The Stalcup School of Theology for the Laity is open to all who want to continue learning and growing through biblical study, exploration of contemporary issues from a faith perspective, interfaith dialogue, and critical thinking about the basis of Christian understanding of God, humanity, and the world. Top scholars with a heart for the church bring their expertise and passion for sharing that knowledge with people engaged in ministry and those who simply want to learn.
Seminars are typically held on Saturdays and participants may attend an individual event or sign up for the whole series.
The School is made possible by the generosity of SSTL’s former Dean, Joe Stalcup, and his wife, Nancy Vaughn Stalcup, and the gifts of others who share their commitment to theological education.
Constructing God in the New Testament
Saturday, September 10, 9:00 a.m. to 1:45 p.m.
Northway Christian Church, Dallas
Warren Carter, Professor of New Testament, Brite Divinity School, Fort Worth, TX
This seminar looks at constructions of God in New Testament writings. While much contemporary reading of the New Testament focuses on Jesus and on the church, not much attention has been given to ways in which various NT writings present God. By attending to various passages across the New Testament, this seminar suggests that NT writings are primarily interested in what God does, on God-at-work in the world. They construct God-at-work in pursuing life-giving, loving and liberative actions. Yet in doing so, they also construct God in fearful and terrible ways that suggest God to be, for example, powerless, uncaring, absent, violent, merciless, an emperor-lookalike and a bully. The seminar thus raises questions about how we read the Bible, how we negotiate these New Testament “texts of terror” and what sort of God we construct.
Warren Carter came to Brite in 2007 after teaching for 17 years at Saint Paul School of Theology in Kansas City. His scholarly work has focused on the gospels of Matthew and John, and he is especially interested in the ways in which early Christians negotiated the Roman empire. In addition to numerous scholarly articles, he is the author of thirteen books including Matthew and the Margins (2000), Matthew and Empire (2001), The Roman Empire and the New Testament (2006), John and Empire (2008), What Does Revelation Reveal? (2011), Seven Events That Shaped the New Testament World (2013), The New Testament: Methods and Meaning (2013, with Amy-Jill Levine) and Telling Tales About Jesus: An Introduction to the New Testament Gospels (2016). He has also contributed to numerous church resources and publications such as 15 studies on Matthew in The Pastors Bible Study Vol 1 (Abingdon). He is a frequent speaker at scholarly and ecclesial conferences.
How Buddhism Sheds Light on Christian Life, Thought and Practice
Tenth Jean and Patrick Henry, Jr. Seminar
Saturday, October 1, 9:00 a.m. to 1:45 p.m.
Northway Christian Church, Dallas
Ruben Habito, Professor of World Religions and Spirituality, Perkins School of Theology, Dallas, TX
Encounters with Buddhism have brought forth new challenges and opened new horizons in Christian life, thought and practice. In this lecture series, we will first look at the Buddha (“the Awakened One”) and his legacy and its significance especially for our contemporary society. Further, we will explore the basic features of his teachings on the problematic of human existence, on ultimate reality and human ultimate destiny, as these developed in history, and in comparison with Christian views of the same. We will then explore how theological approaches to the Triune God, the Incarnation, the Holy Spirit and other Christian doctrinal themes may be enriched in the light of Buddhist insights into ultimate reality in relation to our mundane existence, and also how the Christian contemplative tradition may be deepened and broadened as informed by Buddhist praxis. In conclusion, we will reflect on how Christian mission and ministry may be given renewed vitality through Buddhist insight into the interconnectedness of all beings, naturally flowing into compassionate action toward healing our wounded Earth community.
Ruben L.F. Habito teaches and is Director of Spiritual Formation at Perkins School of Theology, Southern Methodist University, and also serves as Guiding Teacher at the Maria Kannon Zen Center located at White Rock United Methodist Church in East Dallas. He is the author of Be Still and Know: Zen and the Bible (Orbis 2016, Forthcoming), Zen and the Spiritual Exercises: Paths of Awakening and Transformation (2013), Healing Breath: Zen for Christians and Buddhists in a Wounded World (2006) and many other books in English and Japanese. He has served on the Board of the Buddhist Peace Fellowship, and is an active member of the Society for Buddhist Christian Studies, the Catholic Theological Society of America and the American Theological Society.
A Visit to the Ancestors: Some Characters in the Christian Story and our Stories
Eleventh Fay and Alfred C. Grosse Seminar on Religion and the Literary Arts
Saturday, October 22, 9:00 a.m. to 1:45 p.m.
