David Carlson

David Carlson was born in the western suburbs of Chicago and grew up in parsonages in various cities of Illinois. His grade school years were spent in Springfield, Illinois, where the numerous Abraham Lincoln sites initiated his lifelong love of history. He attended Wheaton College (Illinois) where he majored in political science and planned on going to law school. Not sure how to respond to the Vietnam War, he decided to attend seminary for a year to weigh his options. To his surprise, he fell in love with theological thinking--especially theological questioning--and his career plan shifted to college teaching in religious studies. He earned a doctorate at University of Aberdeen, Scotland. Franklin College, a traditional liberal arts college in central Indiana, has been his home for the past thirty-eight years. David has been particularly attracted to the topics of faith development, Catholic-Orthodox relations, and Muslim-Christian dialogue. In the last thirteen years, however, religious terrorism has become his area of specialty. In 2007, he conducted interviews across the country in monasteries and convents about monastic responses to 9/11 and religious terrorism. The book based on that experience, Peace Be with You: Monastic Wisdom for a Terror-Filled World, was published in 2011 by Thomas Nelson and was selected as one of the Best Books of 2011 in the area of Spiritual Living by Library Journal. He has written a second book on religious terrorism, Countering Religious Extremism: The Healing Power of Spiritual Friendships (New City Press, 2017). Much of his time in the last three years has been spent giving talks as well as being interviewed on radio and TV about ISIS. Nevertheless, he is still able to spend summers in Wisconsin where he enjoys sailing, fishing, kayaking, and restoring an old log cabin. His wife, Kathy, is a retired English professor, an award-winning artist, and an excellent editor. Their two sons took parental advice to follow their passions. The older, Leif, is a photographer, and the younger, Marten, is a filmmaker. For more information, please visit davidccarlson.org.


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