With world-renowned teachers and alumni, CTS is the global leader in transformational religious studies. We offer several Masters and Doctoral degrees, including Masters in Divinity, Sacred Theology and Religious Leadership.

Faculty Directory


Full Faculty

Lee H. Butler, Jr.

Prof. of Theology & Psychology
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Lee ButlerProfessor Butler is an Africana pastoral theologian.  Africana pastoral theology is an emerging way of understanding the pastoral theology done by persons of African descent.  The theoretical underpinnings of Africana pastoral theology, with deep roots in African cultures and the antebellum period of the Americas, can be traced to African conjure, divination, and variously coordinated healing practices.  These Africana theories and practices have helped to sustain and support Black faith and life.  Butler’s work focuses on honoring the cultural distinctiveness and the indigenous traditions of African descended peoples throughout the Americas.  He explores identity formation, African indigenous religions, American slavocracy, religiosity and spirituality, Black and Womanist theologies, psychological historiography, health and healing.  His current research projects focus on terror and trauma in America to develop healing rituals that will restore communities to a celebration of life.

Professor's Teaching Philosophy
“The formation of America was so radically influenced by violence that today most Americans accept violence and terror as our way of life.  Pastoral theology, as the work of healing and justice, seeks to transform a world that violates and terrifies into a place where peace and love reign supreme.  As a pastoral theological educator, I strive to help each seminarian to reconcile the pain of their personal journey in order to support the development of a healthy ministerial identity which will allow for a ministry that addresses the whole person.  I am committed, with every resource available to me, to helping spiritual caregivers celebrate every joy and confront every trauma experienced by human beings.”


B.A., Bucknell University, 1981
M.Div., Eastern Baptist Theological Seminary, 1986
Th.M., Princeton Theological Seminary, 1988
M.Phil., Ph.D., Drew University, 1992, 1994.


Loving Home: Caring for African American Marriage and Family
Liberating our Dignity, Saving Our Souls
Listen, My Son: Wisdom to Help African American Fathers


** This Violent Land: Religious Experience and the Traumatic Nature of American Culture
** Exploring the Afro-Atlantic Religious Continuum: Essays on Immersion into Afro-Brazilian Culture and Ritual
** Introducing Africana Pastoral Theology: A Narrativized Historiography
** Sisters (With Sons) in the Wilderness: Re-imagining Theological Reflection to Address Social Violence

Sample Courses:

Introduction to Pastoral Care
African American Religion, Theology, and Spirituality
Psychology of The Oppressed and Liberation Theologies

Stephanie Buckhanon Crowder

Asst. Prof. of Theological Field Education and New Testament
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Web CrowderProfessor Crowder is a Bible in/and pop culture educator. Her focus on New Testament literature provides the lens for traversing the re-contextualization of such texts in present media. While engaging what she terms "womanist maternal thought," she explores ways in which the Bible speaks to current-day motherhood through an African American lens. As a dually-aligned National Baptist and Disciples of Christ minister, Professor Crowder employs creative code-switching means to communicate in both the church and the academy. Through field education she purports an interdisciplinary approach to vocation exploration.

"Social identity is the core of interpretation. Whether people acknowledge any of variables that influence how they engage a text, the dynamics are still present. Teaching must provide a safe forum for coming to terms with the factors that shape who we are. The freedom to be and wrestle with this 'being' is paramount. Ultimately, named and unnamed social constructs bear on textual approach, engagement and subsequently praxis. Yet, the act of interpretation does not stop with the individual. There is a communal responsibility and sense of accountability that must spur both student and teacher to transform society and transgress acts of injustice and inequity. I want teaching to change me as I seek to create something new in my students so we all strive to become sensitized, global change-agents."


