Stalcup School of Theology for the Laity


The Stalcup School of Theology for the Laity has an exciting new look this coming year.  As much of life has pivoted to online platforms, SSTL has created a mix of learning opportunities consisting of recorded lectures, interactive sessions and livestreamed presentations.  We invite you to explore the offerings and join us for one or all of the seminars and courses.  In addition to the live, interactive sessions, seminars will be available for on demand access for later viewing.

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.

2020-2021 SEMINARS

The Landscape of Settler Religious Colonialism in U.S. America
Fourteenth W. A. Welsh Seminar
Saturday, April 10, 2021 10:00 am to 1:00 pm

As a self-identified Christian nation, we rarely question the role of religion in colonizing and settling U.S. America and how it helped shape our culture, institutions and racialized landscape. Primarily affecting indigenous peoples, religion has been a powerful tool in the dispossession of Native cultures and the reconstruction of religious identities. Historian Karl Jacoby observed that violence against Native Americans is “at once the most familiar and most overlooked subject in American history.” The purpose of this seminar is to trace the history of settler Christianity in its construction of an “American” identity and the consequences upon many peoples in this process of changing landscapes. Consequences which continue to shape current events.

Lisa Barnett is an Assistant Professor of the History of Christianity at Phillips Theological Seminary (Tulsa, OK). She previously served as a lecturer in the history department at Texas Christian University. Lisa earned her PhD from TCU in 2017 and has two Master’s degrees from Brite Divinity School. Her most recent publication is an essay in Border Policing: A History of Enforcement and Evasion in North America. Lisa also has an article that appeared in The Christian Century Then & Now blog, and a column for “Sightings: Reflections on Religion in Public Life” sponsored by the Martin Marty Center. She was the 2012 winner of the Isaac Errett Award for History and her paper was published in the Spring 2013 edition of the Stone-Campbell Journal. Lisa is also the author of two essays in the book on the history of Brite Divinity School published in 2011.

Scenes of Theological Life: Great Christian Thinkers in Fiction
Fifteenth Fay and Alfred Grosse Seminar on Religion and the Literary Arts
Saturday, May 1, 2021 10:00 am to 1:00 pm

Christians often look to novels to understand better what faith involves and what it means to live it. This Seminar surveys selected historical fiction featuring notable Christian theologians as protagonists. Attendees will discover why Johnny Cash rewrote the Apostle Paul’s story, for example, and they will discuss what today’s Christians might learn from the “narrative theology” that pulsates at the heart of this and other, related fictions about the Great Christian Thinkers.

An award-winning teacher and scholar, Darren J. N. Middleton (PhD, The University of Glasgow, Scotland) is John F. Weatherly Professor of Literature and Theology at Texas Christian University, Fort Worth, TX. He is the author of four books, including Theology after Reading: Christian Imagination and the Power of Fiction, as well as eight edited volumes on religion, literature and film. His next book, For All the Saints: Christian Historical Fiction and the Literary Interview (forthcoming) will draw on material addressed in this Fay and Alfred Grosse Seminar on Religion and the Literary Arts.


Individual seminars and courses – $15.00
Series subscription (All 10 seminars and courses) – $100.00

All registrations include both the live, interactive sessions plus access to the recordings.


How do I register?
1. Online at
2. Call (817) 257-7589

How much is the registration fee?
Individual seminars and courses are $15.00. Or choose a money-saving option of a series subscription for all ten offerings for $100.00. Both registration options include the “live” session(s) as well as “on demand” access afterwards.

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.

Where are classes held?
All classes will be held online using Zoom.

How do I access the classes on Zoom?
Access information will be sent via email approximately a week prior to the session. There are three ways to participate in the class: 1. Click on the link in the email and your browser will take you to the meeting; 2. Using the Zoom app, join the meeting using the Meeting ID number and password ; and 3. Call in using one of the Zoom access phone numbers and enter the Meeting ID and Password.

How do I access the “on demand” recordings?
Recordings can be accessed through a secure website and will play like a regular video. The link and password will be sent to you after the seminar.

What computer equipment will I need to participate?
Zoom can be accessed from any device: Phone, Mobile Phone, Tablet, Mac or PC with a camera and/or microphone. Most desktop computers that are not an “all-in-one” do not have a camera or microphone but almost all laptops do. However, even without a camera or microphone, one can call in with their phone (but will not have access to the video). Most devices do not need special software to participate in a Zoom meeting however Chrome is the best browser for Zoom and can be downloaded from We also recommend an internet speed of 10 Mbps or higher. If you have any questions please call us at 817-257-7589.

