Austin Presbyterian Theological Seminary
In this Issue New MAMP degree | 3
Youth and Faith | 6
Alumni awards | 22
Preparing strong, imaginative leaders for the church.
100 East 27th St. | Austin, TX 78705 | 512-404-4808 | AustinSeminary.edu
PRESBYTERIAN THEOLOGI C AL
Volume 127 | Number 2
Theodore J. Wardlaw
Board of Trustees
Cassandra C. Carr, Chair Karen C. Anderson Thomas L. Are Jr. Claudia Carroll Elizabeth Christian Joseph J. Clifford James G. Cooper Marvin L. Cooper James B. Crawley Consuelo Donahue (MDiv’96) Jackson Farrow Jr. Elizabeth Blanton Flowers G. Archer Frierson Richard D. Gillham Walter Harris Jr. Roy M. Kim James H. Lee (MDiv’00) Michael L. Lindvall Catherine O. Lowry Blair R. Monie Lyndon L. Olson Jr. B. W. Payne David Peeples Jeffrey Kyle Richard Cynthia L. Rigby Teresa Chávez Sauceda (MDiv’88) James C. Shaw Lita Simpson Anne Vickery Stevenson Karl Brian Travis John L. Van Osdall Sallie Sampsell Watson (MDiv’87) Carlton Wilde Jr. Elizabeth Currie Williams
Youth & Faith 6 Finding Purpose
14 Cover: One of the traditions at John Knox Ranch Presbyterian Camp is prayer at the close of day—occasionally in the Blanco River. Photograph by Jay Jackson.
Igniting sparks in the lives of young people By David F. White
Parenting as Hospitality Modeling faith to our children By David Hadley Jensen
The “Barefoot Way”
By Dori Baker
Score! for Jesus
By Paul Burns
Youth @ Camp
Connecting our stories to God’s story
By Kathy Anderson
Trustees Emeriti Stephen A. Matthews John McCoy (MDiv’63) Max Sherman Louis Zbinden
seminary & church
twenty-seventh & speedway
19 faculty news & notes 21 live & learn
Timothy Blodgett (MDiv’07), President Valerie Bridgeman (MDiv’90), Vice President Karen Greif (MDiv’92, DMin’06), Secretary Richard Culp (MDiv’93, DMin’01), Past President Kathleen Hignight (MDiv’95) Ryan Kemp-Pappan (MDiv’08) Leanne Thompson (MDiv’06) Michael Waschevski (DMin’03) Alonzo Campbell (DMin’94) Andrew Parnell (MDiv’05) Nancy Taylor (MDiv’05) Andy Blair (MDiv’89) Dieter Heinzl (MDiv’98) Matt Miles (MDiv’99) Tamara Strehli (MDiv’05)
22 alumni news & notes 25 teaching & ministry
Windows is published three times each year by Austin Presbyterian Theological Seminary.
Editor Randal Whittington
Jessica Goad Sandy Knott Meagan Ludwig Alison Riemersma Kristy Sorensen John Stanger Melissa Wiginton
Austin Seminary Windows Austin Presbyterian Theological Seminary 100 E. 27th St. Austin, TX 78705-5711 phone: 512-404-4808 e-mail: email@example.com fax: 512-479-0738 austinseminary.edu ISSN 2056-0556; Non-profit bulk mail permit no. 2473
from the president |
President’s Schedule March 29 - Speak, Partner Luncheon, San Antonio, Texas April 1 - Preach, First Presbyterian Church, Fayetteville, Arkansas April 7 - Preach, Easter Vigil at Austin Seminary April 15 - Preach, First Presbyterian Church, Palacios, Texas April 29 - Preach, First Presbyterian Church, Canadian, Texas May 10 - Host, Evening with the President, Oklahoma City, Oklahoma May 19-10 - Preside, Austin Seminary Baccalaureate and Commencement June 10 - Preach, University Presbyterian Church, Austin, Texas June 29-July 7 - Attend, General Assembly; Host, Austin Seminary Luncheon, Pittsburgh July 1 - Preach, First Presbyterian Church, Greensburg, Pennsylvania
t is all-too fashionable for pastors—otherwise busy with such “important” matters as church administration, pastoral care, sermon preparation, community leadership, and so much else—to relegate the spiritual needs and hungers of their young people to some other staff person. This is, sadly, a common posture among so many of us, to the point that we often have trouble even calling the names of the children and youth in our congregations. Because of a deep despair at the heart of so much of our contemporary culture, it may well be that the results of such pastoral and programmatic neglect in our churches has never been more profound than in these very days. This issue of Windows is thus particularly timely. It explores the theme of “Youth and Faith,” defines problems and offers solutions, and provides five different essays, each of which I found to be fascinating, provocative, and memorable. David White, our Nelson Associate Professor of Christian Education, shares both bad news and good news about the phenomenon of purposelessness in young people, and all among us still involved with active parenting will find these words a must-read. The bad news, by the way, is that such purposelessness is alltoo alive and well in our culture; and the good news is that those of us who are nonetheless intentional in attending to the needs and issues of young people can make a difference. David Jensen, professor of constructive theology here, continues the topic of parental engagement— or “parental hospitality,” as he calls it. Parents who absorb his words, and their children, will be reminded of what is crucial about this basic familial relationship. Dori Baker, a guest writer for this issue, imagines the family invested in “meaning-making” becoming as large as a church community, where, when it comes to the Christian formation of our young, it does indeed “take a village.” Kathy Anderson and Paul Burns—Austin Seminary alums—reflect on transformational experiences with young people in their very different contexts. Kathy’s work as head of John Knox Ranch and Paul’s work in his Nashville church are inspiring examples of creativity and success in ministries that capture the attention of young disciples. Elsewhere in this Windows, there is much more to read and enjoy. Note, for example, the news of a new degree program rolling out this fall, the recap of January trips by students to far-flung places, a story about academic honors extended to graduating seniors, the comings and goings of faculty and staff members, alumni awards bestowed at the annual Austin Seminary Association banquet, suggestions regarding books to read, upcoming continuing education events, the Fall Festival of Preachers on our campus, class notes, and Jennifer Lord’s take on the formative work of worship. And when you finish your reading, think prayerfully about the role you can play in the ongoing Christian formation of our young people!
Theodore J. Wardlaw President
webXtra: to find out where Austin Seminary faculty are preaching and teaching, go to: AustinSeminary.edu/facultycalendar
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Master of Arts in Ministry Practice (MAMP)
Austin Seminary to begin offering new masters degree in fall 2012
ustin Presbyterian Theological Seminary has received approval from the Association of Theological Schools (ATS) to offer the Master of Arts in Ministry Practice (MAMP), beginning in fall of 2012. This new degree equips individuals for general pastoral leadership in two years of full-time study and continues Austin Seminary’s tradition of strong theological education for the practice of ministry. “We are excited to begin offering this new degree program, as it increases the options that students have for vocational preparation at Austin Seminary,” Academic Dean Allan H. Cole Jr.
said. “With its focus on the practice of ministry, coupled with the ability to complete the course of study in two years, the MAMP will allow the Seminary to resource additional communities of learners and leaders called to ministry.” This degree will enhance students’ theological comprehension, develop their capacities for communication in speech and writing, deepen their proficiencies in the pastoral arts, and foster their spiritual growth. This degree program requires coursework in biblical studies, theology and history, and the ministry arts (preaching, worship,
pastoral care, Christian education, leadership and administration, and mission and evangelism). In addition to this new degree, Austin Seminary offers four options to students: the Master of Divinity (MDiv), Master of Arts (Theological Studies) (MATS), Doctor of Ministry (DMin), and a dual degree MDiv/MSSW with The University of Texas at Austin School of Social Work. To apply for admission to the MAMP program, or to learn more about any of our degree programs, please contact admissions@ austinseminary.edu. v
Nancy Gribble Nelson died on February 3, 2012. The daughter of Joyce and Robert F. Gribble (MDiv’14), professor of Old Testament Languages and Exegesis at Austin Seminary for forty years, Nancy grew up on the Seminary campus. Her husband, former Professor C. Ellis Nelson (MDiv’40), died in June. Contributions in memory of the Nelsons may be made to Austin Seminary’s Nelson Chair in Christian Education, named in honor of Nancy and Ellis.
January term affords cross-cultural opportunities for students, friends Twenty-nine people experienced the history and geography of the biblical period on the “Lands of the Bible” travel seminar. The two-week trip to Israel and Jordan was led by Professors Suzie Park and John Alsup. At left, Marge and Ralph Draeger from Sunrise Beach Federated Church where Alsup is the pastor, try out the local transportation. At right, students Alex Cornell, Chris Dunn, and Stephen Robinson enjoy a full-body mud mask after floating in the Dead Sea.
Six Austin Seminary students visited Guatemala and Chiapas and the Yucatán in Mexico for the two-week “Missions in Latin America” travel seminar led by Dr. Gregory Cuéllar, assistant professor of Old Testament. At right, student Liz Klar visits with new friends from Iglesia Presbiteriana de Ocuilapa.
