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Faculty Sightings:

Recent faculty activities and publications - April 2014

Here is a summary of activities and recently published articles by LSTC faculty (including emeriti and auxiliary).

Klaus-Peter Adam,

associate professor of Old Testament, presented “Private Enmity in Israelite Law: Perspectives on Exodus 21 and Deuteronomy 19” to the faculty of theology at the University of Rostock in Germany in November 2013. That month he also participated in the Society of Biblical Literature (SBL) Annual Meeting in Baltimore Md. He presided at SBL Section on Deuteronomistic History; Theme: First Samuel 12 and Its Place in the Deuteronomistic History. He also made two presentations: “Gillulim: ‘Rollers’ in Ezekiel” at the section on Theological Perspectives on the Book of Ezekiel and, with Richard E. DeMaris of Valparaiso University, “Entries on the Hebrew Bible in the RPP and Entries on the Christian Bible in the New Testament” for the Section on Religion in Past and Present.

In December, he presented “Love your Neighbor! – Hating a Brother and Loving Your Neighbor According to Leviticus 19” at Augustana University in Neuendettelsau, Bavaria. In February 2014, he presented “Private Enemies in Biblical Law and in the Psalms of Lament” at Osnabrueck University, Institute of Evangelical Theology, in Lower Saxony, Germany.

Terry Baeder,

director of field education, and Lea Schweitz, associate professor of systematic theology/religion and science and director of the Zygon Center for Religion and Science (ZCRS), recorded a podcast at Chicago’s Adler Planetarium, "Teaching Religion and Science across the Seminary Curriculum." They talk about how LSTC faculty are doing this as a result of the John Templeton Foundation grant that ZCRS receive in late 2012 to integrate science and religion. The iTunes podcast is available at (episode 155).

Mark Bangert,

John H. Tietjen Professor Emeritus of Pastoral Ministry: Worship & Church Music, on Dec. 22, conducted the joint Bach choirs of St. Luke Church in Chicago and Grace Lutheran Church in River Forest, Ill., in a presentation of Cantata 10 for morning services at St. Luke and the afternoon Vespers at Grace. On Jan. 12, he conducted the 21st and final Bach for the Sem Concert at Grace Lutheran Church, River Forest.

Joan Beck,

Cornelsen Director of Spiritual Formation and pastor to the community, and John Beck, lecturer in pastoral care, led a two-day training on cultural competency for Eric Law’s Kaleidoscope Institute at the Minnesota Annual Conference of United Methodist Church Board of Ordained Ministry in December. In March, Beck led a two-part retreat for United by Faith Lutheran Church, Evergreen Park, Ill., on strengthening relationships for ministry. She was also part of a special training sponsored by the Kaleidoscope Institute for “Catalysts” at the Episcopal Cathedral of Los Angeles.

Beck published four articles in the February/March 2014 issue of Lectionary Homiletics, “Fourth Sunday after Epiphany: Pastoral Implications,” “Fifth Sunday after Epiphany: Pastoral Implications,” “Sixth Sunday after Epiphany: Pastoral Implications,” and “Seventh Sunday After Epiphany: Pastoral Implications.”

John Beck,

instructor in pastoral care, on Oct. 25-26 John led a two-day retreat at Lutheran Outdoor Ministry Center (LOMC) in Oregon, Illinois for Christ the Lord Lutheran, Elgin, Ill. 

In December 2013, he led a two-day training on behalf of the Kaleidoscope Institute  for the Urban Village Church, a United Methodist ministry based in four Chicago neighborhoods. In January he was a guest lecturer for the Princeton Theological Seminary cohort of students who will travel this summer to international Field Education sites. He was guest leader for a Feb. 14-15 leadership training event at All Saints Lutheran Church, Davenport, Iowa. In March, he was approved as an “Associate” of the Kaleidoscope Institute, the organization begun by Rev. Eric Law, which seeks to strengthen leadership for missional and sustainable communities; only six other people have been approved as Associates.

