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Austin Presbyterian Theological Seminary

spring 2013

In this Issue Faculty chair in homiletics | 3

Does church matter? | 8

Alumni awards | 22


Going Green

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AUSTIN

AUSTIN PRESBYTERIAN

PRESBYTERIAN THEOLOGI C AL

THEOLOGICAL SEMINARY

SEMINARY

spring 2013

features

President

Theodore J. Wardlaw

The Doctrine of the Church 8 The Church: communal, diverse & hopeful

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. John Hartman Roy M. Kim James H. Lee (MDiv’00) Michael L. Lindvall Jennifer L. Lord Lyndon L. Olson Jr. B. W. Payne David Peeples Jeffrey Kyle Richard 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 Hugh Williamson III

Trustees Emeriti Stephen A. Matthews John McCoy (MDiv’63) Max Sherman Louis Zbinden

ASA Board

Valerie Bridgeman (MDiv’90), President Leanne Thompson (MDiv’06), Vice President Karen Greif (MDiv’92, DMin’06), Secretary Timothy Blodgett (MDiv’07), Past President Andy Blair (MDiv’89) Alonzo Campbell (DMin’94) Katherine Cummings (MDiv’05) Dieter Heinzl (MDiv’98) Sandra Kern (MDiv’93) Andrew Parnell (MDiv’05) Nancy Taylor (MDiv’95) Matt Miles (MDiv’99) Tamara Strehli (MDiv’05) Michael Waschevski (DMin’03)

Volume 128 | Number 2

By Theodore J. Wardlaw

10

What’s Christ have to do with it?

13

The going price

14

Kerygma, diaconia, koinonia

By Paul Hooker

16

What if?

By Melinda Veatch

17

The church as suppliant

By Ted V. Foote Jr.

18

Homecoming

8 Cover: Illustration by Leslie Kell, http://lesliekell.com. Austin Seminary alumni contributed the photos of “church” for the illustration: Amy Meyer (MDiv’06), First Presbyterian Church, Elgin, Texas; Kathy Anderson (MDiv’97), John Knox Ranch Presbyterian Camp & Retreat Center, Fischer, Texas; Helen Boursier (MDiv’07), Community Fellowship Presbyterian Church, New Braunfels, Texas; Anghaarad Teague (MDiv’01), Trinity Presbyterian Church, Pensacola, Florida; and Tracy Evans (MDiv’94), Memorial Presbyterian Church, Norman, Oklahoma.

By Joseph Small

By Janice Bryant

By Jill Duffield

& departments

6

2

seminary & church

3

twenty-seventh & speedway

7

live & learn

20 faculty news & notes

20

22 alumni news & notes 25 teaching & ministry

Windows is published three times each year by Austin Presbyterian Theological Seminary.

Editor Randal Whittington

Contributors

Jeannine Caracciollo Sandy Knott Lemuel García-Arroyo Nancy Reese Kristy Sorensen Melissa Wiginton

Austin Seminary Windows Austin Presbyterian Theological Seminary 100 E. 27th St. Austin, TX 78705-5711 phone: 512-404-4808 e-mail: windows@austinseminary.edu fax: 512-479-0738 austinseminary.edu ISSN 2056-0556; Non-profit bulk mail permit no. 2473


seminary

church

from the president |

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President’s Schedule April 23 - Partner Lunch, Albuquerque May 5 - Preach, First Presbyterian, Albuquerque June 27 - Host, Evening with the President, Austin September 15 - Preach, First PC, Shreveport October 3 - Partner Lunch, Tulsa, Oklahoma October 6 - Preach, World Communion Sunday, First PC, Richardson October 17 - Partner Lunch, Corpus Christi. Texas October 29 - Host, Evening with the President, San Antonio

s the theme of this particular issue of Windows was percolating in the minds of those of us who are forever thinking about such things, there was considerable conversation. Why should we devote such time and space to the Doctrine of the Church? It sounds like such a dusty, obscure thing—so far removed from the daily lives of Christians. Since the theme was my idea, I got a little defensive about it as we all sat around a large table brainstorming how to approach it. I was surprised to find such resistance; I even heard someone say, “I have no idea what this doctrine means.” I was astonished. Gathered around this table were people whom I believed to be emblematic of the Doctrine of the Church, the very bread and butter of church life. All are faithful church folk; either ordained ministers or lay leaders in their congregations. One has chaperoned both of my daughters on more than one mission trip to Mexico. Each has been involved in the food pantry or the choir or ministry with the homeless or with youth. They are, in fact, the very embodiment of what “church” means to me and to others. So I experienced a disconnect when, in our brainstorming session, someone said, “I have no idea what this doctrine means.” But once I got over my shock, I began to consider that they speak for a lot of church people—people who love God, who pray, who strive to serve as Jesus invites us to serve, who regularly come to church, who give, who teach, who go on mission trips … and who seldom think much about the Doctrine of the Church. I’m starting to understand why. When we start with the word “Doctrine,” many church members tune out, thinking that it sounds like seminary talk—the sort of thing that the “experts” in the faith should consider, but not the rest of us. And maybe the word “Church” is increasingly hard to handle, too, in these days when it undergoes such withering critique from many quarters. Better, often, to see ourselves as disciples, as believers, as people of the Way, than as “church.” If that’s where you are, this issue of Windows is for you. And I offer special thanks to our editor Randal Whittington, one of the initial skeptics, who immersed herself in a reading list of theological treatises on “the Doctrine of the Church.” The result of her work is an intriguing exploration of this question: “Does Church Matter?” Read and enjoy!

Faithfully yours,

Theodore J. Wardlaw President

2 | Austin Presbyterian Theological Seminary


twenty-seventh

speedway

Mary and Robert J. Wright honor their pastor with distinguished faculty chair at Austin Seminary Gift to establish The Blair R. Monie Distinguished Chair of Homiletics honors the pastor of Preston Hollow Presbyterian Church in Dallas

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ith a pledge of $2.5 million from Mary and Robert J. (Bob) Wright of Dallas, Texas, Austin Seminary will establish The Blair R. Monie Distinguished Chair in Homiletics. The Wrights made the gift in honor of the long-time pastor of Preston Hollow Presbyterian Church in Dallas and a former Austin Seminary trustee. The Wrights wanted to honor Reverend Monie for his work at Preston Hollow, from which he will retire after eighteen years of service in June 2014. They believe that dedicating a faculty chair in homiletics (preaching) in his name recognizes and celebrates his gift for preaching and ensures that Austin Seminary can continue to prepare and send strong preachers into the church. “We have always believed that the most important function of a living, vibrant church is the education, study, and delivery of the Word. Blair Monie has always been able to deliver an exciting and interesting explanation of the many ‘hard to understand’ messages that the Bible possesses. His

sermons always hold one’s interest as well as cause us to think about the many new ways these messages can be understood,” Bob Wright said. “This is indeed an art and a talent, and we know that we are being selfish in wishing Blair would remain at PHPC. Perhaps our Lord has bigger and better jobs in store for him.” “We are thrilled and deeply grateful for this generous act by Mary and Bob Wright,” Seminary President Theodore J. Wardlaw said. “Throughout their life together, the Wrights have been so very supportive of numerous church-related causes, and this gift will both enhance in a marvelous way the Seminary’s commitment to the teaching of preaching and honor a pastor who has embodied best practices in preaching and leadership throughout his ministry. The future church will be their grateful beneficiary.” The Wrights are active members of Preston Hollow Presbyterian Church and are well known in and beyond the Dallas business community. Mary Wright is an artist, teacher, and interior designer specializing in hospitals, churches, banks, and offices. She founded Medical Space Design, Inc., and also heads MSD Air. She and Bob raised two children and have five grandchildren. Bob Wright is an elder at Preston Hollow Presbyterian Church and past chairman of the Preston Hollow Presbyterian Church Foundation. He is the founder of Medical City Dallas, Business Jet Center Dallas, Business Jet Center Oakland, Business Jet Access, Medical Cities, Inc., Shadin Avionics, and TWG, Inc., which has entities in health care, aviation, aircraft avionics, real estate, energy, and Internet technologies. He is past president of the Medical Group Management Association, the College of Medical Care Administrators, of which is a Distinguished Fellow, and the Center for Research. Blair Monie served on Austin Seminary’s Board of Trustees from 2003-2012. He has been a member-atlarge of the General Assembly Council and as chair of the Congregational Ministries Division of PC(USA), which is responsible for the denomination’s overall resources to the church, including Christian education, curriculum, and theological institutions. He has also served on the boards of THR Presbyterian Hospital of Dallas, Presbyterian Communities and Services, the Pastoral Advisory Council of the Board of Pensions, and the advisory council of the Dallas Theater Center. v Spring 2013 | 3


twenty-seventh Austin Seminary awarded NEH grant

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$6,000 grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) will help Austin Seminary provide preservation assessment, environmental monitoring equipment and rehousing, and emergency response supplies for its archival collection. This grant is among 246 projects funded by the NEH that spans academic disciplines. “The Austin Seminary Archives houses a unique combination of institutional and denominational records that document over 150 years of Presbyterianism in Texas and the Southwest,” says Kristy Sorensen, associate director of the Stitt Library and head of archives and records management. “This funding from the NEH will help us in our mission to preserve and provide access to these records and to share the stories of the people, churches, and institutions that make up our community.” “Receiving this grant allows us to make sure that we are the best possible stewards of our resources for years to come. NEH grants are competitive and I applaud the work of Ms. Sorensen in crafting a winning proposal,” said Library Director Timothy Lincoln. v

speedway

New Certificate in Ministry to launch in fall 2013

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ustin Presbyterian Theological Seminary will offer a new Certificate in Ministry (CIM) beginning in the fall of 2013. Participants in the program will complete the majority of the required courses online, so it is ideal for church leaders and individuals wishing to enrich their theological understanding and who desire flexibility in scheduling. The CIM may be particularly appropriate for those who are preparing for leadership roles in the church, such as the Commissioned Ruling Elder in the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.).

