Bean, Heather Ann Ackley
About the author: Heather Ann Ackley Bean is an assistant professor of religion and philosophy at Azusa Pacific University. She received her PhD from Claremont Graduate University. An ordained Mennonite minister, she also pastors Peace Fellowship, a congregation affiliated with both the Mennonite and Brethren in Christ denominations. She is a third-generation northern Appalachian migrant on her mother’s side and fourth-generation central Appalachian migrant on her father’s side.2001 0-7734-7508-7
Both urban Appalachian evangelical Christianity, as embodied in Appalachian women’s folk art and music, and process theology as articulated by John B. Cobb, Jr, and those he has mentored share an existentialist eschatology that emphasizes the salvific quality of individual life in the present rather than hope in the future. Process theodicy lacks a rich aesthetic, symbolic or ritual tradition through which to express these beliefs and thus is often criticized for its seeming lack of applicability to Christian life and nurture. Urban Appalachian women’s folk art and music, however, is widely celebrated for its powerful emotional impact, but its multivalent symbolism is seldom explored for theological insight. This project explores the ways in which these two marginal Christian existential theological traditions share common beliefs, articulate them in radically different ways with radically different results, and thus might learn from one another.