The School 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.
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.
44th Series of The Stalcup School of Theology for the Laity
September 2021 through April 2022
A Proud Heritage Continues…But in a New Way
The forty fourth series seeks to combine the in-person experience with the new online format to continue the efforts of the School in offering 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.
Luke for Such a Time as This
Sixteenth Fred B. Craddock Seminar on the Gospels
Saturday, September 25, 9:00 am to 1:45 pm (Central Time)
Northway Christian Church, 7202 W Northwest Hwy, Dallas, TX 75225
Drawing from the recent volumes on Luke she co-authored for the Wisdom Commentary Series, Professor Matthews will lead conversation on what messages might be gleaned from this Gospel that speak to the crises of our time. Themes to be covered include the climate crisis; increasing economic disparity; the scourge of judicial and extra-judicial killings of Black and Brown people in the U.S. context; the rise of Christian nationalism and a concurrent increase in anti-Jewish hate crimes; proclaiming resurrection faith in the 21st century. While one primary focus of the seminar will be on discovery of constructive, liberating and hopeful insights from this Gospel, we will also raise the question of whether and when readings from Luke contribute to the problems we confront.
Shelly Matthews is Professor of New Testament at the Brite Divinity School, and co-author with Barbara Reid, OP, of the two-volume commentary on Luke for the Wisdom Commentary Series (Liturgical Press, 2021). She has published books and articles on Luke, Acts, 1 Corinthians, early Christian anti-Judaism, and women in early Christianity, and is currently co-editing a volume on anti-racism pedagogy for the Biblical Studies classroom. She is the general editor for the Society of Biblical Literature Press series, Early Christianity and its Literature. She is an ordained elder in the United Methodist Church (Dakotas area).
The Bible, Qur’an, and Islam
Fifteenth Jean and Patrick Henry Seminar
Saturday, November 6, 9:00 am to 1:45 pm (Central Time)
Northway Christian Church, 7202 W Northwest Hwy, Dallas, TX 75225
While it is widely known that the Bible and its stories are sacred to Christians and Jews, it is less commonly known that they are also sacred to Muslims. This seminar explores the role of the Bible and biblical stories in Islam, the world’s second largest religion. We will begin with a brief overview of pre-Islamic Arabia, the life of Muhammad, and the Qur’an. Next, we will examine the Qur’an’s narratives about figures such as Adam and Jesus, noting important similarities and differences from the biblical account (and some extra biblical accounts) and discussing the significance of any differences and their interpretation. We will conclude with a brief tour of the role that the Bible has played in Islamic history, from Muhammad’s time to the present.
Samuel Ross is an Assistant Professor of Religion at Texas Christian University, where he teaches courses on Islam and the Qur’an. His research focuses on the history of Muslim Qur’an interpretation and the reception of the Bible in the Muslim world. His book manuscript, The Biblical Turn in the Qur’an Commentary Tradition, was fortunate to be selected as a co-winner for the 2019 British Association for Islamic Studies (BRAIS) – De Gruyter Prize in the Study of Islam and the Muslim World. He received his PhD in Religious Studies from Yale University in 2018. Prior to graduate school, he lived in Jordan for five years, teaching Arabic at the Qasid Institute for Arabic (2007-2011), and exploring many of the fascinating archaeological and holy sites in the region.
Soul Care in a Time of Climate Crisis
Saturday, January 8, 9:00 am to 1:45 pm (Central Time)
Northway Christian Church, 7202 W Northwest Hwy, Dallas, TX 75225
Climate crisis with its attendant ecological ruin is the defining challenge of our era. While the material effects of climate change are frequently reported and well known—i.e., warming temperatures, melting glaciers and sea level rise, frequent and destructive wildfires, the extinction crisis, etc.—the psychological, emotional, and spiritual effects are less well recognized. What implications are there for the work of soul care in a time of climate and ecological crises? How do we nurture resilience and hope in our spirits in this time? What do pastoral and spiritual caregivers need to attend to persons and communities experiencing the effects of climate change? In the words of the writer Terry Tempest Williams, “How do we find the strength to not look away from all that is breaking our hearts?” while remaining engaged in meaningful action? In this workshop, we will explore our grief and anxiety while reflecting on the possibilities for resilience and hope. Drawing on recent work in climate emotions, trauma studies, ecoanxiety studies, and ecotheology, we will establish frameworks for understanding the human experience of climate crisis in its material and spiritual dimensions while learning practices for tending to the work of soul care in this time.
