The Board of Trustees of the Baptist Theological Union has named James M. Wall (MA 1961) as the Divinity School's Alumnus of the Year for 2000.
James M. Wall is the Senior Contributing Editor of the Christian Century magazine, having served as its Editor and as President of the Christian Century Foundation, the nonprofit organization that publishes the magazine, from 1972-1999. Since February 1990, Mr. Wall has taught as Adjust Professor of Religion and Culture at the Claremont School of Theology in Claremont, California. He is a representative of the National Council of Churches to the motion picture industry and advises the Motional Picture Association on America on film ratings as a consultant to the industry's ratings appeals board.
An ordained United Methodist minister, Mr. Wall has been a member of the North Georgia and the Northern illinois Annual Conferences. Before entering religious jounralism, he served as pastor of local United Methodist churches in Illinois and Georgia, was a sports writer with two Atlanta, Georgia, newspapers, and served as a lieutenant in the U.S. Air Force during the Korean War.
Mr. Wall has been involved in various volunteer activities throughout his life, ranging in focus from supporting work for helping children in developing countries to sitting on a committee for identifying a permanent location to dispose of the nation's high-level nuclear waste. He has also been active in politics, both local and national, and was elected as delegate from Illinois to six Democratic Nominating Conventions.
Mr. Wall has authored two books specifically devoted to the topic of relating theology to film: Church and Cinema (Eerdmans, 1971) and Three European Dictators (Eerdmans, 1972), which he edited. He is also the author of Winning the War, Losing our Soul (Century Press), a collection of Christian Century editorials written during the Gulf War, and a collection of essays entitled Hidden Treasures: Searching for God in Modern Culture (Christian Century Press, 1997). He has contributed chapters to several other books, including Celluloids and Symbols (Fortress Press, 1970), A Century of the Century (Eerdmans, 1987), Religious Education as Social Transformation (Religious Education Press, 1989), The Pastor as Teacher (Pilgrim Press, 1989), and Image and Likeness: Religious Visions in American Film Classics (Paulist Press, 1992). He has edited several other books, including Theologians in Transition (Crossroads, 1981), and was co-editor of How My Mind Has Changed (Eermans, 1991).
Mr. Wall delivered his Alumnus of the Year address, "The Shift in My Head: Reflections on Life After Swift Hall," on April 26, 2001, in Swift Lecture Hall.