My name is Travis Pickell.
I’m a doctoral student in religious ethics at the University of Virginia.
All the people who know me best tell me that I married up and I believe them.
I’m interested in some of the following things:
1) Viewing the world sacramentally
What is a sacrament? The Anglican Book of Common Prayer calls sacraments an “outward and visible sign of an inward and invisible grace.” I believe that there is a sense in which we encounter such things in our everyday life as “signposts” that point to a deeper reality. There are moments when we encounter the holy and numinous as whispers that tell us there is more… I want to explore such moments and learn to see the world this way.
2) Redemptive culture
When God created the world, humans were told to have dominion (note: not domination). Part of what it means to be human is to act as a sub-creator, made in God’s image to bring about God’s creative purposes. This is called the “cultural mandate.” We are called to form and fashion culture. Redemptive songs, movies, stories and art glorify God because they condition our imaginations to delight in God’s story of redemption… I want to be a savvy critic of culture, who also celebrates those working to redeem it.
3) The FULL gospel
Too often the gospel story sounds like this: I am sinful, but redeemed in Christ. This is absolutely true–as far as it goes. This is a two-chapter version (fall and redemption). However the bible tells as story of a good God creating a good world where humans were right with God, each other, and creation (Gen 1-2). This dynamic reality of universal flourishing, wholeness and delight is described as shalom in the Hebrew Scriptures. This is what was lost (Gen 3), and this is what will one day be restored (Rev 21-22)… I want to tell the whole story (creation, fall, redemption and restoration).
4) Promoting shalom on the personal, social, and cosmic level
Jesus’ life, death and resurrection were all about shalom. Wherever he went blind people saw, sick people were healed, the poor were honored and fed, and the demons ran scared. The cross of Christ was a giant shalom-regaining event. Now it is our job to promote universal flourishing and wholeness wherever we find ourselves… I want to learn what this means for my own life by exploring what it has meant for others.