Kathleen (Kadi) Billman,

John H. Tietjen Professor of  Pastoral MinistryPastoral Theology, Director of the Master of Divinity Program, and Craig Nessan of Wartburg Theological Seminary, published “Sola Scriptura in the Year of Matthew and Ecclesia Semper Reformanda” in the December 2013 issue of Currents in Theology and Mission. Her “Preaching Helps: A Shift in Perspective” appear in the same issue. She published “Third Sunday of Easter: Pastoral Implications,” “Fourth Sunday of Easter: Pastoral Implications,” “Fifth Sunday of Easter: Pastoral Implications,” and “Sixth Sunday of Easter: Pastoral Implications,” in Lectionary Homiletics Vol. 25, No. 3 (April/May, 2014).

Kurt K. Hendel,

Bernard, Fischer, Westberg Distinguished Ministry Professor of Reformation Church History, preached for three Reformation Sunday services at Grace Lutheran Church, La Grange, Ill., on Oct. 27. He led an adult forum on the theme "Lutheran Questions: Lutheran Answers, continued" at Redeemer Lutheran Church, Hinsdale, Ill., each Sunday in February. He presided at worship at Redeemer on Feb. 23.

Timothy Hiller,

visiting instructor in systematic theology, presented “Theologia Crucis and the Spiritual Practices of Reading in Luther” in the American Academy of Religion Section on Christian Systematic Theology; Theme: Practices of the Body of Christ at the November 2013 Annual gathering in Baltimore, Md.

Ralph Klein,

Christ Seminary-Seminex Professor Emeritus of Old Testament, published “The Messages of the Prayer of Azariah and the Song of the Three Jews," in Where the Wild Ox Roams: Essays in Honour of Norman C. Habel, (Sheffield Phoenix Press, 2013). His article, “An Advent Psalter,” and a review of The Israelite Samaritan Version of the Torah edited by Benyamim Tsedaka and Sharon Sullivan appear in the December 2013 issue of Currents in Theology and Mission. Klein’s review of The Reshaping of Ancient Israelite History in Chronicles by Isaac Kalimi appeared in The Journal of Near Eastern Studies, Vol. 73.

Klein delivered the Coil Lectures on the Bible and Archaeology at Heritage Christian University, Florence, Ala., on April 4.

Edgar Krentz,

Christ Seminary-Seminex Professor Emeritus of New Testament, published a reviews of Rudolf Bultmann: A Biography by Conrad Hammann, Philip E. Devenish, translator and The Disciples According to Mark: Markan Redaction in Current Debate (2nd Edition) by C. Clifton Black in Currents in Theology and Mission, (December, 2013).

Carol Schersten LaHurd,

visiting professor in biblical studies and Islam, presented an Introduction to Islam and the Qur’an at Trinity Lutheran Church, Evanston, Ill., March 9.  She gave a presentation about Islam and Politics on at Trinity on March 16.  She shared resources from LSTC’s A Center of Christian-Muslim Engagement for Peace and Justice and spoke on Islam at the Metro Chicago Synod’s March 20 Southwest Conference meeting at Mt. Zion Lutheran Church, Oak Lawn, Ill., and at the March 26 Northeast Conference meeting at the Metro Chicago Synod Office. She led a discussion of the book Rumi: Poet and Mystic by Reynold A. Nicholson on April 6 at the Evanston Public Library.

Esther Menn,

Ralph W. and Marilyn R. Klein Professor of Old Testament/Hebrew Scripture and Dean and Vice President for Academic Affairs, was featured in an article in the Hyde Park Herald on Jan. 15 .

She taught an Old Testament II TEEM course at the Lutheran Seminary Program in the Southwest, Austin, Texas, Jan. 16-18. With Vance Blackfox, director of Youth in Mission, and Rachel Brocker, associate director of admissions and financial aid, Menn attended a Lilly Youth Theological Network Consultation in Indianapolis, Ind., Jan. 21-23.