Spring 2012 | 3
Senior students receive highest honors during ASA Banquet, February 2
Receiving fellowships during the ASA Banquet were Mary Ann Kaiser, Naomi Ingram, Anna Bowden, and Sudie Niesen; John Stanger was not present at the banquet.
Mary Ann Kaiser
ive Austin Seminary seniors were honored with Senior Fellowships, selected by the faculty for their Christian character, academic achievement, and promise for ministry. Recipients were Sudie Niesen of St. Louis, Missouri; John Stanger of Brazoria, Texas Anna Bowden of Kyle, Texas; Mary Ann Kaiser of Pensacola, Florida; and Naomi Ingram of Temple, Texas. Sudie Niesen is the recipient of the David L. Stitt Fellowship, which this year carries an award of $12,000. This fellowship was established by the Austin Seminary Association (ASA) for the recipient’s continued studies. Sudie is a member of Glendale Presbyterian Church in St. Louis, Missouri. She holds the bachelor of philosophy in interdisciplinary studies from Miami University of Ohio. After college, Sudie served in the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.)’s Young Adult Volunteer (YAV) program in India. She is a Jean Brown Fellow and has served on the Program of Study Committee. Currently, she is completing a teaching church internship at Westminster Presbyterian Church in Austin. The Reverend Bill Clark, her supervisor, said, “Sudie is eager to serve and open to new experiences. She brings much joy with her wherever she goes. Sudie appreciates God’s people
and demonstrates a care and concern for them. Thanks be to God for the light that Sudie has brought into our midst and will surely carry with her, wherever God leads.” Sudie will be married later this year and plans to pursue a pastoral call in the Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, area, where her fiancé serves as a pastor. Eventually, Sudie hopes to pursue graduate studies in Hebrew Bible. John Stanger is the recipient of the PileMorgan Fellowship, which carries a prize of $8,000. This award was
4 | Austin Presbyterian Theological Seminary
endowed in 1984 in honor of Leo V. Pile and Helen Porter Pile of Harlingen, Texas, and Edmund Holland Morgan and Estella Martin Morgan of Dallas, Texas, and is granted to a member of the MDiv graduating class for the purpose of advance studies. John is a member of Central Presbyterian Church, Austin, Texas, and holds the bachelor of arts in religion from Schreiner University. After graduating from Schreiner, John also served as a Young Adult Volunteer in India. The Reverend Dr. Terrence Sherry, pastor of First Presbyterian Church of Austin, said, “First as our summer intern and currently as our youth program coordinator, John continues
to serve our congregation with energy, intelligence, imagination, and love. For John this is simply a natural outgrowth of his witness to the gospel of God in Jesus Christ. He will be an invaluable ministerial leader for years to come.” John recently began the ordination process in Mission Presbytery and plans to pursue a call to a local church or to work in the area of gender, identity, and diversity concerns. Anna Bowden is the recipient of the $3,000 Alsup-Frierson Fellowship, which was established by the families of Professor John and Carole Alsup of Georgetown, Texas, and Clarence and Betty Frierson
of Shreveport, Louisiana, in recognition of the long-standing tradition of excellence in biblical studies at Austin Seminary. This award is granted annually to an MDiv or MATS student deemed to have demonstrated excellence in the field of biblical exegesis and hermeneutics. Anna is a member of The Sanctuary in Austin, where her husband, Brent, has recently accepted a call to ministry. She holds a Bachelor of Arts from Baylor University’s honors program, and while a student there was active in children and youth ministries, led Bible studies, and taught Sunday school. At Austin Seminary, Anna quickly distinguished herself in biblical studies, serving as an instructional aide in both Hebrew and Greek and as a research assistant to Bible professors. She has also completed a summer Supervised Practice of Ministry internship at University Baptist Church in Austin. Her supervisor, The Reverend Dr. Larry Bethune, says of Anna, “She has the rare combination of intellectual ability, a commitment to excellence, pastoral sensitivity, and a sense of humor.” After graduation, Anna plans to pursue doctoral work in biblical studies, with a specific interest in Hebrew Bible. Mary Ann Kaiser is the recipient of the Janie Maxwell Morris Fellowship, which carries a prize this year of $3,000. This fellowship was established in 1953 by a
bequest from the will of Mrs. Milton Morris of Austin, Texas. This fellowship was given in the spirit of aiding a Master of Divinity student who desires to pursue further studies. Mary Ann is a member of Cokesbury United Methodist Church in Pensacola, Florida. She holds a bachelor of arts in communication arts/organizational communication with a minor in social welfare from the University of West Florida. After college, she served for a year in Nigeria teaching HIV/AIDS awareness and teaching and working in a local seminary. At Austin Seminary, Mary Ann has served on the Student Senate and completed a summer Supervised Practice of Ministry internship at the Women’s Alliance for Theology, Ethics, and Ritual (WATER) in Silver Spring, Maryland. Her supervisor, Dr. Mary Hunt, said that the internship “helped her to see the many dimensions of feminist work in religion. She brought spark and insight, solidarity and integrity. We value her as a WATER colleague and congratulate her on her award.” Mary Ann is a student representative to the Admissions Commission. She has worked as a chaplain for the last two years at South Austin Medical Center. After graduation, she plans to pursue graduate studies in religion and society or in social ethics. Naomi Ingram was selected as the recipient of the W.P. Newell Fellowship,
which carries an award of $3,000. This fellowship was endowed in 1946 by Mrs. W.P. Newell of Albany, Texas, as a memorial to her late husband. Naomi is a member of Grace Presbyterian Church in Temple, Texas. She earned the Doctor of Pharmacy degree at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln and subsequently served in several residencies, taught pharmacy students, and worked for many years as a clinical pharmacist. These experiences engaged her gifts for compassion and led to a desire to serve in ministry. An active church leader for many years, she is a Certified Christian Educator and Commissioned Lay Pastor, and she served as the pastoral assistant at Grace Presbyterian Church in Temple, Texas, for over twelve years prior to coming to Austin Seminary. While at Austin Seminary, Naomi served on the Financial Aid Committee, completed a unit of Clinical Pastoral Education at Scott & White Hospital in Temple, and is now completing a Supervised Practice of Ministry internship at San Gabriel Presbyterian Church in Georgetown, Texas. Her supervisor, the Reverend Jeanie Stanley (MDiv’99), said that Naomi “combines wisdom, compassion, and a servant’s heart as she accomplishes ministry and mission for Christ.” Naomi is particularly interested in preaching and worship, pastoral care, and missions and is seeking a call as a solo or associate pastor.
staff news | Lisa Juica (MDiv’11) joined the staff of the Office of Admissions in January as associate for admissions. In her new role at the Seminary, she will walk alongside prospective students as they explore their calls to pursue theological education and serve the church. Following graduation from seminary, Lisa served as pulpit supply to churches in Grace Presbytery and as a chaplain resident at Baylor All Saints in Fort Worth, Texas.
