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Greg Garrett, Ph.D. - Baylor University . Austin, TX, US

Greg Garrett, Ph.D. Greg Garrett, Ph.D.

Professor, Department of English | Baylor University


Popular theologian and cultural critic, exploring the intersections between film and popular culture, literature, religion, and politics.








Dr. Greg Garrett is a professional writer who teaches creative writing, film, literature, and theology classes at Baylor University. As a fiction writer, he has published forty short stories and the critically-acclaimed novels Free Bird, Cycling, Shame, and The Prodigal. He is perhaps best known, however, as a critic and theologian exploring the intersections of literature, culture, religion, and politics. His nonfiction books include The Gospel According to Hollywood, Stories from the Edge: A Theology of Grief, and One Fine Potion: The Literary Magic of Harry Potter (named a 2011 Best Theological Book by the Association of Theological Booksellers). His most recent nonfiction books are Entertaining Judgment: The Afterlife in Literature and Culture (Oxford University Press, 2015), My Church Is Not Dying: Episcopalians in the 21st Century (Morehouse, 2015), and a revised edition of his spiritual autobiography Crossing Myself (Morehouse, 2016). His books have been published in Spanish, Portuguese, German, and Czech translations. Dr. Garrett recently completed a book on the undead in literature and culture, Living with the Living Dead, which will be a lead trade title from Oxford UP in 2017, and is at work on a new novel and on a book on race and American culture.

Dr. Garrett often represents Baylor as a speaker, teacher, and workshop leader across the United States and overseas, including recent appearances for Villanova University, Washington National Cathedral, the Episcopal Diocese of Delaware, the Episcopal Diocese of Colorado, the American Library in Paris, Cambridge University, Waterstones Bookstore in Oxford, and Gladstone's Library in Wales. A seminary-trained lay preacher in the Episcopal Church, Dr. Garrett is also a distinguished homiletician who has preached at Wesley Seminary, St. Mark's Cathedral in Seattle, King's College in London, and the American Cathedral in Paris, on the nationally-broadcast radio show Day One, and as the featured preacher for the international Academy of Homiletics.

A winner of the Pirate's Alley William Faulkner Prize for Fiction and a regional CASE Grand Gold medal for nonfiction, Dr. Garrett is a Fellow of the Cathedral College at Washington National Cathedral, and Residential Scholar at Gladstone's Library in Wales.

Industry Expertise (5)

Writing and Editing



International Affairs

Political Organization

Areas of Expertise (13)

Public Speaking

Media Resource

Creative Writing

Religion and Culture

Popular Culture and Society




Film History

Faith and Politics

Depression and Mental Illness

Grief and Suffering


Accomplishments (2)

Texas Institute of Letters

Named a member of the Texas Institute of Letters for lifetime literary achievements, 2005

William Faulkner Prize for Fiction, Novella

Pirate's Alley Faulkner Society, New Orleans, LA, 1993

Education (4)

Oklahoma State University: Ph.D., English 1989

University of Central Oklahoma: M.A., Creative Studies

Episcopal Seminary of the Southwest: M.Div.

University of Central Oklahoma: B.A., English & History

Media Appearances (42)

Faithful discomfort: Why white Americans need to be offended

Baptist News Global  online


Greg Garrett, Ph.D., professor of English, writes that discomfort from being offended by the teaching of race or certain discriminatory concepts creates a strong moral core.

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Focusing on the kingdom of God instead of empire can free white people from being so defensive, Meeks says at Baylor seminar on race and the white church

Baptist News Global  online


A symposium hosted by Greg Garrett, Ph.D., professor of English, at Truett Seminary also featured conversations with Beth Allison Barr, Ph.D., professor of history and associate dean in the Graduate School, bout white evangelical Christianity, and Robert Darden, professor of journalism, about how gospel music has been a root for change.

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Baylor conference to examine racism and white churches

Waco Tribune-Herald  online


A three-day conference at Baylor’s Truett Seminary will explore what white Christian churches can and should do to combat racism in and outside their membership. “Do We Want to Be Healed? Racism in the White Church,” organized by Greg Garrett, Ph.D., professor of English, will feature national scholars, Baylor faculty and many others.

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Christian masculinity, culture and racism: An interview with Kristin Du Mez

Baptist News Global  online


Greg Garrett, Ph.D., professor of English, interviewed author and historian Kristin Du Mez about her work focused on Christian nationalism and toxic Christian masculinity. Garrett interviewed Du Mez prior to her appearance at Baylor at the Racism in the White Church conference.

