Stalcup School of Theology for the Laity

stalcupThe thirty-seventh series continues the efforts of the School to offer adult lay persons a variety of opportunities to strengthen the basis of their commitment to Jesus Christ and the church, to learn how to better understand the intersections of life and faith, and how to prepare more effectively for work in service to God and humanity. 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.

2014-2015 Seminars

Reading the Gospel of John Through the Eyes of Poetry
The Ninth Fay and Alfred C. Grosse Seminar
Saturday, September 6, 9:00 a.m. to 1:45 p.m.
Northway Christian Church, Dallas
Thomas Gardner, Alumni Distinguished Professor of English, Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University, Blackburg, VA

The Gospel of John is structured to bring its readers into a series of confrontations with the rich, enigmatic claims Jesus makes about himself. John does not so much talk us into belief as draw us into a struggle to taste and see and understand. We will construct together a literary reading of the Gospel, unfolding the way John’s structural patterns and deepening repetitions set up opportunities for the words of Jesus to address us. And we will turn, at regular intervals, to the work of such poets as Emily Dickinson, George Herbert, Richard Wilbur, R.S. Thomas, Paul Mariani, and Jorie Graham to dramatize what hearing the words of this text looks like. Poets are our best readers, and as we slowly work our way through their dramatizations of approaching and considering, leaping forward and coming to a halt, we will find models for the work all of John’s readers are called to do.

20140906_Thomas_GardnerThomas Gardner is a professor, poet, playwright, and literary critic. His books include Regions of Unlikeness: Explaining Contemporary Poetry, A Door Ajar: Contemporary Writers and Emily Dickinson, and most recently, John in the Company of Poets: The Gospel in Literary Imagination. The novelist Marilynne Robinson has described this book as “a moving proof that not only the Word but also the word, when it is searched out, weighed and savored, is full of grace and truth.” His book of prose meditations, Poverty Creek Journal, is due out this fall from Tupelo Press. He is an elder at Grace Covenant Presbyterian Church in Blacksburg, Virginia where he and his wife live. They have two grown daughters and three grandchildren.

 

Discerning Ethical Wisdom in an Age of Moral Disorientation
Eighth W.A. Welsh Seminar
Saturday, September 20, 9:00 a.m. to 1:45 p.m.
Northway Christian Church, Dallas
Jack A. Hill, Professor of Religion, Texas Christian University, Fort Worth, TX

This seminar is a multi-cultural primer in practical moral knowledge. It focuses on the question, “How can one live the good life in an age of moral anomie and indifference—when virtually all values and norms are up for grabs?” Professor Hill addresses this crisis by re-claiming ethical wisdom from ancient and modern European, as well as non-western, traditions. The first lecture contextualizes the problem by describing how the U.S. constitutes an empire that is comparable to earlier British and Roman counterparts, but which is also uniquely plagued by the ideology of scientism. The following lectures then draw on early Christian, Stoic and enlightenment “philosophical therapists” in Roman and British empires, who offered practical guidance on issues of value and character. Finally, moral insights from global neighbors at the periphery of today’s empire, such as Jamaican Rastafarians, South African visionaries, and Pacific Island story-tellers, are integrated with those from western sources.

20140920_Jack_HillJack A. Hill lectures on Christian and comparative religious ethics, ecology, and world religions. His major publications include Ethics in the Global Village: Moral Insights for the Post 9-11 USA (2008), Seeds of Transformation: Discerning the Values of the Next Generation (1998), and I-Sight: The World of Rastafari (1995); in addition to numerous articles and three textbooks on ethics and theology. Professor Hill has also pastored congregations, coordinated peace and justice programs and served as an ethics consultant in the U.S., Fiji and South Africa. He is an ordained Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) minister, a trained mediator and teaching mentor. Recently, he served as the President of the American Academy of Religion in the Southwest, and last year received the 2013-14 Fulbright-Scotland Visiting Professorship (Distinguished Chair) Award for Aberdeen University. He is married with two daughters and two grandchildren.

 

Stories for Trinitarians: Tragedy, Romance, and Adventure with God
Eighth Jean and Patrick Henry, Jr. Seminar
Saturday, October 4, 9:00 a.m. to 1:45 p.m.
Northway Christian Church, Dallas
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 were 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.

20141004_Ed_WaggonerEd 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. Ed 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.” Ed is a member of the Episcopal Church and has ongoing interests in issues facing the wider Anglican Communion.

