Saturday, February 18, 2023

Podcast Conversations with contributors to Borderlands of Theological Education

 Just thrilled that our podcast conversations with contributors to Borderlands of Theological Education are available here:

It was a wonderful experience to have these conversations with authors and I believe we brought out highlights of each essay!

Thursday, January 05, 2023

Borderlands of Theological Education Book Party

Thanks to Dean Robyn Neville, the Dean of CCFL in the Diocese of SE Florida, our second book party for Borderlands of Theological Education will take place on January 28th 2023 from 2-3.00pm EST (1-2pm CST). To buy the book see:

For the book party, please find information and registration link below:

Friday, September 16, 2022

Borderlands of Theological Education (October 2022)


Traditional patterns of educating and training clergy face not only crises of increasing cost and declining enrollment, but also a crisis of identity, since at present it is the academy, not the church, that shapes formation for ministry. This collection of essays outlines a history and a new vision of the church as the primary location of ministerial formation for the future of theological education.

Friday, April 22, 2022

Jesus the spirit-filled exorcist in Mark's Gospel

Mark's gospel presents Jesus first & foremost as a spirit-filled exorcist from a baptism by John in which the spirit comes into him. It is in the spirit world that Jesus is first recognized. In fact, Jesus is confronted by "unclean spirits" in individuals everywhere: in Galilean synagogues (Mark 1; esp.1:39); on the margins of life (Mark 5, the Gerasene demoniac) and beyond Galilee (Mark 7, the Syrophonecian woman on behalf of her daughter).

And it is not just individuals: people are enthralled: ".. they kept asking one another, “What is this new teaching? With authority he commands even the unclean spirits, and they obey him!” Crowds from everywhere find Jesus; to avoid being crushed he gets into a boat offshore. But "whenever the unclean spirits saw him, they fell down before him and shouted, “You are the Son of God!” (Mark 3).

Not surprisingly, critics accuse him of being demon-possessed: "but how can Satan cast out Satan?" Jesus responds. Rather, Jesus' self understand expands: when people pursue Jesus to the extent that they "unroof the roof" of the house where he is to obtain healing for a paralyzed friend, Jesus demonstrates an ability to forgive sins on earth as Child(son) of Humanity (2:10) right before the healing takes place.

Even his own household (family) members, when they hear these events, believe that he "is beside himself" or out of his mind.

Josephus connects spirit possession with social and political stress, as is likely to be the case in Galilee, where Mark locates Jesus' ministry during the time of Herod Antipas. (Teaching a new course on Jesus has given me a chance to re-think Mark's Christological emphases).

Friday, March 12, 2021

Anacreon of Teos PMG358

 Anacreon: PMG 358 

William S. Annis∗ October 2010

This poem comes to us via Athenaeus (13 599C), who claims that the poem is about Sappho. Women from Lesbos had their own reputations independent of Sappho, so a little suspicion about this seems prudent. Unfortunately, the inter- pretation of line eight depends somewhat on where you stand on this question.

Meter: glyconic quatrain, 1, 2, 3  ̄ ̆ ̄ ̆ ̆ ̄ ̆ ̄; 4  ̄ ̆ ̄ ̆ ̆ ̄ ̄.  ̄ ̄

σφαίρῃ δηὖτέ με πορφυρέῃ

βάλλων χρυσοκόμης Ἔρως, νήνι ποικιλοσαμβάλῳ

συμπαίζειν προκαλεῖται. 

5 ἣ δ’ — ἐστὶν γὰρ ἀπ’ εὐκτίτου

Λέσβου — τὴν μὲν ἐμὴν κόμην — λευκὴ γάρ — καταμέμφεται,

πρὸς δ’ ἄλλην τινὰ χάσκει.

∗This work is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License. To view a

copy of this license, visit

1 σφαῖρα ̆ ας ἡ ball. δηὖτε = δὴ αὖτε again. πορφύρεος η ον shining; purple, dark-red. 2βάλλω here more pelt, strike (by throwing). χρυ ̄σοκόμης ου ὁ golden-haired.

