required writings (aka, academia, here I come!)

0 Commentsby   |  03.22.13  |  02 Theology, 03 Interpretation, 04 Contextual Practice, 05 History, 06 Leadership, 07 Soul Care, 08 Spiritual Disciplines, 09 Character, 10 Identity

Though they’re easily accessible in the sidebar to the right, I’d like to call attention here to certain required artifacts for my senior review. Namely, I’m referring to the Wittenberg, 1934 case brief, my theology of ministry paper, and my revised ministerial identity paper.

I believe the Wittenberg case brief exhibits outcomes 2abd, 3bce, 4abcd, 5abe, 7abcd, 8cf and 9a. The theology of ministry paper mainly exhibits outcomes 4abc, 6abcef, 8abd, and 10abc. And the reflection on ministerial exhibits outcomes 8abcdef and 10abc. Further details on these assignments are found on the papers’ respective pages.

And in case you’re as much in need of a (rueful) laugh as I am…


de las Casas’ prophetic word for our time

0 Commentsby   |  03.18.13  |  Uncategorized

(The following is the third of my posts for Dr. Childers’ Readings in Christian Spirituality class. Again, these posts are not meant to display particular MDiv outcomes or competencies. I’m simply sharing them for the fun of it. Enjoy!)

Bartolomé de las Casas obviously wasn’t writing to Christians in 20th- and 21st-century America. But if only he had…

I can imagine… The passion, the powerful words, the deep belief, and the wholehearted devotion pouring from his fingers onto the keyboard and into the blogosphere. His posts would go viral. But maybe not because they were popular. You see, his observations would step on a lot of toes, and we wouldn’t enjoy that so much. But we couldn’t help but pay attention to the prophetic voice of this man who seemed to know our nature far too well for our own liking.

And here I’m actually not thinking of religious wars and plundering and imperialism run amuck, though de las Casas would surely have something to say to these things in our time. These lamentable sins seem to pervade humanity, no matter the time, no matter the place. And de las Casas sure had plenty to say about them in The Only Way. His portrayals of human villainy were chilling in their accuracy, even if they were removed from our own situation by half a millennium.

No, here I’m actually thinking of the Christian culture wars. These wars have ravaged our own nation for so long, leaving many casualties in their wake. Christians bicker and backbite. They call each other names and condemn each other for holding differing beliefs, even if those beliefs are sometimes heartfelt and well founded. And they do all of this in front of a watching world. And not just in front of, but also to a watching world.

Probably the best known example is the Westboro Baptist Church, whose official website,, informs me both that WBC members have lost exactly zero “nanoseconds of sleep” over my “opinions and feeeeellllliiiiiings” and that in the time it’s taken me to write this paragraph, God has cast exactly 483 555 people into hell. Spewing their hatred almost indiscriminately, groups like WBC attack Christians and non-Christians alike for “unfaithful” lives and actions, making a mockery of the faith as they do so. (You might also check out the lovely little book How to Win the Culture War: A Christian Battle Plan for a Society in Crisis. I confess that I have not and will not read it.)

Though the sin isn’t limited to extremist examples or hot button issues, it surely does prevail in those cases. And I can’t help but think that de las Casas would’ve had something to say about it. For the culture wars of our day claim the same goal as the wars of de las Casas’ day: conversion of the pagan. And they adopt many of the same tactics: coercion, proclaimed condemnation, blind arrogance and egocentrism, violence, intimidation… The list goes on and on. And the results, at least as I’ve been able to observe them, are much the same. While the Christians engaged in the culture wars go around feeling good about themselves, “Pagans are forced to burst out into blasphemy, to curse the Creator since they think the awful injustice they undergo comes from that Creator’s law or precept or prior and wicked command. They will then go on to detest faith and salvation in Christ as a fake, a lie.” (136) Love of neighbor is not embodied (142). Christians proclaim self-holiness more than they actually live the holy life that imitates Christ (144). Though in a different time, a different place, and a different culture, they commit the same sins, and with the same results: non-Christians are driven away, perhaps forever, from Christ.

