Challenges to Humanity

Announcing the Winners of the Exploring Personhood: Challenges to Humanity Paper Contest

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What challenges do we face as human beings? How does our faith inform our understanding of mental health, identity, technology, life, and civic engagement? The L. Russ Bush Center for Faith and Culture is proud to announce Exploring Personhood: Challenges to Humanity — our third annual Exploring Personhood conference designed to address these important questions.

In conjunction with this conference, we recently invited submissions of abstracts on topics relevant to the conference’s theme.

The winning paper will be published in the Spring 2024 issue of the Southeastern Theological Review. The authors of the top three papers will also win cash prizes ($700, $500, and $300, respectively), and we will publicly recognize the winners at the Exploring Personhood conference.

Today, we proudly announce the winners.

First Place: Dustin Atchley

Paper Title: Wonder Has Left the World: The Difficulties of Post-Enlightenment Cosmology and Anthropology

Dustin Atchley (M. Div.) is on staff at King’s Cross Church in Greensboro, N. C., and a Th.M. student at Southeastern Baptist Theology Seminary. At his home church, Dustin serves as Director of Student Ministries and works as a pastoral assistant. He and his wife Sydney have been married for five years and have one son, Jack. He likes to read, write, grill, and be outside in his free time.

Second Place: Mason Ballard

Paper Title: The Whole Truth, the Whole Church, and the Wholeness of the World

Mason Ballard (M.Div., Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary) is the Lead Pastor of Resurrection Church in Charleston, West Virginia, where he lives with his wife, Holly, and their daughter, Rosalie. Their youngest daughter, Lucy, is due this spring. He is a Ph.D. student at Midwestern Baptist Theological Seminary (MBTS) writing on evangelical Baptist catholicity. He serves as an adjunct professor at MBTS and the University of Charleston.

Third Place: Sam Whittaker

Paper Title: Imaginative Apologetics and the Meaning Crisis

Sam Whittaker (MABTS, Western Seminary) is a Teaching Pastor at South Valley Community Church in the Bay Area of California. He is a PhD student in Applied Theology at Midwestern Baptist Theological Seminary focused on Imaginative Apologetics. He has been married to his wife Christina for thirteen years and the two of them have three children, Jubilee, Phoebe, and Isaiah. His main hobbies include studying theology and philosophy, reading, and trail running.

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Center for Faith and Culture

The L. Russ Bush Center for Faith and Culture seeks to engage culture as salt and light, presenting the Christian faith and demonstrating its implications for all areas of human existence.

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