exclusively online, and two courses involve both online learning and one weekend of intensive on-campus instruction. “I am pleased to see this certificate being offered. It will only enhance the Seminary’s deep and ongoing relationship with the greater church, and will become yet one more way in which we understand ourselves to be in relationship with the church,” President Ted Wardlaw said. “We are excited about the multiple ways in which it can deepen further our relationships with constituent presbyteries and other judicatories as well as with individuals webXtra: to learn more about the Certificate in Ministry desiring to serve congregations and program or to apply, go to: AustinSeminary.edu/cimfaq other entities more effectively.” “The CIM is a response to the changing The program will be administered needs of churches,” Academic Dean Allan Cole through the Office of Ministerial Formation said. “We think it is faithful to our mission with applications administered by the Office as a school in service to the church to offer of Admissions. Applications for admission alternative paths to training for ministry to the Fall CIM courses, available online (see leadership along with our master’s-level box), will be open until August 15. v degree programs. I’m thrilled that CIM students will learn Courses are scheduled as follows: from Austin Seminary’s fine faculty, and Austin Seminary Fall 2013 (Sept. 1-Nov. 15) appreciates this opportunity Church History (online course) Dr. David Johnson to build partnerships with new Reading the Bible Theologically (online course) Dr. communities of learners and Cynthia Rigby leaders.” Winter 2014 (Jan. 1-Mar. 15) Three CIM terms will be Worship and Preaching (online and on-campus course) offered each year (see sidebar). Dr. Kristin Saldine Students may take as many or as Polity of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) (online few courses as they wish in the course) Dr. Paul Hooker program, but in order to earn the certificate, seven courses (six Spring 2014 (Apr. 1-June 15) Christian Education (online and on-campus course) Dr. required and one elective) must David White be completed. Pastoral Care and Leadership (online course) Dr. Allan The CIM curriculum is Cole designed and taught by Austin Seminary faculty, and has been shaped to provide a strong theological and ministerial foundation for students. Selfpaced, 10-week courses may be completed in any order and do not require any prerequisites. Five courses are taught

4 | Austin Presbyterian Theological Seminary

Fall 2014 (Sept. 1-Nov. 15) Ministry Foundations in Bible and Theology (online course) Dr. John Alsup Comparative Religion (online course) Dr. Whit Bodman Additional elective courses will be created and scheduled as well. Students may enroll in one or both of the courses offered each session.


Seniors receive fellowships during ASA Banquet

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ach year during the ASA Banquet, five graduating seniors are awarded fellowships recognizing their outstanding academic achievement, Christian character, and promise for ministry. Recipients for 2013 were Lindsay Conrad of St. Andrew Presbyterian Church in Lynchburg, Virginia; Rebecca Weaver Longino of Central Presbyterian Church in Longmont, Colorado; Katie Frederick of Oak Hill United Methodist Church in Austin; Kimberly Rogers of Pipe Creek Presbyterian Church in Pipe Creek, Acting Associate Academic Dean Jennifer Lord (left) and Academic Dean Allan H. Cole Texas, and Allie Utley of Metairie (right) announced the faculty’s selection of Fellowship winners Lindsay Conrad, Rebecca Ridge Presbyterian Church, Weaver Longino, Katie Frederick, Kimberly Rogers, and Allie Utley during the Austin Seminary Metairie, Louisiana. Association Banquet on February 6. Lindsay Conrad is the recipient of the W.P. Newell Memorial Fellowship, which carries a before coming to seminary. At Austin Seminary, Longino is a prize of $3,000. This fellowship was established in 1946 by Jean Brown Fellow. She is active on the Library, Information Mrs. W.P. Newell of Albany, Texas, as a memorial to her late Quality, and Research Enhancement Committee. She also husband to enrich the life of one training for the Christian served in a teaching church internship at New Covenant ministry. Fellowship in Austin. She is pursuing ordination in the Conrad is a life-long lover of church and was active in Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) and is open to bi-vocational Christian organizations and local church youth program while ministry. she attended Christopher Newport University, where she Katie Frederick was awarded the Janie Maxwell Morris earned a Bachelor of Arts degree. At Austin Seminary, she has Fellowship, which carries a grant this year of $4,000. This been devoted to serving others through her work with Street fellowship was established in 1953 with a bequest from Mrs. Youth Ministry of Austin, reaching out to homeless youth in Milton Morris of Austin, Texas, to be used by a graduate of the UT area. Austin Seminary to pursue further graduate study. She also spent a summer as a team leader for a Memphis Frederick holds a Bachelor of Arts in social work from based organization called Service Over Self. She served as a Baylor University, where she received numerous academic student minister at the Sunrise Beach Federated Church in honors. She also completed an internship of more than Sunrise Beach, Texas; as children’s Sunday school coordinator 500 hours at Mission Waco. Prior to coming to seminary, at Hyde Park Presbyterian Church; and she completed two she received her licensure in social work and worked at the semesters of a teaching church internship at Covenant American Cancer Society in Austin. Presbyterian Church in Austin. She is pursuing ordination in At Austin Seminary, she served on the Bookstore the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.). Committee and as assistant to the faculty. She completed a The Alsup-Frierson Fellowship for Excellence in Biblical Clinical Pastoral Education internship at Seton Hospital in Exegesis and Hermeneutics was presented to Rebecca Weaver Austin. She is pursuing ordination as a deacon in The United Longino. This fellowship, established in 2005 by the families Methodist Church. She will begin a year-long Clinical Pastoral of Professor John and Carole Alsup of Georgetown, Texas, and Education residency in September with VITAS Hospice in San Clarence and Betty Frierson of Shreveport, Louisiana, carries Antonio. a grant of $3,500. The Piles-Morgan Fellowship, established in 1984 in Longino holds a Bachelor of Arts in sociology from the honor of Leo V. Pile and Helen Portal Pile, and Edmond University of Colorado. She served as a Young Adult Volunteer Holland Morgan and Estella Martin Morgan of Harlingen, for Presbyterian Disaster Assistance in Gulfport, Mississippi, Texas, for the purpose of post-Master of Divinity or advanced Spring 2013 | 5


twenty-seventh

speedway

staff news |

Deborah Butler, administrative assistant to the Office of Student Affairs and Vocation, graduated with academic distinction from Austin Community College with an Associates of Applied Science—Personal Fitness Trainer degree. Among the first to congratulate Deborah was Seminary Trustee Jeffrey Richard, who also serves on the ACC Board and was participating in the ceremony. Going to school while working full time had its challenges. “Getting a degree has been a dream of mine for quite a long time,” says Deborah, “and I am pleased to have done it and am enjoying very much not having to divide my time in so many ways.“

studies was presented to Kimberly Rogers. This fellowship carries with it a grant this year of $8,000. Rogers holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in psychology and a Master of Arts in counseling from The University of Texas at San Antonio. Before coming to seminary, she worked for Child Protective Services and as a youth director at Pipe Creek Church. While at seminary, Rogers has been the recipient of the Crawley Fellowship. She has demonstrated leadership in the community by serving on the Faculty Committee on Student Life and Student Standing and the Community Care Commission. Last year, she began work to create and facilitate a homeless ministry program at Central Presbyterian Church in Austin. She completed

The Reverend Carrie Graham is the new project coordinator, for the threeyear Lilly Foundation grant program, “Addressing Economic Challenges Facing Future Ministers.” She will work with Seminary students, partner congregations, faculty, and administrators to reduce the amount of debt students incur while completing their seminary education. 6 | Austin Presbyterian Theological Seminary

a Supervised Practice of Ministry internship at Central and focused on outreach. Rogers is seeking a call in the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.). Allie Utley is the recipient of the David L. Stitt Fellowship, which carries an award this year of $14,000. This fellowship was established in 1971 by the Alumni Association in honor of Dr. David L. Stitt who served as president of Austin Seminary from 19451971. Utley holds a Bachelor of Arts from Appalachian State University and a Master of Arts in music theory from Ohio State University. Before coming to seminary,

she served as a Young Adult Volunteer in New Orleans, where she worked as a Hunger Action Enabler. As a student, she served on the Worship Committee and the Seminary choir. She has also served as instructional aide for Biblical Hebrew and a student assistant in the Seminary’s Office of Communications. Utley completed a Teaching Church internship at Central Presbyterian Church, Austin. She is pursuing ordination in the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) and aspires to begin doctoral studies in the areas of preaching and liturgical studies. v

Artist-in-Residence C.D. Weaver has some of his wood carvings in two current exhibits in Austin-area churches, the Open Doors Gallery of Hill Country Bible Church and at First Presbyterian Church.

Austin Seminary middler students Amy Wilson-Stayton and Annanda Barclay were among a group of Presbyterians who took part in the annual session of the Commission on the Status of Women (CSW) held at the UN in New York City, March 4-15. During the meeting, representatives from member states evaluated progress on gender equality, identified challenges, set global standards and formulated concrete policies to promote gender equality and women’s empowerment worldwide. Through this dialogue with Presbyterians and other attendees, the commission sets its global policy under the United Nations Economic and Social Council.


live

learn

upcoming from education beyond the walls

Preparing for Pentecost: Fuego, Viento, y Culto | May 4, 2013, 9:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. | “Fuego, Viento, y Culto” (Fire, Wind, and Worship) is the first in a new series of workshops focusing on church music and liturgy from around the globe. Participants will learn new ideas, new insights, and new skills for enlivening worship experience, by the power of the Spirit, through the music and liturgy of Latin America. | For worship leaders, worship committees, and church musicians. | Cost: $60 (lunch included)

Women, Voice, and Preaching | May 12-15 (limited to 10 participants) | Jennifer Lord | An intensive workshop and retreat for women focusing on speech communication, authentic and authoritative voice, and creativity in core elements of preaching which enliven and revive. Dr. Jennifer Lord, The Dorothy B. Vickery Associate Professor of Homiletics and Liturgical Studies at Austin Seminary, will draw from variety of fields, including performance theory, theatre studies, creative writing, and drumming, to inspire and instruct preachers. | For women pastors. | Cost: $350 (includes housing and meals)

80%

More than of College members agree that their peer groups made them better listeners, were fun, gave them new energy for ministry, and stretched them in many ways.