B.S., Howard University, summa cum laude, 1991
M.Div., United Theological Seminary, 1994
M.A., Vanderbilt University, 1998
Ph.D., Vanderbilt University, 2000


When Momma Speaks: The Bible Through African American Motherhood (forthcoming)
“Thinking Socially” in Thinking Theologically (Foundations for Learning)
“The Sociology of the Sabbath in the Gospel of Mark” in Soundings in Cultural Criticism: Perspectives on Power and Identity in the New Testament
“The Gospel of Luke” in True to Our Native Land: An African American New Testament Commentary
Huffington Post articles--


The Bible in/and Popular Culture
Leadership and Ministry
Womanist Biblical Hermeneutics

W. Scott Haldeman

Assoc. Prof. of Worship
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Specializing in the history, theology and practice of US Protestant worship, Professor Haldeman is also interested in the less formal ways human beings ritualize themselves in relation to various categories of identity, such as race/ethnicity, gender and sexuality. His first book, Towards Liturgies of Reconciliation: Race and Rites among African American and European American Protestants (Ashgate Publishing Ltd., 2007), analyzes the role of racism in the development of US Protestant worship. In queer religious studies, examples of his work include: "A Queer Fidelity: Reinventing Christian Marriage" in Theology and Sexuality 13:2 (Spring 2007), 173-188.

"Worship provides Christians with an opportunity to leave behind—for momentary and fragile periods—the structures of inequality and violence that pervade our lives and to imagine—and, even more, to experience—an alternative mode of being, a place and time where justice and peace are known, where a communion of love is tasted, ingested and so ... embodied. The fact that public prayer on most Sundays in most local Christian communities hardly resembles such an ideal may discourage many of us, but it does not negate the claim. The critical appraisal of the captivity of worship to modernist rationality and disempowering clericalism as well as its disengagement from the reality of daily life is required for effective ministry. In addition, it is crucial for religious leaders to be competent in preparing and leading authentic, just and transformative worship. Political organization, action, and protest will always be necessary if we desire to reform society, but we must pursue ritual action as well—where in an environment of beauty and abundance, in gathering with neighbors and strangers, in the encounter of the Holy, we know a joy that, to invoke poet warrior Audre Lorde, makes us dissatisfied with anything less in our every day lives."


B.A., Oberlin College, 1986
M.Div., Ph.D., Union Theological Seminary (NYC), 1990, 1998.


Towards Liturgies that Reconcile: Race and Ritual in the History of U.S. Protestant Worship among African Americans and European Americans
"A Queer Fidelity: Reinventing Christian Marriage" in Theology and Sexuality 13:2 (Spring 2007), 173-188.
"Building a Reconciling Community: The Legacy of Howard Thurman" in Liturgy 29:3 (Spring 2014).

Sample Courses:

Leading Worship: A Practicum in Presiding
Ritual Studies
Marriage Rites and Wrongs

Alice Hunt

Assoc. Prof. of Hebrew Bible & Theological Education
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faculty HuntProfessor Hunt's research interests include biblical interpretation and engagement in the public square, historiography and the Bible, and leadership development. Her current project focuses on leadership development in theological education.
Reverend Hunt was ordained at the historic Fifteenth Avenue Baptist Church, National Baptist Convention, in Nashville, Tennessee. She holds dual standing with the United Church of Christ in the Chicago Metropolitan Association. Involved in the broader issues of religious affairs and theological education, Hunt has chaired the American Academy of Religion Committee on the Status of Women in the Profession and the Social-Scientific Studies of the Second Temple Period Section for the Society of Biblical Literature. She also served on the Board of Commissioners for the Association of Theological Schools. She enjoys preaching and teaching in local congregations.


B.S., University of Montevallo, 1978
M.T.S., Vanderbilt University Divinity School, 1996
M.A., Ph.D., Vanderbilt University, 2001, 2003.