Menn team taught “New Paths: Christians Engaging Israel” with McCormick Seminary colleague, Robert Cathey, at Augustana Lutheran Church, Chicago, in February and March.

James Nieman,

president, was a presenter at the North Conference of the Northern Illinois Synod in Loves Park, Ill. on Jan. 23.  He also hosted a “Meet the President” event in the Quad Cities on Jan. 24 and attended the ATS Presidential Leadership Intensive Conference in San Antonio, Texas on Jan. 28-31. In February Nieman hosted “Meet the President” events in Frisco, Texas, and Fort Worth, Texas. In March he was the keynote presenter at the Greater Milwaukee Synod Congregational Leaders Event in Wauwatosa, Wis.

Nieman’s book, Knowing the Context, Frames, Tools, and Signs for Preaching, (Augsburg Fortress Press, 2008) is now available in Chinese.

Richard Perry,

professor of church and society and urban ministry, presented “African Americans and Secular Law: A Paradoxical Relationship” at the Valparaiso University Scholarly Law Conference: So Much Great Fruit: Lutheran Perspectives on Contemporary Legal Issues on March 28.

Ray Pickett,

professor of New Testament, led adult forums on discipleship at Redeemer Lutheran, Hinsdale, Ill., on March 16 and 23. He is on the planning team for SCUPE’s International Congress on Urban Ministry, scheduled for June 23-26. On March 7, Pickett participated in colloquium of theologians that worked on producing a document that will serve as a congress declaration on the theme: "Together, Building a Just Economy.” 

Barbara Rossing,

professor of New Testament, and Jim Schaal, sustainability coordinator, contributed to a Jan. 3, 2014, online article for Religion News Service, “Congregations turn to compost for lessons on life, death and the environment,” by Adelle M. Banks. Read it at

In November, Rossing was elected to a six-year term on the National Advisory Council of The Lutheran magazine by the ELCA Church Council.

Rossing presented "The Rapture Exposed: The Message of Hope in Revelation" at the Fay and Alfred C. Grosse Seminar on Religion and the Literary Artsat Northway Christian Church in Fort Worth, Texas, on Feb. 8 for the Brite Divinity School's Stalcup Lay School of Theology.

She was part of the “Destination Narratives” consultation for the ELCA Global Mission events team April 5-6.

Michael Shelley,

director of A Center of Christian-Muslim Engagement for Peace and Justice, with Mark Swanson, visited the faculty of Divinity of Dokuz Eylul University in Izmir, Turkey, in February, on behalf of A Center of Christian-Muslim Engagement for Peace and Justice. He traveled to Egypt where he spoke to the Scholars’ Seminar, a regular gathering of faculty and graduate students at the Evangelical Theological Seminary in Cairo, on the topic, “Christian-Muslim Relations in Chicago.” He and Dr. Swanson worshiped at the congregation they had served in Cairo, St. Andrews. LSTC alum Kirsten Fryer is currently serving that congregation.

Benjamin Stewart,

Gordon A. Braatz Assistant Professor of Worship, gave an invited presentation on natural burial practices to the director and board of Concordia Lutheran Cemetery in River Forest, Ill., in November.

Stewart served as convener of the Ecology and Liturgy seminar of the North American Academy of Liturgy in Orlando, Fla., Jan. 1 – 5, where he presented the paper, "Observed Spiritualities of Natural Burial," to a joint meeting of the Spirituality and Liturgy Seminar and the Ecology and Liturgy Seminar. 

Stewart was the keynote speaker at the Tri-Synodical Theological Conference in Galveston, Texas, in January and gave two plenary lectures, "The Most Important Ordination: How Baptismal Identity Can Save Church Leaders from Themselves" and "Bathtub Theology: How Early Baptismal Fonts Can Expand Our Sense of God, Self, and the Cosmos." He also led a workshop on the beach titled "Baptism and Beach."