Timothy Robinson serves on the faculty of Brite Divinity School as Alberta H. and Harold L. Lunger Associate Professor of Spiritual Resources and Disciplines. He teaches courses on the history and practice of Christian spirituality, ecotheology, and climate justice. His publications include Spirit and Nature: Studying Spirituality in a Time of Ecological Urgency, a book he co-edited, and he is currently working on a book about Howard Thurman’s ecological theology. He holds a PhD from the Graduate Theological Union in Berkeley, CA and is an ordained clergyperson in the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ).
Poetry’s Theological Potential: Explorations in Black Women’s Poetry and Christian Theology
Sixteenth Fay and Alfred C. Grosse Seminar on Religion and the Literary Arts
Saturday, March 19, 9:00 am to 1:45 pm (Central Time)
Northway Christian Church, 7202 W Northwest Hwy, Dallas, TX 75225
What does poetry offer to the life of theology? What opens up imaginatively if theology were considered through the poetic? In this session we will explore the theological messaging of poetry, particularly from Black feminist artists. In thinking with these voices and the experiences of which they write, we will examine how the personal is not only political, but also theological.
Oluwatomisin Oredein is Assistant Professor of Black Religious Traditions and Constructive Theology and Ethics and the Director of Black Church Studies at Brite Divinity School in Fort Worth, TX. Her scholastic work engages theopoetics, womanist theology and ethics, postcolonial thought, and Black theology from a diasporic perspective.
Seminars – Online
Heaven on Earth: God’s Call to Community in the Book of Revelation
Fifteenth Jean and Parker Wilson Seminar
Saturday, September 11, 9:30 am to 11:00 am (Central Time; plus recorded lectures to be viewed prior to the sessions.)
John of Patmos helps us see beyond a nightmare—the ending of existence. Instead of an end, he helps us see God’s invitation to Creation—Restorative Justice. To understand John’s vision, we need to express some sense of humility that our language doesn’t keep up with what John is seeing. For example, John encourages me in his Revelation when he says that light and darkness as we know it will one day have a complete paradigm shift—we won’t need either of them (Revelation: 21:23). So, our time together will explore what this paradigm shift may look like to move beyond a jaundiced imagination that often polarizes communities toward war. In other words, heaven, as envisioned by John of Patmos, has a much greater purpose—the ability to see beyond the exclusion of others so that we may finally see what flourishing looks like for creation.
Currently appointed as Herbert Thompson Professor of Church and Society and Director of the Desmond Tutu Center at General Theological Seminary in New York, Michael Battle, PhD, has an undergraduate degree from Duke University, a MDiv from Princeton Theological Seminary, a MTS from Yale University and a PhD from Duke University. He was ordained a priest by Archbishop Desmond Tutu in 1993 and has served churches in North Carolina, California and in Cape Town, South Africa. In 2010, Battle was given one of the highest Anglican Church distinctions as “Six Preacher,” by the Archbishop of Canterbury, Rowan Williams. He has taught at the School of Theology at the University of the South, Duke Divinity School and Virginia Theology Seminary where he also served as dean for academic affairs and vice president. Battle has published nine books, including Reconciliation: the Ubuntu Theology of Desmond Tutu, and Ubuntu: I in You and You in Me. In his PeaceBattle Institute he works on subjects of diversity, spirituality, prayer, race and reconciliation.
Wondrous Faith, Faithful Wonder
Saturdays, October 23 and 30, 9:30 am to 11:00 am (Central Time)
What role does wonder play in faith formation? What role should it play? In this seminar, we explore the notion that wonder is basic and foundational to what it means to be human. Therefore, if we seek to teach faith in a way which transforms, we must tap into this this sense of awe that is basic to who we are as humans.
José Francisco Morales Torres is the Assistant Professor of Latinx Studies and Religion at Chicago Theological Seminary. As a historical and comparative theologian, his research interests include comparative approaches to historical theology; Abrahamic medieval philosophy and theology; and Latin American and Caribbean philosophy and theology. He is an ordained minister with the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ).