campus notes | • On December 2 the Seminary was host to 200 members of the Academy of Homiletics. Austin Seminary co-sponsored their annual meeting, and local arrangements were made by Professors Jennifer Lord and Kristin Saldine with help from administrative assistant Brenda Osbon and student Katie Frederick. • The Reverend Jeffrey Richard, Austin Seminary Trustee, preached for the Martin Luther King Jr. Commemorative Service on February 14. • Bishop James Dorf of the Southwest Texas Conference of the United Methodist Church preached on February 21. Spring 2012 | 5
I go to church to strengthen my relationship with God, and I feel like church is a safe place full of people who will always be there for you. —Grace, 10th grade
Finding Purpose Igniting sparks in the lives of young people
O By David F. White
ne day last spring, I learned of a nearby bicycle race to raise money for breast cancer research and treatment. When I arrived on the appointed Saturday at a nearby park awash in a colorful sea of cyclists, I was surprised to find that the organizer of the event—a job that involved handling registrations and large amounts of money, securing permits and emergency medical support, staffing water stops with volunteers, and much more—was a fourteen-year-old boy named Anthony! Anthony explained that only a few months earlier his mother had been diagnosed with breast cancer and so he decided to join the American Cancer Society’s Relay for Life by organizing a race to raise local awareness. I watched Anthony as he deftly handled my registration, greeted participants, and dispatched volunteers to their water stops along the route. With bullhorn in hand he gave instructions to start the race, directed traffic, instructed volunteers, and bestowed trophies at the finish line. David White is The C. Ellis and Nancy Gribble Nelson Associate Professor of Christian Education at Austin Seminary. Ordained in the United Methodist Church, he is the author of Awakening Youth Discipleship in a Consumer Culture (Cascade, 2007, coauthored with Brian Mahan and Michael Warren) and Practicing Discernment with Youth (Pilgrim Press, 2005). He is currently writing a book on “purpose” among youth and young adults. 6 | Austin Presbyterian Theological Seminary
Watching Anthony in his bid to make a positive difference in the world was a thing of beauty. Yet, Anthony’s purposefulness stands in stark contrast to many adolescents and young adults, who, according to William Damon, one of the world’s leading scholars of human development, seem to be stuck in a state of “aimless drift.” According to Damon, we find ourselves in a society where purposefulness among young people is the exception rather than the rule. Only one in five American young people age twelve to twenty-two express a clear vision of where they want to go and what they want to accomplish and why; almost a quarter express no aspirations at all and in some cases see no point in acquiring any. Increasing numbers of young adults feel little obligation to participate in any cause larger than themselves and their
vidual pursuit in which young people will automatically find their way into a meaningful life through casual experience and reflection, where something will eventually “click,” and youth will know with certainty the true direction for their lives. The paradox is that purpose is both deeply individual and unavoidably a social phenomenon, best guided by families and communities. As we will see, there is an important role for families and congregations in helping young people to find their purpose. If there is bad news about purPurposelessness in young people poselessness in young people, there is also good news. Researchers Wilrepresents, in a sense, a failure of the liam Damon and Peter Benson obChristian church to communicate a serve that nearly all young people, when asked, are immediately able to robust gospel. We are guilty of attaching identify “sparks” of purpose within God like a paperclip to a forgotten corner that can be fanned into flame and of our unreflective, middle-class lives. give direction to their lives. Benson, in his book Sparks: How Parents Can Help Ignite the Hidden Strengths of Teenagers characterizes sparks of purpose as those experiences which immediate social networks. Regrettably, this state of purgive us energy and joy; make us feel poseless adolescent and young adult “limbo” lasts longer alive and useful; draw on our best potential; cause us to than for any age cohort in the history of the world. lose sense of time as we are fully absorbed in the moment; A sense of purpose can enhance the well-being of originate from inside of us; may emerge as a skill, talent, young people, but a loss of purpose causes a host of or interest; might be thought of as our gift or reason emotional and psychological problems: without a sense for being in the world; are not just episodic activities or of purpose, many young people become psychologically amusements, but prime sources of meaning, self-directed fragile, self-absorbed, depressed, or lethargic. action, and purpose; and, make the world a better place Damon suggests that parents and social norms about for others. parenting bear some of the blame. The 1960s youth rebel- Not only does this research insist that “sparks” of lion against all forms of authority evolved into the un- purpose can give direction to the young people as they questioned assumption that our children do not want or develop a sense of vocation; but it additionally confirms need help—that they have the resources to launch out on that sparks of purpose can be supported by adults, playtheir own to find themselves. The search for a sense of ing the role of “spark champions.” Among families that purpose and identity is now assumed to be a strictly indi- actively nourish teenagers’ sparks there exists a set of
Spring 2012 | 7
All we really need is a role model who can tell us about God and teach us – you don’t have to reel us in. We need mentors who accept us the way we are. —Shane, 12th grade common practices that Benson recommends to those who seek to nurture purpose in youth: • Know your own teenager. Watch carefully and notice your child’s own strengths, including, knowing a child’s temperament, his or her learning styles, his or her preferred activities, and his or her physiological makeup. • Discover and reveal your teen’s sparks. Help raise your child’s awareness of his or her particular sparks so they can be deliberately cultivated. • Be the captain of your teen’s Spark Team. Young people need adults around them to remind them of their
The Christian notion of vocation involves connecting our stories to the story of God.
uniqueness and its value for the world. Parents can help mobilize others in the community as role models, listeners, advice givers, and fellow journeyers. • Keep your teen’s spark lit. Parents can create space in the home for teens to cultivate their sparks of purpose. This involves crafting a positive culture including time, space, encouragement, stories of those with similar sparks, mealtime reporting, and planning for taking deliberate action. Purposelessness in young people represents, in a sense, a failure of the Christian church to communicate a robust gospel. We are guilty of attaching God like a paperclip to a forgotten corner of our unreflective, middle-class lives, reducing God to brief or dreary table graces rather than the revolutionary love that changes us utterly, lift8 | Austin Presbyterian Theological Seminary
ing us from mourning into dancing, from silence to joy, from purposelessness to purpose. The domestication of God inevitably leaves Christians adrift, without purpose, in a life collapsed in upon itself. Yet, the Christian tradition, at its best, insists that every Christian has a call to participate in God’s purposes. The theological notion of vocation frames human purpose as subject to God’s call upon our lives. As such, the doctrine of vocation is the unfulfilled mandate of the Protestant Reformation. The research of Damon and Benson contributes to our practices of attending to innate “sparks” of young people; nevertheless a purposeful life does not necessarily denote a life lived in vocation, participating in God’s purposes. Among other things, the Christian notion of vocation involves connecting our stories to the story of God. Today, as religious narratives wane in prominence and consumerist narratives take their place (including the dominant story that happiness can be found at the cash register!), parents, teachers, and religious communities must teach youth to critique cultural narratives and to seek stories that give meaning to their yearnings to live fully. Good stories are not merely entertaining, but our identities, ethics, worldview, and our sense of purpose are narratively constructed. If young Anthony was a member of our congregation or youth group, what stories would we tell him? If his spark of compassion on behalf of breast cancer victims is to be comprehended as a faithful response—perhaps even as a purposeful life trajectory—then he will need to hear the story of God’s own compassion for a wounded world, Jesus’ compassion for lepers and outcasts, and of the Spirit’s healing work ushering in God’s Kindom of shalom. What story would we tell to other young people with artistic sparks? Do we have sufficient facility with the Bible and theology to tell how creation is God’s own art; or how, as John’s gospel expresses—that Jesus is the image (art) of God. What stories would we tell youth with sparks of “desire” or “responsibility” or “giftedness”? As parents and congregations journey with our young people we need stories ready at hand that can unite, especially those special sparks, into a life capable of reflecting God’s glory. v
The church’s mission is to make new disciples, proclaim God’s Word, and share Christian love. —Isabel, 7th grade
Young people respond to the video: “If we were to get rid of religion, another structure must be presented. Without structure it would just be chaos.” —Josh Turpin (senior, home schooled, Austin, Texas)
ocial media and viral marketing have invaded the lives of youth. Shelley Walters, a junior at Austin Seminary and the director of student ministries at St. John’s United Methodist Church in Austin, feels called to help young people engage it critically from a Christian perspective. Recently “Why I Hate Religion, But Love Jesus,” a spoken-word performance with more than 20 million views on YouTube, drew the attention of young Christians. The video consists of a young man speaking passionately against the church and for Jesus, whom he claims came to abolish religion. Members of Shelley’s church even emailed it to her and suggested she speak to the youth about it. Shelley decided to do just that. The youth group gathered and watched the four-minute video together. Initially the youth were convinced by its message: Down with the institution of the church! But then a high school freshman asked if the poet went to seminary. He did not. Shelley was impressed, though not surprised, as they began to critically question the background of the man providing what was, to many, a captivating message. To continue the conversation, Shelley showed the youth another video—a rebuttal made by a Catholic priest. Some youth said the priest has to say what he did because he works for “the Man.” Others argued that his claims were founded upon Scripture and theological education rather than only well-crafted words. Videos targeted at young people are pervasive throughout social media and become viral, influencing youths’ relationship with God and the church. Shelley knows that we need educated youth ministers who are able to speak from an educated place to ignite the passions of youth, helping them dig in and engage in a discussion.
“I think he’s right. Too m any people think just because they go to church means they are Christia n. Religion is just a mask to make you loo k better. If you have a relationship with Jesus himself then that’s all that really matters.” —K C Powell (senior, Conr oe High School, Conroe, Texas)
a few points. “I really thought he had does the “religion Although, he sort of over ganized religion, is bad” thing. I do like or ve, although it can and think it’s good to ha es. Sometimes I get controlling sometim cause it may be feel bad about things be I don’t like feeling against my religion, and that.” guilty about things like (senior, Escambia —Monique Queen-Smith Florida) High School, Pennsacola,
“I think the most interesting part w as asking if Jesus cam e to your church, would he be let in ? I think that at University Presbyte rian Church he would, as homeles s people are welco me to attend our serv ice, but in other churches, that’s de finitely not the case .” —John Dodd (junior , Westlake High Scho ol, Austin, Texas)
—John Stanger, Austin Seminary student Spring 2012 | 9
Parenting as Hospitality Children offer parents opportunities to model Christian faith By David H. Jensen
Parenting is a practice of hospitality, where the daily, often mundane, acts of care-giving instill patterns of concern for the world beyond the home.