Missing Priests: The Zadokites in Tradition and History
"In the Beginning - Again: Historiography and the Second Temple Period: A Response"
Approaching Yehud: New Approaches to the Study of the Persian Period
"Song of Songs," introduction for The People's Bible
"Bringing Dialogue from Cacophony: Can Bakhtin Speak to Biblical Historiography?"
Perspectives in Religious Studies
"Hebrew Bible Historiography and Biblical Interpretation"
Methods of Biblical Interpretation

Sample Courses:

Introduction to Christian Scriptures
Dead Sea Scrolls and the Bible
Biblical Interpretation in Contemporary Contexts
Song of Songs
Archaeology, the Hebrew Bible, and Ancient Israel
Seminar on Ministry
Genesis and Preaching
Leadership: It's Not What You Think

Rachel S. Mikva

Rabbi Herman E. Schaalman Associate Professor of Jewish Studies
Director, Center for Jewish, Christian and Islamic Studies
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Professor Mikva served as a congregational rabbi for thirteen years before returning to academia.  Her research and teaching focus on interpretation of the Hebrew Bible in various times and places, exploring how the ideas both shape and reflect the societies in which they unfold. She is especially interested in the intersections of exegesis, culture and ethics.

“The most profound truths are not simple ones, and they often live in dialectical tension with other truths.  Pursuit of justice is essential, but the equally compelling call to mercy sometimes (gently) pushes justice aside.  Freedom is a God-given right, but freedom without commitment and purpose leaves us rootless.  Peace is our perpetual desire, even as we sometimes decide we must fight.  We also live with the breathtaking and terrifying knowledge that religious passion is a catalyst for great good, but all too often is wielded as a weapon. “Much of rabbinic literature is devoted to exploring these tensions, trying to sketch the limits of our ideas so they don’t become dangerous absolutes.  There is a Divine standard, but it has always been mediated humanly.  The fact that the Hebrew Bible itself did not become Scripture before it had already begun to be multiply interpreted should help us see that it is the ongoing search for meaning that makes for a holy text.  We search together in community and help each other reach toward the Divine call. In this journey, there is religious inspiration and guidance. It marks a path to redemption.”


A.B. Stanford University, 1982
M.A., Rabbinic Ordination, Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion, 1990
Ph.D. Jewish Theological Seminary, 2008.


Midrash vaYosha: A Medieval Midrash on the Song at the Sea
Editor: Broken Tablets: Restoring the Ten Commandments and Ourselves

Sample Courses:

Dangerous Religious Ideas in Judaism, Christianity and Islam
History of Jewish Thought
Interpreting the Hebrew Bible II
Introduction to Interreligious Engagement
Loss and Healing in the Bible and Rabbinic Literature
Sacred Storytelling: Story and Religious Imagination in Judaism, Christianity and Islam
Living, Breathing Judaisms
Ruether, Lorde, Plaskow, Wadud

Christophe Ringer

Assistant Professor of Theological Ethics and Society
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faculty RingerProfessor Ringer's research interests include theological and social ethics, African American religion, public theology, religion and social sciences, religion and politics, critical theory and African American religion, and cultural studies. He is particularly interested in African American religion as a site for understanding the relationship of self, society and the sacred as it concerns human flourishing. Ringer's research currently focuses on the religious and cultural meanings that sustain and rationalize mass incarceration and other forms of social death in American public life.

"My teaching is guided by the conviction that theological ethics critically engage wide variety of disciplines in order to understand the ethical challenges and complexities our world faces today. Moreover, those preparing for ministry should be acquainted with the perennial problems of the human condition as well the conceptual tools to respond to specific challenges that we cannot yet imagine."


B.A., University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, 1995
M.Div., Ph.D. Vanderbilt University, 2005, 2014

Sample Courses:

Introduction to Christian Ethics
Howard Thurman and the Search for Common Ground
Mass Incarceration, Politics and Public Theology 

Bo Myung Seo

Assoc. Prof. of Theology & Cultural Criticism
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Professor Seo's research focuses on theology and contemporary culture, comparative religions and philosophy of religion.  Recent writings have focused on theological interpretations of contemporary cultural phenomena.

“How we understand specific passages of the Bible and the nature of prophecy often depends on how we view the world. Whether we seek to transform or merely to understand the world, we proceed with a prior conception of how the world is or is meant to be.  So being open to and learning from the achievements of other ‘worldly’ disciplines, as it helps us understand today's world, is an important part of how we do theology today.  Also, geographically, the West is no longer the dominant center of Christianity, and the growth of churches in the Third World should be accompanied by a different theological consciousness.  I have come to see the central issue facing today's world as that of domination.  Domination is always based on power, forcing its will, interest and logic unto others. How to speak for the dominated of the world is an important theological question. Theology can longer dwell comfortably in the realm of the sacred. As we are called into the world, our task is to start with the realities of the world.”