Northway Christian Church, Dallas
Randi Walker, Ronald Soucey Professor of Transcendental Christianity & Professor of Church History, Pacific School of Religion, Berkeley, CA
The study of history is a spiritual discipline. It is a visit to people we may think we know, but usually do not fully understand. As we reconstruct their stories, we find ourselves weaving our own stories into theirs. Holding up the mirror of the ancestors, we may gain wisdom for living our own lives. This workshop will focus on four interesting ancestors you may not know very well: Augustine of Hippo (d. 430); Hildegard of Bingen (d. 1179); Mother Walatta Petros of Ethiopia (d. 1642); and Kanzo Uchimura of Japan (d. 1930). These ancestors illuminate different kinds of Christianity and different approaches to Christian life. You may find these biographies interesting, but it is not necessary to read them before class. Peter Brown, Augustine of Hippo (University of California Press, rev. ed. 2000); Sabina Flanagan, Hildegard of Bingen: A Visionary Life (Routledge, 2nd ed. 1998); Galawdewos, The Life and Struggles of Our Mother Walatta Petros, trans. by Wendy Laura Belcher and Michael Kleiner, (Princeton University Press, 2015); Miura, Hiroshi, The Life and Thought of Kanzo Uchimura, 1861-1930 (William B. Eerdmans, 1997).
Randi Walker’s current scholarship focuses on the histories of Christianity in the Pacific World and her writings include Religion and the Public Conscience: Ecumenical Civil Rights Work in Seattle 1940-1960 (2012), The Evolution of a UCC Style: History and Ecclesiology of the United Church of Christ (2005), Emma Newman: A Frontier Woman Minister (2000) and Protestantism in the Sangre de Christos 1850-1920 (1991). She is ordained in the United Church of Christ and served as a pastor in the Southern California Nevada Conference before coming to PSR.
Stories for Trinitarians: Tragedy, Romance and Adventure with God
Saturday, October 22, 9:00 a.m. to 1:45 p.m.
First Christian Church, Tyler
Ed Waggoner, Assistant Professor of Theology in The Rt. Reverend Sam B. Hulsey Chair in Episcopal Studies, Brite Divinity School, Fort Worth, TX
The Triune God is rather more weird and wonderful than Christians let on. In the standard view of the Trinity, Father, Son and Spirit are distinct from one another, without adding up to more than one God. It is supposed to be impossible for any of these divine persons to know or to will something independently of the others; and yet, Christians routinely address Father, Son, or Spirit as if having a private conversation with one of them was a real possibility. Christians use predominantly male language and imagery to speak of divine persons, but God is properly neither male nor female. Conundrums like these reflect our deep yearnings for connection and our tendency to domesticate God. This seminar draws from classical and avant-garde theologies to explore the elements of tragedy, romance and adventure in our everyday life with the Trinity.
Ed Waggoner taught at Yale Divinity School and Hartford Seminary before joining the faculty at Brite Divinity School. He offers courses in constructive, systematic and liberation theologies. His current research projects include a constructive doctrine of the Trinity as the basis for claims about human experience of divine persons; a new interpretation of Friedrich Schleiermacher’s theological naturalism and a critique of religious support for militarization in the United States. Dr. Waggoner recently published an article in the Journal of the American Academy of Religion, titled, “Taking Religion Seriously in the U.S. Military: The Chaplaincy as a National Strategic Asset,” and co-edited Religious Experience and New Materialism: Movement Matters (2015) with Joerg Rieger. He is a member of the Episcopal Church and has ongoing interests in issues facing the wider Anglican Communion.
The Bible’s Story of Earth: Creation in the Biblical Story
Saturday, November 12, 9:00 a.m. to 1:45 p.m.
First Presbyterian Church, Dallas
John Holbert, Professor Emeritus of Homiletics, Perkins School of Theology, Dallas, TX
Our planet is in serious trouble. Our air is polluted, our fresh water is inadequate for our fast-growing population, our forests are disappearing, our oceans and mountains are heating up too rapidly, too many species of plants and animals are becoming rare or vanishing altogether. Our ecosystem is under assault, and we humans are the major culprits. We have enormous work ahead of us if we are to reverse these dangerous realities. We Christians need to look again to our source, our ancient Bible, to discover resources with which we may address these problems. As always, the sacred text offers us what we need to rethink our relationship to God’s good creation. Bring a Bible and explore the sources in the Bible for a hopeful relationship to God’s earth.