Registration opens July 1 for:

Artsy Theology—Mixing Art and Theology for Ministry, Mission, Worship, and Christian Education | September 21 | led by the Reverend Dr.

Helen Taylor Boursier, Organizing Pastor, Community Fellowship Presbyterian Church, New Braunfels, Texas

Learning to be Culturally Competent | October 1-3 | led by Reverend Eric Law, Kaleidoscope Institute

Speaking a Living Word in Advent | October 12 | led by Dr. Kristin Saldine, Associate Professor of Homiletics, Austin Seminary

A Disciplined Experiment on Changing Worship | October 21-23 | led by Reverend Theresa Cho | In partnership with SCRAPCE

Learn more and register for all events at AustinSeminary.edu/EBW

webXtra:

Moderator’s Colloquium on Ecclesiology 2013:

A Conversation on our Shared Identity of Being Liturgical-Missional Communities April 23-25 | Austin Seminary campus • Live stream video • Follow on Twitter, #ModCE • Dial in and participate • Attend in person at Austin Seminary For details and a schedule of events, go to: AustinSeminary.edu/ModCE Spring 2013 | 7


The Church: By Theodore J. Wardlaw

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hen I was a kid and my family would go on trips—long trips and short ones, too—my father, behind the wheel of our Rambler station wagon, would often sing. He had a rich, deep bass voice, and my memory is that his favorite song was that old hymn, “In the Garden.” There were many verses, as I recall, but the only words of that hymn that got imparted to my memory were the words of the refrain: “And He walks with me, and He talks with me, and He tells me that I am His own. And the joy we share as we tarry there, none other has ever known.”

8 | Austin Presbyterian Theological Seminary


As I grew into adulthood, and especially into deeper experience in ministry, I began to sense that, for all of its sentimental power, it supported an all-too-confining religious experience: “…He walks with me, He talks with me, He tells me that I am His own.” Sally Brown, a professor at Princeton Theological Seminary, said somewhere that this particular hymn may as well be the anthem of 21st-century Anglo-Protestant spirituality. “The people to whom we preach today,” she says, “are highly influenced by a culture of individualism. Many understand Christianity in fundamentally individualistic terms—as a matter between self and God. By contrast, the Reformed tradition insists, distinctively Christian spirituality is irreducibly corporate and communal—in short, ecclesial spirituality.” This distinctive—that the Christian faith is expressed in community—is at the heart of the Doctrine of the Church. Simply put, it means that we cannot be Christians by ourselves. Moreover, it means that Christian community is deliberately diverse—not like-minded,

embalm his body. They were astonished by the last thing that they expected to see there: that he was not dead, but risen. He could have encouraged them to linger in a private, secret conversation, just the three of them, but he sent them instead back out of that garden and back to the church: “Go and tell my brothers (and all the rest of us—his brothers and sisters across time) to go to Galilee; there they will see me.” Those words have become the job description of Christians in every age: go and tell the church and the world about the enduring presence in its midst of the Risen Christ. This promise, “there they will see me,” signals, by the way, that the church is always leaning toward the future with hope. However desperate the times may be, the promise is that they are never so bleak that we cannot see evidence of the Risen Christ. Tom Currie, an Austin Seminary alumnus and the dean of the Charlotte campus of Union Presbyterian Seminary, remembered in a recent article that Martin Luther was asked once what he would do if he knew the world was to end the next day. Luther

Communal, Diverse, as if such community depends upon our sharing the same opinions on every topic—but as diverse as the human body. As St. Paul put it in his first letter to the Church at Corinth, “If all were a single member, where would the body be? As it is, there are many members, yet one body.” Paul imagines eyes and ears and noses and hands and feet and all manner of difference depending, all the same, upon being knit to one another in a kind of biological unity. Just so, Christians of all sorts are knit to one another—created by God, under the Lordship of Jesus, and empowered in every age by the Holy Spirit. Jesus himself, in another garden, met two women who went there on Resurrection morning preparing to

&

Hopeful

replied that he would plant a tree. This, in my judgment, is a great metaphor of the sturdy Christian hope that, in Christ, we cultivate when we look out toward the horizons of our future as God’s children. “Whatever else the future holds for us,” wrote Currie, “it should never paralyze us with its anxieties or distract us from our tasks of faithful service. Jesus is still Lord. Even over the End.” Meanwhile, we practice the faith together in community; we become—again, in community—a “telling presence” out in the larger world, both in terms of our words and our deeds; and we nurture, as a community, a confident hope that even the future belongs to God! v

Spring 2013 | 9


What’s Christ got to do with it? What it means to be the one holy and apostolic church

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By Joseph Small

cclesiology

—the doctrine of the church—is usually a theological afterthought. Who, what, when, where, why, how is the church? To the extent that these questions are asked, they are generally left to the sociologists or, sadly, the branders, marketers, and funds developers. When theologians get around to the church, they usually present an abstraction, a picture of the church that bears only a vague resemblance to what we experience in actual congregations, judicatories, and denominations. They present lovely portraits of the church, ideal paradigms meant to show us that there is more than meets the eye when we look at actual churches. On the other hand, sociologists—both academic and amateur—generally show us a documentary film of the flawed church, sometimes designed merely to deconstruct, but often meant to suggest strategies that can produce the church that could be. In both cases, ecclesiology is about what could or should be rather than theological engagement with what is. Neither sociology nor theology alone is adequate to understand the reality of the church. Theological talk apart from the concrete reality of actual churches easily becomes irrelevant to lived faith; sociological examination apart from faithful attention to the one holy catholic apostolic church easily becomes irrelevant to lived faith. Joseph Small retired from the PC(USA) Office of Theology and Worship where he served almost thirty years. This essay draws on the first of the two 2013 Westervelt Lectures on “Ecclesiology as Initial Theological Problem” that he gave at Austin Seminary.

10 | Austin Presbyterian Theological Seminary


The most obvious ecclesiological reality, both sociologically and theologically, is the endless subdivision of the church into multiple “denominations.” At the dawn of the Reformation, Calvin lamented the increasing fragmentation of the churches: “The churches are so divided that human fellowship is scarcely in any repute among us. Thus it is that the members of the church being severed, the body lies bleeding.” Half a millennium later, blood still flows from the dismembered body of Christ. What is even more remarkable than the dizzying profusion of churches before our eyes is our easy acceptance of it all. We see tens of thousands of separated churches, and take it in with a shrug as simply “the way things are.”

glossolalia … granted by the Holy Spirit and normative in contemporary church and ministry.” While it might be possible to integrate these brief statements conceptually, the resulting abstraction would not describe any actual churches. Each of those statements is found at the headwaters of a broad, deep river of meaning that flows through particular, different landscapes of christology and pneumatology, soteriology and missiology, ministry and eschatology. Perceptions of the church derive from distinct ecclesial locations, and so our talk about the church should not presume our privileged perception, nor should we imagine that a synthesis of perceptions will result in a comprehensive vision of the church that is recognized by everyone.

How, then, can we talk about the church? The World Council of Churches Commission on Faith and Order has worked for two decades on a convergence document intended to draw churches together in their understanding of “The Church.” Now in its third iteration, The Church: Towards a Common Vision, is a thoughtful, challenging attempt to move toward a shared understanding of the church. Of course, the very need for such a study testifies to the absence of shared understanding—an absence that is manifest in the scarcity among churches of united faith, shared sacraments and worship, common order, and mutual witness and service to the world. I do not dismiss the effort, or even imply criticism of its work. It is a significant step along the way to fuller communion among the churches, but a common understanding of the church—even one restricted to WCC Faith and Order churches—remains elusive. This can be seen clearly by glancing at various assertions purporting to be about the church, but actually expressing distinctive convictions about particular churches. From a Catholic perspective, “the Church came into being when the Lord had given his body and his blood under the forms of bread and wine, whereupon he said, ‘Do this in memory of me.’ It follows that the Church is the answer to this commission … The Church is Eucharist.” In Orthodox understanding, “The Church is primarily a foretaste of the eschatological assembly of the Lord, made present in the world.” From a mainline Protestant point of view, the church is “a household of freedom, a community where walls have been broken down so that God’s welcome to those who hunger and thirst for justice is made clear.” The central Pentecostal characteristic is expressed as “the present-day manifestation of spiritual gifts, such as miraculous healing, prophecy and, most distinctively,

Invisible Church?

The Church?