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Of statues and stories: Reckoning with the Lost Cause

Baptist News Global  online


Gregg Garrett, Ph.D., professor of English, discusses how America continues to reckon with the myth of the Lost Cause.

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Growing old with grace and kindness: The life and lives of Sidney Poitier

Religion News Service  online


Greg Garrett, Ph.D., professor of English, writes about the late Sidney Poitier and how he changed the film world on the way to changing the larger world.

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Sunday Morning with Connie McLaughlin: Greg Garrett, Ph.D.

BBC Radio Scotland  radio


AUDIO: Writer and theologian Greg Garrett, Ph.D., professor of English, is a guest on Sunday Morning to discuss how to find a way through a difficult situation when one individual or group’s right clashes with another on such issues as the COVID-19 vaccine and climate change. Garrett joins the conversation at the 47:00 mark.

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A tale of two cities: Telling the truth about race

Baptist News Global  online


Greg Garrett, Ph.D., professor of English, writes about his experiences at two national monuments he visited during his travels that, he wrote, tell stories that fly under the mainstream radar on race.

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Let's demonize racism, not Critical Race Theory

Baptist News Global  online


Greg Garrett, Ph.D., professor of English, argues that Critical Race Theory is not increasing racist ideology in schools, but is instead promoting the recognition of America’s racial history and working to combat institutionalized racism within American society.

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‘They’re like children’: Confronting the myth of white paternal control

Baptist News Global  online


Greg Garrett, Ph.D., professor of English, explores the idea that some of the most pernicious and racist political myths circulating in our culture were used as a justification for chattel slavery and later as compelling arguments supporting Jim Crow segregation.

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TLC has canceled the Duggars again, but that doesn’t mean people can count them out for good

The Washington Post  online


Greg Garrett, Ph.D., professor of English, theologian and cultural critic at Baylor University, is quoted in this article about the reality TV phenomenon of the Duggar family.

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When did ‘woke’ become a four-letter word?

Baptist News Global  online


In this column, Greg Garrett, Ph.D., professor of English at Baylor, writes about public figures employing the word “woke” lately in press conferences and in the media as many states consider public education measures banning the teaching of America’s racist and sexist past.

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Higher Education Grants or Gifts of Interest to African Americans

The Journal of Blacks in Higher Education  online


Baylor University in Waco, Texas, received a $488,000 grant from the Eula Mae & John Baugh Foundation. The grant program under the direction of Greg Garrett, Ph.D., professor of English, will aim to expose harmful racial myths embedded in American culture and the good stories that could replace them in an extensive research project.

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Baylor Researcher Receives $488,000 Grant to Study, Raise Awareness of the Ways American Culture Shapes Racial Attitudes and Myths

Baylor Media and Public Relations  online


English Professor Greg Garrett to build programming that examines film, political and religious discourse and more

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National Cathedral event examines race in cinema from ‘Crash’ to ‘Black Panther’

WTOP-FM Radio (Washington, D.C.)  radio


Author Greg Garrett, Ph.D., professor of English, joins panelists in a discussion of racial, historical and religious portrays and themes in the movies “Casablanca,” “Crash” and “Black Panther.”

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‘For fear of the Jews’: Confronting Christian anti-Semitism

Baptist News Global  online


Greg Garrett, Ph.D., professor of English, writes about conflict between Christians and Jews following discussions sparked on social media around the book “Jesus Wasn’t Killed by the Jews.”

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‘God Bless White America’: Why we need to overturn white racial mythologies

Baptist News Global  online


Greg Garrett, Ph.D., professor of English, writes about the importance and challenge of tearing down racial mythologies.

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Understanding Black theology, white fragility

Baptist News Global  online


Greg Garrett, Ph.D., professor of English at Baylor and author, writes about the Republican criticism of the faith of the Rev. Raphael Warnock, pastor of Ebenezer Baptist Church in Atlanta, a Democrat who since has been elected as a U.S. senator from Georgia.

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‘I am third’ opens our minds toward a Christian political ethic

Baptist News Global  online


Greg Garrett, Ph.D., professor of English, writes about books by the late Gale Sayers, author and Chicago Bears running back, in connection to faith and how a relationship with God can lead to becoming our own best selves.

