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Angela R. Cowser

Dr. Angela Cowser, Professor of the Sociology of Religion at Garrett-Evangelical Theological Seminary, African American woman
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Assistant Professor of the Sociology of Religion

  • B.A., Brown University
  • M.A., University of Chicago
  • M.Div., Louisville Presbyterian Theological Seminary
  • Ph.D., Vanderbilt University

Violence and force seem to rule the day in so many spheres of our common life. In our political constructions, too often government and business vigorously work out their interests and promulgate their values [competition, individualism, profit], while the civil/civic sector, of which we in the church are a part, remains unorganized and reactive, with our values relegated largely to Sunday morning.

Are the values we espouse in proclamation, teaching, and prayer--justice, mercy, equity - important enough to make concrete in the public sphere or should they only be something to hope for in the world to come? Should people of faith hide their light under a bushel and accept violence, force, and unilateral exercises of power as the norm, or should we organize to powerfully, demonstrably, and concretely work out--relationally and peacefully - the meanings and practice of justice and mercy in our families, institutions, communities, and world Because Jesus was relentlessly relational, I believe the answer is the latter.

In the classroom and in the church, I come as a sociologist of religion, community organizer, and pastor, and as such, I try to give my students theological, ethical, and sociological tools to help them think and act in ways that deal realistically with the world as it is, while they dream, plan, and organize towards the world as it should be. The world as it should be a place where all people are healthy and secure, strong and prosperous, and just, especially towards the poor, and where the people of God are educated rightly on the ways and means of God. My vocation as a teacher is to help students who hunger and thirst for justice and mercy and equity work effectively and concretely towards these values in this world which God so loves.