>How did you first become involved with YTI?
I became involved with YTI in 2014.

What workshop do you teach?
I am interested in hip hop culture and I teach a course about the intersection of religion, society, and culture. Hip hop when it started out was a form of social protest. The reality is that religious youth are both producers and consumers of popular hip hop culture and music. My question is with respect to the ratchet and the righteous, so decoding trap music for the theology and theodicy. Many people don't realize that hip hop lyricisms have aspects about the nature of God and the church so my question for the young people is, "Is hip hop still a platform for social protest, where is God in the song lyrics, and what is the role of theology, spirituality, and religion in hip hop artistry?"

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A lot of professors might shy away from teaching with high school students. What can you tell them about its value for you? Or, for theological Dr. Nicole Phillipseducation?
Oh my goodness, first of all I love young people and I love a theological educational environment. I think it is ideal for people who want to kind of wrestle with the tough issues in American society but do it in a way that will show the tensions that emerge but you still remain a community despite the tensions that emerge. That type of environment is ideal for young people. I think that's the benefit of being in theological education; to hold these tensions without them devolving in to racial, ethnic, national, religious conflict.


Dr. Nicole PhillipsHas your experience in YTI impacted your teaching in any way?
I think YTI is a reflection of my students at Candler because the average age of the students at Candler are mid- to late twenties and so this is a younger group and the younger group of students really energize me because they are really incisive, you have to be able to present the information in such a way as to pull out their thinking, whether they’re thinking socially, politically, and or they’re thinking theologically. They're very acute and aware and I appreciate being exposed to young people’s lingo and vernacular. I love being in that theological educational setting, I get exposed to, not only to how young people think but I also get entry into youth culture and it is represented in my classes.

Dr. Nicole R. Phillips is the Assistant Professor of Sociology, Religion, and Culture at Candler School of Theology.