 S. Fifth St. on the Baylor campus.

This year’s symposium will explore the timely issues of social alienation and political tribalism leading to the harsh tone of social discord. People of faith are called together to work towards hope and reconciliation in their communities. The sessions will focus on a wide range of academic and social topics and explore the broad impacts of discord and unity.

“We live in an age when time-honored ideals like reasoned compromise, political civility, genuine community and the common good seem not only idealistic but utterly unattainable,” said Darin Davis, Ph.D., director of Baylor’s Institute for Faith and Learning and clinical professor of moral philosophy in the Honors Program. “Yet people of faith are called together to see matters differently and act differently as well. How might peace, reconciliation, grace and hope be fostered even in days when there is rampant cynicism, fear and despair?”

Featured speakers at the 2024 Baylor Symposium on Faith and Culture include the following:

  • Howard K. Batson, Ph.D., pastor of First Baptist Church of Amarillo, Texas, former chair of Baylor University’s Board of Regents
  • Jasmine Bellamy, vice president of planning and allocation at Reebok, Sports Illustrated 100 Influential Black Women in Sports
  • Patricia Lynn Brown, Ph.D., professor of English at Azusa Pacific University
  • Uli Chi, Ph.D., senior fellow at the De Pree Center for Leadership, teaching faculty for Regent College’s Master of Arts in Leadership, Theology and Society
  • David Corey, Ph.D., professor of political science at Baylor University
  • Elizabeth Corey, Ph.D., associate professor of political science and director of the Honors Program at Baylor University
  • Jimmy Dorrell, co-founder and president emeritus of Mission Waco, pastor of Church Under the Bridge
  • Michael O. Emerson, Ph.D., professor and head of the Department of Sociology at University of Illinois Chicago
  • C. Stephen Evans, Ph.D., Emeritus University Professor of Philosophy and Humanities at Baylor University
  • Thomas Hibbs, Ph.D., The J. Newton Rayzor Sr. Professor of Philosophy and Dean Emeritus at Baylor University
  • James Davison Hunter, Ph.D., LaBrosse-Levinson Distinguished Professor of Religion, Culture and Social Theory at the University of Virginia
  • Matthew D. Kim, Ph.D., professor of practical theology and holder of The Hubert H. and Gladys S. Raborn Chair of Pastoral Leadership at Baylor University’s George W. Truett Theological Seminary
  • Lauren Kuykendall, Ph.D., associate professor of industrial-organizational psychology and senior scholar at the Center for the Advancement of Well-Being at George Mason University
  • John Lippitt, professor of philosophy and director of the Institute for Ethics & Society at the University of Notre Dame Australia, based in Sydney
  • G.S. “Mack” McCarter III, founder and coordinator of Community Renewal International, Ordained Minister in the Disciples of Christ denomination
  • Mollie Moore, director of programming and development for Baylor in Washington
  • Shirley Mullen, Ph.D., former president of Houghton College
  • Alison Noble, Ph.D., interim provost and professor of chemistry at Messiah University
  • Michaela O’Donnell, Ph.D., executive director of the Max De Pree Center for Leadership at Fuller Seminary
  • Angel Adams Parham, Ph.D., associate professor of sociology and senior fellow at the Institute for Advanced Studies in Culture at the University of Virginia
  • Jane Patterson, emerita professor of New Testament at Seminary of the Southwest
  • Richard Rankin Russell, Ph.D., professor and graduate program director of the English department at Baylor University
  • Matt Snowden, pastor of First Baptist Church of Waco
  • Anne Snyder, editor-in-chief of Comment Magazine, author
  • Paul Wadell, professor emeritus of theology and religious studies at St. Norbert College
  • William Weaver, Ph.D., professor of literature and director of the Great Texts program at Baylor University
  • Roman R. Williams, Ph.D., founder of Interfaith Photovoice
  • Amos Yong, Ph.D., professor of theology and mission at Fuller Theological Seminary

Each year, the Baylor Symposium on Faith and Culture addresses significant issues from the vantage point of Christian intellectual traditions. It thereby embodies Baylor University’s aspiration to cultivate reflective engagement with the world of public ideas and issues, especially in a way that acknowledges the relevance of Christian questions, convictions and contributions.

Featuring leading national and international scholars – and including a wide range of participants from varied denominations and private and public universities – the symposium is convened by Baylor’s Institute for Faith and Learning.

Previous symposia have addressed such topics as the Art Seeking Understanding, Living Accountably, the Character of the University, Stewardship of Creation, the Bible and the Reformation, Higher Learning and Spirit of Sports.

For a full schedule of events and additional speaker information, visit the Institute for Faith and Learning website.


The Institute for Faith and Learning was founded in 1997 to assist Baylor University in achieving its mission of integrating academic excellence and Christian commitment and its goal of becoming a university of the first rank committed to its Baptist and Christian heritage. Since its founding, the Institute has developed several major programs in support of this mission, cultivating high-quality research, sponsoring conferences, mentoring students and encouraging teaching faithful to the Christian intellectual traditions.


Baylor University is a private Christian University and a nationally ranked Research 1 institution. The University provides a vibrant campus community for more than 20,000 students by blending interdisciplinary research with an international reputation for educational excellence and a faculty commitment to teaching and scholarship. Chartered in 1845 by the Republic of Texas through the efforts of Baptist pioneers, Baylor is the oldest continually operating University in Texas. Located in Waco, Baylor welcomes students from all 50 states and more than 100 countries to study a broad range of degrees among its 12 nationally recognized academic divisions.