Are we left, then, with nothing more than a jumble of different, often incompatible understandings of the various churches? If we are, what does it mean for us to confess the one holy catholic apostolic church of the foundational Creed? In the face of the obvious proliferation of separated churches and the conflicting variety in perceptions of the nature of the church, a strategy has emerged that enables many Christians to speak of the real and present unity of the church. Attempts are made to rescue the church’s essential character and unity by recourse to versions of the “invisible,” church, a universal reality that transcends all of the churches we experience, authorizing us to claim that we are all united in the body of Christ even in the midst of our obvious churchly divisions. Distinctions between the visible and invisible church have been made at least since Augustine, although he did not use the terms. In the classical version of the distinction, the invisible church consists of the communion of saints throughout time and space, while the visible church is perceived in actual Christian communities that are evident at any given time. Calvin noted that Scripture speaks of the church in two ways, sometimes with reference to all the living and dead who are in the presence of God (the elect in Christ) and sometimes with reference to living people who now profess the one true God. But since the elect who are in God’s presence are known only to God, Calvin immediately turned his attention to the only church that is humanly knowable, the visible church. The invisible church is the “communion of saints” confessed in the Creed, the “holy catholic church” is the gathered community visible in time and space. It was not long, however, before an altered perception directed theological attention away from churches Spring 2013 | 11


that everyone can see toward an invisible church that no one can see. The new view came into sharp focus in the nineteenth century when influential theologians directed their attention away from flawed, all-too-visible churches to the unseen but true church, a pure, sanctified inner fellowship of Christians. At best, the visible church was viewed as a pale shadow of a transcendent “church.” The enduring legacy of this line of thought is a popularized version of the invisible-visible church dyad, prevalent among ministers and members alike, in which the invisible church is the true church, the body of Christ, while the visible churches are flawed human constructions, genuine churches only to the extent that they conform in faith and life to the invisible church. The predictable result is a denigration of all institutional embodiments of the visible church, often resulting in justification for easy exit from particular denominations and the multiplication of separated churches. Effortless confidence in the intangible unity of the invisible church opens the revolving door to endlessly repeated church ruptures, separations, splits, and schisms. The invisible church is presented as the real thing whose spiritual unity remains untouched by any and every division. Thus, Calvin need not have been distressed, for the body that matters does not lie bleeding: current splits in Presbyterian, Lutheran, Episcopalian, and Baptist denominations do not divide the real church, but only readjust human structures.

The Credibility of the Gospel

So: the churches are divided, theologies of the church are actually projections from particular ecclesial locations, and pop versions of the invisible church are sedatives that mask the pain of ecclesial dissection. None of this really comes as news to us, and in itself is not especially interesting. The division of Christian faith and life into distinct ecclesial communities of differing convictions is all we have ever known, and truth be told, all we ever expect to know. What may come as news, however, and hold some (perverse) interest is the stark reality that the profusion of detached and dispersed churches veils the very gospel that these churches purport to proclaim. Overt denominational triumphalism is now a receding memory for most churches in North America, having been replaced by mutual forbearance and polite relationships. Inter-denominational civility and ecumenical indifference have created a denominational problem, however. When separated churches were more doctrinally coherent and organizationally distinctive, denominational loyalty was easier to maintain. Presbyterians, for 12 | Austin Presbyterian Theological Seminary

instance, tended to remain Presbyterian, studying Presbyterian materials, supporting Presbyterian mission, and breeding Presbyterians. Denominationally differentiated theology, polity, and mission promoted denominational cohesion and continuity. But as denominational distinctives blurred in a haze of mutual forbearance, denominational loyalty was replaced by an increase in denominational switching and “church shopping.” It is a cruel irony that the welcome cessation of inter-denominational hostilities has not eliminated religious conflict but merely displaced it. Intra-denominational hostilities intensify as major ruptures now occur within Presbyterian, Episcopalian, Lutheran, Methodist, and Baptist denominations. How, then, in the face of switching and church shopping by members, ministers, and congregations, are denominations and their congregations to maintain and attract members? The term “church shopping” is telling, for America is a nation of shoppers. The advance of consumer capitalism has shaped a society driven by what Daniel Bell calls “the economy of desire.” North American society functions on the model of a sprawling shopping mall. Large department stores and Internet emporiums anchor a maze of specialty stores scattered randomly throughout the mall and across the web, catering to diverse tastes while offering ever new possibilities and encouraging impulse purchases. Churches are confined to small religious boutiques located in one wing of America’s mall, competing with one another for a dwindling market share. As people surf through society’s marketplace, they are free to choose whether or not to enter any of the religious shops and what, if anything, they will buy. There is a limited sense in which this is an old story for the church. American religious life has long been characterized by personal freedom of choice. What is new, at least in degree, is the churches’ explicit embrace of consumer capitalism, both denominationally and congregationally. Bell notes that “Capitalism’s global extension hinges on its successful capture of the constitutive human power that is desire. In other words, capitalism is not merely an economic order but also a discipline of desire.” The disciplining of desire begins with the creation of desire. And desire is created by investing products with meaning, promising experiences that are destined to remain unfulfilled, creating space for more promise, endlessly renewed desire. In the words of Steve Jobs, “People don’t know what they want until you show it to them.” Continued on page 19


The going price

By Janice Bryant

A

ccording to Ralph Waldo Emerson, “If a man It can be difficult to find one’s way in this consumer can write a better book, preach a better sermon, society. Buyer, beware. Don’t spend your expectations on or make a better mousetrap than his neighbor, some watered-down, feel good, social message. We need though he builds his house in the woods, the world will to draw on the experience of the Suffering Savior. There make a beaten path to his door.” The local church today is is no generic salvation. One cannot substitute ritual for a under pressure to go into the “mouse trap” business. true relationship with our God. The church is on trial, and the world awaits testimony I have a friend who prides herself on never paying from the Body of Christ. Is its claim still viable? Can the full price for anything. Bargain hunting is a satisfying enchurch stand up to close scrutiny, or will it fall deavor, so much so that the local church may be apart on the witness stand? The burden tempted to resort to gimmicks in order of proof rests with “called out” Christo fill pews. However, we must contians who constitute the church sider that pews have remained universal. The church universal in place for many years, someis keeper of the claim. times filled to capacity, other The church universal times nearly empty. If only does not peddle gospelpews could talk. Pews ware according to one’s have been, over the ages, chosen porcelain pattern. eye witnesses to church The bride of Christ upstruggles and triumphs. holds the uncompromis The church can do what ing Truth. The Good News no other institution of of the Gospel is a sacred human origin can do. The trust, and the local church church can lead us to the staggers beneath the weight one “who is able to keep that of its responsibility to deliver which I have committed unto that news, in season and out. him against that day”(2 Timo The church universal embraces thy 1:12). We need not defend the the character of the local church, with church or her purpose in this world. We deep understanding and need not ask, “What in the compassion for what she world is the church comendures. Despite her shortWe need not defend the church ing to?” The church is not comings, despite the polls coming to the world. The or her purpose in the world. The Kingdom is come, and the that show more people than ever before are turnKingdom is come, and the church church stands in validation ing away from organized of that truth “on earth as it stands in validation of that truth. religion, and despite the is in heaven.” growing numbers of those The church is charged with who claim to be “spiritual, the task of going out from but not religious,” it is the church that shines a light on the Kingdom to show others the way into the Kingdom. the path to salvation. I agree with my friend about never paying full price. The full price has been paid, once and for all time. The church was purchased with the blood of Christ. In God’s grace, Janice L. Bryant (MDiv’01, DMin’11) is minister of the church, by horde or remnant, will stand eternally. v

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Christian education at Ebenezer Baptist Church in Austin, Texas. Spring 2013 | 13


Kerygma | Diakonia | Koinonia Three things that make “The Church” the church By Paul K. Hooker

I

t may be something of a truism that one cannot write a comprehensive ecclesiology—a single, all-encompassing statement of what the church is supposed to be and do. There are simply too many differing visions of what makes the church the church: Roman Catholic, Orthodox, liberal Protestant, Evangelical, or Pentecostal. The multiplicity of visions—and the vehemence with which they are held—ought to be enough to warn any writer off the task of defining the church. Without forgetting that warning, I want to suggest that it may still be possible to identify some activities by which we can know the church and any particular congregational representation of it. My little list is certainly not exhaustive, but I would claim that its components are important and full of vitality, and that they lie close to the heart of the Presbyterian Church’s core identity. They are also ancient, first present in the New Testament descriptions of the common life of early Christianity, and woven through the history of the church ever since. They are three Greek words: kerygma, diakonia, and koinonia.

Kerygma

Kerygma is roughly translated “preaching,” but kerygma really should stand as a symbol for both the content of the church’s proclamation and the act of proclaiming it. Paul Hooker is director of ministerial formation at Austin Seminary, with administrative responsibility for the Doctor of Ministry and Certificate in Ministry programs. He has extensive experience interpreting the Constitution of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) and served on the recent Form of Government Task Force. 14 | Austin Presbyterian Theological Seminary

The earliest proclamation of the church was “Jesus Christ is risen,” followed closely by “Jesus Christ is Lord.” In some sense, everything else in the history of the church is embellishment of those themes. This kerygma is the gospel at its most basic level; it is what the church has to say. There is no church apart from this kerygma. There is, however, a sense in which the church’s proclamation of the gospel is, at best, muffled. Especially in the North American ecclesiastical context, as faith communities compete for seemingly diminishing pools of members and dollars, the proclamation from pulpits focuses increasingly on pastoral pyrotechnics, personal growth strategies, or congregational distinctives. The gospel is obscured in the noise of ecclesial marketing. It’s enough to have led more than one observer to predict the demise of preaching. Proclamation is not dead, but it is going through some transformation. It is less about preacherly showmanship, and more about teaching the kerygma . In seminary campuses all across the church, theologians and students are grappling with how to make that core kerygmatic affirmation of the Lordship of Christ intelligible in light of economic or ecological crises. In bars and coffee shops, pastors carry on conversations with people who are yearning to see the Bible as something more than a rulebook, but who haven’t learned the language of biblical metaphor and prophetic imagination. In living rooms and airplane seats and office cubicles, people of faith are groping for the language to talk about what they believe while being respectful of others’ beliefs—and their doubts. The Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) Book of Order understands kerygma—proclamation—as central to the


church’s very identity. Our foundational polity, in its section on “The Calling of the Church” (F-1.03), includes the affirmation that “in the power of the Spirit, the Church is faithful to the mission of Christ as it … proclaims and hears the Word of God, responding to the promise of God’s new creation in Christ, and inviting all people to participate in that new creation” (F-1.0303). The central importance of proclamation—and the recognition that it goes on in many places in the church’s life—is the central reason why the Book of Order refers to those who carry on this ministry as “teaching elders.” It recognizes thereby that they “shall in all things be committed to teaching the faith and equipping the saints for the work of ministry” (G-2.0501). Proclamation is speaking and hearing; as such it is a relational activity. Proclamation is response; it celebrates the life-altering news that in Christ, and despite all evidence to the contrary, there is a new creation whose advent is already and whose fulfillment is yet to come. Proclamation is invitation, summoning people to see themselves and their lives as part of the great narrative of God’s engagement with the world, a narrative that begins in the garden and reaches all the way to the New Jerusalem.

