The Elshtain Fellowship is an eight-month long educational program for serious professionals in governmental, academic, military, intelligence, ecclesiastical, and related vocations who want both a deeper understanding of Christian Realism and greater insight as to how this great tradition of Hebraic intelligence informs public life in its widest aperture.
Elshtain Fellows will meet for evening salons the third Wednesday of every month from October through May at the Providence offices in Washington, D.C., housed at the Institute on Religion and Democracy. Conversations will be frank though convivial, supported by dinner and postprandial drinks, and will center around monthly readings in political and moral theology. Topics will include the ethics of war, the nature of the good society, the family and public life, love, the politics of responsibility—and its limits, and much else. While many of our readings will be drawn from the work of the late political theorist Jean Bethke Elshtain (1941-2013), we will also pay attention to those to whom she paid attention: Augustine, Thomas Aquinas, Albert Camus, Reinhold Niebuhr, Vaclav Havel, and others. Our “texts” will include books and selected essays, case studies, film, experiential activities, and whatever other combustibles might fuel the mind and conversation.
After an initial orientation providing a broad introduction to Jean Elshtain and her commitment to Christian realism, our monthly salons will focus on exploring the fundamental principles of Christian realism—while staying mindful of differences in its expression, contrasting these principles with Christian realism’s more idealistic and cynical alternatives, and applying Christian realist principles to contemporary challenges to see how they stand up.
For each session, fellows will receive the necessary readings (roughly 25-50 pages) well in advance, along with suggested questions for discussion. Discussions will be led by Providence’s McDonald Scholar of War, Ethics, and Public Life Marc LiVecche and invited guests. Salons will begin with hospitality and food at 6PM, with formal discussion from 6:30-8:30PM. They occur October 18th, November 15th, December 20th, January 17th, February 21st, March 20th, April 17th, and May 15th. We are planning one-weekend retreat in the middle of the fellowship, likely the evening of January the 19th through the morning of Sunday the 21st (and therefore in lieu of the Jan. 17th evening meeting). Attendance, preparation, and active participation in each of the sessions is expected. Other ad hoc gatherings, bull sessions, cocktail hours, and other field trips might be proposed, for which your participation will be welcomed.
To apply for the fellowship, candidates can submit the following materials to [email protected]:
Resume (as an attached Word Document or PDF).
Writing Sample (as an attached Word Document or PDF). In their writing sample, candidates should answer the following prompt in less than 500 words: “Why is Christian Realism missing in today’s parlance and why is it needed?”
Applications for the 2023-24 JBE cohort are now closed.
Joseph Chapa is an officer in the U.S. Air Force and holds a doctorate in philosophy from the University of Oxford. His areas of expertise include just war theory, military ethics, and especially the ethics of remote weapons and the ethics of artificial intelligence. He is a senior pilot with more than 1,400 pilot and instructor pilot hours. He currently serves as the Department of the Air Force’s first Chief Responsible AI Ethics Officer and the DoD’s liaison to the Special Competitive Studies Project. His book, Is Remote Warfare Moral? was published in July, 2022.
Samuel Fouad is a political analyst, writer, journalist, and editor. He has worked extensively on U.S. foreign policy in the Middle East at think tanks and media outlets, and has experience working on political campaigns. He is also a PhD Candidate in Political Science at the Catholic University of America and holds an MPA in International Relations. His writings have appeared in many outlets, including Real Clear Defense, The National Interest, Responsible Statecraft, and Newsweek. He is also endorsed by the Progressive Talent Pipeline. Sam lives with his wife in Virginia.
Jason Fallin (Ph.D., Fuller Theological Seminary) is the Director of Worship and Liturgy at Grace Church at West Shore in St. Leonard, MD. His research interests center on the intersection of aesthetics and moral formation. In particular, he is interested in the formational effects of aesthetic texts and material culture on people’s affections, imaginations, dispositions, and practices. Jason lives in Chesapeake Beach, MD with his wife and two children.
Kyle Hansen earned his Master of Defense and Strategic Studies from the University of Texas-El Paso, and a B.A. in International Relations with a minor in theological-historical studies from Oral Roberts University in Tulsa, Oklahoma. He has previously served as a staff assistant to a U.S. Senator, various roles in the fields of education and non-profit work, and as a security analyst/watch officer covering Uber’s global operations. He has served as an analyst for the Department of Defense, where he currently works as an international affairs officer/specialist.
Porter Harlow was born and raised in Alexandria, Virginia. After graduation from the Citadel in Charleston, South Carolina, Porter was commissioned as a lieutenant in the U.S. Marine Corps. Porter later graduated from the University of South Carolina’s School of Law and served as an operational law attorney for the Second Marine Aircraft Wing deployed to the Anbar Province of Iraq. Porter taught the law of war to military attorneys at The U.S. Army’s Judge Advocate General’s School in Charlottesville, Virginia; and he served in the Pentagon as the Head of the Operational Law Department for the Department of the Navy’s Judge Advocate General. While practicing law, Porter was called by Grace to go to seminary at Reformed Theological Seminary’s Washington, D.C. After graduation, Porter was ordained as a minister in the Presbyterian Church in America (PCA) and called to be the founding pastor of Christ Presbyterian Church in Burke, Virginia. While preaching and pastoring, Porter is an adjunct professor at George Mason University’s Schar School of Policy and Government in Fairfax, Virginia, where he teaches a course on the Law and Ethics of War. Porter is the author of How Should We Treat Detainees: An Examination of Enhanced Interrogation Techniques under the Light of Scripture and the Just War Tradition (Presbyterian & Reformed, 2016), which World Magazine selected as one of its runners up for Book of the Year in 2016. He is also the author of “Books that Merit (Re)Reading: Remembering Paul Ramsey’s ‘The Just War’”in Reformed Faith & Practice (Dec. 2018). Porter posts on the website formerly known by Twitter as @porterharlow and @ramseyonjustwar.