 

Identity in the Book of Ruth
Fifth Joan and Aubrey Gearner Seminar
Saturday, October 18, 9:00 a.m. to 1:45 p.m.
Northway Christian Church, Dallas
Judy Fentress-Williams, Professor of Old Testament, Virginia Theological Seminary, Alexandria, VA

The book of Ruth is a beautifully written and carefully constructed novella that centers on the themes of loyalty/faithfulness and redemption. It can also be read as a survival manual for people who have lost the markers of their identity. In this seminar we will engage in a close, dialogic reading of Ruth. We will examine the construct of identity in the book of Ruth as it is presented, challenged, stretched and eventually redefined. Who are the insiders and outsiders in the narrative? How is the “other” defined for the Israelite community and can that definition be changed over time? What are the theological implications of our reading and how do they apply to our lives? Although the majority of the seminar will focus on the book of Ruth, the dialogue around identity will engage two other books, Esther and Song of Songs. In this expanded dialogue, we will compare three different identity constructs and reflect on possible applications to our lives.

20141018_judy_fentress_williamsJudy Fentress-Williams served as Professor of Hebrew Bible and Director of the Black Ministries Program at Hartford Seminary prior to her appointment at Virginia Theological Seminary in 2002. Dr. Fentress-Williams earned her BA in English from Princeton University, her MDiv from Yale Divinity School and her PhD in Religious Studies with an emphasis on Hebrew Bible from Yale University. Dr. Fentress-Williams is interested in a dialogic approach to scripture, a literary approach that finds meaning resulting from the dialogue that takes place within a text, between biblical texts and between the readers and text. She uses the dialogic method in her commentary on Ruth published by Abingdon Press. Dr. Fentress-Williams is ordained in the Baptist Church and serves at the historic Alfred Street Baptist Church in Alexandria, VA.

 

Human Enhancement and Christian Faith
Saturday, November 1, 9:00 a.m. to 1:45 p.m.
Northway Christian Church, Dallas
Ronald Cole-Turner, H. Parker Sharp Professor of Theology and Ethics, Pittsburgh Theological Seminary, Pittsburgh, PA

Technology today offers new ways to enhance human powers and capacities. The technologies that surround us bring us instant knowledge and real-time contact with others far away. Even more interesting are the technologies that are inserted or ingested: brain implants that link the brain to the Internet, pills that sharpen our focus or elevate our mood, or surgical modifications to enhance how good we look or how well we see. This seminar looks at recent advances and predicts where some of these changes are taking us. Our focus, however, is on how human enhancement technology poses new challenges for Christians. We welcome the idea that God is “improving” or “enhancing” us. We also believe that God works through all things, healing us for example through medicine. But we worry that enhancement technology seems to threaten the very thing God is doing in our lives: redeeming and transforming us for a glorious new existence in Christ.

20141101_Ron_Cole-TurnerRonald Cole-Turner teaches theology and ethics at Pittsburgh Theological Seminary. He is an author and editor of books and articles on human enhancement, including Technology and Transcendence: Christian Faith in an Age of Human Enhancement. Ron is one of the founding members of the International Society for Science and Religion, and he is co-chair of the “Transhumanism and Religion” group at the American Academy of Religion. He is also the author of the widely used hymn text, “Child of Blessing, Child of Promise.” He and his wife, Rebecca, a spiritual director and retreat leader, have two daughters and two grandchildren.

 

Reading Justice and Equality in the Letters of Paul: A Community-Based Approach
Saturday, November 15, 9:00 a.m. to 1:45 p.m.
Northway Christian Church, Dallas
Melanie Johnson-DeBaufre, Associate Professor of New Testament and Early Christianity, Drew University Theological School and Graduate Division of Religion, Madison, NJ

There is a longstanding debate among scholars about whether the letters of Paul promote social justice and human equality or undermine them by spiritualizing and individualizing Christian transformation or projecting it into the afterlife. This workshop explores the letters as communal conversations about power, difference, and identity in the context of the theological and political ideas and imagery of the Roman Empire. We will discuss how this community-based approach to reading Paul’s letters brings out more perspectives on this question and opens a space for a more complicated answer than Paul as a hero or an obstacle to social change.

20141115_Melanie_Johnson_DebaufreMelanie Johnson-DeBaufre is a popular speaker and writer. She explores the politics and ethics of both the ancient Christian communities and our contemporary interpretations of them. Her scholarship combines feminist hermeneutics with the study of history and archaeology in order to cultivate a critical and alternative imagination of the past while also taking seriously that, as it is said, “the past is a foreign country.” Her books include Jesus Among Her Children: Q, Eschatology, and Christian Origins (Harvard, 2006) and Mary Magdalene Understood, with Jane Schaberg (Continuum, 2006).

 

Moral Injury, Soul Repair, and the Gifts of Congregational Life
Eighth Jean and Parker F. Wilson Seminar
Saturday, January 10, 9:00 a.m. to 1:45 p.m.
Northway Christian Church, Dallas
Rita Brock, Director of the Soul Repair Center, Brite Divinity School, Fort Worth, TX

Veterans recovering from the moral anguish of war have no better partner than benevolent, caring community that understands questions like “why did God abandon me? Or, “How can I ever face God after all the killing I have done?” Lifelong community and friendship are crucial in the creation of a new moral identity. A community that affirms the spirit of God in all humanity can hold that truth for those who struggle to find it again. This seminar will focus on the multiple ways congregational life can support soul repair, not only in veterans, but also in civilian professions that involve life and death decisions. Multiple ways include rituals, art, and biblical interpretation, so bring your Bibles and your creativity.