Pastoral Care, the Image of God, and Mental Illness
Eighth Betty Jo Hay Seminar on Religion and Mental Health
Saturday, November 13, 9:30 am to 12:30 pm (Central Time)
We are familiar with and often comfortable encountering times of physical illnesses. We make hospital visits or phone calls after folks in our community are recovering from car accidents, cancer treatments, bypass surgeries. But at times of mental illnesses, we cringe. We are embarrassed, we don’t know what to say, we don’t even know how to be present. What do we do when someone stops eating, when a new mother becomes psychotic, when a family faces a suicide? In this short seminar, we will consider some of the illnesses of the brain: major depression, anxiety, psychosis, cognitive decline. After familiarizing ourselves with their signs, symptoms, and basic treatments, we will explore the specifically pastoral and theological challenges they raise. What does the claim to being created in the image of God mean when one is mentally ill? What is the relationship between Christian faith and cognition? Despair and joy? Hope and memory?
Kathryn Greene-McCreight, PhD, is an affiliate priest at Christ Church, New Haven and serves as a spiritual director with Saint Hilda’s House and Berkeley Divinity School at Yale. Her most recent books I Am With You: The Archbishop of Canterbury’s Lent Book, (Bloomsbury, 2016) and Darkness is My Only Companion: A Christian Response to Mental Illness (Brazos, 2006/2015). She is currently writing a commentary on Galatians for the Brazos Theological Commentary on the Bible Series. Kathryn has served as co-chair of the Patient and Family Advisory Council for Psychiatry and Behavioral Health at Yale-New Haven Hospital, and is on the board of the Elm City Affiliate of NAMI (National Alliance on Mental Illness). She has two adult children, and lives in Connecticut with her husband and their two goldendoodles.
Believing into Christ: Relational Faith and Human Flourishing
Fourteenth Schubert M. Ogden Seminar on Systematic Theology
Saturday, January 22 , 9:30 am to 11:00 am (Central Time; plus recorded lectures to be viewed prior to the sessions.)
In her book by this title and in the video lecture to be viewed prior to this interactive seminar, Dr. Natalya Cherry explores this unique, grammatically awkward phrase that Augustine identified in his preaching as describing Christianity’s distinct contribution to human flourishing. Cherry tracks the origins of “believing into Christ” and its loss in translation, from Augustine’s systematization of a three-part formula for belief that his theological successors treated as defining Christian faith, up to today. The interactive session will consider how to restore the phrase and all it entails, transforming religious instruction and sacramental practices that can equip believers to overcome oppression and social barriers in contemporary churches and the world. Many wonder, how can one believe in a loving God while being complicit with, or actively participating in, systems of violence and oppression? The relational sense of belief animates Christian faith as resistance against those systems.
Natalya Cherry joined Brite Divinity School in 2018 as Assistant Professor in Methodist Studies and Theology upon earning a PhD in Religious Studies (Systematic Theology) from SMU. She is an ordained Elder in the Susquehanna Conference of the United Methodist Church. There she pastored local churches from 2001-2013 after serving on ministry staffs of Bethesda UMC (Maryland) and Metropolitan Memorial UMC (Washington, DC). In addition to her book, her writing is found in the Canvas curriculum (Abingdon, 2018); articles in issues of Methodist History, Wesleyan Theological Journal, Wesley and Methodist Studies, and Religions; entries in The Oxford Dictionary of the Christian Church 4e (Oxford, 2021); and an invited chapter in The Wesleyan Mind (Routledge, 2022). She has been awarded a Manchester Wesley Research Center Visiting Research Fellowship for summer 2022 to work on a new kind of biography of John Wesley she is co-authoring with Ted Campbell. She hopes to bring with her to England her spouse, Paul, and teen son, Gregory, with whom she resides in Fort Worth.
Participation and Personhood: Paul’s Anthropology in Conversation with Contemporary Thought
Saturdays, February 19 and 26, 9:30 am to 11:00 am (Central Time)
Over the past few decades, work in developmental psychology, social psychology, neuroscience, and philosophy of mind has nudged modern concepts of personhood away from self-determining individualism to a focus on the constitutive role of interpersonal connections in the constitution of the self. Human beings are participatory creatures, neither solely individual nor reducible to purely corporate models of personhood; they are selves, but always selves-in-relation to others. Similarly the apostle Paul sees persons as always “in” others, both human and supra-human, and “under” the power of others. Through lecture and discussion, we will explore this theme of personhood in relation to sin as an oppressive power, in Romans 7, and to the liberating Spirit of Christ in the community, in Romans 8. Along the way we will consider how Paul’s theology relates to contemporary issues in human suffering and flourishing.