B.A., Drew University, 1987
M.A., University of Chicago, 1989
M.Div., Ph.D., Chicago Theological Seminary, 1993, 2001.


Critique of Western Theological Anthropology: Understanding Human Beings in a Third World Context

Sample Courses:

Theologies of the Third World
Cinema and Liberation
Philosophical Thought

Julia M. Speller

Kenneth B. Smith Professor of Public Ministry, Assoc. Prof. of American Religious History & Culture
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Professor Speller’s research interests include American religious history and culture, in addition to the broader area of Church History.  She is particularly interested in 20th century congregational histories with a focus on African American communities.

“A clear understanding of Church history is a necessary foundation for anyone pursuing a vocation in ministry.  It provides a map to be used to chart one’s academic journey through all areas of seminary study.  More than a litany of dates, people and movements, Church history provides lenses through which one can see, understand and interpret theological, ethical and pastoral issues.  It also opens up new vistas and possibilities for connecting one’s Christian faith with social reality and ethical/moral activism. The study of Church History is also a helpful tool in transformative ministry when it is seen in the wider context of religion and culture. It is here that one sees the dynamic interplay between issues of race, class and gender within society and the ways that religious institutions have shaped and been shaped by culture.  Church history is indeed a necessary foundation for religious leaders who are serious about preparing for ‘ministry for the real world.’”


A.B., Chicago State University, 1982
M.C.E., Garrett-Evangelical Theological Seminary, 1985
M.A., Ph.D., University of Chicago Divinity School, 1991, 1996.


Walkin’ the Talk, Keepin’ the Faith: African-centered Spirituality in African American Congregations

Sample Courses:

American Civil Religion
Black Religious Experience in American Culture
Religious Education in a Multicultural Context

Ken Stone

Professor of Bible, Culture, & Hermeneutics
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Professor Stone, a Lambda Literary Award winner, focuses his research on the relationship between critical theory and biblical interpretation and matters of gender, sexuality, animals, and ecology.

“I always encourage students to question their own assumptions about the content and interpretation of the Bible.  Such a process of questioning need not be destructive, but rather creates opportunities for pursuing a two-fold goal.  On the one hand, we must obtain a thorough knowledge of both the surprising diversity of the biblical writings and their historical and socio-cultural contexts.  On the other hand, we must reflect critically on the difficult process of interpreting and teaching those writings in a manner that will help us transform our own world toward greater justice and mercy.”


B.A., Lee College, 1984
M. Div., Church of God School of Theology, 1987
Th.M., Harvard Divinity School, 1989
M.A., Ph.D., Vanderbilt University,1992, 1995.


Sex, Honor and Power in the Deuteronomistic History
Editor: Queer Commentary and the Hebrew Bible
Practicing Safer Texts: Food, Sex and Bible in Queer Perspective

Sample Courses:

Suffering, Lament, & Human Existence in the Hebrew Bible
Biblical Theology in a Postmodern World
People and Faith in Israel

JoAnne Marie Terrell

Associate Professor of Theology, Ethics & the Arts
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Professor Terrell is an ordained elder in the Michigan Annual Conference of the African Methodist Episcopal Zion Church.

Professor Terrell's current research interests are interreligious in scope, and focus on soteriological principles in Taoism, Buddhism and Christianity, the genre of spiritual autobiography, and the power of the visual and performing arts to effect personal, social, and cosmic transformation.

"The world's unfolding narrative reveals too many burdensome predicaments that wreak personal, familial, social, and cosmic destruction, strain belief, challenge religious communities and demand prophetic witness. As a black, womanist, spiritually eclectic theologian, my response has been to delve into the sustaining theological traditions, look to the arts, privilege creativity in the classroom and utilize drama as public pedagogy. I have done so for as long as I have been a teacher, because I understand that through art the Ineffable can be broached and push us towards new thoughts, new habits, new ways of being with and for each other. Despite the wretched conditions humankind continuously faces, I believe in the beauty that is, and it is my scholarly and pastoral duty to pursue and find it."