P7010116Rita Nakashima Brock was raised in a military family, and she is the first Asian American woman ever to earn a doctorate in theology (Claremont Graduate University, 1988) and to serve on the Board of Directors of the American Academy of Religion. She was a professor for 18 years before becoming Director of a think tank for distinguished scholars at Harvard University–the Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study. An internationally distinguished lecturer and award-winning author, her 2008 book with Rebecca Ann Parker, Saving Paradise: How Christianity Traded Love of This World for Crucifixion and Empire, was a finalist for the American Academy of Religion Award in constructive, reflective theological studies and a best book of the year in Publisher’s Weekly. Her most recent book is Soul Repair: Recovering from Moral Injury After War, co-authored with Gabriella Lettini.

The Second Naiveté: How to Take the Bible Seriously
Saturday, January 24, 9:00 a.m. to 1:45 p.m.
Acton United Methodist Church, Granbury
Lance Pape, Granville and Erline Walker Assistant Professor of Homiletics, Brite Divinity School, Fort Worth, TX

What kind of book is the Bible, and what does it really mean to take it seriously? This seminar will distinguish between taking scripture “literally” as an accurate historical report about things that happened long ago, and taking scripture seriously as poetic testimony to the reality of God. It will explore the question of the Bible’s complicated relationship to our modern notions of “fiction” and “history,” and argue that we should strive to develop what philosopher and theologian Paul Ricoeur has called a “second naiveté”—a disposition toward reading the Bible that fearlessly engages and learns from modern criticism, without giving up on the hope and the expectation that in scripture we may be addressed by a voice and a will not our own.

20150124L_PapeLance Pape holds the MDiv from Yale Divinity School (1994) and the PhD from Emory University (2010). He is the author of The Scandal of Having Something to Say: Ricoeur and the Possibility of Postliberal Preaching (2013). His research explores the way preaching takes place at the intersection between the stories we tell about ourselves and the stories about God in Scripture. His teaching focuses on helping students think carefully about how to take both kinds of stories seriously in order to give voice to new possibilities that are both faithful and seriously imaginable. An ordained minister for 19 years, Lance has served congregations in Texas, Alabama, and New York. He is married to the Rev. Dr. Katie Hays (Disciples of Christ), and they are the parents of two children.

 

Cloud of the Impossible: Uncertainty, Mysticism, Ethics
Eighth Schubert M. Ogden Seminar on Systematic Theology
Saturday, February 28, 9:00 a.m. to 1:45 p.m.
Northway Christian Church, Dallas
Catherine Keller, Professor of Constructive Theology, Drew Theological School and Graduate Division of Religion, Drew University, Madison, NJ

The image of the cloud drifts from the “dark cloud” in which God appeared to Moses into the whole history of western mysticism. It signifies the unknowable depth of the divine, even in the midst—and mists—of a liberation and revelation. The infinity of God enfolds the whole universe of finite beings in mystery. We may find however that this cloud at once conceals and reveals a pressing crowd of creaturely concerns. Indeed in this mysterious tradition of Christian theology the first strong thinking of interdependence is born: of each in each and all in all; and with it of religious diversity as well. How does the width of our connectedness today find nurture and hospitality in the depth of mystical unknowing? We will explore the meaning of the ancient cloud amidst current uncertainties—in spirituality, quantum physics, global politics and ecological crisis.

20150228_keller_catherineCatherine Keller develops the relational potential of a theology of becoming in her teaching, lecturing and writing. Her books reconfigure ancient symbols of divinity for the sake of a planetary conviviality—a life together, across vast webs of difference. The most recent book, Cloud of the Impossible: Theological Entanglements, explores the relation of mystical unknowing, material indeterminacy and ontological interdependence. Keller has taught since 1986 in the Theological and Philosophical Studies Area of Drew’s Graduate Division of Religion. After studies in Heidelberg and in seminary, she did her doctoral work at Claremont Graduate University with John B. Cobb, Jr., and remains involved with the Center for Process Studies. Through her leadership of the Drew Transdisciplinary Theological Colloquium since its inception in 2000, she fosters with colleagues and graduate students a hospitable context for its far reaching annual conversations.

