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Whitworth Theology Department Annual Newsletter 2017

Adam Neder (2004-present), Professor of Theology, Bruner-Welch Chair in Theology

This has been a strange and disturbing year in so many ways, but I don't feel like writing about any of that here. Instead, I want to mention a few good things that happened.

First and foremost, and for the second year running, Haley Goranson and Josh Leim hit home runs here at Whitworth. What impressive people they are; what outstanding work they do; and what a gift they are to us and to our students. We're lucky to have them.

Teaching-wise it was another rewarding year. I taught a course, Who Is Jesus Christ?, for the first time. Each Thursday night during the fall we spent three hours discussing a great text about Jesus. It's a challenging and exciting educational context, since there's no way to predict where the conversation will move. The students performed remarkably well – the discussions and final papers were first-rate, and all of us came away with a deeper appreciation of the "the mystery of God, namely Jesus Christ, in whom are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge."

In January, I took a group of students to New York City for a course titled The Meaning of Life. We spent a month talking with unusually interesting and competent people about some of the most important things in life. The many highlights included:

  • Spending a day walking around Brooklyn Heights with Lia Strasser and Andy Friedman, an artist and an illustrator for The New Yorker, talking about art and love and work;
  • Learning about wine, craftsmanship and the pursuit of excellence from Christopher Nicolson, resident winemaker at Red Hook Winery;
  • Taking a train to Princeton to spend the day with three of the most exciting philosophers/theologians working today: Hans Halvorson, Bruce McCormack and Bo Lee;
  • Touring the factory in Queens where Anne and Janet Chung make their award-winning Korean barbeque sauces, marinades and rubs, and talking with them about entrepreneurship, education, Christian faith and so much more;
  • Meeting with the extraordinary folks at Charity:Water who provide access to clean water to villages all over the world;
  • Worshipping at Resurrection Williamsburg with Vito Aiuto, pastor and musician extraordinaire, and talking with him about ministry, service and friendship;
  • Learning from philosopher Lucy Collins from the Fashion Institute of Technology about embodiment, the clothing industry, and the ethics of fashion;
  • Exploring the countless treasures of this amazing city.

It was an unforgettable trip and one of the best educational experiences I've ever participated in. I'm already looking forward to returning with a group of students in 2019.

Thanks to the Bruner-Welch Chair, I've had the freedom to spend the spring semester plugging away on a book about the art of teaching theology. It has been a rich opportunity to reflect on the vocation of trying to communicate the Christian faith to people in truthful and compelling ways. And the writing process has reminded me once again of how grateful I am to pursue this work alongside so many remarkable people here at Whitworth.