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ALP Evenings with an Author: Greg Garrett

American Library Paris  online


VIDEO: Greg Garrett, Ph.D., professor of English, author of “A Long, Long Way: Hollywood’s Unfinished Journey from Racism to Reconciliation,” is featured in this presentation of “Evening with an Author” hosted by the American Library Paris.

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Films on race can help us have hard conversations

Baptist News Global  online


In this article, Greg Garrett, Ph.D., Baylor professor of English and theologian-in-residence at the American Cathedral in Paris, writes about films that discuss race, ideas in the films that express significant issues and how these films help us tackle difficult conversations about race.

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‘OK, we live in a racist society. What do we do next?’

Baptist News Global  online


Greg Garrett, Ph.D., professor of creative writing and religion and culture, shares his opinion on the various ways Americans can educate themselves on the effects systemic racism has on society, how to discuss racism and how to build relationships with people in different communities.

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In ‘Coronavirus: The Movie,’ here's what we all need to see

Waco Tribune-Herald  online


Greg Garrett, Ph.D., professor of English and author of "A Long, Long Way: Hollywood's Unfinished Journey from Racism to Reconciliation," and James Kendrick, Ph.D., a film historian and expert on the horror film genre, share their thoughts about the elements of a coronavirus pandemic horror movie.

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Central Texas Film Scholar Examines Hollywood's History Of 'Harmful And Positive Myths' About Race

KUT-FM (NPR)  online


AUDIO: Culture and theology expert Greg Garrett, Ph.D., professor of English and author of "A Long, Long Way: Hollywood's Unfinished Journey from Racism to Reconciliation," is interviewed about how Hollywood films, as one of the most powerful forces in both reflecting and shaping American culture, have served as a platform for delving into crucial but difficult topics like racism.

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What kind of witness will the white Christian church give?

Baptist News Global  online


Greg Garrett, Ph.D., professor of English and author of "A Long, Long Way: Hollywood's Unfinished Journey from Racism to Reconciliation," writes about how for white Christians "must own our history, repent of it and enter into painful but necessary conversations" to be at the forefront of the movement going forward.

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Some old films will come with a racism warning, but is it too little, too late?

Marketplace  online


AUDIO: Greg Garrett, Ph.D., professor of English and author of "A Long, Long Way: Hollywood's Unfinished Journey from Racism to Reconciliation," is interviewed for this story about how several historic films, such as "Gone With the Wind" and "Breakfast at Tiffany's," have come under increased scrutiny for their painful portrayals of people of color.

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What movies by and about African Americans can teach us in this hard present

Religion News Service  online


Baylor English professor and theologian Greg Garrett, Ph.D., professor of English at Baylor and author of the book, “A Long, Long Way: Hollywood’s Unfinished Journey from Racism to Reconciliation,” writes about how films can inspire conversation and our movement to anti-racism.

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How Our Stories Accommodate Grief

Sojourners  online


Baylor English professor, theologian and author Greg Garrett, Ph.D., writes about living in a new world, and "however long it lasts, it’s the one our stories are going to have to accommodate."

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Using Film to Start the Conversations We Need to Have About Race

BYU Radio “Top of Mind with Julie Rose”  online


AUDIO: Baylor English professor, theologian and film scholar Greg Garrett, Ph.D., author of “A Long, Long Way: Hollywood’s Unfinished Journey From Racism to Reconciliation,” joins host Julie Rose for a discussion about using film can prompt scrutiny, outrage and change to the way white Americans think about race.

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Baylor prof explores how movies shape attitudes toward race

Baptist Standard  online


From “The Birth of a Nation,” the 1915 silent movie some historians blame for a resurgence of the Ku Klux Klan, to Spike Lee’s “BlacKkKlansman” more than 100 years later, movies have reflected and shaped Americans’ attitudes toward race, said Baylor English professor and popular culture observer Greg Garrett, Ph.D.

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Austin American-Statesman  online


Baylor English professor Greg Garrett, Ph.D., writes about how disasters have a way of exposing fault lines in American society we might prefer to ignore.

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Books Spotlight Finding Common Ground Through Faith

Publishers Weekly  online


The latest book by Baylor English professor Greg Garrett, Ph.D., “A Long, Long Way: Hollywood’s Unfinished Journey from Racism to Reconciliation,” takes a closer look at the impact films have on society.

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Isolation leaves us with gnawing hollowness

Austin American-Statesman  print


Baylor English professor Greg Garrett, Ph.D., writes about mourning the loss of connection in an era of Zoom, FaceTime and other tech solutions which provide communication, but not the “sense of essential reality” of everything from worship to the academic world.