Who is Jesus According to Mark?
Ninth Fred B. Craddock Seminar on the Gospels
Saturday, March 14, 9:00 a.m. to 1:45 p.m.
Rush Creek Christian Church, Arlington
Adela Yarbro Collins, Buckingham Professor of New Testament Criticism and Interpretation, Yale Divinity School, New Haven, CT

In this seminar we will consider how Mark interpreted the figure of Jesus by drawing upon and transforming Jewish, Greek, and Roman traditions. Mark presents Jesus as the Messiah, transforming the expectation of an idealized earthly king who would defeat the enemies of Israel and establish a universal kingdom. The transformation involved introducing the idea that the Messiah was destined to suffer and die and be raised as the heavenly Son of Man, a figure known from Daniel whose rise to power was expected by Jewish texts contemporary with Jesus and Mark. The miracles of Jesus recall both mighty deeds of the God of Israel and of deities and heroes of Greek culture. Ironically, Mark’s crucified Messiah is a son of God, as the emperor Augustus was thought to be.

20150314_adela_collinsAdela Yarbro Collins served as president of the Society for New Testament Studies in 2010-2011. She was president of the New England Region of the Society of Biblical Literature in 2004–2005. She was awarded an honorary doctorate in theology by the University of Oslo, Norway, in 1994 and a Fellowship for University Teachers by the National Endowment for the Humanities for 1995–1996. Her most recent books are King and Messiah as Son of God, coauthored with John J. Collins (2009), and Mark: A Commentary in the Hermeneia commentary series, published in 2007. Her current project is a book on Paul Transformed:From Romans to Augustine.

Understanding Violence: A Theological Task
Saturday, April 11, 9:00 a.m. to 1:45 p.m.
Northway Christian Church, Dallas
Charles Bellinger, Associate Professor of Theology and Ethics and Theological Librarian, Brite Divinity School, Fort Worth, TX

There are many forms of violence in our world: war, terrorism, mass shootings, violent crime, and so forth. The “Why?” question is often given answers from fields such as psychology, sociology, political science, and history. Theology presents an interpretation of violence that is equally advanced and perceptive. While there is a long tradition within theology of wrestling with ethical questions relating to war, the death penalty, and so forth, asking the “Why?” question is just as important as asking “How should we act?” In a world where violence is in the news almost every day, Christians need to pay attention not only to their ethical witness but also to their capacity for understanding the deep roots of violence in the human psyche, a capacity that has been shaped by the Bible and theological reasoning.

20150411_Charles_BellingerCharles K. Bellinger has served on the faculty at Brite Divinity School since 2000. He has also taught courses for Texas Christian University’s Master of Liberal Arts Program. He earned a PhD in Theology and Ethics at the University of Virginia. His publications include The Genealogy of Violence: Reflections on Creation, Freedom, and Evil (Oxford, 2001), The Trinitarian Self: The Key to the Puzzle of Violence (Pickwick, 2008), and The Joker Is Satan, and So Are We (Churchyard Books, 2010). His main teaching areas are religion and violence, the history of Christian ethics, Søren Kierkegaard, René Girard, and the philosophy of human rights.

Emotions, Wisdom, and Human Flourishing
Saturday, April 25, 9:00 a.m. to 1:45 p.m.
First Presbyterian Church, Dallas
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.

20150425B_McClureBarbara 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, 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 Rethinking Feelings: Understanding the Complexity of Emotions and Implications for Pastoral Theology (2014).

How do I register?

Register online at www.brite.edu/stalcup

Mail the attached registration form along with a check or money order (made payable to Brite Divinity School) to:

The Office of Lay and Continuing Education
Brite Divinity School
TCU Box 298130
Fort Worth, TX 76129

Call (817) 257-7580

May I register “at the door?”

Of course, but you must pre-register to reserve a box lunch.

How much is the registration fee?

The fee is $35.00 for each seminar, which includes a light lunch. Please keep in mind, however, the additional savings available through the money-saving offers listed on the registration form.

What about scholarships?

In keeping with the history of the School and the mission of Brite Divinity School, we want to make the seminars available to all, regardless of their financial circumstances. If you need financial aid, please contact our office and arrangements will be made to ensure your participation.

Where are classes held?

Classes will be held in Dallas, Arlington, and Granbury:

Dallas:
Northway Christian Church, 7202 W. Northwest Highway – Sept 6, Sept 20, Oct 4, Oct 18, Nov 1, Nov 15, Jan 10, Feb 28, & Apr 11
First Presbyterian Church, 1835 Young St. – Apr 25

Arlington
Rush Creek Christian Church, 2401 SW Green Oaks Blvd. – Mar 14

Granbury
Acton United Methodist Church, 3433 Fall Creek Highway – Jan 24

When are classes held?

All classes will be held on a Saturday with registration starting at 8:30 a.m. and the sessions beginning at 9:00 a.m. and ending at 1:45 p.m. A light lunch is included.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Eilene Theilig

theilig_eilene_headshote.theilig@tcu.edu | 817.257.7582
Director of Lay and Continuing Education