John C. Holbert was born in Indiana, raised in Arizona and educated in Iowa and Texas, receiving a PhD in Old Testament in 1975. He has been a local church pastor in Louisiana, professor of religion at Texas Wesleyan University in Fort Worth, and is Lois Craddock Perkins Professor Emeritus of Homiletics at Perkins School of Theology, where he joined the faculty in 1979. John is married to Diana, who is a professional musician and liturgical dancer and an ordained minister of the United Methodist Church. They have two children: a son, Darius, and a daughter, Sarah. Dr. Holbert has authored six books including Preaching Creation: The Environment and the Pulpit and numerous articles in scholarly and church journals. He was the editor of the Psalms and Canticles material of the 1989 United Methodist Hymnal. He served as Interim Senior Minister of First United Methodist Church in Fort Worth in the fall of 1994 and at First United Methodist Church in Dallas from March-May, 1997.
Rehearsing Hope, Performing Church
Tenth Schubert M. Ogden Seminar on Systematic Theology
Saturday, January 14, 9:00 a.m. to 1:45 p.m.
Northway Christian Church, Dallas
Shannon Craigo-Snell, Professor of Theology, Louisville Seminary, Louisville, KY
To navigate the rapidly changing church of the 21st century, it is important to have a clear understanding of ecclesiology—what church is and ought to be. Christian traditions offer many descriptions and metaphors for church. The Nicene Creed describes the church as one, holy, catholic and apostolic. Various theologians have portrayed the church as an institution, a community, a herald and a servant. As central as these traditional images are, a fresh interpretation of church is needed for contemporary life. This seminar approaches church not as a noun but as a verb—as something Christians do. We will explore Christian understandings of church in relationship to theater and performance studies. Drawing wisdom from theologians and theater directors, we will explore how Christian worship shapes us—intellectually, emotionally, physically and volitionally—into fit players in the ongoing drama of God’s salvation.
Shannon Craigo-Snell joined the Louisville Seminary faculty in 2011 as a constructive systematic theologian. Previously, Dr. Craigo-Snell taught in the Religious Studies department at Yale University from 2001-2011. Her books include The Empty Church: Theater, Theology, and Bodily Hope (2014); Silence, Love, and Death: Saying Yes to God in the Theology of Karl Rahner (2008) and Living Christianity: A Pastoral Theology for Today (2009) which was written with Shawnthea Monroe. In 2014 Dr. Craigo-Snell was ordained to the Office of Teaching Elder in the Presbyterian Church (USA).
Emotions, Wisdom, and Human Flourishing
Saturday, January 28, 9:00 a.m. to 1:45 p.m.
Acton United Methodist Church, Granbury
Barbara McClure, Associate Professor in Pastoral Theology and Practice, Brite Divinity School, Fort Worth, TX
Emotions have attracted lots of attention from theologians from St. Augustine to Paul Tillich. Since the earliest philosophers explored their meaning, the importance of emotions in our every day lives has only increased. Identifying, understanding and managing persons’ emotional states has become big business, from pastoral care and counseling, to leadership development in for-profit companies, to pharmaceutical companies and self help books. However, the study of emotions has not been taken up sufficiently in theology and practice; pastoral practitioners, for example, accept that emotions are an important factor in our pursuit of the Good Life. However, the emotions are under-theorized; we do not understand them as fully as we might, and do not learn from them as much as we ought. Understanding emotions from historical, sociological as well as from more recent theological perspectives will help us glean better the wisdom they offer, guiding our practices and contributing more effectively to a world in which all can flourish.
Barbara J. McClure’s interests lie primarily in the meaning of and means toward human flourishing. She has pursued this question in a variety of contexts including institutions of work, worship and learning, as well as within the context of a counseling practice. Her interests and commitments are deeply informed by her experience of being born and raised for twenty years in remote areas of East Africa as the daughter and granddaughter of Presbyterian (PCUSA) missionaries. Prior to joining the Brite faculty, Dr. McClure taught at Vanderbilt University Divinity School. She has written two books: Moving Beyond Individualism in Pastoral Theology, Care and Counseling: Reflections on Theory, Theology and Practice (2010) and Emotions and the Flourishing Life (Forthcoming, 2017).
Luther and His Legacy: Gospel Promise in Cracked Pot/s
Tenth W.A. Welsh Seminar
Saturday, February 04, 9:00 a.m. to 1:45 p.m.
