This delightfully multifaceted volume, comprised of thoughtful essays by an esteemed array of cultural critics, probes the intersection of Christian faith and culture to honor the memory of A. J. "Chip" Conyers, a remarkably ecumenical Christian scholar and cultural "warrior" whose premature death in 2004 cut short a remarkable career in teaching and writing. As those who knew him can attest, Conyers lived his life at the intersection of Christian theology and cultural concern with a singular blend of astuteness, gracefulness, and Christian conviction.
This festschrift, as esteemed theologian and Conyers's mentor Jurgen Moltmann indicates in the foreword, is intended to mirror Conyers's own commitment to incisive cultural criticism and theological faithfulness in the mold of the "great tradition." This is no small achievement even for so venerable a cast of scholars as the contributors to this volume, as Conyers crossed interdisciplinary boundaries--in a day of escalating hyper-specialization--with the greatest of ease. He was comfortable discussing contemporary church life or the christological controversy of the patristic era, Heideggerian hermeneutics or human dignity and the imago Dei, faith and the Enlightenment or the fatherhood of God, Catholic "substance" or Protestant reform.
Yet Conyers always did this through the lens of historic Christian orthodoxy. Though he was a most incisive student of culture, in a most refreshing way he steered clear of being co-opted by the currents of culture. Neither retreating into pious devotionalism nor opting for the theologically unreflective activism that has become so chic in our post-consensus climate, he embodied a theological perspective that blends responsible cultural engagement with eschatological hope.
The reader is sure to encounter the same blend in this festschrift, and to come away both challenged and edified toward fulfilling the message and hope of Conyers' life and work: to faithfully thrive in Babylon.