Will Kielm is a recent graduate from the University of Michigan who majored in Public Policy from the Gerald R. Ford School of Public Policy with a concentration in U.S. Grand Strategy and International Relations Theory. He has previously interned for Woodrow Wilson Center for International Scholars, Center for European Policy Analysis, the Institute for the Study of War, and Foundation for Defense of Democracies.
Emeline McClellan is a Senior Associate at Keybridge Communications. She earned a Master’s of Philosophy in Classics with Distinction at the University of Cambridge and graduated summa cum laude from the University of Georgia with a B.A. in Classical Languages. While at Cambridge, she served consecutively as Secretary and Communications Officer for the Cambridge University Conservative Association (CUCA) and interned remotely for the James Wilson Institute. She is a 2022 Claremont Speechwriters Fellow and a 2021 Hertog Political Studies Fellow.
Rebecca Munson is an associate professor and department chair in Liberty University’s School of Government. Within the School of Government she oversees the doctoral program in public policy and teaches a range of courses on international relations, foreign policy, human rights, and research methods. Her current book project is on US foreign policy on human trafficking.
Haydon N. Parham splits his time working in mortgage finance and on American foreign policy while living in Washington D.C. He was a Spring 2023 New Whiggery Fellow at the Institute on Religion and Democracy, 2024 Public Policy Fellow at the Fund for American Studies. He is an active member of both the American Conservation Coalition and the Cicero Debate Society. His writings have appeared in Providence Magazine and The National Interest, focusing primarily on Philosophy, Economics, and History.
Stephen Perry (Ph.D. in Mass Communication, University of Alabama, 1995) currently serves as the Chair of the Department of Communication Studies at Regent University in Virginia Beach. He previously served as the Interim Dean of the Robertson School of Government from 2018 – 2020. He was an elected School Board member in Illinois from 2007 to 2014 and a Fulbright Scholar to the Republic of Mauritius in 2004-2005. He edited the 2019 book Pro Football and the Proliferation of Protest: Anthem Posture in a Divided America. His research includes a focus on healing political division in America. He and his wife, Rev. Kay Lynn Perry, have been married for 33 years and they have 3 adult children.
Anton Sorkin is the director of Law Student Ministries at Christian Legal Society and an Affiliate Professor at Trinity School of Law. His work and writing focus on helping law students integrate their faith with the study of law. He previously practiced employment law and religious freedom litigation. Anton earned a doctorate (SJD) at Emory University School of Law under the supervision of Professor John Witte. He also received an LLM from Emory in law and religion, a JD from Regent University School of Law, and an engineering degree from the University of Texas at San Antonio. In his free time, Anton is an avid cinephile, podcaster, and writer.
Clint Taylor is a senior analyst for the US Navy. He is interested in corruption, transnational crime, terrorism finance, and money laundering worldwide. He holds a Ph.D. in Political Science from Stanford and was a Boren Fellow in 2001. He is a member of the state bar of Oklahoma and has been a freelance journalist and a country music DJ.
Sarah Thomas is a writer on the science of liberty portfolio at Stand Together, a classical liberal philanthropic network, and is also pursuing an M.A. in Human Rights at The Catholic University of America. She is a graduate of Stanford University, where she earned a B.A. in Philosophy and Religious Studies and a minor in Data Science. She also studied theology at the University of Oxford, and philosophy at the Katholieke Universiteit Leuven. Sarah has presented conference papers at the University of Oxford, the University of Dallas, Saint Francis University, and the Eric Voegelin Society. She has held fellowships from Stanford University, the North American Paul Tillich Society, the Zephyr Institute, and the Thomistic Institute and Institute for Human Ecology. She has interests in metaphysics, natural law and natural rights, political theology, and the intersection of theology and classical liberalism.
Christopher Welsh is a CPA based in Washington, DC who provides financial consulting and leadership advisory services to corporations with The Siegfried Group. He has delivered audit, tax, and tailored consulting services to companies large and small in various industries including real estate and private equity, among others. He enjoys travelling with an emphasis on exploring the United States.
Rev. Christopher M. Wise currently serves as the Senior Pastor of First Methodist Church in Carrier Mills, Illinois. Rev. Wise entered the pastoral ministry in 2004 and has served in various parish contexts. His formal education includes a Bachelor of Science in Leadership and Ministry from Asbury University and a Master of Divinity with an emphasis in systems of theology from Asbury Theological Seminary. He is currently completing a Doctor of Ministry with a focus on Classical Christology and Living the Historic Faith at United Theological Seminary under the Mentorship of Bishop Mike Lowry, Rev. Dr. David Watson, and Dr. Justus Hunter. Additionally, Rev. Wise has taken vows as a Benedictine Oblate for Saint Meinrad Archabbey in Saint Meinrad, Indiana, participates as a member of the Order of Saint Luke, and has received training in deliverance ministry/exorcism. In addition to ministry, Rev. Wise has been trained in classical vocal music performance with formal training at Southeast Missouri State University and has performed with groups such as the St. Louis Symphony Chorus, the Springfield Choral Society, and the Southeast Missouri Choral Union. Rev. Wise is finalizing two publications: How Is It with Your Soul:A 30-Day Devotional and Death Brings Life: A Christian Perspective of Life, Loss, and Gain. Rev. Wise lives with his wife and five children in Harrisburg, Illinois.