As incoming students get ready to embark on their seminary journey this fall, faculty members took a moment to consider books they read at the beginning of their journey, or books they wish they’d read at the beginning. While you will soon have plenty of reading once the semester starts, here are a few books to whet your appetite between now and September!
If you’re exploring your vocation:
Let Your Life Speak: Listening for the Voice of Vocation by Parker J. Palmer
Recommended by Interim President Molly T. Marshall, she says, “I have been recommending this book for beginning students since 1999, the year it was published. It is primarily about discernment and how we move toward living the life that is ours to live, not what we think others expect of us. It is a call to authenticity as we learn to listen to and value our true selves.”
If you can’t wait to dive into religious history:
Reformations: The Early Modern World, 1450-1650 by Carlos Eire
Vice President of Academic Affairs and Dean Dr. Kyle Roberts says, “Let me recommend a very well-written book on the history of the Protestant and Catholic reformations. It's a very enjoyable and thorough narrative of the transformation in religion and society prompted by sweeping changes in theological perspectives, interpretation of religious texts, and the intertwining of politics and religious beliefs and practices.”
If you’re looking forward to learning about Queer and Trans theology:
Queer Religiosities: An Introduction to Queer and Transgender Studies in Religion by Melissa M. Wilcox
Recommended by Rev. Dr. Justin Sabia-Tanis, it is an introduction to Queer and Trans topics in religion and religious history.
If you’re ready to make an impact through social transformation:
Stand Your Ground: Black Bodies and the Justice of God by Kelly Brown Douglas
Recommended by Rev. Dr. Gary F. Green II, as a book related to social transformation that materializes white supremacy in helpful but troubling ways.
Another Way: Living and Leading Change on Purpose by Stephen Lewis, Matthew Wesley Williams, and Dori Baker
Recommended by Rev. Dr. Justin Sabia-Tanis for those planning to enter the Social Transformation program.
If you're planning to be a chaplain:
Paging God: Religion in the Halls of Medicine by Wendy Cage
A Handbook of Chaplaincy Studies edited by Swift, Cobb, and Todd
How to Get the Most Out of Clinical Pastoral Education: A CPE Primer by Gardon Hilsman
Recommended by Rev. Dr. Jessica Chapman Lape for students pursuing chaplaincy.
If you’re interested in congregational ministry:
The Homiletical Plot: The Sermon as Narrative Art Form by Eugene L. Lowry
Rev. Dr. Gary F. Green II recommends this book for someone interested in preaching or learning more about preaching.
If you’re in the Theology and the Arts concentration:
Visual Theology: Forming and Transforming the Community Through the Arts, edited by Robin M. Jensen and Kimberly Vrudny
Dr. Jennifer Awes-Freeman recommends this book in part because it is dedicated to Wilson Yates, emeritus professor at United and one of the foundational thinkers in the study of theology and the arts.
For those specifically interested in theopoetics, Dr. Awes-Freeman also recommends A Beautiful Bricolage: Theopoetics as God-Talk for our Time by Silas C. Krabbe and Way to Water: A Theopoetics Primer by L. Callid Keefe-Perry.