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Lessons from Zombie Pop Culture and What Books to Pick Up During a Pandemic, Baylor Expert Shares Advice

Baylor Media and Public Relations  online


Time at home is increasing as shelter in place orders and working from home become the norm for many people during the COVID-19 pandemic. Greg Garrett, Ph.D., professor of English at Baylor University and expert cultural critic, supports pop culture and literature as important to meaningfully escaping current fears as well as contextualizing experience and emotions.

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Episode 138: Making the Good Places Better

Imaginary Worlds Podcas  radio


AUDIO: Baylor English professor Greg Garrett, Ph.D. — also a theologian and author of “Entertaining Judgment” — explores why in pop culture heavens are being depicted as bureaucracies where the angels are overwhelmed or have lost sight of their mission. Garrett’s segment of the discussion begins at 12:40.

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Baylor professor to lead movie, race discussion event in Washington, D.C.

Baylor Lariat  print


Baylor English professor Greg Garrett, Ph.D., is a co-founder of the annual film series “A Long, Long Way” at the Washington National Cathedral. Baylor is one of the sponsors of the festival that explores race, prejudice and faith in films.

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Sympathy for literature’s least heroic characters

The Spectator (UK)  online


Author Greg Garrett, Ph.D., professor of English in Baylor’s College of Arts & Science and Theologian-in-Residence at The American Cathedral in Paris, writes about the intellectual consensus that people don’t talk meaningfully to each other because they lack communal stories.

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Ways faith can help heal depression

Fox News  


Spirited Debate: Greg Garrett shares his personal story of depression and how faith helped him recover and build a meaningful life...

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Entertaining judgement: The afterlife in popular imagination by Greg Garrett review

The Irish Times  


Entertaining judgement sets out to describe the popularity of images of the afterlife in popular imagination. Drawing on examples from art, architecture, graphic novels, computer games, theatre, film, music, fiction and poetry, Greg Garrett’s new book illustrates the extent to which artefacts from both popular and high culture resonate with eschatological themes. His work ranges into politics, economics and the literature of health, reminding us that even the Centres for Disease Control has exhorted US citizens to prepare for a zombie apocalypse. After all, they argue, if you can survive that, you can survive anything...

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Sunday Morning With...

BBC Radio  


'Is this the end of Christian Britain?' That was the dramatic headline after new research showing, for the first time, that the majority of white British adults classify themselves as having no religion. Ricky is joined by Professor Linda Woodhead, Director of the Religion and Society research programme at the University of Lancaster; Catholic theologian Dr Anthony Allison, and writer and Professor Greg Garrett of Baylor University in Texas, to unpack the truth behind the headline...

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Austin writer delves into religious influences on pop culture

Austin American Statesman  


Austin writer Greg Garrett revels in popular culture, and he has an interesting way of interpreting — and explaining the appeal of — everything from comic books to movies, music and TV shows...

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A Conversation With Damon Lindelof



Damon Lindelof discusses his hand in some of the most celebrated and scrutinized works of science fiction over the past five years, and how much of their success is attributed to writing stories that leave a lot up to one's imagination. Followed by Martin Rosete's allegorical short film, VOICE OVER, about a few extreme situations that literally take your breath away...

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Articles (2)

Entertaining Judgment: The Afterlife in Popular Imagination

Oxford University Press

2014 Nowadays references to the afterlife-angels strumming harps, demons brandishing pitchforks, God enthroned on heavenly clouds-are more often encountered in New Yorker cartoons than in serious Christian theological reflection. Speculation about death and its sequel seems to embarrass many theologians; however, as Greg Garrett shows in Entertaining Judgment, popular culture in the US has found rich ground for creative expression in the search for answers to the question: What lies in store for us after we die?

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The Other Jesus: Rejecting a Religion of Fear for the God of Love

Westminster John Knox Press

2011 According to recent surveys, many Americans associate the label "Christian" with judgmental attitudes, hypocrisy, a fear of hell, and a commitment to right-wing politics. Author Greg Garrett suggests another way, arguing that a faith that focuses solely on personal morality and the afterlife misses much of the point of Jesus' message. This other way of following Christ is not concerned with an array of commandments or with holding the "right" beliefs. Rather it is centered on loving each other and loving God, what Garrett calls" love ...

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