First Presbyterian Church, Dallas
James Duke, I. Wylie and Elizabeth M. Briscoe Professor of History of Christianity and History of Christian Thought, Brite Divinity School, Fort Worth, TX
Even now Martin Luther sports the public name-recognition lead of Protestantism’s 16th century founders. No wonder: Who did more to shift the flow of Christian history from what it once was into what it is today? Luther’s brand remains controversial. Acclaim comes for fearless faith challenging Church and Empire alike, and ringing appeals to faith, God’s grace, the Bible alone, freedom of conscience and priesthood of all believers. Detractors target narrow-mindedness, anger-management issues and mere half-way reforms—a“Dr. Easychair and Dr. Pussyfoot” compromiser. 2017 notes the 500th anniversary of the 95 Theses Luther tacked on his own home parish-church door. We take a second, fresh look at his life, his times and his legacy in light of Luther-studies, theology and the church today. Four themes are uppermost: (1) Luther’s dogged efforts to grasp Christian faith’s ‘gospel’ as good news from God; (2) Luther’s view of ‘the Bible alone’ over church tradition and philosophical learning; (3) Luther’s unsaintly decisions, vicious or compromising, tarnishing his reputation and (4) Still-swirling trends, controversies and challenges he bequeaths to today’s Christians.
James Duke received his BA from the University of Maryland and his MDiv and PhD from Vanderbilt University. He is recipient of the TCU Deans’ Award for Distinguished Teaching and the Catherine Saylor Hill Award for Faculty Excellence. His publications include translations of German theologian Friedrich Schleiermacher as well as studies in the history of theology in North America, history and doctrine of the Stone-Campbell movement and theological methodology. He has served as editor of American Academy of Religion publications and on the editorial team for The New Westminster Dictionary of Church History. An ordained minister of the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ), Dr. Duke has participated in the Theology Task Force of Churches Uniting in Christ (COCU/CUIC), the Theology Commission of the Disciples Council on Christian Unity and the Disciples-Reformed and Disciples-Roman Catholic dialogues.
The Fabric of Faith: Learning from the Women of the New Testament
Sixth Joan and Aubrey Gearner Seminar
Saturday, March 11, 9:00 a.m. to 1:45 p.m.
Northway Christian Church, Dallas
Jaime Clark-Soles, Associate Professor of New Testament, Perkins School of Theology, Dallas, TX
Lots of women appear in the New Testament. Some are named individuals (Syntyche, Lois, Mary Magdalene); others are not. Some are celebrated disciples (the Samaritan woman), apostles (Junia), deacons and ministers (Phoebe)–vocal proponents of our faith. Others teach wisdom by example through their actions. We hear about individual women but also groups of women, like the widows of 1 Timothy or the female Corinthian prophets. While most of the women are real, some are figurative (the woman clothed with the sun; the whore of Babylon). How might we encounter Jesus by spending time with some of these characters? What word might they have for ourselves and for our communities? Come renew your acquaintance with or meet these women for the first time!
Jaime Clark-Soles received her BA from Stetson University; her MDiv from Yale Divinity School and her PhD in New Testament from Yale University. She is the author of four books, including Reading John for Dear Life: A Spiritual Walk with the Fourth Gospel (Sept. 2016) and Engaging the Word: The New Testament and the Christian Believer (2010). Currently she is completing the book Women in the Bible for the Interpretation commentary series. Dr. Clark-Soles is the New Testament editor and a writer for the Covenant Bible Study series as well as for the new CEB Women’s Bible (Oct. 2016). Dr. Clark-Soles enjoys speaking widely and writing for both academic and popular audiences. She has contributed articles to preaching resources in print and online. Dr. Clark-Soles appears in the Disciple Bible Study John videos and in the documentary Hellbound? She is an ordained American Baptist minister.
The ‘Gospel of God’ and the ‘Gospels’ of Jesus: Unity through ‘Four-fold’ Diversity? Or Diversity through ‘Mani-fold’ Variety? The Ongoing Search for the Jesus Behind the Diverse Troves of Tradition
Eleventh Fred B. Craddock Seminar on the Gospels
Saturday, April 1, 9:00 a.m. to 1:45 p.m.
Rush Creek Christian Church, Arlington
David Moessner, A.A. Bradford Chair of Religion, Texas Christian University, Fort Worth, TX
How can anyone today, church member or not, know anything about Jesus of Nazareth who is claimed to have announced the ‘gospel of God’ as the ‘Son of God’ (Mark 1:1, 14) when there seem to be unending sources of Jesus traditions newly discovered and trumpeted by the press? Is the Jesus of the Church’s ‘Four Gospels’ the same Jesus as, e.g., the Jesus of the Nag Hammadi communities of Egypt or of the Syrian communities of the 2nd and 3rd centuries, etc.? How many gospels are there? Is there a common story behind them all? Why did some early Christian communities decide on just four gospels among ‘many’ others? We will look at the basic plots of the Four Gospels and compare them to other gospels of the first three centuries. This search for—‘what is a Gospel,’ and ‘how much can we know about the Jesus who was and continues to be worshiped as the Son of God by so many Christian churches worldwide’—generates the pulse of this seminar.
