Anthropologists tell us that rites of initiation provide a window into the core beliefs and symbols of a culture. This course will examine the history, theology, and present practice of Christian baptism, as well as its derivative, confirmation. By considering the development of these rites, we will point towards ways to renew the practice of baptism and confirmation in the Episcopal Church and other denominations. While either course may be taken on its own, students will benefit most from taking both this course and the summer 2021 course on the Catechumenate, which will cover models and practices of preparation for Christian initiation.
An exploration of the interrelated roles of sacrament, word, and ethics in the praxis of Christian faith in both church and society. Focused on theological methods and practical implications, the course will attend to history, major theologians, and current constructive proposals in the areas of early Christian sources, fundamental and political theology, liturgical and sacramental theology.
The poetic imagination: this course aims to stimulate yours (and mine). To do that, we’ll read some poems and write some poems. We’ll read (mostly contemporary) poetry, (often) with an eye on form. When apt, we’ll consider how Christianity lurks in, or shapes, the poems we read. When apt, we’ll consider how poetry arranges power, or what it has to say about other power-arrangers. We’ll consider how poets engage the texts of Scripture, and we’ll think about the relationship between the poetic imagination and preaching, and the poetic imagination and pastoral care. Why undertake this endeavor? Because poetry can show us things about Christianity, about life with God, about being human that theological treatises cannot show. And because poetry can delight us.
This course examines the intersections of biblical interpretation and homiletical practice as it relates to the book of Philippians. It engages in a close reading of the text within its historical context, considers the impact of lectio continua on preaching, reflects on ways Philippians might inform preaching from Pauline epistles, and offers opportunities to study and practice preaching from Philippians.
The diocese and parishes of the Episcopal Church are currently taking an unflinching look at their historic entanglements with slavery and slavery’s legacies. So is the University of the South, the university owned by the Episcopal Church’s southern dioceses and that shares their fraught history on matters of race and the institution of bondage that produced the ideology of racial injustice in this hemisphere. This course draws upon the expertise of those who work in the Roberson Project on Slavery, Race, and Reconciliation at the University of the South to examine the period from the civil war to civil rights in order to ponder how a more truthful understanding of its history may foster a more just future inside and outside The Episcopal Church.