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7:30 PM CT via Zoom

Every teacher has one -- the lecture that they love the best, the one that they can literally feel in their bones when they deliver it in class. In this series we invite you to get to know United’s current faculty and get a taste of what happens in the classrooms at United. These favorite lectures will be delivered on Zoom, so enjoy it with a family member, invite a far away friend, or host your very own "watch party." Whatever the format, take this opportunity to learn what it is like to experience the transformative learning experience that happens in the classrooms at United.

Lectures are free to attend. If you have enjoyed this lecture series, please consider making a gift to United so that we can continue to provide programs like this.


Gary-headshot-3-2019-1-copy-e1570634676892 squareTuesday, January 25, 2022  |  7:30 PM CT       

Playing the Game: Problems and Possibilities for Black Men in the United States

Gary Green, Assistant Professor of Pastoral Theology and Social Transformation

This lecture captures my current effort as a scholar and a Black man to understand what is necessary for Black men in the United States to survive and flourish. I analyze the intersecting politics of race, class, gender, and sexuality as they relate to our unique struggles, focusing specifically on the connection between historical myths, political circumstances, and the relational re-creation of a society designed to undercut Black men’s attempts to survive and flourish at every level. Despite this cultural onslaught, however, I find unexpected pockets of hope that offer possibilities for new futures to be created where all can survive and flourish.



Portrait 1 2022 tim squareThursday, February 17, 2022  |  7:30 PM CT

The Real Stories of the “Bad Girls” of the Bible: a Post-Evangelical Reflection

Tim Sena, Director of The Spencer Library and Associate Professor of Theological Bibliography

Historically, the stories of many of the women of the Bible have been interpreted in ways that deprive these women of their own agency, shame them for their sexuality, ignore their heroic actions and if all else fails, relegate them to “bad girl” status (such as the wildly popular Bad Girls of the Bible book series written by Liz Curtis Higgs). These harmful interpretations are not supported by the text. By taking a fresh look at these narratives, there is the hope that space will be created for people to find their own stories within the text.



jessica chapman lape squareTuesday, March 15, 2022  |  7:30 PM CT  

Flourishing in the Clearing: Womanist Approaches to Spiritual Care

Jessica Chapman Lape, Assistant Professor of Interreligious Chaplaincy and Program Director for Interreligious Chaplaincy

In Toni Morrison's novel, Beloved, we see the character Baby Suggs, an ex-slave and spiritual leader, facilitate healing and flourishing for her African American community deep in a forest clearing. Through the use of sources such as Black literature like the works of Morrison and Zora Neale Hurston, to the scholarship of womanist scholars and pastoral theologians, this lecture will discuss distinct and embodied characteristics and practices of contemporary womanist spiritual caregivers who work to facilitate healing and flourishing for African American women. This lecture will also explore the broad implications of inviting all spiritual caregivers into the work, awe, and abundance of womanist care – so that all Black women may flourish in the clearing.



kyle squareThursday, April 21, 2022  |  7:30 PM CT

"What's On the Other Side?" Death, Immortality, and Hope in Theological Reflection

Kyle Roberts, Vice President of Academic Affairs and Dean and Schilling Chair as Professor of Public Theology and the Church and Economic Life

Death is inevitable; that basic truth can instill fear and anxiety. This is especially true in a time of Pandemic. Theologians have often wrestled with the problem of death and have articulated visions of afterlife, immortality, and resurrection. This lecture explores a variety of perspectives on immortality and afterlife (from literal to the symbolic) in Christian theological traditions and considers the contributions of Ernest Becker to the relation between the inevitability of death, the anxiety it produces, and perspectives on immortality in religious thought. The lecture will also consider the question, "What is our hope in the face of death"? 



JustinThursday, May 19, 2022  |  7:30 PM CT  

Justice & Joy: Social Transformation as Spiritual Practice

Justin Sabia-Tanis, Assistant Professor of Christian Ethics and Social Transformation Supported by The McVay Endowment and Program Director for Social Transformation

Our sacred traditions set before us visions of a just and peaceful future—a world it is increasingly urgent to create if we are to survive. This lecture will consider how viewing our work for social justice as a practice of faith can lead us to greater spiritual depth and meaning in our lives and how our spirituality sustains us to engage in long term, effective, and meaningful work for justice. We will look at why faith calls us to do the work of transformation and how this leads to both justice and joy.




We have archived them online for your enjoyment! Click the links below to watch them via YouTube.

"Benedictine Spirituality Outside the Cloister" by Rev. Dr. Molly T. Marshall

"The Theological Implications of Religious Diversity" by Dr. Demian Wheeler

"The Iconography of Advent: Images of Mary East and West" by Dr. Jennifer Awes Freeman