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Cutting Edges 2011-2012

Cutting Edges is an ongoing series published in Aware, Garrett-Evangelical's quarterly magazine. In Cutting Edges, Garrett-Evangelical faculty share their latest research and expertise in their field of study. From issues of the undocumented worker in the United States to current trends and models in worship, each of these articles touch on current issues facing the Church and our world. To read the articles in their entirety, click the "Read More" links below.


Dr. Pam Holliman
Associate Professor of Pastoral Theology and Pastoral Psychotherapy

Listening Empathically
Published January 2012

Several years ago at a meeting with a Board of Ordained Ministry, a small group was interviewing a candidate for ordination who had recently graduated from seminary. One member asked the young man what he had learned in his field education experience that most surprised him. He answered, “I learned that ministry is primarily about relationships.” In a similar vein I have heard graduates return to Garrett-Evangelical and indicate they wished they had taken more pastoral care or Christian education courses. They appreciate the depth of the work they did in theology, Bible, and Church history as it grounds and enlivens their day to day ministry. At the same time many graduates have come to a greater appreciation of relationships with people as the heart of ministry...

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Dr. Stephen Ray
Neal F. and Ila A. Fisher Professor of Systematic Theology

Be Ye Not Conformed
Published October 2011

These are difficult and troubling times in which we live. The lines between faith and public life are bending in ways that help neither. Perhaps it is time to remind ourselves, as each generation must, of both our calling and our vocation in the world. I find that Jeremiah and Paul help me to think through what vocation means in the world...

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Dr. Barry Bryant
Associate Professor of United Methodist and Wesleyan Studies

A Theology of Empty Shirts or Justice?
Published July 2011

Where were you at 6:00 p.m. on May 21, 2011? What were you thinking? That was the hour that Harold Camping, a radio preacher in California, predicted the rapture as a prelude to the return of Jesus, the battle of Armageddon, and the end of the world. While it provided many with a bonanza of easy material used in derision of Christianity, other Christians tried to distance themselves from an absurd theological caricature of what we regularly affirm through the Apostles’ Creed, “...and he will come again to judge the living and the dead.” Harold Camping reminds us that without serious and constant theological reflection we can lose sight of creedal significance, relevance, and meaning...

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Dr. E. Byron Anderson
Ernest and Bernice Styberg Professor of Worship and Director, Nellie B. Ebersole Program in Music Ministry

Worship - Mirrors and Models
Published April 2011

Contemporary discussions of the function of worship in the life of the church tend to focus on the ways in which worship serves as a means to reach out to the unchurched, as a tool for evangelism, as the central practice for church growth, and as a set of products shaped by consumer desires. (The recent Call to Action report in The United Methodist Church provides only one recent example of these tendencies.) But what if we began to think about worship from a different perspective? What if we began to think of worship as a kind of mirror and model for the Christian community? ...

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Dr. Nancy Bedford
Georgia Harkness Professor of Applied Theology

Theology of the Undocumented Worker
Published January 2011

Each fall my family and I put the community garden plot we tend in Evanston to rest for the winter under its coverlet of straw; each spring we look forward to planting season and to the wonderful vegetables of the Midwestern summer. Our adventures in gardening are pleasurable, yet ultimately optional, as our food supply does not depend on their success. It is different for the migrant farm workers in the United States who care for the many crops, especially fruits and vegetables, that continue to be human-labor intensive. Such workers live precariously, anonymously, often exposed to toxic chemicals, moving from place to place. Without their backbreaking work, our food supply would be decimated...

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