Meredith Minister: 27, Religion
Kevin Minister: 28, Religion
You might say the marriage between Meredith and Kevin Minister is a marriage made in heaven, or at least a marriage made between those who study ideas about heaven and other evolving concepts of religious thought in early to contemporary Christianity.
Meredith, who grew up in Kentucky, and Kevin, who hails from eastern Washington, met during their undergraduate days at Union University in Tennessee, where both majored in religious studies. They earned masters of theological studies (M.T.S.) degrees at Boston University, and then it was on to Southern Methodist Universityís Dedman College for their Ph.D. work.
Itís not unusual for those who study religion from an academic viewpoint to look at the relationship between economics and religion, but Kevin choose an unexpected fine point of that intersection to focus upon: beauty. ďIím looking at how economic developments have shaped Christian practices and how Christian communities have responded to economic crises,Ē Kevin explains.
More specifically, heís looking at how the rise of the beauty industry has affected Christian beliefs and practices as well as the way that aesthetics shapes contemporary Christian beliefs about the economy. The overlap of beauty and faith, as Kevin writes, can range from lofty aesthetic ideals to the exceptionally practical. One such intersection is Slim for Him, a weight-loss organization for Christian women. Joerg Rieger, the Wendland-Cook Professor of Constructive Theology at SMU, is Kevinís advisor.
Meredith, who is earning a certificate in Women and Gender Studies in addition to her Ph.D. in religion, focused on critical theory of embodiment and related that to Christian Trinitarian theologies for her dissertation. She is postulating that the marginalization of various groups in society, be they gender, race or disability determined, all boil down to differences in physical bodies. This uneasiness with the physical, she says, ties in with the grapplings of the early Christians with the concept of God having a physical human body in the form of Jesus, and the ultimate development of the concept of the Trinity. Meredithís advisor is Professor Karen Baker-Fletcher.
Both Ministers are actively involved in campus activities, Kevin as a member of the Graduate Student Assembly and Meredith as a member of the Graduate Womenís Organization. Meredith recently defended her dissertation and has accepted a one-year visiting scholar position. Kevin expects to complete his Ph.D. work within a year.