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There’s an exciting new project called Theological Engagement with California Culture that is taking its first steps toward coming to terms with the entity that is California.

Of course I think it’s exciting; it’s partly my idea to get this thing going. I’ve lived in California a long time now, and am a native (though I spent some formative years “back East,” as we say “out here”). But the project has finally gone from being a mental hobby to being an interdisciplinary collaborative project that is getting traction.

TECC has a website, a steering committee, a call for papers to gather submissions for a proposed session at the national ETS meeting in San Francisco in November 2011 (Richard Mouw is already committed to present at it), and initial plans for a series of conferences and consultations.

This week, Joe Gorra at the Evangelical Philosophical Society’s blog interviewed 2/3 of the steering committee (Jason Sexton and me) about the status of the project. Here’s a key quote from the interview:

It would probably be in bad taste to belabor a Gold Rush analogy, but I think that California as a theological subject is resource-rich and under-explored. I just started poking around a little bit in the area of California literary regionalism as an amateur investigator, trying to solve the small-scale problem of “what are the California great books I should assign?” What I discovered is that there’s been some really good work done on that subject by real literary scholars. But when it comes to theologians, we just haven’t done enough with California. As soon as I started using the tools of my own trade and asking theological questions, I found vast stretches of unexplored intellectual territory. I may not have cried “Eureka,” but I am sending out the word that there’s work to be done here for many hands.

Click on through to read the whole thing, and if you know somebody interested in theology and California, or somebody who ought to be, please forward this information to them.

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