So while, according to our source, we’re now up to 2,802 people who’ve been cast into hell since our last update, I can’t help but think that Bartolomé de las Casas would have a different view than WBC on why that might be the case and who’s to blame:

“If, as Chrysostom said about Matthew 23, they are unpardonable who just withhold their charity, what pardon will they have who do positive damage? You will suffer torment as the damned, not just for damning yourselves, but also for damning others. You cut off with a quick death the time they needed for conversion and repentance. You sent them straight to the torments of hell. You damned also those who grew to hate our faith because of the awful example you gave, grew to ridicule the universal Church, grew to blaspheme God.” (150)

Yes, I can imagine that de las Casas would have a lot to say to Christians in 20th- and 21st-century America. And though he might even at times and on certain issues step on my own sin-smudged toes, I’d like to think that I’d be there to back him up with a facebook “like” and “share.” Because he’s got something important to say. And the world needs to hear it.

finding my voice

1 Commentby   |  03.12.13  |  01 Scripture, 04 Contextual Practice, 06 Leadership, 08 Spiritual Disciplines, 09 Character, 11 Thinking & Communicating

In the fall of 2012, I enrolled in Dr. Sensing’s Homiletics class. Believe it or not, this was somewhat of a daring move for me to make. As a woman from the Churches of Christ tradition, I had heard for most of my life that I was not allowed to preach, not allowed to have a voice in the church. Though I no longer believed in or lived my life by that fallacious theological conclusion, the specter of it still haunted me.

You see, just a year before, when a funeral director saw me holding a Bible and asked if I’d be the one performing the service that day, my own family members had laughed out loud—right in front of me—at the preposterous idea that I, a woman, might be the preacher. And just a year before that, when I shared portions of my own narrative of my calling to ministry in a very public way, some responded with encouraging words, but others sharpened their linguistic barbs and aimed them directly at me and my fellow women ministers. But more than that, for my entire life I’d been silenced, simply because of my gender. And until I was in my mid-twenties (around the time I entered the GST) I’d not seen a woman preach or pray or lead a church, at least not while in the company of men. Not a single one.


a woman's mouth sealed with a scotch tape

These experiences haunted me. And my resulting inexperience at the homiletical task threatened me. I would be the only one in the class who’d never preached a sermon before. The only one who didn’t know what she was doing. The only one for whom all of this was intimidating—and not just because of its newness but because of the theological baggage that accompanied it. How in the world would I find my voice? And how in the world would I measure up? Besides that, how would I deal with the potential repercussions from my family if they found out what I was doing? Should I avoid the topic or come right out and talk about it? Needless to say, the class stirred up thoughts and feelings that most courses don’t.


Yet, intimidated as I was, I resolutely gave the class my all. I felt I owed it to myself, and not only to me but also to all women who’d been silenced in the church and not given this opportunity. And over the course of that semester I learned, at least in part, to preach. I was proud to do as well as I did in the class, and I’d like to share with you here some artifacts indicating my success. Below you’ll find a set of seven sermon sketches as well as manuscripts for the two sermons I preached in class. (I’d hoped to also include some audio files of me preaching the sermons, but the stomach bug, cold, and sinus infection I’ve had in two weeks leading up to my senior review have prevented that from happening. Alas.)

For many reasons, then, my participation in the homiletics course indicates greater competency in a wide range of MDiv outcomes. I was able to engage in spite of my own personal fears and limitations, showing a number of the qualities expected of MDiv graduates (outcomes 8abcd and 9abcd). And the content of the sermon sketches and the sermons themselves evidence my knowledge of the Christians scriptures (outcome 1abcd), my abilities to practice theology in contemporary contexts and lead the church as a minister (outcomes 4abcd and 6bcd), and my competency at written and especially oral communication (outcome 11abcd). Now, for your reading enjoyment:

Sermon Sketches

Sermon Sketches

Christ in Us, the Sufficient One

Christ in Us, the Sufficient One

Lament: Our Act of Faith

Lament: Our Act of Faith










To be sure, there’s still room for improvement in my preaching, and I’ve received some good feedback from Dr. Sensing and my classmates to help with that. You know, I still don’t foresee myself becoming a highly skilled full-time preacher anytime soon (or ever, really, given my church background and my current ecclesiology). But I know now that I at least can preach. This experience has shown me that I am capable.

06-Do-not-come-on-to-the-new-female-pastor-unless-she-winks-at-you-during-the-sermon.This experience has helped me jump the biggest hurdle of all: finding my own voice. And I’m not the only one who’s found my voice. Whether she wants it or not, so has the church. God grant that she may find the voices of many other daughters.

© Copyright 2010 CorbisCorporation

learning, leading, and living the missional life

0 Commentsby   |  03.12.13  |  03 Interpretation, 04 Contextual Practice, 06 Leadership, 10 Identity


Several times now here on this blog I’ve referenced the Missional Life program, but I have yet to give a direct explanation of what ML is or how I am involved in it. (If you’ve already read my contextual education paper, “Educated and Formed,” you’ll have a pretty good idea. If not, you might want to see pages 2-4 of that document for some more in-depth information about ML than what I’ll give here.)