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hristian faith stresses hospitality throughout its scriptures: Abraham and Sarah offer food, drink, and rest to three strangers and learn from their guests that Sarah is to give birth (Gen. 18:1-15). Jesus tells his followers that by visiting prisoners, giving drink to the thirsty, clothing to the naked, and food to the hungry that they are feeding, clothing, and visiting him (Matt. 25:35-6). The Letter to the Hebrews urges readers to “show hospitality to strangers, for by doing that some have entertained angels without knowing it” (Heb. 13:2). Hospitality is not simply a form of altruism; for Christians, these acts provide occasions for meeting the risen Christ. We learn Christian faith by practicing it. The relationships between parents and children offer abundant spaces for learning and nurturing faith, especially if we consider parenting to be a practice of hospitality, where the daily, often mundane, acts of care-giving instill patterns of concern for the world beyond the home. Many contemporary American understandings of family, however, run counter to practices of hospitality, focused as they are on rather narrow visions of hearth and home. Gated communities, backyard retreats (rather than front porch gatherings), and a valorization of the nuclear family tend to distance parents and children from neighbors across the street and across town.
David Hadley Jensen is professor of constructive theology at Austin Seminary. A member of the faculty since 2001, he holds degrees from Carleton College, Yale University, and Vanderbilt University. He is the author of Parenting (Fortress, 2011), Flourishing Desire: A Theology of Human Sexuality (WJK, forthcoming), and Living Hope: The Future and Christian Faith (WJK, 2010), among others. He and his spouse, Molly, are parents to Grace and Finn.
In the face of these trends, theologian Rodney Clapp, in his book Families at the Crossroads, has suggested that we consider the family as a school where we learn to welcome others: “Christians have children so we can become the kind of people who welcome strangers.” All of the others whom we welcome first come to us as strangers; biological and adoptive children are no exception. Toddlers’ temper tantrums, teenagers’ body piercings, and young adult children’s unconventional life choices can cause parents to ask, Whose child is this anyway? Children, likewise, are often bewildered by the household rules and family customs that parents create. Parents and children both love each other immediately, automatically, as they receive one another as gifts, and learn to love each other in their idiosyncrasies.
The church’s mission in the world is to glorify God and to advocate for peace and be a voice for those who are voiceless. —Anna, 10th grade Parents and children, in other words, surprise each other each day. This surprise makes parenting an act of hospitality: where the host offers hospitality to the guest, and in receiving hospitality, the guest also shares with the host. Parents and children can thus learn hospitality from each other, patterns that eventually extend beyond the front door. One mark of Christian parenting is whether the practice of caring for children encourages parents and children to become hospitable to strangers, or whether they remain enclosed upon themselves. In a house closed in upon itself, parents can only see conflict between their children’s needs and the needs of strangers. In a more open household, faith is nurtured by acts of hospitality as strangers are welcomed. Another way that parents nurture faith is by making covenants. Mothers and fathers make special promises to their children: to be there for, be there with, provide, nurture, cherish, and love. Parents ought to love their children, who are given by grace, with a special kind of intensity, and even to look with favor upon their uniquely given children. But the promises parents make to children Continued on page 17 Spring 2012 | 11
The “Barefoot Way” Discovering meaning by connecting our stories to the larger Christian one By Dori Baker
y 72-year-old mother called the other day to give me some unexpected news: she was reading the Bible. She had gotten through Genesis and was now looking at Mark. My mother, you must understand, was a “none” (shorthand for “no religious preference” on the U.S. census) long before that was trendy. The subject of multiple baptisms as a child, she now keeps her distance from most things that smack of organized religion, unless I happen to be preaching. What was the impetus for her to dig up a Bible and dust it off? My new book, The Barefoot Way: A Faith Guide for Youth, Young Adults and the People who Walk with Them (Westminster John Knox Press, 2012). It’s intended to spark just that kind of response— in teenagers and young adults—those very people so prone to become “nones” if we read the current data. I call it “upside down Bible study.” First you hear a story, a true story, from someone’s life—only afterward do you wander back toward the Bible. It may be a story about anything: a bench at Wal-mart, a hummingbird, and flip-flops all make appearances. After hearing the story, you step onto the holy ground of meaning making. As humans, we are first and foremost meaning-makers. Our brains are always seeking connections, looking for patterns, wanting to know “why” from the time we first learn to speak. When we follow that natural urge a little further, we may ask where our stories overlap with God’s story—
Dori Baker, MDiv, PhD, currently serves as scholarin-residence to The Fund for Theological Education (FTE). Her books include Doing Girlfriend Theology: God-talk with Young Women and Greenhouses of Hope: Congregations that Nurture Young People who will Change the World. 12 | Austin Presbyterian Theological Seminary
as revealed to us in scripture, experience, and Christian tradition. We move toward wondering what God might be calling us to be and do as we collaborate with God in constructing a future. Sometimes, when we open our meaning-making to a trusted circle of friends, we see things we cannot see alone. We see images and hear whispers of connection that elude us in solo quests. If we carefully prepare our Julia Freeman-Woolpert
hearts and minds, we might even sense one another’s “shy souls” coming out of hiding to bask for awhile in the mysterious presence of God among us. People of all ages can step onto this holy ground, and I believe congregations are places where that happens, sometimes. What if we found ways for that to happen more frequently? What if we created spaces for intergenerational meaning-making? It was this hope that brought about “A Barefoot Way.” For the past dozen years, I’ve been practicing this kind of
What is your least favorite part of worship? The postlude. —Natalya, 7th grade
Young people today need more grandparents rooting for them from the sidelines, waiting with wonder and that hope-filled thing called prayer to see young people of promise and passion emerge.
storied meaning-making with various groups of women, men, children, and youth. I’ve collected some of my favorites to create a method of spiritual formation that I will teach in a workshop at Austin Seminary on April 23-25. I am bringing along a friend and former student, Aram Bae, who is a practicing PC(USA) Christian educator completing her doctoral work. A story from Aram’s childhood is included in the book, and she’s gone on to think carefully about how this method can be a gift in various contexts of race and ethnicity. The goal of our work is to empower those who work with youth and young adults with a renewed ability to lead that very human search for meaning. Whether at the end of a mission trip, in a Sunday morning small group gathering, around a campfire, or at your local coffee shop, we want them to be inspired to look for signs of God and help others think more theologically every day. Along the way, we’ll be exploring adolescent cultures, thinking about how tweeting, texting, and other languages of digital natives open them in new ways to God in their midst. When I imagine churches taking seriously their role as sites of meaning-making, I get excited. I imagine young people who want to change the world, surrounded by adults who will brainstorm with them, share successes and failures, and just join in the grandparent-cheerleading squad. Young people today need more grandparents rooting for them from the sidelines, waiting with wonder and that hope-filled thing called prayer to see young people of promise and passion emerge. They need other-mothers and fathers— people who step in when real parents are overburdened, overwhelmed, or checked out. We all know this is not a one-sided sharing, but a deeply fulfilling mutual gifting. Church is one place where we can eat together, shed tears together, celebrate one another’s joys and feel—really feel—one another’s heartaches. It all begins, I believe, with a mindful decision to begin opening our storied lives to one another. Taking off our shoes. Preparing to stand on holy ground. v “The Barefoot Way: A Guide for Youth, Young Adults, and the People Who Walk with Them,” with Dori Baker and Aram Bae, will take place April 23-25 at Austin Seminary. For more information, call 512-404-4857 or visit
AustinSeminary.edu/barefoot Spring 2012 | 13
Score! for Jesus
How a Tennessee congregation uses sports to train disciples By Paul Burns
n October of 2008 we were loading up the trucks for Project Joy, our annual mission trip. Project Joy started as a youth project, but as I looked around I was wondering, “Where are the youth?” There was only a handful. Just then two teenagers from the neighborhood appeared through the gym door. They wanted to help load the trucks! What? Kids from out of the blue wanting to work? For free? Nathan and Robert, one white, the other black, worked hard for two hours until the work was done. As I thanked them, Nathan shyly asked if perhaps they might play basketball sometime in our gym. How could I say no? I told them that any time they saw my truck parked outside that they could come in and play. They did not hesitate to take me up on the offer. The next week, they came back with a few other boys; the next week, a few more. By the following spring at least a dozen boys and even a girl were playing basketball in the gym. One day Nathan came to me and said, “I want to be baptized.” I was shocked. I had never talked to him about baptism. He was not raised in a church. His mother was just as shocked as I was. She joined, too. Soon after, Ronnie came to me and said, “I want to be baptized.” He had hardly spoken two words to me before. His brother and sister followed. This was verging on epidemic! The next spring Wallace, one of the regulars, suggested that we should have a tournament over spring break. I realized that none of these kids would be going off to the beach or camping with their families. It would just be a week without school and a week without much supervision. We called it “Two-on-Two Smackdown!” I made up some fun t-shirts with the Presbyterian Church
(U.S.A.) symbol on them and had some inexpensive trophies made up. We did not really know what to expect, but about twenty-five kids showed up. It was a blast! Wallace, not wanting this to end, wondered why we couldn’t do it all summer. I didn’t want it to end either. Both Nathan and Wallace seemed to have a hunger to get more kids into the church. Between them they brought dozens. Summer Hoops was born. By the end of the summer eighty kids played basketball with us, heard the Word of God, and were prayed over. Some just came to hang out. About eight or nine kids became active members of our youth program. The next confirmation class had one “child of the church” and nine “neighborhood kids.” Not all of them completed the class, but in the end we baptized and confirmed five. These neighborhood kids were becoming OUR kids! By the end of the next summer, another handful of youth joined us and were baptized. However, we were hungry for more, much more. We turned Summer Hoops into a confirmation class itself! We developed a 21-question catechism drawn from our denomination’s catechisms that covered the essentials of our faith with an emphasis on belonging, grace, and discipleship. We played with them, taught them, prayed over them, and fed them. Thirty-six youth made a profession of faith! At first the congregation tended to view Hoops as my personal ministry. It was dubbed
Paul Burns (MDiv’07) is pastor of Priest Lake Presbyterian Church in Nashville, Tennessee. He is the author of Prayer Encounters: Changing the World One Prayer at a Time (WestBow Press, forthcoming). At right, some of the youth who participate in the Hoops program: Austin, Nathaniel, Ke’Andre, and Shanelle; photograph by Nancy Good, http://www. creatorencounters.com. 14 | Austin Presbyterian Theological Seminary
“Paul’s Pals.” Many found it difficult to see how it benefitted the church—it wasn’t bringing in many families, just kids. But these kids have found their way into the hearts of members as we have baptized them, taught them, and watched them grow more and more into the image of Christ. They have become part of our family. We would not be the same without them. Our youth program has exploded through this full-court disciple formation. It is the prayer of our congregation that these young men and women will continue to learn the way of Christ and pave the way for a bright future at Priest Lake and the community at large. v
What is one thing you wish pastors realized about youth? That some of us are there for the people and community, not for the religion. —Donna,8th grade
Both Nathan and Wallace seemed to have a hunger to get more kids into the church. Between them they brought dozens.
