Brite Divinity School educates and inspires people to serve God's diverse world as leaders in churches, the academy, and public life.
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 driving questions include “What does it mean to be a human being and how do our understandings of that shape our work and life together?” Drawing on social theories, psychologies, Christian theologies, and contemporary sciences, McClure explores the assumptions that ground practices—especially of care and healing—and asks whether they are adequate to the complexity of a deeply social theological anthropology.
Her work includes developing a holistic approach to religious engagement that is grounded in theories of human flourishing, public theologies, and a theological anthropology that recognizes both the fractured character of human nature, and the religious impulse for wholeness and coherence. 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 spent seven years teaching at Vanderbilt University Divinity School. Prior to that, she worked eight years in a private pastoral counseling practice, and five years as a full-time consultant in for-profit and not-for-profit spheres in organizational and leadership development. She has written two books: Moving Beyond Individualism in Pastoral Theology, Care and Counseling: Reflections on Theory, Theology and Practice (Wipf & Stock/Cascade, 2010) and Emotions: Problems and Promise for Human Flourishing (Baylor University Press, 2019).
Her essay list includes titles such as: “Pastoral Theology as the Art of Paying Attention,” “Divining the Sacred in the Modern World: Ritual and the Communal Embodiment of Spirit,” and “Women, Professional Work and Diversity: Pastoral Theology in the Midst of Globalization.”
She is the proud mother of two girls, Anna and Miriam.
DegreesPh.D., Emory University, Atlanta, GA (2003)
M.Div., Princeton Theological Seminary, Princeton, New Jersey (1996)
B.A., Houghton College, Houghton, NY (1989)
- The Ministry of Pastoral Care
- Historical and Contemporary Perspectives in Pastoral Theology, Care, and Counseling
- Methods in Pastoral Theology
- Contemporary and Contextual Issues in Pastoral Theology
- The Person as Leader
- Practices for Spiritual Care
- Pastoral Theology: Histories and Horizons
- Theories and Practices of Leadership
- Emotions and the Flourishing Life (forthcoming, Baylor University Press, 2016)
- Moving Beyond Individualism in Pastoral Theology, Care and Counseling: Reflections on Theory, Theology and Practice (Wipf & Stock/Cascade, 2010 and Lutterworth Press, UK, 2011)
- “Divining the Sacred in the Modern World: Ritual and the Communal Embodiment of Spirit,” Pastoral Psychology, 62(2013): 727-742. Also printed in 2013 Journal of the Institute for the BioCultural Study of Religion
- “Expanding the Psychological Imagination in Pastoral Theology: Using Novels to Better Underrepresented Persons and Groups," Pastoral Psychology, 60(2011): 323-337.
- "The Social Construction of Emotions: A New Direction in the Pastoral Work of Healing." Pastoral Psychology, 59(2010): 799-812.
- “Pastoral Theology as the Art of Paying Attention: Widening the Horizons.” Journal of the International Academy for Practical Theology, 12(2008):189-210.
- "Pastoral Care" in Wiley-Blackwell Companion to Practical Theology, Bonnie Miller-McLemore, ed., pp. 269-278 (Oxford: Blackwell Publishing, 2011).
- "Women, Professional Work and Diversity: Pastoral Theology in the Midst of Globalization" in Women Out of Order: Risking Change and Creating Care in a Multi-Cultural World, J. S. Moessner and T. Snorton, eds., pp. 270-289 (Fortress Press, 2009).
- Coyle, Suzanne M. Uncovering Spiritual Narratives: Using Story in Pastoral Care and Ministry (Fortress Press, 2015)
- Levy-Achtemeier, Sandra M. Flourishing Life: Now and in the Time to Come (Eugene, OR: Cascade Books, 2012) in Interpretation (2013)
- J. Harold Ellens (ed.) Text and Community: Essays in Memory of Bruce M. Metzger. Vol. 2 (New Testament Monographs 20: Sheffield: Sheffield Phoenix, 2007) in The Catholic Biblical Quarterly: Apr 2010: 72, 2; Proquest Central, 407-409.
- Donald Capps, Social Phobia: Alleviating Anxiety in an Age of Self-Promotion (St. Louis, MO: Chalice Press, 1999) in Journal of Pastoral Theology 10(2000): 114-115.
- “Expanding our Emotional Imaginations” Nashville Psychotherapy Institute, invited presenter, September, 2013
- “Ritual: Embodied Spiritualities” Conference: New Directions in Dynamic Psychology and Pastoral Theology, Princeton, NJ (October, 2012)
- “Transcendent Perspectives for Ordinary People: What is Spiritual About Everyday Life?” Tennessee Association for Pastoral Therapists, invited speaker, (August, 2011)
- “Sex, Death and Moral Insanity,” American Academy of Religion (AAR), invited moderator, North American Religions section, Atlanta, GA (November, 2010)
- "Literature and Selfhood; Insights for Pastoral Theology," Conference: New Directions in Dynamic Psychology and Pastoral Theology, Richmond, VA (October, 2010)
The American Academy of Religion
The Association of Practical Theology
The Society for Pastoral
The American Association of Pastoral Counselors