John E. Barnes II


B.B.A. - Loyola Marymount University, 2007

M.Div. - Candler School of Theology, Emory University, 2017

Th.M. - Candler School of Theology, Emory University, 2018


John is a Ph.D. candidate in the area of systematic theology. John’s primary research interests lie at the intersections of Black religion and culture, pneumatology and Christology. His dissertation entitled, “Like the Rushing of a Mighty Wind: Embodiment, Being and the Construction of a Black Diasporic Pneumatology” investigates how the Black musical tradition blurs the distinction between the sacred and secular. In this project he seeks to construct a Black pneumatology that augments traditional Christian notions of the Holy Spirit and takes seriously the spiritual experiences of African Americans particularly as expressed in the Soul music of the 1960’s and 70’s. John is a proud native of Los Angeles, CA, where he received a bachelor’s degree in business administration from Loyola Marymount University. In 2008, he relocated to Atlanta, GA where he worked for several years in operations management in both the commercial and non-profit sectors before matriculating to the Candler School of Theology at Emory University.

As a Senior Teaching Fellow in the theology department, John has taught several undergraduate sections of theology, including introductory courses such as “Faith and Critical Reason” as well as  advanced electives such as “The Church In Controversy.” From 2020-2022, John was a recipient of the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences Higher Education Leadership Fellowship. In this role, John was the coordinator of the Preparing Future Faculty program (PFF) which helped to formally engage doctoral students in the use of Ignatian inspired pedagogical practices in their teaching. In addition to his work in higher education, John also teaches theology and religion at the secondary level. John is an active member of both the Catholic Theological Society of America (CTSA) and the Black Catholic Theological Symposium (BCTS) and has presented at both of these annual meetings as well as the American Academy of Religion (AAR). John is very active in the Archdiocese of NY, having served as a catechist at his parish, St. Charles Borromeo, and also as the previous convener of the Catholic Anti-Racism Project for the Archdiocese. In addition to his scholarly pursuits, John is also a musician and musical director and has worked with numerous churches, schools and community groups on both the east and west coasts.