S. Kyle Johnson
Writer, teacher, activist, theologian, pilgrim.
S. Kyle Johnson is a committed educator, scholar, minister, and activist. He is currently a PhD Candidate in Systematic Theology at Boston College, completing his dissertation "Decolonizing the Demonic: Christianity and Discernment Among Demonized Peoples," which considers the relationship between Christian accounts of the demonic and both colonialism and anti-Black racism—noting the particular ways that Christian demonology has contributed to the demonization of black and indigenous bodies—and arguing for the consequent need to decolonize Christian accounts of evil. Kyle has ministry experience in Presbyterian and other Protestant contexts in the US and Southeastern Europe. He is also committed to ecumenical and inter-faith work, and has experience in anti-racist activism and conflict transformation.
PhD in Systematic Theology, Boston College | Anticipated January 2022
Dissertation: “Decolonizing the Demonic: Christianity and Discernment Among Demonized Peoples.”
Director: Dr. Andrew Prevot
Readers: Dr. Amey Victoria Adkins-Jones, Dr. Brian Robinette
Proposal Approved November, 2019
Minor in the History of Christianity
Master of Theology, Boston College School of Theology and Ministry | May 2016
Master of Divinity, Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary | May 2015
Bachelor of Arts, Summa Cum Laude, Houghton College | May 2012
Majors in Bible and Humanities, Minor in Political Science, Honors in Humanities.
“Love Amidst Fear: Julian of Norwich, Affect, and Orthopathy,” in Spiritus: The Journal of Christian Spirituality, Vol. 22 (Fall 2021). [Forthcoming].
Liberty 3b: “Medieval Times and Reformation Era.” In Encyclopedia of the Bible Online. 2018. Berlin, Boston: De Gruyter.
Reviews for ReadingReligion.org:
Divinations: Theopolitics in an Age of Terror by Daniel Bell, Jr.
Political Orthodoxies: The Unorthodoxies of the Church Coerced by Cyril Hovorun.
God in Captivity: The Rise of Faith-Based Prison Ministries in the Age of Mass Incarceration by Tanya Erzen.
Articles for TheConversation.com:
“Exorcisms Have Been Part of Christianity for Centuries.”
“Panama Celebrates its Black Christ, Part of Protest Against Colonialism and Slavery.”
“Lil Nas X’s Dance with the Devil.”
“Liberation and Exorcism: Spiritual Warfare, Atonement, and Political Holiness in Jon Sobrino.” Presentation at the American Academy of Religion Annual Meeting. Co-Sponsored Session on “Reconsidering Christ, Sin, and Atonement,” sponsored by the Schleiermacher Unit and Liberation Theologies Unit. San Antonio, TX. November, 2021.
“The Demonic and the Human.” Presentation at the College Theology Society Annual Meeting (Remote) in the History of Christian Life and Thought Unit. June 2021.
“The Demonic in Paul Tillich and Black Theology.” Presentation at the Paul Tillich Society Annual Meeting at the American Academy of Religion. Denver, CO. November 2019.
“What Does a Demon Look Like? Early Christian Mysticism and Demonic Imaginations.” Presentation at the Annual Meeting of the Mystical Theology Network. Boston, MA. March 2019.
“The Mystical Body and the Black Christ.” Presentation at the Annual Meeting of the Mystical Theology Network. Leuven, Belgium. June 2018.
“Karl Barth, James Baldwin, and the Demonic.” Presentation at Religion and Difference: Annual Brown University Graduate Conference in Religious Studies. Providence, RI. March 2018.
“Trapped in a History Which They Do Not Understand:’ Reading James Baldwin with Thomas Merton, Toward a Spiritual Interpretation of Mass Incarceration.” Presentation for panel on mass incarceration, featuring Michelle Alexander and Walter Fluker, at the American Academy of Religion Annual Meeting.
Boston, MA. November, 2017.
Part-Time Faculty at Boston College, 2021-Current:
“Ethics, Religion, and International Politics.” Spring 2022 (two sections).
Teaching Fellow (Instructor of Record) at Boston College, 2020-2021:
“God, Self, and Society.” Fall 2020, Spring 2021.
Teaching Assistant at Boston College, 2018–Current:
“Ethics, Religion, and International Politics,” Dr. Mara Willard.
Fall 2018, Spring 2020 (two sections), Spring 2021 (two sections).
“Exploring Catholicism,” Dr. Mary Ann Hinsdale. Fall 2018, Spring 2019.
“Introduction to Christian Theology,” Rev. Michael J. Himes. Fall 2017, Spring 2018.
Theology Teaching Fellow for Semlink Online Education at Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary, 2013-2014.
Teaching Assistant at Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary, 2013–2015:
Assistant to Fr. Dean Borgman, Professor of Youth Ministry and Social Ethics. Fall 2014–Spring 2015.
Assistant to Dr. Gwenfair Adams, Professor of Church History. Fall 2013–Spring 2014.
Other Professional Experience
Learning Design Assistant at the Center for Digital Innovation and Learning at Boston College, 2021-2022.
Student Assistant for New Testament Abstracts at Boston College School of Theology and Ministry, 2015-2016.
Intern at the Balkan Institute for Faith and Culture in Skopje, The Republic of Macedonia,
Awards and Honors
Boston College Sixth-Year Dissertation Fellowship, Fall 2021.
Participant in the Collegium Institute’s Genealogies of Modernity III Symposium (University of Pennsylvania), June 2019.
Donald J. White Teaching Excellence Award, 2019: Awarded by Boston College Center for Teaching Excellence for Teaching Assistant service.
Graduate Fellow at the Clough Center for Constitutional Democracy, 2018-2019: Boston College.
Robert C. Cooley Scholar in Early Christianity, 2016: Awarded by Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary.
Lilly Graduate Fellow, Cohort 9, 2016-2019.
Student Retreat Planning Committee. 2019-2020.
Graduate Student Representative to Systematic Theology Hiring Committee. Spring 2018.
Religion and racism, Black/Womanist theology, theology and decolonial theory, contemporary systematic theology (Catholic, Protestant, and Orthodox), spirituality/mystical theology (demonology and asceticism), political/liberation theologies, American Christianity (esp. American Christian political thought, racism and evangelical Christianity), ecclesiology, ecumenism.
Reading: Greek, Hebrew, German, French.
Member of the Board for the Boston Faith and Justice Network (2021-present).
Member of the American Academy of Religion, the College Theological Society, the Mystical Theology Network, and the Political Theology Network.
"Socialism, Mysticism, and the Demonic in Paul Tillich." Presentation for the College Theological Society Annual Meeting. Online. May 2020.
"What does a Demon Look Like?" Presentation for Mystical Theology Network Annual Meeting. Boston, MA. February 2019.
"Who our Highways Have Taught us to Love." Paper presented at American Academy of Religion panel on Architecture and the Common Good. Denver, CO. November 2018.
"The Mystical Body and the Black Christ." Paper presented at the Mystical Theology Network Annual Meeting. Leuven, Belgium. June 2018.
"‘Trapped in a History Which They Do Not Understand:’ Reading James Baldwin with Thomas Merton, Toward a Spiritual-Theological Interpretation of Mass Incarceration.” Presentation for panel on mass incarceration, featuring Michelle Alexander and Walter Fluker, at the American Academy of Religion. Boston, MA. November, 2017.
Article: “Love Amidst Fear: Julian of Norwich, Affect, and Orthopathy,” in Spiritus: The Journal of Christian Spirituality, Vol. 22 (Fall 2021) [Forthcoming].