B.A., Rollins College, 1981
M.Div., M.Phil., Ph.D., Union Theological Seminary (NYC), 1990, 1994, 1997.


Power in the Blood? The Cross in the African-American Experience

Sample Courses:

Augustine, Niebuhr, & Malcolm X
Womanist and Feminist Christologies
Theologies of the Atonement

Seung Ai Yang

Associate Professor of New Testament
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Professor Yang’s research deals with the value of using diverse methods and lenses in biblical interpretation.  Her work pays special attention to the convoluted role of biblical interpretation related to the several binary “isms” in our society, which divide people into the superior in-group and the “inferior” other.

Professor Yang’s teaching areas include the Synoptic Gospels, Asian American Biblical Hermeneutics, Biblical Languages, Second Temple Judaism, and the Hebrew Bible.  She believes that a proper use of multiple interpretive methods and lenses will lead the reader in multifaceted ways to hear the essential biblical call for justice and peace.  From this vantage point, Yang is currently working on a research project that examines the notion of the “other” in the Bible.

“Raised in a society which was nurtured by Confucian wisdom traditions, I believe that the ultimate purpose of learning is to bring peace to the world.  As a Christian, however, I interpret bringing peace to the world from the perspective of establishing the reign of God.  Therefore, for seminarians I explicitly relate biblical studies to Christian life and ministry, while for all other graduate students I relate biblical studies to responsible citizenship and commitment to the betterment of society.”


B.A., Sogang University, (Korea), 1979
M.A., Sogang University, (Korea), 1983
M.A., Marquette University, 1985
Ph.D., University of Chicago Divinity School, 1992.


Co-editor: Off the Menu: Asian and Asian North American Women’s Religion and Theology, with Rita Nakashima Brock, Jung Ha Kim, and Kwok Pui Lan.
“Has Jesus Ever Condemned Divorce?” In Rita Nakashima Brock, Jung Ha Kim, Kwok Pui Lan and Seung Ai Yang, Eds.,
Off the Menu: Asian and Asian North American Women’s Theology and Religion
“The World of Creative Love, Justice and Peace.” 
In Bill Brown, ed., Engaging Biblical Authority: Perspectives on the Bible as Scripture

Sample courses:

Interpreting the Gospels
Feminist Theory and Biblical Interpretation
Postcolonial Theory and New Testament Interpretation
Matthew and Boundaries

Affiliated Faculty

Patrick S. Cheng

Affiliated Associate Professor of Theology
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Cheng headshotProfessor Cheng is an Affiliated Associate Professor of Theology at CTS. He is an Episcopal priest, theologian, and attorney. His research interests relate to the intersections of systematic theology and critical theory. Professor Cheng is the author or co-author of four books on queer theology, and he serves as the chair of the AAR Status of LGBTIQ Persons in the Profession Committee. For more information about Professor Cheng, please see

"In his Confessions, St. Augustine of Hippo describes God as 'ever ancient, ever new.' I am similarly passionate about bridging classical Christian theologies with contemporary issues and discourses in my scholarship and in the classroom. As an Episcopal priest, I am also passionate about the pastoral, liturgical, and homiletical dimensions of theological reflection."


B.A., Yale University, 1990
J.D., Harvard University, 1993
M.A., M.Phil., Ph.D., Union Theological Seminary (NYC), 2001, 2009, 2010


Radical Love: An Introduction to Queer Theology
From Sin to Amazing Grace: Discovering the Queer Christ
Rainbow Theology: Bridging Race, Sexuality, and Spirit
Queering Christianity: Finding a Place at the Table for LGBTQI Christians

Sample Courses:

Queer Theologies

W. Dow Edgerton

Professor of Ministry
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Professor Edgerton is an ordained minister in the United Church of Christ, in which he served as a local church pastor before coming to teach at CTS in 1983. In addition to teaching, he has served as Dean of Community Life, Director of Field Education, Director of the MA/MDiv Program, and Academic Dean. He is one of the founding faculty of the Association of Chicago Theological Schools Doctor of Ministry in Preaching Program.