What if I have never used Zoom?
The Office of Lay and Continuing Education will be available to assist you in learning to use the tools. There will be a practice session using Zoom before the first event in September.

How early should I “arrive” to the session?
Ideally you should click on the link at least 5 minutes but no more than ten minutes before the scheduled time. This ensures any technical issues are resolved and you have adequate time to set up.

What is basic [N]etiquette for a Zoom session?
Once you sign on, please be sure to mute your microphone so any background noise is not picked up and added into the call. This ensures the quality of the session and recording for others. If you are going to use the video function, please try to be in a minimally distracting background or staying in a quiet room.

How do I ask the speaker questions?
Please do not un-mute your microphone to ask the speaker a question in the middle of a lecture. Depending on the presenter, questions and comments can be submitted via the chat function within Zoom or you can be called upon by the moderator. This ensures the highest quality recording possible.

When are classes held?


Date(s) Time (Central Time) Speaker
September 12 & 19 10:00 – 11:30 am Matthias Henze
September 22 & 29 (Plus pre-recorded lectures) 7:00 – 8:00 pm Quentin Schultze
October 13, 20, & 27 7:00 – 8:15 pm Mark Allan Powell
November 13 & 14 7:00 – 8:30 pm and 10:00 – 11:30 am Gregory Ellison, II
January 9 (Plus pre-recorded lectures) 10:00 – 11:30 am Patricia Duncan
January 30 (Plus pre-recorded lectures) 10:00 – 11:30 am Sharon Putt
February 27 & March 6 10:00 am – 12:00 pm Carolyn Sharp
March 20 (Plus pre-recorded lectures) 10:00 am – 11:30 am Lee Ramsey
April 10 10:00 am – 1:00 pm Lisa Barnett
May 1 10:00 am – 1:00 pm Darren Middleton

What if I have other questions?

Call the Office of Lay and Continuing Education at (817) 257-7589.


What Do We Know About the Judaism of Jesus?
Fourteenth Jean and Patrick Henry Seminar
Saturdays, September 12 and 19, 2020 10:00 to 11:30 am

Jesus was a Jew, not a Christian. But what does that even mean? Does it really matter? What do we know about the Judaism of Jesus beyond what we read in the New Testament? Does the fact that Jesus was a Jew inform the way in which we read the New Testament, or do we simply gloss over it?

The premise of this course is that all of this matters a great deal. In class, we will read some familiar texts from the New Testament, then look at some less familiar Jewish texts from roughly the same period, and finally wonder how specifically our reading of the New Testament changes, once we read the Christian and the Jewish texts side by side. By locating the New Testament in its original, Jewish context, we will become more informed readers and gain a better understanding of Jesus and his Jewish world.

Matthias Henze is Isla Carroll and Percy E. Turner Professor of Hebrew Bible and Early Judaism at Rice University, Houston, TX. Dr. Henze focuses on those early texts that never became part of the Jewish Bible but are included in the “Apocrypha” and “Pseudipigrapha”. He has written and edited nine books, including Mind the Gap: How the Jewish Writings between the Old and New Testament Help Us Understand Jesus. He has lectured internationally and is the recipient of multiple teaching and mentoring awards and was named a founding fellow of Rice’s Center for Teaching Excellence. In 2009 he founded Rice’s Program in Jewish Studies, for which he continues to serve as director.

Communicating Peace in a Time of Conflict and Anxiety
Fourth James C. Suggs Seminar on Christian Communication
Tuesday evenings, September 22 and 29, 2020 7:00 pm to 8:00 pm (Plus recorded lectures to be viewed prior to the sessions.)

Public and personal communication are increasingly problematic. Conflicts are growing in church and society. How can we faithfully address this situation in our online and in-person communication? The Hebrew and Christian traditions provide insights and even practices that can make a significant difference in all of our professional and personal communication. Dr. Schultze will walk with us through the valley of the shadows of miscommunication into the light of restored relationships (shalom).

Quentin Schultze is an award-winning teacher and author. His acclaimed new book is Communicating with Grace and Virtue: Learning to Listen, Speak, Text and Interact as a Christian. He taught at universities and seminaries for 40 years before becoming Professor of Communication Emeritus at Calvin University. His website ( and YouTube channel encourage people to communicate with faith, skill, and virtue.

Multiple Meanings: Why the Bible Means Different Things to Different People
Fourteenth Fred B. Craddock Seminar on the Gospels
Tuesday evenings, October 13, 20 and 27, 2020 7:00 p.m. to 8:15 p.m.