Spring 2012 | 15
Youth @ Camp
By Kathy Anderson he sights, sounds, and experiences of summer camp are familiar: campfires, s’mores, hikes in the wilderness, swimming, recreation, arts and crafts, and camping out under the stars. At camp, children and youth enjoy the simple challenges of learning how to build a fire, catch a fish, paddle a canoe, or conquer a high ropes course. They also encounter the much more complicated challenges of getting along with a new group of peers, discovering their own gifts for leadership, or being away from home and parents (for a whole week or more!) for the first time. But that is not all that happens at camp, especially at church camp. The Camp and Conference Ministries Office of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) says it well: “Presbyterian camping offers faith-filled encounters with Christ in a spiritually safe environment. True to our denominational Reformed tradition, campers get to experience the saving grace of God in a spirit-filled Christian community. By living their faith, campers get an opportunity to more fully integrate their faith into their daily lives.” At camp, young people make connections with God, faith, and spirituality in ways that are not as possible in the pews on Sunday morning. Every Presbyterian camp and conference center embraces this ministry differently. While the particulars are unique to each site, the message and ministry are the same. Where I serve, campers eat together, with cabins sharing the same table for the week. Meals are served family style. Just about every day features homemade bread. It’s a camp favorite because kids come to know that at least once a day, there will be bread. Children and youth learn about table fellowship, which is something that they also experience at church, and on Sundays at the Lord’s Table. But at camp, it comes to them in the form of setting tables, washing dishes, and homemade
Kathy Anderson (MDiv’97) is executive director of John Knox Ranch (http://www.johnknoxranch.com/), a Presbyterian camp in the Texas hill country. Photo at right: counselors Ricardo Hernandez and Awbrey Collins provide the beat for campers; photo by Cindy Farrar. 16 | Austin Presbyterian Theological Seminary
bread—and the gospel reminder that there is enough to go around, but that we should only take what we need, not everything we want. “Taste and see that the Lord is good” takes on new meaning. Because of camp. Because of camp, the words of the Psalm telling that the heavens proclaim the glory of God mean so much more once one has spent a night camping out under the stars. Because of camp, the notion of the river of life becomes real in the living waters of a river, creek, or swimming pool. And because of camp, young people begin to consider their vocation, their place in God’s world, and how they might be called to serve Jesus Christ as a faith-
Continued from page 11
ful servant of the living Lord. Young people who attend summer camp come to know in the deep recesses of their young hearts where it is that they can find bread for the journey. In a world and a culture that whispers so many negative things to our young people, what better defense is there against destruction and annihilation of the self than to know oneself rooted and grounded in the love of God as shown to us in Jesus Christ? The only way any of us come to know this is by being engaged in the midst of God’s people and the body of Christ—found in our worshiping communities at church, and reinforced at summer camp. v
At camp, young people make connections with God, faith, and spirituality in ways that are not as possible in the pews on Sunday morning.
do not end at the doorstep of the family home; they make us responsive to those who come to those doors and to those whom we meet beyond those doors. A promise to nurture one’s child eventually becomes suffocating if a parent lavishes attention only on that child. That would be one example of idolatry. Parenting and promises flourish when love grows, so that parent and child are not simply focused on themselves, but welcome others in love, and hear others’ claims. Of course, there is no guarantee that parenting mitigates the potential conflict between families and strangers. Household patterns may just as often exacerbate those conflicts. But, when conceived as an act of hospitality, parenting may offer some hope that care for others is not a zero-sum game, that some receive less care so that others might receive more. The dynamic of the Christian economy of grace suggests something different: where parents experience giving not only as sacrifice, but as occasions of joy; where children not only learn from parents, but teach them as well; where care for one’s children, the nearest, results in greater attention to more distant neighbors. As parents and children journey together, they discover hospitality and faith in daily, ordinary routines. From the moment a child enters a parent’s life, the parent learns what it means to share, and provide for another’s well-being, through unglamorous acts of feeding, clothing, diapering, and bathing. Children, too, learn that in the give and take of family life they have to attend to people besides themselves: Toys get shared, pieces of cake get halved, clothes get picked up. Under a common roof, family members make countless decisions every day that reflect acts of hospitality large and small. Parenting is not the only way to learn hospitality—and it can run counter to hospitality—but parents and children have ample opportunity to practice Christian faith as they negotiate the everyday affairs of life during the time they have together. v
I go to church because I believe in God and I enjoy the family aspect of the congregation. —Sarah, 7th grade Spring 2012 | 17
The Faith and Friendships of Teenage Boys (due out late
resources | Rodney Clapp, Families at the Crossroads: Beyond Traditional & Modern Options (InterVarsity Press, 1993) Bonnie Miller-McLemore, In the Midst of Chaos: Caring for Children as Spiritual Practice (JosseyBass, 2006) Lisa Sowle Cahill, Family: A Christian Social Perspective (Fortress Press, 2000) Adrian Thatcher, Theology and Families (Blackwell, 2007) Katherine Turpin, Branded: Adolescents Converting from Consumer Faith (Pilgrim Press, 2006) Fred P. Edie, Book, Bath, Table, and Time: Christian Worship as Source and Resource for Youth Ministry (Pilgrim Press, 2007) Don Grinenko Baker and Joyce Ann Mercer, Lives to Offer: Accompanying Youth on Their Vocational Quests (Pilgrim Press, 2007) Frank Rogers, Finding God in the Graffiti: Empowering Teenagers through Stories (Pilgrim Press, 2011)
summer), co-authored by Allan H. Cole, Academic Dean and Professor in the Nancy Taylor Williamson Distinguished Chair in Pastoral Care at Austin Seminary, focuses on the intimate and faithful friendships that teenage boys form with other boys, especially with a “best friend.” Recognizing that boys at this age experience a deeply felt need for a personal faith to guide and sustain them as they look to the future, the authors show how faithful friendships foster a deeper faith and trust in God, help a boy maintain his psychological and spiritual well-being in a time of uncertainty and self-doubt, and support his efforts to discover his true identity. The book is written for pastors, teachers, vocational counselors, parents of teenage boys, and men who seek to reconnect with the teenage boy they left behind as they entered adulthood.
Parenting (Fortress Press, 2011), by Austin Seminary Professor of Comparative Theology David Jensen, offers a lively description of the dailiness of parenting against the background of a radically changed world. In light of the deep biblical and historical reflection on fatherhood and motherhood, he offers a new vision for responsible and authentic parenthood for today. By paying special attention to some of the challenges and issues of parenting in a globalized world, the book offers a fresh vision of parenting that promotes justice, human flourishing, and recognition that all people are children of God. Practicing Discernment with Youth: A Transformative Youth Ministry Approach (Pilgrim Press, 2005) by David F. White,
The C. Ellis and Nancy Gribble Nelson Associate Professor of Christian Education at Austin Seminary. In this resource, Professor White calls for congregations to engage their own young people in practices of discernment that involve the gifts and problems of their unique context, bringing their lives more fully into partnership with God’s work in their particular place. He models how to do this through historic discernment practices of Christian communities such as: Ignatian contemplative practices, Quaker clearness counsels, consensus decision making, and silence. Practicing Discernment with Youth is the first book in the series, Youth Ministry Alternatives: Resources of Theological Integrity Rooted in Real Congregations (Pilgrim Press).