3 νήν ̄ι = contracted sg.dat. of ἡ νεᾶνις girl. ποικιλοσάμβαλος ον with embroidered sandals.

4 συμ-παίζω play with + dat., often with erotic sense. προ-καλέομαι call forth, invite, summon. 5The syntax of this entire quatrain is rather parenthetical. ἐστίν i.e., ἡ. εὔκτιτος ον well-made; good to dwell in.

6 Λέσβος ἡ Lesbos. κόμη ἡ hair. This phrase is the direct object of l.7 καταμέμφεται.

7 λευκός ή όν white; bright; i.e., l.6 κόμην. κατα-μέμφομαι find fault with, blame.

8 προσ-χάσκω in tmesis, gape, stare open-mouthed at; be greedy for. ἄλλην τινά The feminine gender of ἄλλην could refer to l.6 κόμην hair, i.e., a younger man whose hair isn’t white. Or it could refer to the girl, in which case ἄλλην is another girl.

Simon Goldhill TLS Feb 12 2021 offers his own translation in a review of Anacreon of Teos: Testimonia and fragments ed Bernsdorff (OUP) $295.00

Once again, golden-haired Eros is throwing

A purple ball at me and challenges me

To go and play with

The girl with the fancy sandals.

But she—for she is from well-founded

Lesbos—my hair

It’s white— she disses,

And gapes at another. 

“But what is most striking is the gap between the two stanzas. Whatever is imagined to happen between the poet and the girl, it takes place, unnarrated, in the silence between the stanzas, as we move from the fantasy of anticipation to the bitterness of the aftermath. Every reader is to fill in the gap in the erotic story. We turn suggestion into narrative, just as the poem starts with a fantasy and ends with a different story. Roland Barthes, the modern muse of desire, said that what is truly erotic is not nudity but gaps in clothing through which the body can be glimpsed. Anacreon’s poetry loves to play with such gaps, and hints, and glimpses. It is an erotic poetics of the suggestive. “  

Thursday, September 24, 2020

"Use of Social Media" by Deirdre Good in Theologians & Philosophers using Social Media: Advice, Tips, and Testimonials ed. Thomas J. Oord (2017)

There is a new review of this book here.

Use of Social Media by Deirdre Good

Social media has changed our world. In terms of scholarship and teaching, we are limited only by what can imagine would enhance pedagogy or what we can actually bring about. I’ve used blog posts and discussions to develop course materials. I use Facebook and Twitter regularly and I blog infrequently. I’m presently co-editing a volume on theological education and I use Google chat for regular consultations with authors writing for the volume. For teaching online I presently use Moodle and Zoom. 

  I began to use the web & bible software in classroom teaching in the 80’s as an early adopter at the seminary where I taught. I was the first member of the Faculty to exploit online technology, even before the communications infrastructure was fully able to support timely delivery of course materials. One course I taught offered resources in how to teach the Bible in congregational settings. In this course, students prepare and are videotaped conducting parish Lenten programs using learner-based teaching techniques. When I began to teach online with Blackboard and then Moodle, I either made my own podcasts to accompany written materials or commissioned professional file makers to film short segments on course materials supplying course content. Teaching an Introduction to Koine Greek course online was one of the most challenging courses I’ve developed and probably not one of the most successful. In this regard, a seminary with limited technological resources is very different from a large research university. In 2010 I successfully applied for an Online Course For Theological Faculty Teaching Online from the Wabash Center for Teaching and Learning in Theology and Religion to adapt introductory courses for online delivery and to learn more about online delivery methods.