Missional Life began in the spring of 2011, when five graduate students (myself, Jordan Bunch, Rosten Callarman, Benjamin Covington, and John Kaczmarek) began meeting with Dr. Kent Smith to discern ways forward in forming and training undergraduate students to successfully lead a life on mission with God, regardless of their career interests or future place of residence. In the fall of 2011 we began a pilot year of engagement with around 20 students (as well as with one additional coach, Brent Bailey, who’d joined us in the meantime). We learned a number of things from that year, as we’d hoped, and after some discernment and planning we began our second iteration of ML in the spring of 2013, this time with approximately 30 students and 8-9 new leaders.

My own participation in ML has varied. From the beginning I’ve been part of the overarching planning team, what is now organized (in sociocratic terms) as the General Circle. At times I have served as the administrator for that circle, keeping meeting notes, arranging agendas, and making sure necessary organization and communication happen. In the pilot year, I served as a coach, alongside Benjamin, of a struggling cohort of four students. After that cohort was declared defunct, Benjamin and I shifted our energy and attention to something that fit our skill sets a little more closely: constructing an ACU course that would align with the vision, mission, and aim of ML. The course, Foundations of the Missional Life, will be offered in the fall of 2013. Because Benjamin will be moving away from Abilene upon graduating, I will serve as the principal professor, with Dr. Smith coming alongside me at times as we deem helpful.

Below you will find the artifacts that I have chosen to indicate my involvement in Missional Life. I have included for you the ML Proposal that shows the processes and outcomes of our pilot year, the ML brochure we designed for distribution to students, a link to the syllabus under construction for the Foundations of the Missional Life course, and a link to the Google Drive folder that contains all the important (and some not-so-important) Missional Life documents to date.

Missional Life Proposal

ML Proposal

Missional Life Brochure

ML Brochure





Foundations of the Missional Life Syllabus

Foundations of the Missional Life Syllabus


Missional Life Google Drive Folders

ML Google Drive Folders








I believe these artifacts (or to be more accurate, my involvement in ML) indicate several of the desired outcomes for the MDiv. Most notably, I see through my engagement in ML increased ability to interpret the Christian faith and contemporary cultural contexts (outcome 3abcde), deepened ability to practice theology in those contemporary cultural contexts (outcome 4acd), honed ability to lead and equip the church (outcome 6abcdefg, especially 6f), and greater clarity in ministerial identity (outcome 10abc). (At the risk of overwhelming you with outcomes, I would additionally list 2abc, 8abcde, and 9ab as outcomes demonstrated well through my involvement in ML, though to a lesser degree than those listed above.)

Through my participation in Missional Life, I have learned a great deal about what spiritual formation can look like and can entail. I have been challenged to have broader and deeper vision for the Kingdom. I have gained a better understanding of the balance of being willing to push past my comfort zone at times while also knowing and playing to my own God-given strengths. I have identified more healthy and unhealthy ways to be part of an organization or community. I have discovered more about what my own place in the Kingdom might be, and I’ve been excited to begin living into that vision in the here and now.


signs of growth

0 Commentsby   |  03.11.13  |  09 Character


Though they’re accessible on the sidebar to the right, I wanted to particularly point out my reflections on formational goals and Profiles of Ministry feedback as indicators of outcome 9ab, which read as follows:

a) demonstrates healthy awareness of one’s personality, behavior patterns, level of interpersonal effectiveness, and patterns of response to anxiety and conflict
b) takes honest responsibility for one’s actions, habits, and growth, applying effective strategies for achieving ongoing ministerial growth

That is exactly what I believe these reflections (and my further action because of them) do.

Though I did not dedicate as much time and thought to reflecting on these goals as I have in previous years, I do believe my reflections are still an accurate representation of what is going on. It was particularly interesting for me to look back at prior years’ goals and reflections to see what has remained the same and what has changed. Though not all changes may be outwardly noticeable, I do believe I have changed for the better over the course of my nearly four years in the GST, and I am thankful to be able to track that growth through these reflections.