Locally, in February, Stewart served on a panel at Holy Trinity Lutheran Church, Chicago, on the question of electronic giving vs. physical offering plates in worship He was part of an ELCA Churchwide Consultation on communion practices, especially examining the practice of communion before baptism. He led two adult forum sessions on "Liturgy and Ecology" at First Presbyterian Church of Wheaton, Ill.

Mark Swanson,

Harold H. Vogelaar Professor of Christian-Muslim Studies and Interfaith Relations, was part of the WBEZ (Chicago Public Radio) panel discussion, “Does Interfaith Dialogue do More than Preach to the Choir?” on the Dec. 30 “Morning Shift” program. Hear what he had to say at

In the December issue of The Lutheran magazine, Swanson joined J. Jayakiran Sebastian of the Lutheran Theological Seminary at Philadelphia, in the dialogue, “Jesus the savior: How do we witness to Christ in a world of living faiths?”

Swanson participated in a conference co-sponsored by the Lutheran World Federation, “Creating Public Space: International Christian-Muslim Consultation on the Role of Faith in the Public Sphere,” in Münster, Germany on Jan. 9-12. He gave the lecture “Spaces for Conversation: Occasions and Conditions for Christian-Muslim Dialogue in Pre-Modern Times.”

While in Egypt, Swanson taught a January-term course, “Egyptian Church History in the Middle Ages: Selected Themes,” in Arabic, at the Evangelical Theological Seminary (ETSC) in Cairo. He also addressed the Scholars’ Seminar of the ETSC on the topic, “The Importance of Hagiography for Egyptian Church History.” In February, Swanson presented two lectures (in Arabic) to the monks of the Monastery of St. Macarios, “Patriarch Gabriel II ibn Turayk (1131-1145) as a Reformer” and “Common Wisdom: A Sermon attributed to St. Shenoute the Archimandrite.” He also preached in Arabic in chapel at the ETSC.

He published “An Apology for the Christian Faith,” Chapter 1 of the collection, The Orthodox Church in the Arab World, 700-1700: An Anthology of Sources, edited by Samuel Noble and Alexander Treiger (NIU Press).

Swanson published “Christian Engagement with Islamic kalām in Late 14th –Century Egypt: The Case of al-Hāwī by al-Makīn Jirijis Ibn al-‘Amīd ‘the Younger’,” in Jewish and Christian Reception(s) of Muslim Theology, ed. S. Schmidtke and G. Schwarb, a special issue of Intellectual History of the Islamicate World 2 (2014).

He published “The Coptic Patriarch and the Apostate Scribe: An Incident from the Career of Pope Gabriel II ibn Turayk (#70, 1131-1145),” in Parole de l’Orient 37 (2012, but just now appeared).

Linda Thomas,

professor of theology and anthropology, professor of theology and anthropology, during her sabbatical, is  a visiting Scholar in the Center for the Study of Black Faith and Life at Chicago Theological Seminary for the spring semester.

Peter Vethanayagamony,

associate professor of church history, associate professor of church history, preached and presided St. Mark’s CSI Church, Park Ridge, Ill, on March 30. He also led the congregation’s Lenten retreat, “Christian Unity in the Past, Present and Future and Its Implications for the Mission Locally, Globally, and Glocally.”

Vítor Westhelle,

professor of systematic theology, published “Class, Sin and the Displaced" in Religion, Theology and Class: Fresh Engagement after Long Silence, Joerg Rieger ed. (Palgrave Macmillan, 2013). His chapter, “Luther in Latinamerika und Boff in Deutschland: Lutherische Theologie in Lateinamerika und ihre Anfragen an Europa,” was published in Luthers Unvollendete: Relevanz lutherischer Theologie aus europäischer und lateinamerikanischer Perspektive, Claudia Jahnel and Hans Zeller, eds. (Martin-Luther Verlag, 2013).

His “Response to Dr. Margot Kässmann” appeared in the December 2013 Currents in Theology and Mission.

Gayle Woloschak,

adjunct professor of religion and science and associate director of Zygon Center for Religion and Science, published “Orthodoxy and Science-Religion Dialogue,” in Praxis (2013).


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