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Meet Christopher Hunt

Christopher Hunt, African American man, Ph.D. student at Garrett-Evangelical Theological Seminary
In the end, I chose Garrett-Evangelical because of the strength of its theology faculty. Any institution that could boast of having Drs. Nancy Bedford, Stephen Ray and Anne Joh all on the same faculty was an institution worth attending! I was fortunate to have been picked for our highly competitive program.

Name: Christopher Hunt

Hometown: Connersville, Indiana

Age: 32

Degree program: Doctor of Philosophy in Theological and Ethical Studies

Other Degrees: Bachelor of Arts in Bible and Religion, Anderson University, Anderson, IN and Master of Arts in Theology, Iliff School of Theology, Denver, CO

Tell us a little about yourself and your research interests:
My research interests include African American religion and history, 20th and 21st century theology, African American humanism, and the life and literature of James Baldwin. How these subjects connect, in my estimate, is that Baldwin represents a tradition within African American religious expression that is nontheistic in orientation, yet wholly committed to the liberation of oppressed people(s). In essence, in my life and work, I'm interested in the expansion of the boundaries of what is typically understood to be African American religion, in the hopes of contributing to the increasing engagement of Black religious humanism and other forms of nontheistic religious orientation within theological discourse.

How did you come to choose Garrett Evangelical?
When I began the initial process of applying to doctoral programs, Garrett-Evangelical came highly recommended by mentors and friends. In the end, I chose Garrett-Evangelical because of the strength of its theology faculty. Any institution that could boast of having Drs. Nancy Bedford, Stephen Ray and Anne Joh all on the same faculty was an institution worth attending! I was fortunate to have been picked for our highly competitive program.

What has surprised you about yourself and/or about theological education since you started at Garrett-Evangelical?
What has surprised me most about theological education thus far is the way in which it prepares students to read myriad texts, whether in philosophy, history, literature, or various types of theory. Theological education in particular requires its students to read broadly and deeply, and no discourse or perspective is out of bounds for the burgeoning theologian. Because of that, Garrett-Evangelical students are by no means at a deficit when cross-registering at institutions like Northwestern University or the University of Chicago, for we’ve been given the intellectual and theoretical tools needed to thrive in disciplines outside of our own.

What class and/or professor has made the biggest impact on you (so far)? Why?
The faculty member who has had the greatest impact on my theological education is Dr. Nancy Bedford. Dr. Bedford has given me the space to ask and pursue questions outside the bounds of what one typically finds in Christian theological circles. As an academic advisor, she expects nothing less than excellent work; she has pushed me to be a diligent and bold scholar. I would also add that Dr. Stephen Ray continues to be an indispensable mentor and teacher and it was Dr. Ray who first pushed me to engage the Africana and European philosophies of existence that continue to have so great an impact on my life and work. 

How do you hope to use your academic study and research in the future?
Upon graduating, my dream is to teach courses in religion, theology, African American religion and history, and the literature of James Baldwin in a religious studies or African American studies department.

What advice would you give someone who is considering pursuing theological education?
My advice to anyone considering theological education is: prepare to have your paradigms challenged. Make no mistake, seminary training is graduate school and this is a long and rigorous process, but it is a rewarding pursuit.