In Continuing Education we strive to resource you well for your varied calls to ministry. Below you'll find a collection of recent lectures (some with group discussion guides), book reading guides, and other resources to use in your ministry context or for personal reflection. In addition to these selected videos, you'll find all recorded CE lectures on our YouTube playlist. We're constantly adding to this page, so check back often.
In addition to these lectures and guides, you may also find helpful the Seminary's seasonal and topic resources.
Some Bible readers dismiss or demonize anger, but anger can provoke positive change when rightly understood. Similarly, understanding and appreciating that love is not sentimentality but actively redresses injustice will fuel our imaginations for how Jesus-followers can help reshape our neighborhoods.
Central to the Christian tradition is the idea of loving your neighbor. This lecture focuses on the ways in which the COVID-19 pandemic has revealed not only lovelessness within our societies, but also hidden forms of evil that have individual and political significance.
By seeking to read the Bible as John Wesley did, we may become people of one book, rediscovering in the diversity of the canon our own unity in diversity. In this lecture, the Rev. Dr. Steve Tuell, James A. Kelso Professor Emeritus of Hebrew and Old Testament, bridges pulpit and pew and explores the ways in which our shared sacred texts can unite rather than divide.
Valarie Kaur, renowned activist, award-winning filmmaker, civil rights lawyer, faith leader, and founder of the Revolutionary Love Project, presented the 2021 ï»¿Henderson Lecture on Church and Ministry at Pittsburgh Theological Seminary and addressed "See No Stranger: Revolutionary Love as the Call of Our Times."
From Genesis to Revelation, the Bible proclaims justice and prosperity for the poor. The Exodus is a founding
story of God being on the side of the poor and oppressed and the gospels proclaim bringing good news to
the poor. Nevertheless, we often interpret the Bible in ways that justify inaction in the face of poverty, state
that poverty is eternal, and claim that if God wanted to end poverty, God would do so. Rarely in our public
discussion or our congregations is there reference to the truly radical economic teachings of the Bible and the
call for abundant life for all.
In these three presentations, Dr. Sarah Coakley addresses race/racism first as a theological issue, and then considers the nature of sin and the Fall. While it is not usual to put these things together in contemporary American culture, many would say that racism is just a social/economic/rights/liberation problem. But that is precisely the issue at stake. Coakley argues that we cannot understand race/racism in the U.S. and its history without thinking afresh about how the darkness of sin, the darkness of white racialized visualization and projection, and (surprise!) the dazzling darkness of contemplative transformation remain weirdly entangled in our (post) Christian culture, and what it takes to newly understand their relation.
In addition to the 2022 Schaff Lecture above, the following include discussion guides ideal for small group meetings, including adult Sunday School classes.
Willie J. Jennings presented “How to Draw Circles: The Christian Art of Building Life Together,” in which he explored a spirituality of collaboration and pressed forward to illumine the logic of relationality for Christians. For Christians the goal of alliance building opens toward a profound desire for life together to be registered geographically and materially. We are people of community always moving toward communion. Yet the problem for us is that we often lack the courage and creativity to angle social, cultural, political, and economic life toward communion. Jennings proposes a vision of encircled life that might reshape how we imagine our work of living in places and spaces.
During the 2018 Community Conversation on Race and Faith and Kelso Lecture, Kelly Brown Douglas presented "Black Bodies and the Justice of God," based on her book Stand Your Ground: Black Bodies and the Justice of God.
And see the book discussion guide below.
Gather a group, read these titles, and use the discussion guides to aid you in reflecting on the books' contents.
The following questions are intended to structure and enhance discussion of Shea Tuttle’s book Exactly As You Are: The Life and Faith of Mister Rogers, an exploration of the ways in which the beloved children’s program host and PTS alum, Fred Rogers '62, was influenced by and expressed themes of faith and theology in his television work. The study can be conducted over multiple gatherings, using the three sections of the book to organize discussion of the 18 chapters.
In Accidental Saints, New York Times best-selling author Nadia Bolz-Weber invites readers into a surprising encounter with what she calls “a religious but not-so-spiritual life.” Tattooed, angry and profane, this former standup comic turned pastor stubbornly, sometimes hilariously, resists the God she feels called to serve. But God keeps showing up in the least likely of people—a church-loving agnostic, a drag queen, a felonious Bishop and a gun-toting member of the NRA.
As she lives and worships alongside these “accidental saints,” Nadia is swept into first-hand encounters with grace—a gift that feels to her less like being wrapped in a warm blanket and more like being hit with a blunt instrument. But by this grace, people are transformed in ways they couldn’t have been on their own.
Like millions of her millennial peers, Rachel Held Evans didn't want to go to church anymore. The hypocrisy, the politics, the gargantuan building budgets, the scandals--church culture seemed so far removed from Jesus. Yet, despite her cynicism and misgivings, something kept drawing her back to Church. And so she set out on a journey to understand Church and to find her place in it.
Centered around seven sacraments, Evans' quest takes readers through a liturgical year with stories about baptism, communion, confirmation, confession, marriage, vocation, and death that are funny, heartbreaking, and sharply honest.
The 2012 killing of Trayvon Martin, an African-American teenager in Florida, and the subsequent acquittal of his killer, brought public attention to controversial "Stand Your Ground" laws. The verdict, as much as the killing, sent shock waves through the African-American community, recalling a history of similar deaths, and the long struggle for justice. On the Sunday morning following the verdict, black preachers around the country addressed the question, "Where is the justice of God? What are we to hope for?" This book is an attempt to take seriously social and theological questions raised by this and similar stories, and to answer black church people's questions of justice and faith in response to the call of God.
And see the event video above: Black Bodies and the Justice of God.