Chris Craun's Research Background
Ph.D. Medieval History
University of St Andrews
I'm a native Arkansan from an extremely rural, racially mixed region of the state. My religious background is a somewhat regional phenomenon called the 'community church', which is a remnant of the circuit-riding tradition of ministry. Essentially, one church building serves a small community (10-40 families) who have allegiances (often only on paper) to Baptist, Presbyterian, or Methodist denominations. Itinerant ministers for each denomination travel from community to community-preaching on alternate weekends-and dividing the usually meager tithes.
After attending the University of Arkansas, I met my first wife while attending a Campus Crusade for Christ summer project. We began attending what for me was a shockingly large (around 6,000 people) church called Fellowship Bible Church in Lowell, AR. It was non-denominational, yet fairly traditional in worship and evangelical in nature. During our seven years of membership, we became involved in establishing a satellite church within the lower-income district of Fayetteville, Arkansas.
I also began to pursue graduate school and was soon accepted at the University of St Andrews, Scotland. This required us to 'burn the ships,' and sell everything we owned in order to move. My wife and I had two daughters (Victoria, now 11; and Haven, now 9) that added to the fun (and cost) of this trip. It was a large step of faith for our family.
While in Scotland (1999-2002) we attended several different churches ranging from Anglican to Baptist. Eventually we settled into Eden Fellowship, which was part of the Scots-Irish Evangelical movement, one that has produced a multitude of popular worship leaders/bands.
Returning to the states, blessed with a Scottish-born son named Carraig (pronounced Kaddig), we lived on a chicken farm for two years until I found a teaching post and finished my PhD dissertation.
Currently, I teach Ancient and Medieval courses at the University of Central Arkansas in Conway and attend a non-denominational church. I like ethnically mixed congregations that hold to the core beliefs of the faith while minimizing traditional practices typically associated with the various denominations.
My philosophy: Despite growing up with what many would consider a narrow background, my career has introduced me to a wide variety of individuals both Christian and otherwise. I have had Hindu and Muslim friends from several different countries, as well as Christian friends from different nations and backgrounds: Catholics, Southern Baptists, and Church of Christ folks. In short, I don't play favorites. My personal faith is in the salvation worked by God through Jesus Christ and I'll freely admit that there are a lot of things about that process that I don't comprehend.
Although I am a Protestant, I have spent much of my adult life studying the history of the Church before the Protestant Reformation. I have little patience for those who believe that the story of Christ's church went silent after Paul only to be revived with Martin Luther - or that the equally ancient traditions of Eastern Christianity should be ignored. I have great affinity for the sacraments and rituals of the more traditional denominations as well as a great love for monasticism. This web site gives me an opportunity to use my education for an eternal purpose that will bless the body of Christ. I hope you find the materials helpful, and may God speak to you through His Spirit.