Much of Professor Edgerton's research, writing, and teaching have focused on the work of interpretation, and how the experiences of interpretation – particularly in the processes of preaching and worship – shape our lives as individuals and communities. In recent years he has turned his attention to grief and mourning, the subject of his most recent book, and to the question of forgiveness.


B.A., Johns Hopkins University, 1970
M.Div., Ph. D., Chicago Theological Seminary, 1976, 1992.


Listening to Grief
The Passion of Interpretation

Speak to Me That I May Speak: A Spirituality of Preaching
In Other Words: Incarnational Translation for Preaching, co-authored with New Testament scholar Charles Cosgrove

Sample Courses:

Poetics of Grief
Interpreting the Parables for Preaching and Teaching

Theodore Jennings

Professor of Biblical & Constructive Theology
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Professor Jennings served as a local pastor and taught for three years at the Methodist Seminary in Mexico City. He has served in the past as a consultant with the United Methodist Church on issues related to commitment to the poor. He also helped initiate the gay and lesbian studies program at CTS and has traveled and lectured extensively in Latin America, Asia and Africa.

Jennings’ research interests include Christian doctrine, biblical theology, gay studies, contemporary late modern philosophy, especially that represented by Jacques Derrida and "deconstruction."  He also writes, particularly in Spanish, on Wesleyan theology.

“The Word of God must be released from the imprisoning forms that have made it serve the interests of the powerful and prosperous so that we may again hear good news for the poor, the despised, the oppressed, and the broken hearted. This work of the reformation of Christian teaching does not belong to ‘the experts,’ but to all who are grasped by the gospel and are called to co- responsibility within the community of faith. In the seminary we provide people with the tools for this task and a community of mutual accountability that respects our diversity and witnesses to our unity in the Spirit.”


A.B., Duke University, 1964
B.D., Ph.D., Emory University, 1967, 1971.


Beyond Theism: A Grammar of God-Language
Good News to the Poor: John Wesley’s Evangelical Economics
Loyalty to God: The Apostles Creed in Life and Liturgy
The Insurrection of the Crucified: The ‘Gospel of Mark’ as Theological Manifesto
The Man Jesus Loved: Homoerotic Narratives from the New Testament
Santidad bìblica
Jacob’s Wound: Homoerotic Narrative in the Literature of Ancient Israel
Reading Derrida/Thinking Paul: On Justice
Transforming Atonement: A Political Theology of the Cross

Sample Courses:

Atonement: The Theology of The Cross
Eating and Drinking with Jesus: Theology of the Eucharist
Frontier Questions in Gay Ethics

Jay Michaelson

Affiliated Assistant Professor of Religious Studies
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Professor Michaelson's biographic information is coming soon.

Susan B. Thistlethwaite

Professor of Theology
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The Reverend Susan Brooks Thistlethwaite, Ph.D is Professor of Theology at CTS. She was President of the seminary from 1998-2008. Upon completing two five-year terms as President, she returned to full-time teaching on the seminary faculty.  She has a Ph.D. from Duke University, a Masters of Divinity (Summa Cum Laude) from Duke Divinity School and a B.A. from Smith College. An ordained minister of the United Church of Christ since 1974, she is the author or editor of numerous books and has been a translator for two different translations of the Bible.

Thistlethwaite is currently working in a new area she calls “Public Theology.” She writes a weekly column for the Washington Post “On Faith” online section and is a frequent media commentator on religion and public events.  Her new book, Dreaming of Eden: American Religion and Politics in a Wired World, will be published in October, 2010 by Palgrave-Macmillan.