David Moessner earned his BA at Princeton University, BA – MA in the Honours School of Theology at the University of Oxford and the MDiv degree at Princeton Theological Seminary. He completed a Dr.theol. from the University of Basel, concentrating in systematic theology, Hebrew Bible/Old Testament and New Testament studies. He is the author of Lord of the Banquet (1989,1998) and editor for Luke the Interpreter of Israel series (Jesus and the Heritage . . . and Paul and the Heritage of Israel, [1999, 2012]). He is co-executive editor of Novum Testamentum and the author of numerous articles in scholarly journals and church publications. His latest book, Luke the Historian of Israel’s Legacy, Theologian of Israel’s ‘Christ’: A New Reading of Luke’s ‘Gospel Acts,’ was released in August 2016. Dr. Moessner is an ordained minister of the Presbyterian Church (USA).
Can Love Be a Political Possibility?
Tenth Jean and Parker F. Wilson Seminar
Saturday, April 22, 9:00 a.m. to 1:45 p.m.
Northway Christian Church, Dallas
Keri Day, Associate Professor of Theological and Social Ethics & Black Church Studies, Brite Divinity School, Fort Worth, TX
This seminar explores the radical potential of love within our current hyper-consumerist, anti-democratic capitalist society. Drawing upon Christian theology, womanist/black feminist studies, feminist political philosophy and neoliberal economic studies, this seminar suggests that love is not merely a regulative ideal but a concrete revolutionary practice. Love is a movement. Love is movement toward each other so that our labor of justice making is sustainable. Within black feminist and womanist religious discourses, love has been a practice of self-actualization as well as a strategy for constructing just and compassionate political communities. These sessions argue that our society needs an affective politics of love, which is a cultural politics that seeks to align the emotions of political subjects with just political causes and commitments. An affective politics grounded in love empowers citizens to emotionally connect to commitments oriented towards democratic flourishing.
Keri Day earned a MA in Religion and Ethics from Yale University Divinity School and received her PhD in Religion from Vanderbilt University. Her research focuses on how black religion addresses political and economic injustices, especially among poor women of the African diaspora. Her articles and essays have been published in a number of nationally regarded journals such as Princeton Theological Review Journal, Black Theology: An International Journal and The Journal for the Society of Christian Ethics. She has published two books, Unfinished Business: Black Women, The Black Church, and the Struggle to Thrive in America (2012) and Religious Resistance to Neoliberalism: Womanist and Black Feminist Perspectives (2015).
Fourteenth Joe A. and Nancy Vaughn Stalcup Lecture on Christian Unity
“Sisters and Brothers by Other Mothers”
Sunday, June 11, 2017 3:00 p.m.
East Dallas Christian Church
Free and open to the public
Bishop Teresa Elaine Snorton became the 59th bishop elected in the Christian Methodist Episcopal (C.M.E.) Church and the first female bishop. In February 2016 she was elected President of Churches Uniting in Christ, an ecumenical organization representing ten Christian denominations and one partner in mission and dialogue working toward unity and reconciliation. She also serves the wider community as Ecumenical Officer and Endorsing Agent for the CME Church, as Chair of the Family Life Committee of the World Methodist Council, as Chair of the Board of Directors of the National Institute for Human Development and through membership on the Board of Directors of the World Methodist Evangelism, Inc. and the Pan-Methodist Commission. Bishop Snorton has a BA from Vanderbilt University, a MDiv from Louisville Presbyterian Theological Seminary, a MTh from Southern Baptist Theological Seminary and the DMin from United Theological Seminary in Dayton, Ohio. She provides leadership in higher education as Chair of the Board of Trustees at Miles College (Fairfield, AL) and through membership on the Board of Trustees at the Interdenominational Theological Center and the Advisory Board of Candler School of Theology at Emory University. She is the author of several articles, chapters and book reviews on topics related to pastoral care and ministry. Recent works include Women Out of Order: Risking Change and Creating Care in a Multi-Cultural World (2009), co-edited with Jeanne Stevenson-Moessner.