The Barefoot Way (Westminster John Knox, 2012), by Dori Baker,
theologian in residence for the Fund for Theological Education. This exceptional and innovative resource invites older youth, college students, and all who care about them, to participate for twenty-one days in journey and experiences of youth who have encountered God and told their story. Perfect for individual, small group, and workshop use, each day readers step “barefoot” onto the “Holy Ground” of these experiences in order to “L.I.V.E.” the story themselves: To Listen, Immerse, View it Wider, and Explore Actions and “Aha” moments. Special thanks to the youth (and their pastor, The Reverend Kate McGee!) of Trinity Presbyterian Church in Topeka, Kansas, whose quotes are included throughout: Donna Whipple, Anna Ahrens, Shane Ahrens, Isabel Ashley, Sarah Meenen, Natalya Thomblison, and Grace Lady.
webXtra: You can order all books by Austin Seminary faculty here: AustinSeminary.edu/amazonstore 18 | Austin Presbyterian Theological Seminary
faculty notes | Whit Bodman, associate professor of comparative religion, testified before the Texas House Public Health and Insurance Committees on February 27. He met with a group of Turkish journalists from major newspapers in Turkey to discuss the Gulen movement in America. He continues work with the Texas Conference of Churches, Austin Interfaith Clergy Caucus, IAct Red Bench Steering Committee, and Texas Impact. Academic Dean Allan H. Cole Jr. hosted scholars from the U.S., England, Ireland, The Netherlands, Finland, and South Africa for The Williamson Distinguished Scholars Conference on “Global and Ecumenical Perspectives on Theology in Service to the Church,” March 8-10. Austin Seminary faculty who presented papers at the conference included Cole, David Jensen, and Cynthia Rigby. Dean Cole also preached and led a seminar on “Nurturing Children in Faith” at Preston Hollow Presbyterian Church, Dallas.
Assistant Professor of Old Testament Gregory Cuéllar was awarded a Junior Scholar Grant from the Southwest Commission on Religious Studies, one of two junior scholar recipients. This funding will help support his research trip to the British Museum in May. Cuéllar taught a class at the Episcopal Church of the Resurrection in Austin in December and at Highland Park Presbyterian Church, Dallas, in March. Bill Greenway, associate professor of philosophical theology, contributed an essay, “Life Sacred,” to the National Council of Churches’ recently published anthology, God’s Earth is Sacred: An Open Letter to Church and Society. His reflection, “Superior Together,” appeared in The Reed in commemoration of five years of the joint degree program with the University of Texas School of Social Work. And his review essay of Eryl W. Davies’ The Immoral Bible: Approaches to Biblical Ethics appeared in the Fall 2011 issue of Horizons in Biblical Theology. David Jensen, professor of constructive theology, has spoken recently to churches in Austin, Dallas, and Houston, Timothy Lincoln enjoyed catching up with former colleague Steve Reid, now professor of Old Testament at Truett Theological Seminary, at the 2012 Tri-Synodical Theological Conference (ELCA) in Waco, January 23-25.
Texas, about eschatology, pluralism, and human sexuality. Timothy Lincoln, associate dean for Seminary Effectiveness and director of the Stitt Library, was elected to a three-year term on the Board of Directors of the American Theological Library Association (ATLA) in March. His article “All Flourishing? Student Experience and Gender in a Protestant Seminary” appeared in January 2012 issue of Feminist Theology. He is the lead researcher in a survey of reading and e-reading among students and faculty of ATLA member institutions. Jennifer Lord, The Dorothy B. Vickery Associate Professor of Homiletics and Liturgical Studies, gave keynote addresses at Mo-Ranch and for the Kerrville District of the United Methodist Church. She was a presenter and consultant for the new Presbyterian Hymnal’s liturgical resources, “Church of Word and Sacrament Consultation,” in Fort Worth, October 28-29, and presented a paper at the North American Academy of Liturgy Annual Meeting in Montreal in January. K.C. Ptomey, professor in the Louis H. and Katherine S. Zbinden Distinguished Chair in Pastoral Ministry and Leadership, lectured for the seminar “Aging Creatively Today” at Faith Presbyterian Church, Sun City, Arizona.
Emeritus Professor Ismael García reports that he is enjoying his retirement in Puerto Rico and has lately developed an interest in wood carving. Cynthia Rigby, the W.C. Brown Professor of Theology, lectured and preached in Prairie Village, Kansas; Georgetown, Fort Worth and Dallas, Texas; and Shreveport, Louisiana. She introduced, in these locales, two new lecture series: “Confronting the Cross: Revisiting the Atonement,” and “What it Means to Believe in God.” She was also the keynote speaker at Grace Presbytery’s Youth Conference January 27-29 and for the North Texas United Methodist Women’s Retreat, March 23-24. Professor Emeritus Ralph Underwood has a chapter in the forthcoming book, Psychological Hermeneutics for Biblical Themes and Texts. A Festschrift in Honor of Wayne G. Rollins (T & T Clark). His chapter reviews Rollins’ psychological insight into the Bible and comments on Rollins’ leadership among scholars in the Society of Biblical Literature. David White, The C. Ellis and Nancy Gribble Nelson Associate Professor of Christian Education, preached for and consulted with St. Paul’s United Methodist Church in Tucson, Arizona, in December. He participated in the ATS conference in Pittsburgh for mid-career faculty in March. Spring 2012 | 19
Secure your future and that of the church…
Donors Jay and John (MDiv’68) Evans were formed in generosity through the influences of those who came before them.
A life income gift may help donors meet three important goals: maintain a continuing source of income, provide an opportunity to receive tax benefits, and support Austin Seminary. Questions? Contact Lisa Holleran at 512-404-4803 or firstname.lastname@example.org austinseminary.edu/ plannedgiving
good reads |
their exploration of what it means to make this confession. A wonderful way to hear these texts hen John the Baptist asks Jesus, anew is to read Harris Lenowitz’s stunning “Are you the one who is to come, or and fascinating account of Jewish Messiahs. are we to wait for another?” (Matt. In his book The Jewish Messiahs: From the 11:3), we and all attentive readers of Matthew Galilee to Crown Heights (Oxford Univ. Press, think we understand the question and 1998), he explores the puzzle and terror of know the correct answer. Thus, when Jesus the Messiah by examining the responds by pointing stories of Jewish Messiahs to his behavior towards through the centuries. He takes the blind, the lame, the the reader on a sometimes lepers, the deaf, the dead, inspiring and sometimes and the poor, invoking terrifying journey, beginning images from Isaiah, we with Jesus and bar Kosiba and understand Jesus as moving through the stories affirming that he is indeed of David Alroy, Isaac Luria, the true Messiah sent by Shabtai Zvi, Yakov Frank, God to Israel. But is this and many others, ending what Jesus is saying? with the modern Yemenite As readers have long Messiahs. In so doing, he noted, these Isaiah images demonstrates how contested are not necessarily mesand uncertain everything sianic. Why would doing about messiahship can be. these particular Each Messiah creates things make Jesus Lenowitz … takes the reader on a his (!) own messianic the Messiah? Furworld. Every sometimes inspiring and sometimes thermore, John Messiah in this story already knows terrifying journey … In so doing, he is accepted by some what Jesus is dodemonstrates how contested and uncertain Jews and rejected ing. In fact, this by others. None is is why he asked everything about messiahship can be. exactly like Jesus of his question. He Nazareth, but they is not asking “Are all share with him a similar messianic puzzle. you the Messiah?” to which Jesus supplies Having read this book, having seen this data. John is asking “Do these deeds that how rich and diverse the world of Jewish I have heard about mean you are the MesMessiahs has been, we become better readers siah?” Jesus then tells John what he already of gospels. We can hear and feel, in a new knows, adding the admonition “blessed is way, the messianic energy in these texts. anyone who takes no offense at me” (Matt. Gospels are not simply announcing that Jesus 11:6). Thus, Jesus does not answer the quesis the Messiah. They are doing that by way tion of whether he is the Messiah. Instead, of an intense and complex exploration of Jesus makes the question of him being the the puzzle of the Messiah and the stunning Messiah more difficult, allusive, and intense. character of Jesus’ life and ministry. There are All four gospels assume that Jesus is the two good reads here: one is Messiah. But they do much more than that. Lenowitz; the other is the They create a complex messianic geography with which to tell the story of Jesus. They ask gospels themselves. v
not if Jesus is the Messiah, but how we might think that and what it might mean to say he is. Because we, as Christians, confess Jesus as the Messiah, I think we typically read gospels too quickly, missing thereby the richness of 20 | Austin Presbyterian Theological Seminary
—Written by Lewis Donelson, The Ruth Campbell Professor of New Testament
