Gordon J. Straw, associate professor and Cornelsen Chair for Spiritual Formation at the Lutheran School of Theology at Chicago (LSTC), received the honorary degree of Doctor of Divinity during commencement exercises at Wartburg Theological Seminary, Dubuque, Iowa, on Sunday, May 20.
He joined the LSTC faculty and staff a year ago; he also serves as LSTC’s coordinator of candidacy. He has led numerous congregations as pastor or interim pastor, served in outdoor and campus ministries, and provided leadership to synodical and ecumenical committees and councils.
“Gordon has been an engaged advocate for theological education throughout the ELCA, including among ethnic specific communities,” said the Rev. Dr. Craig L. Nessan, Wartburg’s Academic Dean and Professor of Contextual Theology and Ethics and The William D. Streng Professor for the Education and Renewal of the Church. “His support for lay schools for ministry and the education of the universal priesthood of all believers has been exemplary. We thank God for his ongoing partnership in theological education as professor at LSTC and celebrate the awarding of this doctoral degree at Wartburg Theological Seminary.”
Straw is an enrolled member of the Brothertown Indian Nation, which formed in 1782 as a Christian Indian nation. He has written and lectured on Native American Christian Theology and related contemporary issues, as well as on topics in systematic theology and American Lutheran church history. Straw has worked with other native leaders in the ELCA to develop both the Native American ministries emphasis and the Vine Deloria Jr. Symposium at LSTC.
In addition to previous teaching at LSTC, Straw taught at Catholic Theological Union, and in the Diakonia Program of the Metropolitan Chicago Synod of the ELCA. Prior to coming LSTC, he served at the ELCA churchwide office, including program director for American Indian and Alaska Native Ministries, coordinating director for ethic ministries, committee staff for the theological education advisory council and program director for lay schools for ministry and candidacy leadership manager for ELCA’s Region 8.
Straw earned a master of theology degree from LSTC in 1997 and has completed all coursework for a PhD in systematic theology. He holds a master of divinity degree from Luther Seminary in St. Paul, Minn.
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The Lutheran School of Theology (LSTC) is dedicated to bearing witness to the good news of Jesus Christ. Based in Chicago’s Hyde Park neighborhood, it is the leading urban Lutheran seminary training students for purposeful vocations in the global community. Aligned with its Lutheran heritage and built on a foundation of intellectual rigor, LSTC’s innovative, nationally recognized curriculum gives students skills for visionary Christian leadership in the public sphere.