We used social media to promote and report on a hybrid course on Matthew’s Gospel I taught with a colleague in the Fall of 2016. With a nearby church as a community of accountability, the weekly class brought together parishioners and seminarians from all degree programs. Classes blended online discussions between the two communities as a way of deepening and expanding learning and formation. Questions from congregants often drove discussions: "Who is Jesus in Matthew?" asked a parishoner in a class on Matthew’s birth narrative. Classroom and church were a two-way street. We explored and recorded embodiment as part of the fabric of acted biblical interpretative methods and as productive of meaning. The parable of Matthew’s wheat and tares came alive in new ways as embodiment produced congeniality and connection among the younger students and the older parishioners. We understood the interconnectedness of opposites, the commonalities and differentials in seemingly distinctive destinies – and we enjoyed being together. By abandoning the value judgments implicit in the parable, we can joyfully say that the joint class itself was such an enactment. For class assignments later in the semester, students visited parishioners and taught Matthew through interpretative dialogue to parishioners as engaged participants. Students also participated in worship at the parish church using an Advent passage from Matthew. Three days later both groups reprised that experience in the seminary Chapel which involved a recorded “mannequin challenge” to embody the message of the selected passage. In these ways the class also explored and developed understandings of oral pedagogies, oral interpretative methods, and the diversity of expressiveness that oral communication allows. Altogether, these were experiences that knit a community of learners and secured an environment of shared production of knowledge and meaning. 

We studied Matthew as literature, theology, and the addressing of a marginalized, emergent community, straddling an old story even as it began its own version of that story, and all in an imperial context. Our interpretative maneuvers moved between Matthew’s ancient historical and literary contexts and its analytical relevance to issues today. Conjoining the biblical studies classroom with a congregation added unaccustomed dimensions for both groups. The adventurousness of the academy was offered reality checks in translatability and relevance by the presence of a community of accountability. Parishioner study participants found themselves stretched and their understandings enhanced by classroom conversations. Studying Matthew in this way enables us to enact its past as though present and unfolding. We straddled an old story, perceived its new versions, and created pathways for ongoing exploration. 

Elizabeth Drescher claimed prematurely in 2014 that social media saved General Theological Seminary ( Although the majority of the faculty including me departed from that institution within the year, her point was well taken. While we had no exceptional social media skills, we were able to use social media to inform interested parties about the evolving 2014-15 seminary controversy primarily because we believed that our issues needed to be aired in public. In addition, faculty colleagues at other institutions started a petition to support us that thousands of faculty across the world signed, whilst other colleagues and friends started a fund to support us financially when the Board accepted our (untended) resignations. Others stepped forward to help, for example in creating a website preserving information about and documents relating to events of that year (see

Although we left the seminary, use of social media helped to create, explain and publicize issues at stake in our particular situation that we have come to see now as part of far broader and ongoing crises in theological schools and seminary education across the country. We are considering publishing materials on crises in seminary education that will bring the most benefit to everyone who has gone or is going through particular theological school and seminary catastrophes across the country.

I am presently on the advisory committee of American Values, Religious Voices ( “American Values Religious Voices: 100 Days. 100 Letters” is a national nonpartisan campaign that brings together scholars from a diverse range of religious traditions to articulate core American values that have grounded our nation in the past and should guide us forward at this time of transition. For the first 100 days of the new administration, we will send a one-page letter to President Trump, Vice President Pence, Cabinet Secretaries, and Members of the House and the Senate. The letters offer insight and inspiration drawn from the collective wisdom of our faith communities and their sacred texts.” Prof Andrea Weiss conceived the project. There are now over 2,000 subscribers. The campaign is on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram @ValuesandVoices and will be published as a book.

I spend several hours each day searching for and improving online course materials even as courses are underway and this time includes use of social media. In a recent temporary position, I was able to draw on skills of reference librarians in the excellent university library that helped to educate me and expand teaching resources and my online publications. 

If I were to recommend three things to scholars considering using social media, they would be the following:

1. Get training from your IT department, your local library, and your local Apple store to expand your awareness of online research, social media resources, and other technological possibilities. 

2. Do not hesitate to ask for help and information from younger colleagues. 

3. Go regularly to conferences on technology & social media.

4. Apply for workshops and funding to develop your technological and social media skills.

 Deirdre J. Good is Theologian in Residence at Trinity Wall Street and was Academic Dean at General Theological Seminary. In 2016-7 she was Interim Associate Academic Dean at Drew Theological School. She was Professor of New Testament at General from 1986-2015, and prior to that served as the chair of the religion department at Agnes Scott College, as well as on the religious studies faculty at Valparaiso University. She is a graduate of The University of St Andrews, Cambridge University, Union Theological Seminary, and Harvard University Divinity School, where she completed her doctoral studies. She is the author of many scholarly articles and the author and co-author of numerous books, including Jesus’ Family Values, Jesus the Meek King and Mariam, the Magdalen, and the Mother. While she is an American citizen, she grew up in Kenya where her parents were missionaries. Deirdre Good blogs occasionally at, is an avid Facebook and Twitter user (@good_deirdre), and occasional Instagram, LinkedIn, YouTube, and Google+ user.

