Colin Harris is professor emeritus of religious studies at Mercer University, having retired from full-time teaching in 2013. He is a longtime columnist for Good Faith Media, and is member of Smoke Rise Baptist Church in Stone Mountain, Georgia, where he teaches an adult class. He and Faye have two children, both math teachers, and three grown grandchildren.
1. What story, verse or passage from your faith tradition’s sacred texts significantly influenced/shaped your life?
I think I would choose in general the book of Jeremiah, for its portrayal of the prophetic voice in the calling out of the descent of the covenant community into the idolatry and injustice of its time, and for its hopeful vision of a restored covenant beyond the consequences of that descent.
This has shaped my understanding of participation in the faith community and of citizenship in general.
2. Who are three people (other than your family) who have shaped your life and worldview? And why?
Jean Hendricks, undergraduate college teacher, later dean and still later colleague, who was the essence of encouragement, provider of a teaching position, and a lifelong model of integrity and compassion.
John Eddins, seminary teacher and theologian, who introduced me to the field that would be my life’s work, and who was instrumental in the beginning of my vocational/professional journey.
Duane Davis, a 44-year Mercer University colleague, whose companionship, mind and spirit have been a constant reminder of the what and the why of what we do as teachers.
3. List three of your “desert island” books, movies or TV shows.
I have appreciated the autobiographical reflections of faith pilgrims who, in the spirit of The Christian Century’s “How My Mind Has Changed” series, offer a retrospective look at the faith journey and its patterns. Examples include William Barclay’s “A Spiritual Autobiography;” Paul Tillich’s, “On the Boundary;” and Marcus Borg’s “Convictions.”
The movie “Oh, God!” for its creative portrayal of the pattern of encounters with God described throughout the biblical testimony.
The TV show “M*A*S*H,” for its combination of entertaining humor and its insight into the human drama.
4. What is one of the most critical issues people are facing today?
Embracing the various forms of a guiding narrative that are unhealthy and detrimental to the nurturing of community.
5. What are a few of your hobbies?
Woodworking, hiking and biking.
6. If you could freeze your life into an already-lived 10 seconds, what would they be?
Any of the segments of 50+ years of parenting and the way the relationships and discoveries therein are a microcosm of life in general.
7. Our tagline at Good Faith Media is “There’s more to tell.” What’s your “more to tell”?
If the past and present are any indication, there will be “more to tell” of emerging understandings that come from continued study and from the relationships of the shared journey.
And there is the ever-growing list of thank you notes that need to be written to the people over the years who have enriched the pilgrimage in more ways than can be counted. There will always be “more to tell” than can be told.
Reflection and resources at the intersection of faith and culture through an inclusive Christian lens.