Diakonia

Diakonia is service. In its earliest context, diakonia means “waiting tables”: indeed, the earliest “deacons” are those appointed by the apostles in Acts 6:2-6 to supervise the daily distribution of bread to widows in the Jerusalem Christian community. As time goes on, the diaconal role is broadened to include many forms of direct service, and it takes on an importance of the order of prophet or teacher (see Rom. 12:7). Even as the role evolves, however, the relationship between the gospel and diaconal service always remains secure. Diakonia is a way of underscoring the connection between the Sacraments within the community and service to those beyond it who depend on the community’s largesse. Baptism is not complete without the reminder to go into the world and make disciples. The Eucharist is not finished until the community turns from the table, hands still laden with the bread of the meal, and offers nourishment to those at its edges who have yet to come to the feast. Diakonia forces the church outward from its ritual by opening that ritual to the world. Presbyterian polity points to this essential connection in its ecclesiastical self-understanding. The passage cited above, F-1.0303, continues with the observation

that when the church administers and receives the sacraments, it understands itself to be “welcoming those who are being ingrafted into Christ, bearing witness to Christ’s saving death and resurrection, anticipating the heavenly banquet that is to come, and committing itself in the present to solidarity with the marginalized and the hungry” (italics added). The ministry of deacons is the means by which the Presbyterian Church ensures that diakonia maintains a central place in its life. That ministry is “one of compassion, witness, and service, sharing in the redeeming love of Jesus Christ for the poor, the hungry, the sick, the lost, the friendless, the oppressed, those burdened by unjust policies or structures, or anyone in distress” (G-2.0201). Service as implied in the New Testament sense of diakonia is not episodic—the fruit of the occasional generous impulse—but sustained. It is rooted in and grows out of the life-giving fellowship around the font and table. It is nurtured by proclamation and faceS outward toward a world in need of food in both literal and metaphorical forms.

Koinonia

Koinonia means community. Koinonia is what happens when the kerygma enters human lives and societies, and moves people to diakonia. When people hear the gospel and respond in acts of service and compassion a community of disciples is formed. The very existence of that community is itself a form of proclamation and service: it witnesses in its life and acts of compassion the new creation that God is bringing into being. Koinonia is also a way of reminding us that Christian faith is not a solitary or individual phenomenon, but a shared and communal one. There is no such thing as a Christian in isolation. Drawn together by the transforming news of God’s redemptive love issued from pulpit, font, and table, we live changed lives toward the end that others may be drawn in and similarly transformed, and then themselves sent out, in an endless tidal ebb and flow of gathering and scattering. At the heart of this ebbing, flowing tide is the life of discipleship and the practice of a disciplined life. To live in any sort of community—and especially in Christian community—is to live within a shared discipline. We tend to think of “discipline” as a negative word, evoking images of punishment. In truth, like the discipline a parent teaches a child, its goal is life, joy, and growth. Continued on page 19 Spring 2013 | 15


What if?

By Melinda Veatch

There is no greater power than a community discovering what it cares about. —Margaret Wheatley from Turning to One Another

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n my ministry, I work with churches of all shapes and sizes, mostly from the mainline stream, to engage ministry together in the community. It is challenging work, because much of what churches are focusing on these days is survival—but it is amazing to see what can happen when congregations of all sizes put their gifts together to demonstrate the Gospel beyond their doors. Many of the churches that connect through Tarrant Area Community of Churches are wrestling with who they have been and what they believe they have become: dwindling, struggling, lacking resources, incapable of casting compelling visions for ministry in the present or the future. They are watching churches beyond their denominational affiliation grow exponentially as they draw large crowds of younger worshipers and families, while many of the mainline church sanctuaries hold on to the same number of worshipers or gradually see more and more empty pews. With the latest statistic that non-believers are the largest growing population in the world, it is difficult not to forecast the demise of the church as we look at the statistics and watch formerly vital churches shutter their stained-glass windows. For those of us whose faith was formed within these churches, it is heartbreaking to see long-time members with deep histories in a congregation close the doors of buildings that hold so many stories of their lives and their faith. Still, faith formation and disciple-making has not Melinda Veatch (MDiv’96) is the executive director of Tarrant Area Community of Churches (TACC), an interdenominational non-profit ministry in Fort Worth, Texas. She is also moderator of Grace Presbytery Council. 16 | Austin Presbyterian Theological Seminary

stopped in these churches. There are still, daily, such breath-taking demonstrations of grace in the midst of brokenness; such tender acts of care in the face of injury, illness, and tragedy; such a deep hunger for connection with Jesus Christ and each other as they worship together, pray together, study Scripture, fellowship with one another; and such a passion for the Gospel in acts of mission and outreach. All that sets me wondering what would happen if we, as pastors, leaders, and members of congregations began to focus not on bracing ourselves for a bleak future, but instead on taking stock of all the gifts we have as congregations. Many churches do not have the resources they once did, but there is not a church that has nothing to offer. How would acknowledging the abundance of resources within our congregations change the ways we listen together for the direction in which God is calling us to go? How might we begin to partner with the communities around us, not only to provide for needs, but also to learn from and receive the gifts of those beyond our doors? Several Sundays ago I was invited to lead a small Disciples of Christ congregation through a contained visioning process. The church has been in its present location, in a burgeoning area of Tarrant County, just north of Fort Worth, for almost twenty years. It was planted to be an outpost for the Gospel in an area that was slated for growth. When it was built, fields and a few houses surrounded it. Now, those fields have upscale neighborhoods, an elementary school, and promising location for more real estate development. In spite of the growth around them, the congregation has remained small and its ministry somewhat limited. Continued on page 24


The church as suppliant

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’ve served four congregations since 1979 and have witnessed each undertake new ministries when various cultural challenges presented crisis opportunities for witness and service following Jesus Christ. In such times, each sensed particular ways to build constructive public relationships in order to meet the needs and dilemmas of the larger community. During the early 1980s, in San Antonio, this occurred through partnering with predominantly Hispanic Roman Catholic parishes to address public safety, public education, and public utilities’ policies across the metropolitan area. A few years later in Henderson, Texas, Session leadership advocated and modeled, for the larger community, courage, non-discrimination, and compassion toward persons and families whose lives were devastated by AIDS. During the early 2000s, in Tulsa, Oklahoma, the congregation co-sponsored partnering for inter-religious lectures and learning opportunities, this when many Christians were “nervous” about developing relationships with Jewish and Muslim individuals and faith-communities. Even before 2007 (when I arrived in Bryan, Texas), this has been evident in Session’s gentle but unapologetic leadership seeking enhanced inter-religious relationships across the larger community and supporting public education area-wide, including students, families, and faculties of public schools near the church. I have witnessed unconventional discipleship following the way and spirit of Jesus Christ in other congregations as well. From Christianity’s Reformed tradition, John Calvin Ted Foote Jr. (MDiv’79) is pastor of First Presbyterian Church, Bryan, Texas. He is the co-author of Being Presbyterian in the Bible Belt and Being Disciples of Jesus in a Dot.Com World.

By Ted V. Foote Jr.

offered a major starting point for understanding “church” with his well-known definition: “Wherever we see the Word of God purely preached and heard, and the sacraments administered according to Christ’s institution, there, it is not to be doubted, a church of God exists” (Institutes, 4.1.9). “A church of God,” according to Calvin, clearly has “DNA” which is scriptural, spiritual, liturgical, and relational. Though Calvin’s definition explicitly names two essential aspects of “church,” other aspects are implicit. One is the element of engaged service, the duty and outward evidence (or “witness”) of God’s people who sense God’s call and nudge and leading. Spiritual formation and community partnerships arise where, when, and how God’s people are prepared by their participation across seasons of their lives in “Word and Sacrament.” This happens with persons and communities through churches large and small; local, regional, and global; in all geographic areas; with quite sizeable budgets and no budgets. This happens when persons worship (regularly or irregularly) through the years of their lives, then, “out of nowhere,” take on tasks of service (sometimes simple, sometimes complex). All who are so engaged represent “the Church,” which has been continually “on duty,” ever in waiting and in preparation for God’s next call and empowerment in the way and spirit of Jesus Christ. In his book, The Transfiguration of Politics, Paul Lehmann advocates the concept of “The Church” in the role of “suppliant.” Supplication is the calling of those whose power lies in their powerlessness, yet who realize prayers, appeals, arguments, negotiations, service, and sacrifices are necessarily on-going toward God’s goals of healing, wholeness, equity, and care. Lehmann states that supplication is “the regenerative vocation” of “The Church,” even as John Calvin understood it. In this, human beings are open to “a providential pressure of reality upon human affairs, making … room for the freedom and fulfillment that being human takes … requiring an identification of the people of God with the suppliants of history”—the poor, the marginalized, those experiencing discrimination and deprivation of resources. Church is “The Church” as we are called and empowered for duty through the years in the way and spirit of Jesus Christ for ministries as suppliants. I’m convinced this is so, because I’ve seen it many times. v Spring 2013 | 17


Homecoming

I

called Brian, a church member, shortly after I learned about the death of his sister. I expressed my sympathy and asked him if he would be traveling for his sister’s funeral. “Yes,” he said. “We are flying out tomorrow and will be at the family farm by late afternoon.” I asked him if he was looking forward to going back to his childhood home. “Oh, yes, very much so. It is a beautiful place.” I responded with a cursory, “I’m sure it is.” But after I hung up I wondered how he knew the family farm was beautiful given that he’d never actually seen it. Brian is blind and has been since birth. A few weeks later I saw Brian in worship and I made up my mind to ask him what I’d been wondering. I called him and prefaced my question with, “I hope this isn’t really strange but, what does it mean for you that your family’s farm is beautiful?” He said, “It is beautiful. It was a wonderful place to grow up. My parents didn’t know they were supposed to treat me differently because I was blind. I climbed trees and explored freely. I got hurt and I learned. I gained the confidence to leave and be successful. It is beautiful because it is the center of our family, the place we gathered and the place we came back to from wherever we’d gone. It was magical to grow up like that. When I say it is a beautiful place, that’s what I mean.”

