Reflections on Teaching

Ian McFarland, Professor of Systematic Theology 

McFarland"The Apostle Paul teaches that love rejoices in the truth. In my teaching, I try to challenge students to think more deeply about what they hold to be true, so that they—and the communities they serve—can rejoice more deeply in it."

"Dr. McFarland's passion for theological study is contagious. He's a great thinker AND a great professor who is dedicated to providing a relevant education for future leaders in ministry." — Sarah Glidewell, MDiv '11

 

Carol A. Newsom, Charles Howard Candler Professor of Old Testament

Newsom"I like to think of myself as morning coffee for my students—awakening their interests in all things Old Testament. It's fun to play matchmaker between a passage of scripture and a student, finding just the right story to pique his or her curiosity."

"It takes real skill to make the study of human suffering enjoyable, but that's exactly what Carol Newsom did in her class on the Book of Job. Her insights and assignments helped me wrestle with some of life's toughest questions, questions that confront both clergy and congregations on a daily basis." — Valerie Loner, MDiv '10

 

Greg Ellison, Assistant Professor of Pastoral Care & Counseling

Ellison"I had a brainstorm the other day. In the middle of the thought the pen dried up. I kept writing feverishly, leaving inkless impressions on the page. How symbolic! In pastoral care, we teach each other the act of seeing God in traces of trauma and impressions of hope that the ordinary person might overlook."

"I'm not exaggerating when I say Dr. Ellison's class is unlike any I've ever experienced. He is so enthusiastic and passionate. You walk into class one way and walk out another. God comes into that space and you are transformed." — Xavier Brandon, MDiv '13

 

Teresa Fry Brown, Professor of Homiletics, Director of Black Church Studies

Fry Brown"I help student preachers find their unique voices. We talk through beliefs, we talk through theology, and we talk through background. Because God made us so different, there's room for everyone's own voice in the conversation."

"More than a professor, Dr. Fry Brown is my teacher in life and learning. As I am discovering my voice, her encouragement 'to be authentically me' serves as a continual confirmation that Candler is God's best blessing to prepare me for what lies ahead." — Felisha Chism, MDiv '12

 

Luther Smith, Professor of Church and Community

Smith"My teaching is my ministry. It's the way I relate to people who are wrestling with profound matters of faith. Yes, the rigor of an idea is important. But then, so is listening to a student's heart as he or she questions that idea."

"Dr. Smith is no champion of easy solutions, quick fixes, or glib responses but rather loves the profound mysteries that draw us all into the Body of Christ." — Jason Myers, MDiv '12

 

Luke Timothy Johnson, Robert W. Woodruff Professor of New Testament and Christian Origins

Johnson"The New Testament continues to give and give and give as a source of wisdom. What gets my engine going is empowering students to communicate with others what they discover about these marvelous texts."

"Luke Timothy Johnson is a remarkable professor. We all knew he was a brilliant writer before being in his classes. But being his student is a much richer experience. His deep insights and witty outlook allow the sacred texts to live, dance, and play in our minds as well as our hearts." — Mary Page Wilson, MDiv '12

 

David Pacini, Professor of Historical Theology

David Pacini"My aim in teaching historical theology is to help students deepen their respect for insights and experiences that others in differing traditions have embraced, and to help them see that the lines separating us are far less defining than the intricate web of connective threads in which our faith traditions are woven."

"Challenged by the connections between the pre-modern, modern, and post-modern eras, Dr. Pacini refused to allow me to compartmentalize my understanding of the ethical. His course transformed my view of history and positively affected the ways I engage in the world." - Maria Presley, MDiv ‘11