upcoming from education beyond the walls The Barefoot Way: A Guide for Youth, Young Adults, and the People Who Walk with Them | April 23-25 | Keynote Speaker is Rev. Dr. Dori Baker, Scholar-in-Residence, The Fund for Theological Education with Aram Bae, Doctoral Candidate, Union Theological Seminary, New York | The Barefoot Way invites older youth, college students, and all who care about them, to step barefoot onto the Holy Ground of the experiences of God in our lives. Through this workshop and materials to use at home, you will learn to lead the journey into vocation for those you accompany. You will also be renewed in your own calling and challenged to expand your role as a leader who acts from inner wisdom. God spoke to Moses at the burning bush, essentially telling him to kick off his flip-flops and get ready to stand on holy ground. Cost: APCE members $70; non-members $100 In partnership with the South Central Region of Presbyterian Christian Educators (SCRAPCE)
Glory to God: A Preview of the New Presbyterian Hymnal | April 26-27 | Michael Waschevski (DMin’03) and Barbara Wheeler, members of the Presbyterian Committee on Congregational Song, and Scott McNulty, Coordinator of Chapel Music, Austin Seminary Choir Festival | April 26 | Bring your choir and musicians for an evening of spirited singing of songs old and new that will be included in the new hymnal. Presenters will offer comments on why particular pieces were chosen and what they can add to Presbyterian worship. 7:00 - 9:00 p.m. | No fee but registration is required What’s In It for Me? | April 27 | A workshop for present and future clergy and educators that introduces church leaders and seminary students to the worship, liturgical, and musical resources of Glory to God: the Presbyterian Hymnal. Presenters will also discuss how the collection was formed, the theological vision that guided the committee, and issues the committee considered along the way. 10:00 a.m. - 1:00 p.m. | Cost: $25 registration fee, lunch included Learn more and register for all events at AustinSeminary.edu/EBW
Festival of Young Preachers coming in September
hile many young people don’t have personal experience with the careers they choose, most professions have a compelling cultural image that draws young people to them. How many teenagers do you know who want to be forensics specialists because of “CSI”? Ministry is different. No one goes to seminary who hasn’t seen ministry in some form being practiced. In fact, almost no one goes who has not actually participated as a leader in ministry. One of the beautiful aspects of our faith is that all God’s people can serve, and so we invite people to try on their vocation by
engaging in acts of faith— that is how young people often discover, or discern, a call to ministry. Education Beyond the Walls will host the Regional Festival of Young Preachers on the Seminary campus next fall. The Festival is sponsored by the Academy of Preachers, an ecumenical organization founded solely to identify, network, support, and inspire young people in their call to Gospel preaching. On September 28 and 29, thirty-six people between the ages of 16-25 will be at Austin Seminary preaching. That’s it: They will try on the experience of preaching. They
come, in the words of one young preacher from the National Festival, because they believe that the pulpit can “still burn a flame.” Most of them have not been trained or seminary educated; many of them make the decision to pursue theological education because of this experience in which they fall in love with preaching and begin to know what they don’t know. Every young preacher must have a mentor and a sponsoring congregation. Any young people in your midst who might want to try on the ministry of preaching? Registration opens April 1 at www. academyofpreachers.net. v Spring 2012 | 21
Austin Seminary honors two alumni for distinguished service
he Reverend Ruben Armendáriz and the Reverend Judith Henderson were honored as the 2012 Austin Seminary Association’s (ASA) Award for Service recipients for their dedication and outstanding service to the church and
candidate for ministry in the Texas-Mexican Presbytery, a Spanish-language presbytery in the Synod of Texas (19081955). He served as the organizing pastor of Good Shepherd Presbyterian Church in Dallas, then as the Priest-in-Charge at St. Martins Episcopal Church in Corpus Christi. Ruben was also on the staff of Presbytery Del Salvador in Corpus Christi, as well as the executive director of Hispanic American Institute in Austin. His list of accomplishments also include teaching as a visiting professor, lecturer, and adjunct
Ministries Program, and then vice president for Seminary Operations and Relations. Ruben returned to Texas in 1991 to lead the Divine Redeemer Presbyterian Church in San Antonio, where he retired. He is currently a church development consultant for Mission Presbytery in San Antonio. The Reverend Judith “Judy” Henderson, a 1997 graduate of Austin Seminary, served in both installed and interim pastor positions after graduating seminary. Now honorably retired, she still preaches and teaches, and serves on Eastern Oklahoma Presbytery’s Committee on Ministry. In 2006, Judy started a new chapter in her ministry when she began teaching at the University of Livingstonia in the
southeastern African country of Malawi. In 2008, she was installed as associate pastor of Livingstonia Mission Station Church. As moderator of a partnership between Eastern Oklahoma Presbytery and the University of Livingstonia, she organized delegations from Malawi to Oklahoma in 2007 and 2009. Last winter, she coordinated the onsite distribution of the contents of a transoceanic container filled with goods for Livingstonia Mission Station and the University of Livingstonia, a mission project of Olympia Presbytery (Washington) Malawi Mission Committee. She currently serves on the Planning Team for the Malawi Mission Network of the PC(USA). v
ASA Award Winner Ruben Armendáriz (MDiv’61) with his son Caleb. community. This honor is bestowed on outstanding Austin Seminary alumni each year during the ASA Banquet. Award recipients are nominated by their peers and community and selected by the ASA Awards Committee and Board. The Reverend Ruben Armendáriz served in the U.S. Navy before earning a Bachelor of Arts from The University of Texas at Austin and then a Master of Divinity from Austin Seminary in 1961. During his talk at the banquet he recalled that he was the last
professor for the Episcopal Seminary of the Southwest in Austin, Austin Seminary, and then McCormick Theological Seminary in Chicago, where he served from 1975-1991. His tenure at McCormick included professor of ministry, the director ASA Award Winner Judy Henderson (MDiv’97) with her husband, David, and of Hispanic Pete Hendrick (MDiv’52).
22 | Austin Presbyterian Theological Seminary
to Leah Elizabeth Staley, daughter of Ann Herlin (MDiv’01) and Terry Staley. Leah was born on February 2, 2012. to Audrey Christine, daughter of Marta Zaborowski Ukropina (MDiv’06) and David Ukropina (MDiv’06), born March 6, 2012.
class notes | 1980s Katie Hopper (MDiv’84), installed as head of staff at Westminster Presbyterian Church in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, on September 25, 2011. Donna F. Wilson (MDiv’89) will become provost and senior vice president for academic affairs at Lock Haven University (Pennsylvania State System), effective July 2, 2012.
1990s C. Calvin Reynolds (MDiv’94), senior pastor of San Pedro Presbyterian Church in San Antonio, Texas, has recently retired after twenty-four years of service as a chaplain in the Navy Reserve. Reynolds continues to conduct workshops for the Warriors in Transition program at San Antonio Military Medical Center. Lemuel Garcia-Arroyo (MDiv’95) was featured on the Joy Gift Offering literature of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) for 2011. The New England Dream Center (NEDC), under the direction of executive operating officer George Cladis (DMin’96), purchased the historic Bull Mansion in Worcester, Massachusetts. The 11,500 square foot facility, which houses a five-star restaurant with banquet and meeting facilities, will be used for workforce training of low-skilled individuals in the hospitality and food service industries. The New England Dream Center now ranks among the top urban
renewal faith-based social service agencies in New England serving thousands of inner city clients.
2000s Jean Reardon (MDiv’05) was appointed to serve the United Methodist Church in Ozona, Texas, beginning on October 16, 2011. In May David Schaefers (MDiv’07) will become the pastor and head of staff for First Presbyterian Church in Richardson, Texas. Juan Herrera (MDiv’07) married Stacey Byrd on March 10, 2012. Donna Bowling (MATS’03) went on her first medical mission trip to Nicaragua in January with her husband and other medical professionals. Her job was to help translate for an occupational therapist. She read Bible stories to the children and led nightly devotionals.
2010s Richard M. Wright (DMin’10) transformed his doctoral project into a new book, Stop the Church’s Revolving Door, available through WestBow Press.
ordinations | Meredith Kemp-Pappan (MDiv’08), ordained and installed on October 30, 2011, as pastor of Central Presbyterian Church in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma. Isabel Rivera Velez (MDiv’10), ordained and installed as pastor of Juan Marcos Presbyterian Church, Houston, Texas, on January 29, 2012. Glenn Sampayan (MDiv’10), installed as pastor of Faith Community Church in Corpus Christi, Texas, on February 26, 2012. John Leedy (MDiv’11), ordained and installed on December 3, 2011, as associate pastor for youth and family ministries at University Presbyterian Church, Austin.