Jill Duffield is associate pastor for discipleship at Shandon Presbyterian Church, Columbia, South Carolina. She is in the Doctor of Ministry program at Austin Seminary. 18 | Austin Presbyterian Theological Seminary

By Jill Duffield

It wasn’t what I expected to hear. I thought he would talk about the sounds of the animals or the smell of fresh-cut hay or maybe the feel of the grass on his bare feet in the summer. But he didn’t share what his senses could or couldn’t perceive, instead he testified to what he’d experienced and knew. He described being unquestionably safe, free, beloved, welcomed, and whole. I’ve never been to Brian’s family farm but I know that beautiful place well. I know that place where people are beloved in all their brokenness and limitations. I know that place where people are set free and allowed to explore and fail and sometimes get hurt, but a place where healing can happen and forgiveness is offered and wholeness is given. I know that place where people are equipped and sent out and then welcomed back, a place where good news is shared, release proclaimed, sight is recovered and the oppressed go free. That place is the church. And it is beautiful, not because of what is seen but because of what people, through Jesus Christ, experience. It is a beautiful place because, through the grace of God, it is that place where it is possible for people to experience their true worth as beloved children of God, even when the world doesn’t see it. v

webXtra: to read John Leedy’s

(MDiv’11) reflections on the “Common Agreement on Mututal Recognition of Baptism,” signed in Austin in February, check out the April edition of The Reed: AustinSeminary.edu/TheReed


Christ

Continued from page 12 Showing it to them, and making them want it, is the business of marketing and advertising. Positioned within the culture as voluntary associations, dependent upon choices made by individuals, the churches are unable to resist becoming consumer commodities in a marketplace society. Denominations and congregations spend time and energy developing institutional “branding” and marketing strategies, all with the help of professional consultants. Capital campaigns and media promotions highlight efforts to sell themselves as providers of religious goods and services. Meanwhile, the gospel recedes into the background as a taken-for-granted assumption, while the gospel’s mission in the world is reduced to episodic acts of compassion and service. As the churches turn away from the world and inward upon themselves, they compete with one another for market share in a declining demographic. Denominations try to sell themselves by promoting brand awareness and promising fulfillment of personal needs differently from and better than the other brands. Competitive marketing is even more pronounced at the level of congregations, as consumer choice is highlighted by a variety of worship options (my favorite church sign trumpets a 2:00 afternoon service by proclaiming, “At last you can sleep in on Sunday!”). New church plants emphasize their difference from staid traditional churches by naming themselves “Hot Metal Bridge,” “Revolution,” or “Destiny,” and emphasizing that they are “a new way of doing church.” Market-tested names and “new, all new” goods and services parallel standard American advertis-

ing strategies, differing from them only by their lack of subtlety and innovation. In a stunning reversal of Paul, who said, “What we proclaim is not ourselves, but Jesus Christ as Lord” (2 Cor 4:5), the churches proclaim themselves, their institutional selves, without a hint of discomfort or embarrassment. Church branding, institutional slogans, marketing strategies, and ad campaigns seem quite normal, unquestioned means of appealing to consumer preference by distinguishing one church from the rest of the pack. As churches position themselves as commodities to be selected and consumed, they become susceptible to characteristic consumer capriciousness and fickleness: today’s Hot Metal Bridge may become yesterday’s BlackBerry. The problem goes even deeper. As purveyors of religious goods and services in a consumer-driven market economy, churches are susceptible to the short leap from the commodification of the church to the commodification of God. The progression from choosing a religion, to choosing a church, to choosing a god, leads directly to “I determine what God is.” The ecclesial economy of desire beckons us toward the god of our desiring. A perceptive observer of the church in North America has suggested that its unspoken slogan might be, “What does Christ have to do with it?” Of course, Christ has everything to do with the gospel, is the gospel that calls the church into being, and sends the church out into a world in desperate need of the gospel message of hope. The ecclesiological task before us is to re-form actual churches that live in the real world as the people of God, the body of Christ, the temple of the Holy Spirit. v

webXtra: to hear Joseph Small’s 2013 Westervelt Lectures, go to: AustinSeminary.edu/MidWinters

Kerygma

Continued from page 15 Whether that discipline is as rigorous as a monastic rule or as fluid as membership in a Presbyterian congregation, disciplined life is at the heart of discipleship. The now-familiar description of the church’s calling in F-1.0303 relies on this notion of discipline as the foundation of koinonia: the Church is faithful to the mission of Christ when it “Nurtures a covenant community of disciples of Christ, living in the strength of God’s promise and giving itself in service to others.” In Presbyterian polity, it is the calling of the ruling elder, whose ministry is that of discernment and gover-

nance, to pay special attention to this disciplining work. Ruling elders “are chosen by the congregation to discern and measure its fidelity to the Word of God, and to strengthen and nurture its faith and life” (G-2.0301). Koinonia is the result of kerygma and diakonia. Together, the presence of these three activities marks the presence of the church, regardless of size, age, location, or theological persuasion. They undergird the church’s ministries and give direction to its mission. They tell us who we are, what we do, and how we shall live together. They make “The Church” the church. v Spring 2013 | 19


faculty news

notes

Professors Johnson and Jensen pen new books

faculty notes |

wo Austin Seminary professors had new books published in March. Trust in God: The Christian Life and the Book of Confessions (Geneva Press, 2013), by Austin Seminary Assistant Professor of Church History and Christian Spirituality David W. Johnson, examines the Christian spiritual life using the Book of Confessions of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) as a guide. Johnson demonstrates how the Book of Confessions can help us understand what it means to be Christian and how one goes about living a Christian life. He uses the rubrics of faith, love, and hope to ground understanding of spirituality and helps develop disciplines— listening and speaking, worship and Sabbath, giving and stewardship, patience and planning, and reconciling—to strengthen our spiritual lives. This book also offers guidelines for engaging in Bible reading and prayer. Professor Johnson is the author of a number of articles, including “A Map for the Journey: The Reformed Tradition as a Way of Seeking,” in the fall 2006 issue of Insights. He contributed entries on “Cassiodorus” and “Pelagius” in The Dictionary of Biblical Interpretation. He has also written book reviews, stories, essays, and poems, and he is the Seminary’s unofficial photographer-in-residence. An ordained minister in the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.), he served churches in Texas and taught at Brite Divinity School prior to joining the Austin Seminary faculty.

John Alsup, The First Presbyterian Church, Shreveport, D. Thomason Professor of New Testament Studies, is working on a study of the Gospel of Mark during his sabbatical leave. He presided over a Blessing of the Animals service for the Sunrise Beach, Kingsland, and Marble Falls communities on April 6.

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Professor David W. Johnson’s faculty colleagues celebrate the publication of his new book, Trust in God. God, Desire, and a Theology of Human Sexuality (Westminster John Knox, 2013) by David Jensen, Professor in the Clarence N. and Betty B. Frierson Distinguished Chair of Reformed Theology, examines human sexuality in light of Christian faith and doctrine. Jensen moves beyond the hot-button social debate about sexual orientation and sexual practices to look for healing. This book considers scripture and sex; the connections between the triune, covenantal God and human sexuality; Christ’s incarnation and resurrection as affirming the beauty of flesh; eschatology and sexual identity; the ramifications of the Lord’s Supper for human sexuality, vocation, and Christian callings to marriage, celibacy, and singleness; and sexual ethics. Jensen has been teaching at Austin Seminary since 2001. His teaching and research explore the interconnections between Christian theology and daily life and he serves on the steering committee of the Childhood Studies and Religion group of the American Academy of Religion. Professor Jensen has written numerous books, including Parenting (Fortress Press, 2011), Living Hope: The Future and Christian Faith (Westminster John Knox Press, 2010), Responsive Labor: A Theology of Work (Westminster John Knox Press, 2006), and Graced Vulnerability: A Theology of Childhood (Pilgrim Press, 2005). Another book, forthcoming, is a theological commentary on First and Second Samuel (Westminster John Knox Press). v 20 | Austin Presbyterian Theological Seminary

