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eSpire Newsletter
Volume 1, Issue 4 - March 2010


Looking at the Words from Starched Khaki Trousers, or How I Learned to Read.
by Victor Judge
Vanderbilt Divinity School Monday Forum, February 8, 2010

Among the privileges of my vocation at the Divinity School is that as registrar I become acquainted with each of you as you fulfill the requirements for your degree, or should I serve as your teacher in class, I bear witness to your gifts in interpreting the writings of literary theologians whose themes incarnate the commitments of the School, or as editor of The Spire, I document the contributions you make to the world as alumni/ae of the University. 
(Read more Looking at the Words from Starched Khaki Trousers - Click here)


Expanding the Conversation About What it Means to Care for Those Who Suffer:
A Look at Barbara J. McClure’s New Book

God’s call to us is to be pastoral and prophetic. Pastoral practitioners have the opportunity and responsibility to participate in the life of God toward the greatest moral purpose: the flourishing of one and all, and co-creation of the kin-dom of God through accompaniment, insight and engagement, work that will begin to change the world even as we change ourselves.
—Barbara J. McClure, Moving Beyond Individualism, p. 269

Assistant Professor of Pastoral Theology, Barbara J. McClure has written a new book entitled Moving Beyond Individualism in Pastoral Care and Counseling: Reflections on Theory, Theology, and Practice. Released in November, McClure’s book grew out of her experiences training and working as a pastoral theologian and counselor. By writing the book, she aims to expand the conversation about what it means to care for those who suffer by bridging the gap between social theory, psychology, theological perspectives, and caring practices. 
(Continue reading Expanding the Conversation - Click here)


Sense of Sight: A Creative Approach to Theological Thinking
by David Perkins, Administrative Director, Program in Religion, Arts, and Contemporary Culture

Sense of Sight featured over 60 photographic works created by the students, staff, and faculty of the Divinity School and Graduate Department of Religion of Vanderbilt University.  The exhibition was produced and sponsored by Religion in the Arts and Contemporary Culture, a program funded by the Henry Luce Foundation.  Photographers were asked to submit images in three categories: sacred space, images of God, and people at worship.  The end result was an exhibition that blurred the lines between categories and brought to the foreground a creative approach to theological thinking that reflects well on the Vanderbilt Divinity community.  The subject matter ranged from the exotic to the everyday.  It reflected playfulness and thoughtfulness and showed a wide range of world experience. Unexpectedly, the exhibition revealed a level of photographic talent previously unknown.  We consider this exhibition to be an important form of community discourse.  It made a significant contribution to our sense of who we are.  The images on display played a communicative and educational role for the viewer and reflexively for the photographers.
(See selected images from the Sense of Sight exhibition - Click here)


Alumni/ae Snapshot

When Gary Reyes, MDiv’98, and Faith Kalman Reyes left Nashville to return to Santa Fe, New Mexico, with their daughters, Rebekah and Madeline, they were not sure they were ready to leave behind the good friends they had made during Gary’s time in Divinity School. But eleven years later, they are still in touch with those friends; the girls are now young women in college, and Gary has moved into a new role. Formerly associate pastor at United Church of Santa Fe (UCC) where he was honored by the congregation with a Habitat House named for him, Gary has begun working in the human resources division of Southwest Airlines. He laughs when he recounts that every time someone discovers he is a minister or has studied religion, they are eager to talk with him. He is looked to for help in reviewing or creating policies that promote a more just and humane workplace. Faith continues in her law practice at the Simons Firm.

Student Profile - Lori Collins

What led you to choose Vanderbilt Divinity School?
The answer to this question is emerging as I engage in the process. Mostly, the idea of going to divinity school would not let let go of me. I have a master’s degree in education from Peabody and work with the leadership development staff at the Owen Graduate School of Management, so there was no question that Vanderbilt was the school I wanted to attend.
(Read more about Lori Collins - Click here)


Student Profile – Laura Rossbert

What led you to choose Vanderbilt Divinity School?
I chose VDS because I wanted a program that would tie together gender and sexuality with theology while giving me the foundation I needed for ordination in the United Methodist church.  The Carpenter Program at VDS allows me to be with other students who are interested in exploring the intersections of these subjects while getting a solid academic degree.  I was also looking for a place where I could put my theology into practice on a daily basis.  The other schools I was looking at were in more progressive towns, and having spent time in these areas, I was really excited to be in a place where I would have to have difficult conversations with people I disagreed with and have to wrestle with what it is like to follow John Wesley's words, “though we may not think alike, can we not love alike?”
(Read more about Laura Rossbert - Click here)


Vanderbilt Divinity School in the News

Anthony Fatta, master of divinity student at Vanderbilt Divinity School, is guest blogger for Washington Post, On Faith:

Podcast from Stacey Floyd-Thomas, associate professor of ethics and society, who spoke at a community breakfast on March 12, 2009, at Vanderbilt Divinity School. Interspersed with her students’ dramatic readings from Ntozake Shange’s For Colored Girls Who Have Considered Suicide When the Rainbow is Enuf, Floyd-Thomas talks about the value of black women’s fiction in asserting theological and moral dimensions to the lives of black women and undermining the dominant society’s impositions upon them.


Vanderbilt Divinity School Upcoming Events

Relevant Religion Series
Religion, War, and Reconciliation
March 23, 30, and April 6, 2010
7:00 p.m. — 8:30 p.m.
Trinity Presbyterian Church

Speaker:  C. Melissa Snarr, assistant professor of ethics and society, Vanderbilt University Divinity School

Antoinette Brown Lecture
Texts We Love to Hate: Dealing with the Hard Places in Tradition
March 25, 2010
7:00 p.m.
Vanderbilt University Divinity School, Benton Chapel

Speaker:  Judith Plaskow, professor of religious studies, Manhattan College


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