Iran, Islam, and Southern Baptists have provided me landscapes and experiences to ponder the lives of Christians and Muslims and other religious and secular persons of particular faith communities. Especially I have lived up close to ayatollahs in Shiah Islam, visited multiple Muslim preachers in their mosques and hosted them and their followers in our home. My Ph.D. dissertation was “Religion and Politics in Iranian Shiah Islam”. Also I have been immersed in Baptist and Christian life since a young man and have been a minister, missionary, professor and anthropologist involved in the lives of diverse peoples.
This writing is filled with journeys associated with tradition and change colored by two major revolutions. The first is Iran with the downfall of the Shah and the rise of the rule of Shiah Islam under the brand of the ayatollahs. The second is the ‘take over’ by ‘ultra conservatives’ from the ‘moderates’ of the Southern Baptist Convention. I taught Muslim preachers and Baptist preachers during these times. I also was associated with the administrators and faculties of the Islamic and Baptist institutions. This is my story of experiences and observations behind the scenes and upon the public stage.
George W. Braswell, Jr. D.D., DMin., Ph.D. has degrees from Wake Forest University, Yale University Divinity School, Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary and the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. His doctorates are in Theology and Anthropology. He and his wife, Joan, were the first appointed missionaries of the Southern Baptist Foreign Mission Board to Iran in 1967. As the only Christian he served on the Faculty of Islamic Theology of the University of Teheran teaching comparative religions. He retired as Distinguished Professor Emeritus of Missions and World Religions from Southeastern Seminary in 2004 after 31 years and now serves as Senior Professor of World Religions and Founding Director of the World Religions and Global Cultures Center of Campbell University Divinity School. Among his eight books on world religions and Iran is Islam: Its Prophet, Peoples, Politics and Power.
Professor Braswell lives with his wife, Joan, in Wake Forest, NC. They have four children and three grandchildren.