educated and formed

0 Commentsby   |  03.07.13  |  02 Theology, 03 Interpretation, 04 Contextual Practice, 06 Leadership, 10 Identity


Below you’ll find artifacts relating to my field education experience, which I undertook in the fall of 2012 under the direction of Drs. Carson Reed and Kent Smith. Included are my initial field education proposal, a short summary of Richard Osmer’s book, Practical Theology: An Introduction, which I used to frame my work and writing, my field notes from the semester, my reflection paper, and a link to the syllabus that I and a colleague are currently constructing for the Missional Life course I will be teaching in the fall of 2013 (as discussed in the reflection paper). These artifacts exhibit my increasing  knowledge of the theological content of the Christian tradition (outcome 2abc), competence at interpreting two congregational cultures and practicing theology in those cultures’ contexts (outcome 3d and 4abcd), my ability to lead and equip the church (outcome 6abcdef), and my own growing awareness of and investment in my ministerial identity (outcome 10abc).

Overall, the field education experience was a positive one. There were challenges, to be sure, largely related to the too-busy schedule I had during that semester. But I learned a great deal from my observation and experience. I was able to see just how different two organizations with similar goals can look, and from that I learned more about the significance of an organization’s having clearly defined aims and good teamwork from a diverse group of people. I learned a new way to frame theological exploration and intervention—Osmer’s four theological tasks—and I spent some time reflecting on my own strengths, weaknesses, and desires regarding those tasks. And over the course of the semester, I learned more about the kind of formational education I would like to be a part of in the future. In addition to seeing (and helping) others be educated and formed, I myself was educated and formed, and I would guess that that is the point of a field education experience. I look forward to carrying forth into my future the things I have learned and the ways I have been shaped.


Field Education Proposal


Summary of Osmer’s Practical Theology


My Field Notes


Educated and Formed: A Semester of Formational Education with Missional Life and the Justice and Urban Studies Team


Foundations of the Missional Life Syllabus

caring for sister earth

0 Commentsby   |  02.11.13  |  Uncategorized

Franciscan Care for Creation

(click for a video on Franciscan creation care)


(This is the second in my series of blog posts from Dr. Childers’ Readings in Christian Spirituality class. Again, I hope you enjoy!)

As was discussed last Thursday in class during our discussion of Bonaventure’s Life of St. Francis, for so many of us the mention of the holy man’s name immediately brings to mind a picture of bucolic bliss and deep affinity for animals.

Yet our in-class musings about the legacy of Francis largely left aside this more familiar—and perhaps therefore clichéd—aspect and turned instead to the less explored riches of Francis’ views on asceticism. We all generally seemed to accept the idea that we knew most of what Francis has to offer concerning nature and would rather spend our time examining aspects of his life that are less familiar to us and to the religious culture at large. And while a discussion on Francis’ asceticism was obviously warranted and contained a great deal of value for us as Christians, for we have not typically imitated this aspect of Francis’ life, it also seems to me that though it is more familiar to us, we’ve also not imitated Francis’ intimate relationship with and respect for nature. For that reason, I would like here to explore what it might look like for us to take Francis’ attitude toward creation more seriously.

Francis, the patron saint of animals and ecology (and also lace-makers, by the way), was well known for his fondness toward animals and his tendency to refer to them as “brother” and “sister.” And for Francis, this was not just a rhetorical flourish. No, he truly treated animals as brothers and sisters, as children of the same God, fully capable of expressing the glory of their creator, just as people are. Francis showed these animals kindness and care, love and respect, and honored them as he would honor another human being.

Our own actions toward creation do not generally reflect the same kinds of attitudes. While notable individual exceptions exist, our culture as a whole adopts a stance of self-centeredness, greed, and discourtesy (alongside many other negative characteristics) when it comes to the natural order apart from the human race. Not considering the status nature rightly does hold as the handiwork and a reflection of our God, we use and abuse the earth and its inhabitants—plants, animals, oceans, land, and air—all for our own sakes. The debasement and exploitation of creation are far too complex for me to delve into here, but the travesties humans—including those of us who are Christians—have committed against God’s creation are horrendous and well documented.

And while full-scale change will take attentiveness, purposeful adaptive changes, and many years worth of transformation (not to mention a great deal of self-denying behavior, which leads us back to Francis’ asceticism), I cannot help but wonder, how would our own actions toward creation change if we were to simply adopt Francis’ way of speaking? Could not this basic act of recognizing the kinship we share with nature revolutionize our thoughts and therefore our actions? I think so.

When the food we eat is not some nameless entity designed solely to be consumed for our gluttonous enjoyment but is instead “sister cow” or “brother chicken,” we might think more closely about the ethics of our food choices. When the car we drive poisons the air that “brother elm” and “sister sparrow” breathe, we might choose instead to walk or bicycle. Or when “sister lake” is depleted and “brother field” turned into a landfill, perhaps we’ll simplify our lives by wasting less water and producing less trash.