Having taught in Africa, Russia, Estonia, Latin America, and the United States, professor Mark Allan Powell will share with us the different ways that well-known Bible stories are understood in those countries and will reflect on what this tells us about how we understand the Bible. You will learn some new things about familiar stories — and we will reflect together on how and why the Bible as “a living Word” is able to speak differently to people in different contexts. We will be touching upon matters that demand rigorous intellectual engagement, but we will do so with a popular focus. Why has the Good Samaritan parable been popular in country music? Was the prodigal son an undocumented immigrant? Who decided that the biblical magi should be called the “three wise men”? Who made them “kings”—and why? Dr. Powell will relate story after story of novel biblical interpretations that are intended to be intriguing and memorable—but, ultimately, to raise important unresolved issues for continued use of these texts as scripture.

Mark Allan Powell is Retired Professor of New Testament at Trinity Lutheran Seminary and an internationally known biblical scholar. He is editor of the HarperCollins Bible Dictionary and author of more than 30 books on the Bible and religion, including the widely used textbook, Introducing the New Testament. He has also written in the areas of spiritual formation (Loving Jesus), stewardship (Giving To God), and homiletics (What Do They Hear?: Bridging the Gap between Pulpit and Pew). Powell’s DVDs How Lutherans Understand the Bible have received widespread use throughout the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America and were excerpted for inclusion in the Lutheran Study Bible.

Anchored in the Current: The Eternal Wisdom of Howard Thurman in Changing Times
Fourteenth Jean and Parker Wilson Seminar
Friday evening 7:00 to 8:30 pm and Saturday morning 10:00 to 11:30 am, November 13 and 14, 2020

Grounded in 12 timeless questions, this interactive seminar invites participants to embark on an inward journey. Utilizing a full sensory pedagogy, Ellison will employ music, storytelling, conversation and silence, to explore the topics of vocation, activism, life long learning, and the spiritual quest.

Gregory C. Ellison, II is a product of the Atlanta Public School System and a proud alumnus of Frederick Douglass High School. On May 10, 1999, he received a BA from Emory University, where he was inducted into the Emory College Hall of Fame; the first black male bestowed with that honor. Gregory continued his educational journey at Princeton Theological Seminary as a Presidential Scholar where he received his MDiv degree and PhD in Pastoral Theology. Ten years after graduating, he returned to Emory to join the faculty of Candler School of Theology. He is currently an Associate Professor of Pastoral Care and Counseling. In his second year of teaching at Candler, Gregory was awarded Faculty Person of the Year (2010-2011). Three years later he received the Emory Williams Distinguished Teaching Award, Emory University’s most prestigious faculty teaching honor. He is author of Cut Dead But Still Alive: Caring for African American Young Men and Fearless Dialogues: A New Movement for Justice. He is an ordained Baptist minister who has served on the ministerial staffs at both Methodist and Presbyterian churches.

Gregory cherishes most the strong convictions he holds toward family, fraternity brothers (of Kappa Alpha Psi) and friends. On June 14, 2003, he was married to Antoinette Greenaway-Ellison and is the proud father of Gregory III and Anaya.

The Beginning of the Gospel and the End (of All Things)
Fifteenth Fred B. Craddock Seminar on the Gospels
Saturday, January 9, 2021 10:00 am to 11:30 am (Plus recorded lectures to be viewed prior to the Saturday session.)

As the earliest of the four Gospels in the New Testament, the Gospel of Mark takes us back to the beginnings of Christianity. In Mark and in the letters of the Apostle Paul, we see that the early church understood itself to be perched at the limits of history, and yet time has marched on. How did Christianity survive the initial failure of its end-times expectations to become one of the most successful religious movements in the history of the world? The Gospel of Mark and the letters of Paul certainly give us some insight into the historical question, but it may be that they also have something hopeful to say in a new historical moment characterized by fear, uncertainty, and change. Many in our world are wondering if things can ever again be the way they were just a few short months ago, and indeed, we must ask ourselves if a return to “normalcy” is even desirable. In this seminar, we will dive into Mark and the letters of Paul in search of the spirit that animated the earliest Christians, and we will ask if that same spirit might grace us once again with new ways of finding life abundant.

Patricia Duncan grew up on a farm in northern Missouri and became fascinated with the study of religion as an undergraduate at the University of Missouri-Columbia. She received her MDiv and PhD degrees from the University of Chicago, and she is currently an Assistant Professor of Religion at Texas Christian University. Her research and teaching focus on the New Testament and Early Christianity, and she is the author of Novel Hermeneutics in the Greek Pseudo-Clementine Romance. She is an ordained minister in the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) and she resides in Fort Worth with her husband, Brandon Cline, and their two daughters.