Her previous works include Interfaith Just Peacemaking: Alternatives to War, edited with Glen Stassen (United States Institute of Peace, 2008), Adam, Eve and the Genome: Theology in Dialogue with the Human Genome

Project (Fortress Press, 2003), Lift Every Voice: Constructing Christian Theologies from the Underside with Mary Potter Engel (Orbis, 1998), Sex, Race and God: Christian Feminism in Black and White (reprinted, 2009), Casting Stones: Prostitution and Liberation in Asia and the United States with Dr. Rita Nakashima Brock (Fortress, 1996) and The New Testament and Psalms: An Inclusive Translation (Oxford University Press, 1995).  Interfaith Just Peacemaking is currently being expanded into a book.

She is a Fellow of the Center for American Progress Faith and Progressive Policy Initiative, and serves as a trustee of Faith in Public Life, and the Interfaith Youth Core.


B.A. Smith College
M.Div. Duke Divinity School
Ph.D. Duke University


Interfaith Just Peacemaking: Alternatives to War, edited with Glen Stassen
Adam, Eve and the Genome: Theology in Dialogue with the Human Genome Project
Lift Every Voice: Constructing Christian Theologies from the Underside with Mary Potter Engel
Sex, Race and God: Christian Feminism in Black and White
Casting Stones: Prostitution and Liberation in Asia and the United States with Rita Nakashima Brock
The New Testament and Psalms: An Inclusive Translation
Interfaith Just Peacemaking (is currently being expanded into a book)

Visiting Faculty

Rami Nashashibi

Visiting Assistant Professor in Sociology of Religion & Muslim Studies
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Professor Nashashibi is a community organizer and American Muslim activist who co-founded and continues to serve as the Executive Director of the Inner-City Muslim Action Network (IMAN.) His primary research and teaching emphasis has been on exploring the intersection of urban space, globalization, race and popular culture in the formation of modern Muslim identities.

He is interested in the role cultural and socio-political forces have in shaping the way religious tradition gets interpreted and developed. As both an organizer and academic, he takes special interest in the relationship between new forms of religious identity, community organizing and alternative expressions of interreligious solidarity and cooperation.

“What role new forms of religious expression and interfaith solidarity play in shaping alternative cosmopolitanisms is a question that takes on revealing possibilities when considering the additional stigma associated with entities on the margins. It is certainly not difficult to find many instances of hyper-provincial, counter-cosmopolitan and even violent practices associated with religious communities in the modern global age. The more interesting and hopeful story has been when and how encounters between religious communities and actors defy that expectation. I am both interested in and inspired by how such moments can yield rich illustrations of a more equitable and compassionate vision for a global civil society.”


B.A., DePaul University, 1995
M.A, Ph.D., University of Chicago, 1999, 2010.


"The Blackstones and the Rise of Ghetto Cosmopolitanism” " in Manning Marble, ed. Black Routes to Islam
"Ghetto Cosmopolitanism: Making Theory At The Margins” in Saskia Sassen, ed. Deciphering the Global: Its Scales, Spaces and Subjects.

Sample Courses:

Theorizing the Global Ghetto
Community Organizing Practicum-Organizing As Spiritual Practice
Exploring the American Muslim Experience
Introduction to Interreligious Engagement
The Sociology of Religion

John H. Thomas

Visiting Professor in Church Ministries
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John H. Thomas comes to CTS with broad experience in church ministry, first as a local church pastor in Connecticut and Pennsylvania (1975-1991), then as the United Church of Christ's national ecumenical officer (1992-1999), and then as its General Minister and President (1999-2009). He brings this varied leadership experience in denominational and ecumenical work locally, nationally, and internationally to the classroom setting where he addresses contemporary pastoral issues as well as historical and theological trends in the ecumenical and global church. While his particular area of expertise is in the history, theology, polity and mission of the United Church of Christ, Prof. Thomas also employs extensive knowledge of the issues facing the U.S. church in its 21st century global and interreligious context.


B.A., Gettysburg College, 1972
M.Div., Yale Divinity School, 1975


Prof. Thomas writes a weekly blog on contemporary issues in church and society for the seminary's website:

Sample Courses:

United Church of Christ History and Polity (face to face intensive and online)
Leading Congregations (face to face and online)
Leadership and Ministry in Context