Recent Academic Papers and Articles

I’m sometimes asked about other things I’ve written, or to share more information about a blog post I’ve written. So, this portfolio will host some items of a more academic, in-depth nature. I welcome feedback and conversation. Thanks for reading.


“Cultivating Missional Vocation in a Mobile Society” (Unpublished paper, June 2017). I presented this in a breakout session at the American Society of Missiology meeting at Wheaton College. The opportunity to present a paper around the topic of mission in a mobile society gave me the chance to deepen some developing notions of vocation formation. The paper, as is often the case, ended up being different than the one I thought I was writing. It needs more focus and shape, but I like how it developed.

“Practices as Participation in the Life of God” (Missio Dei Journal, Summer/Fall 2016). This article is a spin out from my dissertation at Luther Seminary. I presented it first at the Christian Scholar’s Conference at Lipscomb University and it was published by the good folks at Missio Dei Journal. Everyone likes to talk about practices these days, but few want to talk about the conditions of possibility for practices as actual participation in the life of God. I offer what I consider to be a way forward in that discussion.

“New Directions in Soteriology and Pauline Studies” (Dissertation chapter, Being Saved: Soteriological Practice in Missional Communities, Luther Seminary, 2015). This is the third chapter from my dissertation. The focus of my dissertation was soteriology, or the doctrine of salvation. Instead of seeing soteriology as a finished content, I propose it as an ongoing practice. The living God is at work in the world in saving ways. There should be ways (practice) to name that ongoing saving engagement. In this chapter, I talk about shifts in soteriology that favor my proposal, talk about the difference between “theories” and narratives, and propose Paul as someone who thinks about salvation in the ways I am proposing.

“Mission, Translation, and the Hermeneutical Turn” (Unpublished paper, 2008) I wrote this paper for Craig Van Gelder who encouraged me to present it at the American Society of Missiology meeting (which I did) and submit it for publication (which I didn’t). The paper focuses on Lamin Sanneh’s widely accepted notion of “translation” as a way to designate Christian mission, as opposed to “diffusion,” a characteristic of Muslim mission and some Christian groups. While I appreciate much of what Sanneh offers, I critique him at the level of using “translation” as a metaphor for mission. While the actual work of translating the Bible into the vernacular is indisputably important, translation is not the best term to use with regard to the wider work of contextualization. Instead of contextualization, I propose “understanding” as the aim of mission and use Gadamer, Geertz, and Ricoeur as my hermeneutical sponsors. It needs updating. Sanneh has published more since it was written, as has my utility with hermeneutical philosophy. But I think the analysis and argument is worth pursuing. Maybe, someday.


About Mark Love

I am the Director of the Resource Center for Missional Leadership at Rochester College. Part of my job includes directing a master's degree in missional leadership, a situated learning degree. I am married to Donna and have a son, Josh Love, who lives in Portland, OR. With Donna, I have also inherited three great daughters and three amazing granddaughters.
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