Saturday, April 25, 2020

Preaching Podcasts Easter 3: Luke's Mobile Hospitality

The page for our podcasts from the Dio of Central PA is down so here's a link to Preaching Podcasts for Easter 3 on Luke's mobile hospitality.

Friday, January 10, 2020

Preaching, Proclaiming, Teaching, Pondering in Epiphany 2020?

My esteemed colleagues, Dean Joshua Davis, and Professor Althea Spencer Miller, have made it possible to discuss and record our Podcasts for Preachers, Pundits, Proclaimers, and Teachers on Epiphany 1 & 3, and Epiphany 2, 2020.

As you can probably tell, we enjoy great conversations on theological and interpretative matters. We hope you find them useful. Here's the link.

Stay tuned because we will cover the rest of the Epiphany season shortly.

Monday, December 09, 2019

A better translation of Luke 1:46-7 in Mary's Magnificat for December 15th Advent 3, 2019

Advent 3 of our 2019 Liturgical Calendar makes it possible to use Mary's Magnificat (Canticle 9, p.91 of the BCP) in place of the Psalm.

Luke 1:46-47 records the opening lines of Mary's Magnificat:

Μεγαλύνει ἡ ψυχή μου τὸν κύριον,
καὶ ἠγαλλίασεν τὸ πνεῦμά μου ἐπὶ τῷ θεῷ τῷ σωτῆρί μου,

My soul magnifies the Lord,
and my spirit rejoiced in God my savior.

My point is simple: these parallel lines of Hebrew poetry translated into Greek open the Song of Praise by nevertheless using two distinct verbs and two different tenses in the verbs "magnifies" and "rejoiced." The first is in the present tense, conveying Mary's praise of God on the basis of Gabriel's information, whilst the second, in a past (aorist) tense, causes listeners to pause because it does not simply repeat the first line.

When we pause to take in a difference in the second line, what do we hear? A beam of light into the past. Mary is looking back to her experiences of God in the past on the basis of her present experience. These experiences are shared with Israelite tradition; they are not hers alone. We can imagine that she has re-membered God's saving acts, invoking for example, Miriam's poetic Song of the Sea in Exodus 15, the Shir Ha-Shirim celebrating God's saving act in delivering Israelites from the Egyptians. As God saved Israelite slaves in a mighty act of deliverance, so God now looks with favor on God's lowly servant. Hannah's song of deliverance (I Sam 2:1-10) is likely also to be in Mary's mind:

My heart exults in the Lord,
and my strength is exalted in my God.

And Mary is also using the kind of liturgical language found in Habbakuk 3:18:

Yet I will rejoice in the Lord;
I will exult in the God of my salvation.

Mary articulates a prophetic voice that sees God's mighty acts in the present and the past because she is in fact a prophet.

By keeping the present tense of both verbs in translating Luke 1:46-7, the NRSV translation has missed Mary's prophetic insight juxtaposing God's present and past actions in the opening lines of the Magnificat.

Wednesday, October 30, 2019

Preaching Podcasts on Sundays in November and Advent 2019

We've been busy.

Prof Althea Spencer-Miller of Drew University Theological School and Dean Joshua Davis, Dean of the Alabama Integrative Ministry School, and I have been creating a podcast series: Preaching Podcasts for Pundits and Public Proclaimers with the support and promotion of the Bishop T Stevenson School of Ministry in the Diocese of Central Pennsylvania.

We have just finished Sundays in November and Advent 2019 and are now embarking on Christmas Day, Christmas 1 & 2, and Epiphany 2020. 