Associate Professor of Comparative Religion Whit Bodman testified on April 2 at the state capitol against proposed legislation that would prohibit foreign law from being used in Texas courts. In his view, “This law is part of a national campaign to condemn Islamic sharia law.” He will present a workshop at St. John’s United Methodist Church in Austin on Islam. This month Allan Cole, academic dean and professor in the Nancy Taylor Williamson Distinguished Chair of Pastoral Theology, will lead a class, “Parenthood and a Christian Life,” at Westminster Presbyterian Church, Austin. The topic is in line with his newest book, Fathers in Faith: Reflections on Parenthood and a Christian Life, due out in late spring. The journal he founded, The Journal of Childhood and Religion, has begun its fourth year. Bill Greenway, associate professor of philosophical theology, gave two lecture series on Emmanuel Levinas, one at the SOL Center in San Antonio in February and the other for St. Andrews Presbyterian Church, Austin, in March. He led a lenten devotional at First Baptist Church, Austin, and will be teaching Sunday school at Tarrytown United Methodist Church, Austin, for three weeks in June. David Jensen, professor in the Clarence and Betty Frierson Distinguished Chair in Reformed Theology, will be the Bonhoeffer Conference Workshop Leader


for University United Methodist Church, Austin, April 26-27. David Johnson, assistant professor of church history and Christian spirituality, participated in a panel on “Music & Spirituality” at University Baptist Church, Austin, on March 6. The panel was charged with broadening the discussion of the sacred and secular and to look at the role of music in Christian spirituality. Timothy Lincoln, and his wife, Laura, are the proud grandparents of Fiona Grace Hilling, born on January 12. Jennifer Lord, The Dorothy Vickery Associate Professor of Homiletics and Liturgical Studies and Acting Associate Academic Dean, taught Sunday school at Westminster Presbyterian Church, Austin, during Lent. She also presided over preparations for the Seminary’s Triduum services: Maundy Thursday, Good Friday, and the Great Vigil of Easter. Cynthia Rigby, The W.C. Brown Professor of Theology, gave the Currie Lectures at First Presbyterian Church, Kerrville, Texas, April 12-14. She will be teaching and preaching at First Presbyterian Church, Charlottesville, Virginia, May 17-19 and will be TheologianIn-Residence at White Memorial Church in Raleigh, June 7-9. Kristin Saldine, associate professor of homiletics, will be the presenter for University Presbyterian Church, Austin’s all-church retreat at Mo-Ranch, April 19-20. v

webXtra: to see

where the faculty will be next, go to: AustinSeminary. edu/FacultyCalendar

good reads |

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s always, James Cone raises questions even more important to ask ourselves than to answer. The questions that drive The Cross and the Lynching Tree (Maryknoll, 2011) penetrate to the deepest recesses of sin, both personal and systemic. To ask them is to experience pain, but it is also to experience hope: the possibility of actual transformation; the lived-out conviction that God’s Kingdom actually will come “to earth, as it is in heaven.” Some will remember Cone’s controversial first book, Black Theology and Black Power (1969). Cone began this book shortly after Martin Luther King Jr.’s assassination, at a time clearly characterized by racial turbulence. In it, Cone insists “Jesus is black.” To recognize Jesus’ blackness, he argues, is to take seriously our Christian confession that God has emptied Godself of the kind of power characterized by white supremacy, entering into the depths of the human predicament. What angered some people about this book is that Cone insists he is using “blackness” not as a metaphor, but as a literal way of naming the fact that God sides with persons who are black over and against whites who actively advance—or even passively support— oppressive social systems. Over four decades later, in The Cross and the Lynching Tree, Cone is no less provocative. Why is it, he asks, that the cross has rarely been identified with the lynching tree? Over and over again he laments that even his most socially progressive white mentors (notably, Reinhold Niebuhr) fail to reflect theologically at all on the matter of lynching, despite the fact that over 3500 black persons were lynched between 1890 and 1968. To say Jesus is black is threatening; to say Jesus died on the cross by the hands of his oppressors in a manner similar to how black folks were hanged by whites is, apparently, not even conceivable. Cone’s work in this book pushes me to consider that one reason we whites with power resist associating Jesus with

a hanged black person is because to do so would mean associating ourselves with Jesus’ crucifiers. Cone’s hard questions continue, and are directed to all Christians (not just whites). How is it that the death of Jesus Christ—2,000 years ago— redeems the death of black persons who are lynched? he asks. He answers this by making powerful appeal to the experience of African American persons, who are helped by their conviction that there is “Power in the Blood.” Criticizing Niebuhr’s theory of “proximate justice,” Cone asks us whether we really believe God will bring the Kingdom “to earth as it is in heaven.” When we do not believe God’s Kingdom will be made actual, as M.L.K. Jr. did, we start to view racism as something inevitable that therefore needs to be tolerated. Racism, Cone believes, must be overcome. The most challenging question Cone raises has to do with suffering. Alongside all liberation theologians, he is deeply concerned with the ways in which the cross has been used to perpetuate and promote abuse. There is a real risk, he knows, that to claim suffering is redemptive is to implicitly justify it as a good. And yet, he says, it seems we go too far when we argue suffering is never redemptive. Given that Christ redeems us by way of the cross, he asks, how can we talk about the redemptive work of suffering while at the same time condemn the suffering caused by injustice? Cone’s book is not beach reading. But it will not fail to challenge those of us who want to think more deeply about the meaning of the cross in relation to our own complicity in the world’s injustices. v —Written by Cynthia L. Rigby, The W.C. Brown Professor of Theology at Austin Seminary

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alumni news

notes

Austin Seminary honors three for their service to the church

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he Austin Seminary Association (ASA) honored three distinguished alumni, John McCoy (MDiv’63), Greg McDonnell (MDiv’81), and Helen Locklear (MDiv’89), for their outstanding service to the church during the annual ASA Banquet on Wednesday, Feb. 6.

He earned a BFA from the University of Texas at Austin, an MDiv from Austin Seminary, and the PhD from Princeton Seminary. McCoy served as chair of Austin Seminary’s Board of Trustees and co-chair of its Centennial Committee. He also serves on the boards of the Dallas Summer Musicals and the

the local musical theater community. He is married to Sue Becker McCoy and they have three grown children and seven grandchildren. The Reverend Greg McDonell retired in 2012 after thirty-one years of service to the church, most recently at Central Presbyterian Church in Austin. Before serving in Austin, McDonell was the pastor for St. Giles Presbyterian Church in Houston for sixteen years. McDonell is a former president of the board of iACT, founder emeritus for the Interfaith Arts Council, serves on the Roman Catholic Diocesan Fine Arts Council, the Downtown Cluster of Churches and Social Service

Garland Summer Musicals, and previously served on the boards of the Dallas Pastoral Counseling and Education Center, Presbyterian Village North, and the Shakespeare Festival of Dallas. McCoy has a strong interest in drama and has played numerous roles in

Agencies, and has facilitated the Spirituality Book Club at Book People since 2002. He says he is most proud of his work encouraging many others to enter the ministry, his work in the area of interfaith dialogue, and his efforts to help bring about a more open, loving, and inclusive faith family.

Above: Sue and John McCoy with Carter King Jr (MDiv’70), who introduced John; at right: Greg and Celeste McDonell with Joseph Moore (MDiv’09), who introduced Greg. Helen Locklear (inset) was unable to attend the ASA Banquet.

The Reverend Dr. John M. McCoy Jr. is a Presbyterian pastor who, even in retirement, served as interim senior pastor and Theologianin-Residence at Highland Park Presbyterian Church. He served churches in Texas and North Carolina, his last pastorate being NorthPark Presbyterian Church in Dallas.

22 | Austin Presbyterian Theological Seminary

The Reverend Helen Locklear currently serves as regional representative at the Board of Pensions of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.). She previously served the General Assembly as deputy executive director for the former General Assembly Council, as well as the associate director for Racial Ethnic Ministries. She has also served as executive director of Pembroke Area Presbyterian Ministries and as pastor of New Hope Presbyterian Chapel in Pembroke, North Carolina. She earned her MA in management and human resources development from Webster University and an MDiv from Austin Seminary. In addition to her love of reading and watching great movies, Locklear has the great fortune of spending time with her three granddaughters, Lauren Ashley, Sequoia Lynn, and Mya Nichol, who live close by. These recipients are nominated by their peers and selected by the ASA Awards Committee and Board for their dedication and outstanding service to the church and community. v

webXtra: to nominate someone for the 2014 ASA Award, go to: AustinSeminary. edu/nominate or you can call Lemuel García, director of alumni and church relations, for more information.


class notes | 1970s Jim Currie (MDiv’79, ThM’89) was installed as pastor at First Presbyterian Church, Pasadena, Texas, on January 13.

1980s Karen 
Vannoy (MDiv’81) has moved to Tucson, Arizona, where she is south district superintendent of the Desert Southwest Conference of the United Methodist Church. She has published her second book, Ten Temptations of the Church (Abingdon, 2012).

1990s Robert Leivers (DMin’91) has been called to be the president/ CEO of the Samaritan Institute in Denver, Colorado. Belinda Windham (MDiv’91) and Jan Koenig were married January 5, 2013. Belinda was honorably retired on December 31, 2012. Wayne McEwen (MA’92) married Cindy Lou McEwen. He is in his eighth year serving as a spiritual care coordinator with a national hospice program. Steve Thorney (MA’93) honorably retired, effective February 1, 2013. Muriel Burrows (MDiv’95) was installed as the moderator of the New Brunswick Presbytery, January 8, 2013. William Robert (Bob) Cox (MDiv’95) of Batesville, Arkansas, has retired, effective October 13, 2012. Douglas B. Skinner (DMin’95), senior minister at Northway Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) in Dallas, Texas, has been selected as speaker for the Jarvis Founders/ Homecoming J. N. Ervin Lecture (Jarvis Christian College). Kathy Anderson (MDiv’97) is the happy mother of a baby girl, Jordan

Marie, born on March 27.

10, 2013.

