A Seat at the Table: Affective Formation and United Methodist Higher Education


Journal Article

© 2015, Taylor & Francis Group, LLC. The increasingly pronounced distinction between educational institutions that retain their ecclesial identity and those that jettison religious commitments reflects a bifurcated educational landscape in which institutions are characterized either as a “church-related” or a “Christian college and university.” This development can be understood as the emergence of separate tables around which disparate conversations exist among those who identify themselves according to the terms of each tradition.James K. A. Smith's Cultural Liturgies series emerges from the Christian college and university tradition and has introduced affective formation into the parlance of contemporary conversations related to Christian higher education. Although United Methodists traditionally identify their higher education institutions as church-related colleges and universities, the Wesleyan theological commitment to forming holistic affections displays theological resonance with contemporary conversations about affective formation. Rereading Smith's account in light of a Wesleyan understanding of affective formation illustrates the continuity between Wesleyan theological commitments and contemporary discussions about affective formation while also expanding Smith's account in distinct ways. Doing so demonstrates the illuminative potential of intellectual engagement across institutional and disciplinary lines and provides a model for similar engagement within the bifurcated landscape of higher education.The argument suggests that United Methodists should not only have a seat at the table of contemporary conversation about affective formation, but that they can learn much from the conversation. Prescriptive conclusions follow for United Methodists and for all communions based on this reanalysis of affective formation and the United Methodist theological tradition.

Full Text

Duke Authors

Cited Authors

  • Benac, DD

Published Date

  • January 1, 2015

Published In

Volume / Issue

  • 14 / 3

Start / End Page

  • 127 - 141

Electronic International Standard Serial Number (EISSN)

  • 1539-4107

International Standard Serial Number (ISSN)

  • 1536-3759

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)

  • 10.1080/15363759.2015.1030475

Citation Source

  • Scopus