Susan Eastman is associate research professor of New Testament at Duke Divinity School. Ordained in the Episcopal Church, she served parishes in New York City, Alaska, Oregon, and Pennsylvania prior to coming to Duke. Dr. Eastman teaches courses on the New Testament, the Bible in the church, Pauline anthropology, and preaching Paul’s letters. She has lectured and taught in a variety of academic and church settings, both in the U.S. and internationally. Her scholarly publications include Recovering Paul’s Mother Tongue: Language and Theology in Galatians (Eerdmans, 2006), Paul and the Person: Reframing Paul’s Anthropology (Eerdmans, 2017), and numerous articles and essays. She serves on the editorial board of the Journal for the Study of Paul and his Letters. Her current projects include the commentary on Romans for the new Interpretation Commentary Series, and a collection of essays on Paul’s theological anthropology.
Injustice or God’s Will? Four Early Christian Explanations of Poverty and Wealth
Saturday, March 5, 9:30 am to 11:00 am (Central Time; plus recorded lectures to be viewed prior to the sessions.)
Economic inequality is a perennial problem in human societies and it was an important issue in the Roman Empire as well. But why are some people poor and others wealthy? Does it come from human injustice? Is it God’s will for this world? And what should people do about these issues? Early Christian writers did not agree on the answers to these questions. In this seminar we will discuss the amount of economic inequality in the Roman Empire, which was paradoxically both better and worse than today. It was better in the Roman Empire because the spectrum from very poor to ultra rich was smaller than today, but it was worse because more of the population lived dangerously close to the line between subsistence and starvation. Once we have a better understanding of ancient economic inequality we will look at four early Christian texts—the Revelation of John, the Letter of James, the Acts of the Apostles, and the Shepherd of Hermes. Each of these Christian writers has a different understanding of the origins of poverty, the duties of the poor and the wealthy, and the goal of Christian community.
Stephen Friesen holds the Louise Farmer Boyer Chair in Biblical Studies at The University of Texas, Austin. He completed a PhD at Harvard University in the Study of Religion with an emphasis on Christian Origins, followed by a post-doctoral fellowship at the East-West Center in Honolulu. His main publications include, Imperial Cults and the Apocalypse of John: Reading Revelation in the Ruins (Oxford Univ. Press, 2001), Ancestors in Post-Contact Religion: Roots, Ruptures, and Modernity’s Memory (editor; Harvard Univ. Press, 2001); and Corinth in Contrast: Studies in Inequality (co-editor; Brill, 2014). His current research interests include the Book of Revelation, apocalypticism, and economic inequality in the early churches and in the Roman Empire.
The Misuse and Abuse of Christian Symbols: The Rise of American Christian Nationalism
Fourteenth W. A. Welsh Seminar
Saturdays, April 2 and 9, 9:30 am to 11:00 am (Central Time)
This seminar will explore the creation of the idea of a Christian America, how this notion has created a confusion between public expressions of a peculiarly American faith and Christianity itself, and how, since the 1970s, the idea has been politicized by Christians and non-Christians alike in order to seek a modern system designed to protect or legislate particular political values associated with it.
Mark Toulouse retired from the University of Toronto in 2017 after serving 9 years as Principal at Emmanuel College (a theological school associated with the United Church of Canada). He and his wife, Jeffica, now live in Fort Worth, Texas. Prior to Toronto, he taught for more than two decades at Brite Divinity School, and served as a dean there for 11 years. He twice received (1999 and 2007), by vote of his colleagues at Brite, the Catherine Saylor Hill Award for Faculty Excellence in Teaching and Research. He is a historian who specializes in the topics of religion and culture, and religion and public life, both in the United States and in Canada, in theological education, and in Disciples history and theology. Dr. Toulouse holds a PhD from The University of Chicago Divinity School (named “Alumni of the Year” for 2018) and is the author of ten books, including such titles as The Transformation of John Foster Dulles (1985); Joined in Discipleship (1992, and 1996); Makers of Christian Theology in America (1997), God in Public (2006), Renewing Christian Unity (2010), and The Altars Where We Worship (2016).