Just think about a world in which we live in harmony with our sister earth and her inhabitants… Think about a world in which we recognize the goodness of all God’s creatures and in which we show them the respect they are due as images of the living God… This is the world that God designed us to be a part of. Let’s recover that kind of world. And let’s begin by attending to our sisters and brothers and not merely ourselves.

the sin of silence

0 Commentsby   |  01.31.13  |  Uncategorized

Though I’m not linking them specifically to any MDiv outcomes or anything like that, I’d like to share with you a couple of blog posts I’ve written for Jeff Childers’ Readings in Christian Spirituality class this semester. They’re fun, and I feel like they reflect my interests and writing style well. Plus my husband likes them. And that’s reason enough, right?

I’ll tag them all with “RCS blog post” so that you can see them all together. And I won’t tag them as part of my Senior Review, so if you’d like to avoid them, you can click on that tag and they’ll simply disappear. Handy, no?

First up is a reflection on a snippet from the Penitential of Cummean, which was part of our reading about Celtic Spirituality. I hope you enjoy!




Nestled among the various instructions of the Penitential of Cummean is the following command:

He who is silent about a brother’s sin, which is a mortal one, shall rebuke him with confidence, and shall live on bread and water for the same length of time that he was silent.

(8.19, pg. 240 in Celtic Spirituality)

Yes, you read that right. If one brother sins and another does not call him on it, the second brother has to do penance.

Many of our individualistic hearts and minds surely rebel against such a thought. It is, after all, the sin of another that is being discussed, is it not? And why should I have to repent for another’s sin? That does not seem fair or right! The instructions may seem to make very little sense.

But if we look even briefly at the context of this command, we might come away with a different perspective. The directive is located in the midst of a section on pride, and a number of the other instructions in this section deal with the proper and improper confession of sins, including those that are not one’s own. Informing the section is the biblical injunction, found in Matthew 18:15-17, to speak the truth about sin to an errant one (and the surrounding community if necessary). And the penitential also includes in 8.22 directions for the one who has gotten things out of order, informing another member of the community about the sin before speaking directly and privately to the sinner himself. It seems, then, that the community following this penitential placed a high value on the instructions of Matthew 18 and viewed negligence of them as a sin demonstrating pride.

Some in our own time might balk at this idea. Pride…? Connected to not speaking about another’s sin? How does that make sense? Doesn’t it seem more likely that actually saying something about the sin would evidence more pride, likely tied up in a judgmental nature or hypocrisy? Well, perhaps. Our experience says this may be the case for some. But perhaps not.

The sin referenced here is, after all, a mortal sin. Such a sin will destroy this brother, cutting him off from God and condemning him to hell if not repented and forgiven. This is no trivial thing. The weight of the mortal sin persists, and it must be addressed. And if another knows about it, this is his responsibility. If this second brother is tempted to gloat, to disparage, and to scorn the first brother, procedures are set forth elsewhere to deal with this second brother’s prideful temptation and sin (e.g., 8.3 and 8.14-15).

This particular passage, however, is designed to deal with another kind of reaction: the prideful prioritizing of one’s own peace and comfort over the welfare of another and the community. This kind of pride allows another continue in sin simply because it makes things easier for me. It doesn’t disrupt the balance of life and relationship. It doesn’t require me to make myself and the other person uncomfortable. It doesn’t require the hard work of discernment, communication, and resolution. It lets things continue as they are because, after all, it’s not my fault; I’m not the one who’s sinning. It’s a “live and let live” attitude. But it doesn’t work in community. And it doesn’t work in the Kingdom.

What’s required instead is the willingness to set aside my own desires, my own convenience, and my own safety for the sake of my brother and the community of faith. Yes, it is hard, and I will not always succeed. When I don’t, I will repent my sin and pledge to live more faithfully by making myself uncomfortable for your sake, for our sake, for God’s sake. And when I do—and when you do—we are made stronger as individuals, stronger as a people, and stronger as God’s church. This is what Matthew 18 and the Penitential of Cummean call us to.


“writing is easy…”

1 Commentby   |  04.03.12  |  01 Scripture, 11 Thinking & Communicating

Some of the required outcomes of the MDiv program—language competency, exegetical ability, and facility in written communication, for example—are more easily measured through class grades than through posts in an electronic portfolio. Though this may be the case, I would still like to take advantage of this opportunity to draw attention to a few papers I have written in GST classes that I believe are good indicators of my language, exegetical, and communication skills (outcomes 1abcd and 11abcd).