Rebecca Fox-Nuelle (MDiv’97) will be installed as pastor of First Presbyterian Church in Belton, Texas.

Amy Pospichal (MDiv’07) is a P.R.N. Chaplain for Tucumcari Home Care and Hospice and the moderator of the Commission on Ministry for Sierra Blanca Presbytery.

Tricia Tedrow (MDiv’98) has been called to be pastor of First Presbyterian Church in Port Lavaca, Texas. Joseph Thipa (MA’98) has been appointed lecturer in systematic theology at Chancellor College, University of Malawi. Kristy Vits (MDiv’98) resigned her position as a development office for Austin Seminary to accept a call to lead ChristChurch Presbyterian in Bellaire, Texas; she was installed on February 17, 2013.

2000s Regina Maas (MDiv’00) was called as pastor of Brady (Texas) Presbyterian Church.

Ana Rosales Salazar (MDiv’07) will be the baccalaureate speaker during the May 2013 graduation ceremonies at Schreiner University.

Ryan T. Jensen (MDiv’08) was installed as pastor of Lawrenceville (Georgia) Presbyterian Church on November 18, 2012.

2010s Pepa Paniagua Cislo (MDiv’08) is the new director of children’s ministries at Christ United Methodist Church in Plano, Texas.

Ted Thulin (MDiv’02) was installed as associate pastor of Shepherd of the Hills Presbyterian Church, Austin, on September 30, 2012.

Jane E. Pettit (MDiv’10) became the interim pastor for St. Stephen Presbyterian Church in Houston, November 26, 2012.

Clay Faulk (DMin’05) and Beth Faulk were installed as co-pastors of Providence Presbyterian Church, Nederland, Texas, on March 3, 2013. Eric Dittman (MDiv’07) was installed as pastor of First Presbyterian Church, Mission, Texas, March

If you are interested in connecting the history of Austin Seminary with the modern phenomena of social networking, make sure to “like” Austin Presbyterian

Laura Grice (MDiv’08) is now serving as interim director of youth ministries at The Woodlands (Texas) Community Presbyterian Church.

Blake Brinegar (MDiv’01) was called to be pastor at Valley Forge Presbyterian, King of Prussia, Pennsylvania, on March 1, 2013.

Sharon Bryant (MDiv’03), a mission coworker coordinating the work of Christian Volunteers in Thailand with PC(USA), is currently on home leave.

then & now

Cheryl Bourne (DMin’11) was installed as pastor at Northwood Presbyterian Church in Texarkana on April 14. Chris Powell (DMin’11) became the pastor of First Baptist Church of Alpine, Texas, March 3, 2013. John R. Stanger (MDiv’12) is now Organizer of Mission & Advocacy for Presbyterian Welcome in New York City.

ordinations | David Neri MartinezSolis (MDiv’06), ordained by Presbytery of Santa Fe, Santa Fe, serving as a chaplain for Ambercare Hospice. Ha Chul Kim (MDiv’07), ordained on April 22, 2012, at Austin Korean Presbyterian Church, Austin.

Theological Seminary on Facebook (https:// www.facebook.com/ AustinSeminary) and start enjoying our periodic “Throwback Thursday” posts featuring images from the Austin Seminary Archives. And while you are there, take a closer look and let us know if you can identify any of the individuals in these often unidentified photographs. These photos above were taken in 1979 and 1903. Can you name any of the individuals pictured? If so, contact the archivist, Kristy Sorensen, at ksorensen@ austinseminary.edu Spring 2013 | 23


alumni news

notes

Secure your future and that of the church with a Charitable Gift Annuity

Gregory Scott Tatman (MDiv’08), ordained on June 24, 2012, by Presbytery of The Cascades, Portland, Oregon. Jeffrey B. Saddington (MDiv’11), ordained on November 18, 2012, at Hospice Austin. Laura Beth Walters (MDiv’11) ordained on November 4, 2012, as associate pastor of Westminster Presbyterian Church, Austin. Edward Bartlett Smith (MDiv’12), ordained, February 24, 2013, to be temporary stated supply pastor of Green Ridge Presbyterian Church in Roanoke, Virginia.

in memoriam | David C. Harrison (MDiv’52), San Antonio, Texas, March 4, 2013

A life income gift may help you meet three important goals: maintain a continuing source of income, provide an opportunity to receive tax benefits, and support Austin Seminary. The benefits of a Charitable Gift Annuity are certainty, predictability, and security in an unstable economy. For a free, confidential, personalized gift illustration, contact Lisa Holleran at 512-404-4803 or lholleran@ austinseminary.edu AustinSeminary.edu/ plannedgiving

Leroy B. Horn Jr. (MDiv’54, ThM’62), San Antonio, Texas, November 17, 2012 John R. Shell (MDiv’54, DMin’80), Conway, Arkansas, September 13, 2012 Richard A. Braun (ThM’58), Grosse Pointe Park, Michigan, November 22, 2012 John A. Shute (MDiv’62), San Antonio, Texas, February 28, 2013 Thomas K. Reighney (MDiv’86), Welsh, Louisiana, January 16, 2013

New ASA Board

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uring the ASA Banquet and Annual Meeting on February 6, 2013, the following alumni were elected to serve on the ASA Board: Officers: Valerie Bridgeman (MDiv’90), president; Leanne Thompson (MDiv’06), vice-president and president elect; Karen Greif (MDiv’92, DMin’06), secretary; Timothy Blodgett (MDiv’07), past president (MDiv’93), and representatives: Katie Cummings (MDiv’05), Sandra Kern (MDiv’93), and Michael Washevski (DMin’03). v

24 | Austin Presbyterian Theological Seminary

What if?

Continued from page 16 Last year its pastor and members realized that their anxious focus on size was causing them to hunker down in their building and not get out with the Gospel. So they began to seek ways to take it to the streets, so to speak. They started a community garden in partnership with a nearby food bank and low-income assistance program. The children in those families became participants in their summer VBS, which focused kids on the goodness of creation and caring for all God’s creatures, including themselves, and it gave congregation members an opportunity to model radical hospitality. This partnership has not brought them new members so far, but it has provided them with a new way of understanding the resources they have been given to proclaim the Gospel, and it has created opportunities for new kinds of relationships between the congregation and the world beyond its doors. This new way of engaging ministry has generated an increased flow of energy among members of the church. They are excited about what is happening and are now willing to reach out in ways they were not two years ago. When I visited with them, they were curious about what it would take to build a partnership with the elementary school next door. We brainstormed all the resources they had to offer to such a partnership. They came up not only with material things but with the different professions and skills of members; the faith and life experiences they had to offer; their connections beyond the church; their building and how it could be useful to groups from the school who needed a good place to meet; their grounds and how the gardens and natural areas could offer opportunities for teachers, students, and people in the larger community to learn about the environment, have solitude and quiet outdoor spaces, and maybe even get fresh produce. Those were just a few of the items on the list, which gave them a fresh perspective on resources they had not earlier considered important. I love the quote above from Margaret Wheatley, because there really is no greater power for transformation than a community discovering what it cares about together—especially when what they care about is making the love of God in Jesus Christ known beyond the walls of their congregation in as many ways as possible. We focus intently on what is wrong with us as churches, perhaps it would be more effective to begin focusing on and acting from what is right. v


teaching ministry

Speaking a living Word By Kristin Saldine, associate professor of homiletics

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his semester I’m teaching be perceived by the listeners. Can a workshop in speech comthis speaker be trusted? Finally, When we neglect the public, corporate munication for ministry. It there is the physical dimension: sounds easy—just speak! But it’s reading of scripture, the Bible becomes what it means to use the body as much more complex. Speaking a “a mute companion whose access to an instrument of proclamation living word—reading scripture the imagination is dramatically limited and worship. out loud in the midst of the con Biblical scholar Don Juel, in to the sense of sight.” gregation—is an act of intricate his article, “The Strange Silence of integration. Students bring their the Bible,” (Interpretation, January seminary learning, their vocational a theological grounding of ritual 1997), reminds us that biblical works identities, and their physical selves awareness and contextual sensitivity. were written to be heard. Too often to the interpretive act of reading the There is the formational dimension: we engage scripture privately, readBible. speakers integrate personal faith ing in silence. For Juel, when we ne Yes, speech communication in- with public vocation in order that a glect the public, corporate reading of volves understanding phrasing and genuine personal authenticity can scripture, the Bible becomes “a mute emphasis. Yes, we talk companion whose access to about tone, eye contact, the imagination is dramatiand gesture. But those cally limited to the sense of are the mechanics of sight.” The result is “a tradispeech, and, as importion of bland, uninteresttant as they are, they ing, unengaging oral treatdon’t complete the perment of the scriptures that formative art of reading undermines their ability to scripture and presiding move and to shape imagifor the liturgy. There is nations.” In this course, we the interpretive dimenaim to reverse this trend. sion: speakers have to Students in make decisions about the speech communication what the text means beworkshop are working hard fore they speak it. This to speak a living word—to dimension brings into engage, enliven, and bring play biblical studies and forth the imaginative and hermeneutics. It also interpretive power of scriprecognizes the interpreture. The public reading of tive power in the human scripture is not an onerous voice—how tone of voice task; there is good natured can determine meaning. laughter in the classroom There is the theologias we practice and learn. cal dimension: speakers We know we have a responneed a theological undersibility—to the text and to standing of the relationthe congregation—to read ship between the spoken thoughtfully and well. But Professor Saldine coaches student Len Carrell on the fine art of word, act, and tradition. it is also a joy to see and This dimension involves reading scripture aloud. hear scripture come alive. v Spring 2013 | 25


Windows

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2013 MidWinters | February 4-6

Windows, Spring 2013  
Windows, Spring 2013  

"Does church matter?"