The Bible, Myth and Superheroes
Saturday, April 23, 9:30 am to 11:00 am (Central Time; plus recorded lectures to be viewed prior to the sessions.)
The resurgence of myth and superheroes in film and other media is, among other things, a commentary on the values and needs of the cultures that produce them. Contemporary superhero stories are designated modern day myth, yet they function like the ancient stories. What if anything is “modern” or unique about the heroic tales we tell today? To what extent does the function of modern day myth and hero inform our understanding of the function of myth in scripture? In this seminar we will define and identify myth in ancient and modern stories, to consider the function and pattern of myth and the roles of heroes in literature and society through the lens of intersectionality, and finally to reflect on the theological function of myth and hero in the ancient and modern world.
Judy Fentress-Williams is in bi-vocational ministry as the Professor of Old Testament at Virginia Theological Seminary and the Senior Assistant to the Pastor for Teaching and Preaching at the Alfred Street Baptist Church. She received her PhD in Hebrew Bible from Yale University in 1999. She earned her MDiv from Yale Divinity School and her AB in English from Princeton University with certificates in African-American Studies and American Studies. Dr. Fentress-Williams’ most recent publication, Holy Imagination: A Literary and Theological Introduction to the Whole Bible, reflects her interest in a literary approach that highlights the multiple voices in scripture. She published a commentary on the book of Ruth and was Old Testament Editor for the CEB Women’s Bible. Published articles include, “Exodus” in the Africana Bible, “Esther” in the Fortress Old Testament Commentary and “The Writings” in the Fortress Companion to the Old Testament Introduction. A member of the Society for Biblical Literature, she also serves on the Advisory Board for Religious Life at Princeton University.
Individual Seminars @ $15.00 each
In-Person Only Series Subscription (All four seminars offered in Dallas) @ $50.00
Online Only Series Subscription (All eight seminars offered Online) @ $100.00
Complete Series Subscription (All twelve seminars) @ $150.00
**Note: The ONLINE seminars (only) will be available for on demand viewing afterward.
Frequently Asked Questions
How do I register?
1. Register online at www.brite.edu/stalcup
2. Call (817) 257-7589
How much is the registration fee?
Individual seminars and courses are $15.00. Or choose one of three money-saving subscriptions: In-Person Only (four seminars in Dallas for $50.00); Online Only (eight online seminars for $100.00) or the Complete Series (all twelve offerings for $150.00).
Where are classes held?
Eight seminars will be held online using Zoom, some with pre-recorded lectures. Four seminars will be held in-person at Northway Christian Church, 7202 W. Northwest Hwy., Dallas, TX.
How do I access the classes on Zoom?
Instructions for accessing the session will be sent a few days prior to the class.
What computer equipment will I need to participate?
Classes and lectures will be available through Zoom and YouTube. Zoom can be accessed from any device: Phone, Mobile Phone, Tablet, Mac or PC with a camera and/or microphone. Or, you can call in on your phone but will not have access to the video. More information is available at www.brite.edu/stalcup/ or call 817-257-7589.
What if I have never used Zoom or YouTube?
The Office of Lay and Continuing Education will be available to assist you in learning to use the tools.
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. If you would like to apply for financial aid, please contact our office and arrangements will be made to ensure your participation.
For in-person seminars may I register “at the door?”
Of course, but pre-registering assures a spot and a lunch.
Do the in-person classes include lunch?
Yes, a light lunch is included in the seminar.
When are classes held?
See each seminar description for dates and times.
What if I have other questions?
Please call the Office of Lay and Continuing Education at (817) 257-7589.
Please be advised that photography, video and audio recordings may be taken of events hosted by Brite Divinity School. These recordings may be displayed on Brite’s website, social media platforms or used in Brite’s marketing materials. By attending these events, hosted by Brite Divinity School, I consent to the use of my name, image or likeness, and voice for video, photographic and/or audio production and/or promotional purposes.
For online events, you have the option to turn off your camera and change your displayed name. Learn more at Zoom Support Center. If you have questions or concerns regarding this notice, please contact Vanessa Daley at (817) 257-7579.