Our Podcasts for Preachers, Pundits, Parishioners, and Public Proclaimers takes Lectionary readings as a starting point to explain the Bible in simpler, less complex ways than formal seminary or divinity school education. Podcasts are now recognized as a different but powerful form of learning. Episodes provide listeners with alternative and memorable ways to take in and understand complex ideas.

We know that Episcopal, Lutheran, Presbyterian, and UMC pastors, priests, and parishioners across the country want to understand, teach, and proclaim the Bible and ways Scripture is presented in the weekly Lectionary reading three-year cycle. Christian educators and parishioners don’t always have money or the time to take 12-week courses in person or online in a seminary or a local educational institution. We know they don’t  always have access to good theological education in each church, parish, synod, or diocese in part because clergy are stretched too thin. We also know that there are also church phobic people like nones or dones who nevertheless take the Bible seriously. And we now know that podcasts are a serious pedagogical alternative to in person traditional education. Podcasts can reach constituencies in and beyond denominational affiliations.

Our podcasts offer:

· Conversation amongst accessible core scholars Deirdre Good (Stephenson School for Ministry, Dio of Central PA), Althea Spenser-Miller (Drew University Theological School), and Joshua Davis (Alabama School for Ministry)
· Weekly focus on lectionary texts and current issues for sermon preparation in Episcopal, UMC, Lutheran, Presbyterian, and other denominations
· Comprehensible public cutting-edge scholarship by theologians in Church & Academy

 Why not try our podcasts

Sunday, October 06, 2019

Preparing to go on a Pilgrimage A

(Bruce Feiler) Six stages characterize every pilgrimage:

  • The Call: The opening clarion of any spiritual journey. Often in the form of a feeling or some vague yearning, that summons expresses a fundamental human desire: finding meaning in an overscheduled world somehow requires leaving behind our daily obligations. Sameness is the enemy of spirituality.
  • The Separation: Pilgrimage, by its very nature, undoes certainty. It rejects the safe and familiar. It asserts that one is freer when one frees oneself from daily obligations of family, work, and community, but also the obligations of science, reason, and technology.
  • The Journey: The backbone of a sacred journey is the pain of the journey itself. In India, pilgrims approach the holy sites barefoot. In Iraq, they flagellate themselves. In Tibet, the more difficult the trip the most merit the pilgrim acquires. In almost every place, the travelers develop blisters, hunger, and diarrhea. This personal sacrifice enhances the experience; it also elevates the sense of community one develops along the way.
  • The Contemplation: Some pilgrimages go the direct route, right to the center of the holy of holies, directly to the heart of the matter. Others take a more indirect route, circling around the outside of the sacred place, transforming the physical journey into a spiritual path of contemplation.
  • The Encounter: After all the toil and trouble, after all the sunburn and swelling, after all the anticipation and expectation comes the approach, the sighting. The encounter is the climax of the journey, the moment when the traveler attempts to slide through a thin membrane in the universe and return to the Garden of Origin, where humans lived in concert with the Creator.
  • The Completion and Return: At the culmination of the journey, the pilgrim returns home only to discover that meaning they sought lies in the familiar of one's own world.

What did I really see this day?

"It is a startling truth that how you see and what you see determines how and who you will be…. Ask yourself: What way do I behold the world? Through this question you will discover your specific pattern of seeing."

He then describes and comments on the implications of various styles of vision. Here is a short list, which he elaborates on in his book:

• To the fearful eye, all is threatening;
• To the greedy eye, everything can be possessed…HAVING has become the enemy of being;
• To the judgmental eye, everything is closed in definitive frames;
• To the resentful eye, everything is begrudged;
• To the indifferent eye, nothing calls or awakens…indifference is necessary for power;
• To the inferior eye, everyone is greater;
• To the loving eye, everything is real.

“The loving eye sees through and beyond image and effects the deepest change. Vision is central to your presence and creativity. To recognize how you see things can bring you self-knowledge and enable you to glimpse the wonderful treasures your life secretly holds.”

John Donohue

Podcast Conversations with contributors to Borderlands of Theological Education

 Just thrilled that our podcast conversations with contributors to Borderlands of Theological Education are available here: https://podcast...