First is an exegesis paper written in the spring of 2011 for Dr. John Willis and Dr. James Thompson’s Exegesis class. The paper looks closely at Philippians 3:7-16, concluding that this pericope is Paul’s theological narrative of kenosis in his own life, one of a number of passages throughout Philippians that indicates kenosis as the letter’s overarching theme. This exegesis paper received an A from Dr. Thompson, along with the comment, “Nicely done.”

The next paper, “A Divine Oikos,” was written for Dr. Niccum’s Advanced Intro to New Testament class in the summer of 2011. It traces the theme of household throughout Ephesians, viewing household as an organizing metaphor for the church that subsumes the letter’s other metaphors under its conceptual framework. The paper received an overall grade of 278/300 (93%), and Dr. Niccum remarked that “with a little work it could be presented at a conference or published.”

Writing these papers and others like them revealed at least two important things to me. First, though I don’t always like the writing process (sometimes it’s just hard to find the motivation!), I do like having written something that is deemed to be of decent quality or usefulness. I’m still not quite sure what that distinction means for my thoughts about possible PhD work and teaching, but I am encouraged that the same kind of feeling seems to have engulfed author Gene Fowler at times, for he said, “Writing is easy. All you do is stare at a blank sheet of paper until drops of blood form on your forehead.” (Quote found here.) I am in good company.

But second, and closely related, I very much enjoy the conceptual work that goes into forming ideas for my papers. I remember the moment when the idea of kenosis as a guiding interpretive concept for all of Philippians crystallized in my mind, transforming me from a frustrated, tired student to an inspired, voracious learner. That was an exciting moment! A similar thing happened with the theme of household in Ephesians. And developing those spontaneous moments of insight was just as exciting. And though I will be the first to admit that those ideas have probably been more fully formed—or, more likely, negated—coherently in the writings of better scholars, I still found and find gratification in having discovered them for myself.

All that having been said, I leave you now with the papers themselves.


image originally found at

Philippians 3 Exegesis Paper

image originally found at

A Divine Oikos

practicing practical theology

0 Commentsby   |  04.03.12  |  02 Theology, 04 Contextual Practice, 06 Leadership, 08 Spiritual Disciplines, 10 Identity

During the course of my education in the GST another passion of mine that has emerged is practical theology. My interest in this field is intimately connected to some of my other loves: justice, spiritual formation, community, mission… Pursuing practical theology allows me to take the theories and ideas that emerge within these other passions and ask what they look like in the everyday lives of everyday Christians.

The papers that I’ve linked to below display my beginning thoughts on two issues of practical theology. In “Sharing Food, Sharing Life,” (written for Dr. Cukrowski’s New Testament Ethics class in the spring of 2011), I explore the spiritual significance of food and eating for our identity as the people of God. The “Theological Reflection Paper” posted below was written for Dr. Robert Foster’s Justice in the Biblical Tradition class in the spring of 2010. It is an examination of one of the most deplorable injustices of our day—human trafficking—and the ways James 1:22-2:26 challenges Christians to respond rather than remain in ignorance and apathy.

These papers (rudimentary and faltering as they may be) betray my deep love for issues of practical theology, show at least beginning attempts to analyze and understand and draw connections to contemporary cultural contexts (outcome 4abcd), exhibit ways in which the theologies and traditions of Christianity intersect with these matters (outcome 2abc), and indicate some of my perspective on how the church can and should be equipped in knowledge and in practice to engage in issues like these (outcomes 6abcd, and 8abd).

Although my passion for good, healthy food and constructive eating practices is particularly well known (particularly in the St. Ann Community), my interest in practical theology is by no means limited to the two issues I’ve written about here. I love the idea of continuing in the vein of practical theology well into the future, helping people understand what our actual practices of everyday life—shopping, building, working, driving, exercising, talking, etc.—say about us and what we believe about God and our participation in God’s mission in the world. I’d especially enjoy then helping people shape their practices so that those reflect healthier, more constructive beliefs, therefore impacting the world in increasingly positive ways for the Kingdom. At this level, then, I suppose these papers are also an indication of what I see as an important part of my own ministerial identity (outcome 10bc): serving as one who helps people understand the implications of their beliefs and practices and discern how those do or do not align with the best of the Christian tradition.


image originally from

Sharing Food, Sharing Life


image originally found at

Theological Reflection Paper