Executing God?: Atonement Through Anti-Violent Eyes
Thirteenth Schubert M. Ogden Seminar on Systematic Theology
Saturday, January 30, 2021 10:00 to 11:30 am (Plus recorded lectures to be viewed prior to the Saturday session.)

What kind of vengeful, violent God can only be satisfied by the vicarious blood sacrifice of an innocent man and still be considered just? Does God require some sort of transactional pay back in order to forgive sin? Does this notion compromise authentic forgiveness? We will traverse the pages of the Bible and Christian doctrine to help us re-think notions of divine justice and forgiveness and to find answers to those questions. Our exploration will motivate us to re-think the traditionally held doctrines of atonement such as penal substitution and satisfaction theories and suggest a theory more in line with a God of love and forgiveness.

Sharon Putt is Professor of Theology and Religion at Messiah College in Mechanicsburg, PA. She earned a PhD in Religious Studies from Southern Methodist University and is the author of Razing Hell, Executing God, and the forthcoming Constructing a Theology of Non-Violence: Systematically Confessing the Apostles’ Creed. She works in the area of divine non-violence, atonement, and interfaith theologies.

Micah: Prophet for a Precarious Age
Saturday, February 27 and March 6, 2021 10:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m.

In an era in which violence, economic vulnerability, and pandemic disease have ravaged communities across the globe, we need leaders and ministry teams whose love of God and neighbor is nourished by prophetic vision. The book of Micah is a treasure trove of insights and capacity-building for courageous witness. Micah does not just cry out against injustice, he helps us imagine the dismantling of systems that distort our common life and deceive those who yearn for the holy. Micah does not just condemn sin, he pushes us to acknowledge material consequences of greed and exploitation, then calls us to learn peace. Micah does not just oppose culture’s false narratives, he urges us to ground our lives radically in the emancipation we can know only in God’s redemptive power. Finally, Micah invites us to take suffering and conflict seriously while trusting in the wondrous renewal effected through God’s boundless mercy. Special attention will be given to tensions in the spirituality of Mainstream Protestants and implications of these tensions for the contemporary witness of these churches.

Carolyn J. Sharp is Professor of Homiletics at Yale Divinity School. She has scholarly expertise in the Latter Prophets and is working on a commentary on Micah. An Episcopal priest, Dr. Sharp serves at St. John’s Episcopal Church in Essex, Connecticut.

Aging Well – Or Not – In Fiction and Faith
Fourteenth Fay and Alfred Grosse Seminar on Religion and the Literary Arts
Saturday, March 20, 2021 10:00 to 11:30 am (Plus recorded lectures to be viewed prior to the Saturday session.)

This seminar explores aging and faith through the window of contemporary fiction. Novels and short stories open vistas for us upon the many ways that aging impacts faith and belief, and the literary artist helps us consider the challenging questions: What does it mean to “age well” or not? Is aging a fertile ground for maturation in faith, or is it a threat to spiritual meaning and purpose? The biblical tradition extols the wisdom and virtue of “the elders.” In the North American culture obsessed with aging, or rather the cult of youth, are the aging in contemporary fiction mentors of spiritual wisdom, courageous voyagers into the unknown territory of death, faithless victims of senility, plucky activists who inspire the young for common cause, recalcitrant traditionalists, or worn-out believers whose hope flickers dimly while awaiting whatever comes next? What are the stories that fiction tells about religious faith, in general, and Christian faithfulness, in particular, as we advance in chronological years?

Lee Ramsey is the Marlon and Sheila Foster Professor of Pastoral Theology and Homiletics at Memphis Theological Seminary, where he has been teaching since 1998. He holds an MDiv from Candler School of Theology at Emory University and a PhD in Religion from Vanderbilt University. Dr. Ramsey is an ordained elder in the United Methodist Church and serves as the pastor of Elm Grove United Methodist Church in Covington, TN. His teaching and research interests include the relationship between pastoral care and preaching, pastoral care in times of grief and loss, and the use of fiction and film to explore Christian faith and the practices of Christian ministry. Dr. Ramsey is the author of Preachers and Misfits, Prophets and Thieves: The Minister in Southern Fiction and Care-full Preaching: From Sermon to Caring Community. Dr. Ramsey is married with two adult children, and in his free time he enjoys gardening, birdwatching, fly fishing, and sitting on the porch and reading a good novel while accompanied by his yellow Labrador, Annie.


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.


Eilene Theilig | 817.257.7582
Director of Lay and Continuing Education