Patrick Cherry (MDiv’09) and Laura Grice (MDiv’08) were on hand to celebrate the wedding of Juan Herrera (MDiv’07) and Stacey Byrd. Renee Roederer (MDiv’08), ordained on March 25, 2012, at University Presbyterian Church, Austin. She will be installed as associate pastor of evangelism and young adult ministry at Pasadena (California) Presbyterian Church. Laurel Dixon (MDiv’11), ordained on March 18, 2012, at Journey IFC. She is coordinator of pastoral care at St. David’s Hospital, Georgetown. Doug Cartwright (MDiv’11), ordained and installed on March 18, 2012, as associate pastor of First Presbyterian Church, Wichita Falls, Texas. Lisa Juica (MDiv’11), ordained on March 17, 2012, to serve as associate for admissions at Austin Seminary.
Alumni elected to ASA Board
uring the ASA Banquet and Annual Meeting on February 1, 2012, the following alumni were elected to serve on the ASA Board: Timothy Blodgett (MDiv’07), president; Valerie Bridgeman (MDiv’90), vice-president and president elect; Karen Greif (MDiv’92, DMin’06), secretary; Richard Culp, past president (MDiv’93), Michael Waschevski (DMin’03), Andy Blair (MDiv’89), Dieter Heinzl (MDiv’98), Matt Miles (MDiv’99), and Tamara Strehli (MDiv’05).
in memoriam | Randall “Randy” Clair Stevens (MDiv’76), Martinsville, Virginia, December 9, 2011. William “Bill” Christman (MDiv’00), Joplin, Missouri, December 27, 2011. William “Bill” Tiemann (MDiv’54, ThM ‘62, DMin ‘77), Davidson, North Carolina, March 23, 2012.
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and the winner is … Matt Calvert (MDiv’08) “opted in” to the alumni directory on the Austin Seminary Alumni Portal (ASAP) and won an iPad2, given away during MidWinters. Spring 2012 | 23
then & now Heinz Joachim Held (b. 1928) was a German ecumenical student at Austin Seminary during the academic year of 1952-1953. After his return to Germany, he earned a doctorate of theology from Heidelberg University and was ordained in November 1957. He served as a parish pastor in Germany before taking a teaching position in Buenos Aires. Held became the president of the La Plata Evangelical Church until he returned to Germany in 1975. These slides he
donated to the Seminary Archives depict the Seminary, the University of Texas, Mo-Ranch, and city sites during 1952-1953. Also included are images of two parades: a University of Texas at Austin roundup and a celebration commemorating the inauguration of Governor Allan Shivers. The complete collection inventory is available here: AustinSeminary.edu/ heldslides
Shane Webb (MDiv’11) is a Young Adult Volunteer (YAV) in Peru this year where he was called upon to perform his first baptisms. Here is an excerpt from his blog about the experience: … I was asked to close in prayer and was inspired to add some impromptu liturgy before the benediction that included splashing the gathered witnesses and calling them to remember their baptisms. I am very thankful for my Sunday and Sacraments workshop taught by Dr. Jennifer Lord because I at least felt I had practiced full immersion once leading up to this experience. I see this as an instance where the Holy Spirit was preparing me for the future … To read the complete blog entry, go to: http://sarahandshane.wordpress.com/
catching up with … Asante Todd (MDiv’06) is Visiting Lecturer in Christian Ethics at Austin Seminary this year. He is completing an externship as part of his doctoral program at Vanderbilt University Divinity School. The following is excerpted from an interview by Alex Cornell in Kairos, the student weekly newsletter. If you weren’t teaching seminary right now, what would you be doing? Aside from ministry and academics, I would love to own some kind of night club, some kind of hip-hop club. There is an implicit ecclesiology at work in a lot of hip-hop culture. There’s a book I read that opens, “Hip hop says come as you are”…. I see reﬂections of an open table there … nonjudgmental, non-exclusive, non-marginalizing. Hip-hop communities are where the marginalized go, where they usually ﬁnd a place where they feel welcome, feel un-judged, un-criticized, not categorized based on class or gender—in some cases they are, but it can be a place where anyone can be welcome. Hip-hop culture also contains strong misogynistic elements that need to be challenged. Nevertheless, people are still finding acceptance and community there. I have strong interests in the religious functions of hip-hop communities in light of the fact that a lot of people are not ﬁnding those dynamics in regular church communities anymore. Some feel that churches are judgmental of people’s dress, taste in music, sexuality, religious beliefs or lack thereof. So these alternative communities are beginning to embody a lot of religious functions with the shrinking of not just mainline churches but other churches as well. I’m very interested in that, not just as a scholar but as a person.
24 | Austin Presbyterian Theological Seminary
The classroom & Sunday morning By Jennifer Lord, The Dorothy Vickery Associate Professor of Homiletics and Liturgical Studies
Students experience this same depth tudents might say they learn a back- to-basics approach for pastoral min- and breadth of analysis in the preaching istry in my preaching and worship courses. Most of the students are just courses. And this is partly true. Over and learning these presiding and preaching over I beckon them to learn the central words and gestures and postures for the basic biblical, historical, ecumenical ac- first time and don’t have time needed tions that are at the heart of the church’s for take-it-deep-into-the-bones learnLord’s Day gathering: Word and Sacra- ing. They will have to continue that work in their Supervised Practice of Ministry ment. These basics are foundational enough placements and in their eventual congreto be sure footing amidst any winds of gational appointments. change. And yet they are not back-to-ba- We work hard on these things besics in the sense of being nostalgic acts of cause we tell the truth about Jesus’ death our past: these central actions endure because they speak to local-global re- When conversations turn toward the alities of the church in the world now. plight of the changing church, They are eschatological acts, taking the present-future covenanting promises I never want us to stray too far from of God’s mercy and justice as urgent the centrality of Word and Sacrament. claims on contemporary life. I call students to the grateful work the church and resurrection, his life for the world, does each Sunday morning as it gathers, the ongoing and ever-adapting life and summoned again each “eighth day” (John mission of the church. And we tell the 20:26) to Word and Sacrament and prayer truth bodily, through our voices and eyes as the Body of Christ being shaped to live and hands and feet. In all of this I aim to abolish the false for the needs of the world. Alongside other forms of learning, dichotomy between this rigorous work of we spend time in small group practica to Sunday morning and the world that we accomplish our semester’s goals in these are called to serve. When conversations classes. Students, in the introductory turn toward a renewed vision for the worship course for instance, put to mem- church or the plight (as it is often worded) ory a Call to Worship, a Call to Confes- of the changing church, I never want us to sion of Sin, an Assurance of Pardon, and stray too far from the centrality of Word a Charge and Benediction. They perform and Sacrament as we consider the source these presiding actions. They are evalu- and vision for pastoral leadership. Some ated for use of voice, gesture, posture, 500 years ago the reformer John Calvin, stance, presence, and eye contact. They building on the witness of scripture and will practice baptisms, they will say the the sources of the early church, said that Great Prayer at table and practice break- “Wherever we see the Word of God righting bread and filling the cup. They will ly preached and the sacraments adminanoint and pray and practice Christian istered according to Christ’s institution, burial. They will demonstrate that they there, it is not to be doubted, a church of work to preside honestly, to oversee the God exists.” (Institutes, IV, 1,9). Sunday gathering with focus and care. Basic-and-simple. Some would say They will learn to check any entertain- too simple, as if these events were rigid ment-inspired egotism and will practice structures that only mean one thing in a instead a gracious authority that is born static, fixed sense. But look closely: this definition of church is not about one parof servant-humility.
ticular doctrine (for Word and Sacrament include all doctrines) or just one particular programmatic emphasis or one polity decision that will save the church, but instead names the central repeated actions of the Sunday gathering because all past and future promises are contained therein. It is as if this definition of church says that these actions are indeed large enough to hold our needs and our change, our past and future, our very dying and rising. These Sunday actions: a vantage point from which we see the world more clearly. These days we church people ask questions: What are we to do? Or exclaim: We should leave (that) behind and do (this)! Alongside our searching and questioning I say preach: not to call us back to a romanticized past but to keep setting out God’s identifying claims that will (yes they will) take us all the way to kingdom come. In the midst of all of this I say set out the sacraments, large, in beauty, marking graced, thin-placemoments in time: the waters that, God promises, have and continue to drown destruction and rain new life; the bread and the cup that feed us again into forgiveness, unity, holiness. All this calling us to prayers that voice honest laments and make our praises known, the church seriously exercising its faith in prayer. Word and Sacrament are by no means the only actions of the church but they are central and command us centripetally forth. By God’s grace they are the foundation of our weekly summons home in the crucified-risen One. And so students learn to preside for these Sunday actions and all that surrounds them: our gathering and reconciliation, reading and preaching, baptisms, prayers, offerings and peacemaking, Lord’s Table eating, seeing God’s intending in all of these actions and then being sent again and again to go and do likewise in Jesus’ name. v Winter 2012 | 25
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scenes from 2012 MidWinters | Make plans to join us next year, February 4-6, 2013, with Elizabeth Hinson-Hasty, Margaret Amer & Joe Small