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Reflections on the First Years of Teaching
Coulda, Woulda, Shoulda
Link to Wabash Center Blog: "Coulda, Woulda, Shoulda-Reflections on the First Years of Teaching"

In order to continue the conversations that facilitate excellence in teaching, the Wabash Center is launching a blog on the first years as a theology or religion professor. "Coulda, Woulda, Shoulda: Reflections on the First Years of Teaching"

The blog series will run for eight weeks, January 22 to March 19, 2013. A new blog will be posted each Tuesday by a recent participant of a Wabash Center pre-tenure workshop. Authors will share and reflect on lessons learned during their first years of teaching. Authors include: Lisa M. Hess, Kent Brintnall, Eric Barreto, Kate Blanchard, Rob Muthiah, Debra J. Mumford, Antonios Finitsis, and Grace Ji-Sun Kim.

We encourage you to respond with comments. Each author has committed to interacting with responses during the week of their blog publication. Comments will be moderated.

Content Editor: Roger S. Nam, Assistant Professor of Biblical Studies, George Fox University
Technical Consultant: She Wren, Communications Coordinator, Wabash Center


Grace Ji-Sun Kim

"Does Life Offer us Second Chances?"       3/12/13

Grace Ji-Sun Kim, Associate Professor of Doctrinal Theology, Moravian Theological Seminary

Grace lives in Bethlehem, PA with her husband, Dr. Perry Y.C. Lee and their three children Theo, Elisabeth and Joshua. She is the author of three books, The Grace of Sophia:  A Korean North American Women’s Christology (Pilgrim Press, 2002), The Holy Spirit, Chi and the Other:  A Model of Global and Intercultural Pneumatology (Palgrave Macmillan, 2011) and Colonialism, Han and the Transformative Spirit (Palgrave Pivot, 2013). Presently, she is working on a biblical commentary on First and Second Chronicles, Ezra, and Nehemiah for the series Belief: A Theological Commentary on the Bible (Westminster John Knox Press, forthcoming). Grace serves on various committees with the American Academy of Religion, and she sits on the editorial board for the Journal for Religion and Popular Culture. Grace was recently ordained as a minister of word and sacrament within the PC (USA) denomination. You can read her blogs at http://gracejisunkim.wordpress.com/.


Tony Finitsis

"You are Fired:" Keeping Group Work Real in the Classroom       3/05/13

Antonios Finitsis, Associate Professor of Hebrew Bible, Pacific Lutheran University

A Greek islander native who calls home away from home the Pacific Northwest. Antonios has adopted the alias “Tony” that makes half of his name pronounceable. As an impressionable young man, Tony got charmed by the Indiana Jones movies and decided to study archaeology, but eventually fell in love with biblical literature. His whirlwind love affair led him to Israel, Chicago and New Haven before landing him in Tacoma, WA. His interests are socio-historical and he has developed a passion for Women and Gender Studies. His doctoral work was at the University of Chicago in Second Temple Literature; he has authored Visions and Eschatology: A Socio-Historical Analysis of Zechariah 1-6 (T&T Clark, 2011) and is presently working on a project examining the depictions of femininity in Wisdom Literature. Before entering the academia, he had a short career on television and that is his excuse for the extensive use of multi media in his classroom. You may find his latest digital media project at:


Debra Mumford

"Using Time"       2/26/13

Debra J. Mumford, Frank H. Caldwell Associate Professor of Homiletics and Associate Dean for Student Academic Affairs, Louisville Presbyterian Theological Seminary.

Debra spends time away from academic work with her partner of eleven years, hanging out with close friends, working out, reading contemporary fiction and watching movies on Netflix and Hulu. She earned her Ph.D. in Homiletics and Master’s in Biblical Languages at the Graduate Theological Union in Berkeley. She earned an M.Div. at the American Baptist Seminary of the West in Berkeley and B. S. in Mechanical Engineering at Howard University in Washington DC. She is a member of the Wabash pre-tenure class of 2009-10. Dr. Mumford’s academic interests include African American prophetic preaching, preaching and culture, eschatology and preaching, congregational exegesis, and anxiety and preaching. Dr. Mumford’s recent publications include “Jeremiah Wright and Black Prophetic Preaching” and “Prosperity Preaching: Will Jesus Make You Rich?” for The Thoughtful Christian. Dr. Mumford is an ordained minister in the American Baptist Church and has served as an associate minister at several churches. Find her at https://twitter.com/debrajmumford and www.linkedin.com/in/debrajmumford


Rob Muthiah

"Rookie in the Room"       2/19/13

Rob Muthiah, Assistant Professor of Ministry, Haggard Theological Seminary

Rob lives with his wife and their three children in the Los Angeles area. Aside from professorial sorts of things, his days sometimes include driving the school carpool, cooking curry on Wednesday nights, hitting the local trails on his mountain bike. Rob and his family are members of Pasadena Mennonite Church, which has been their church home for the last 12 years. Rob has a Ph.D. in practical theology from Fuller Theological Seminary. His teaching and writing revolve around the missional nature of the church and congregational leadership, themes that come through in his book The Priesthood of All Believers in the Twenty-First Century (Pickwick, 2009). Rob doesn't have a Facebook page, Twitter account, blog site, or cell phone, so he can't give out that info, but he does have an email account (rmuthiah@apu.edu) and you're always welcome to contact him by telephone or he'll buy you a cup of coffee if you stop in for a visit.


Kate Blanchard

"Be Nice!"       2/12/13

Kate Blanchard, Associate Professor of Religious Studies, Alma College

Kate is currently on sabbatical near Atlanta doing a collaborative project with Dr. Kevin O'Brien (a friend from her pre-tenure workshop) about Christian ethics and free market environmentalism. When not on sabbatical, she makes her home in Alma, Michigan, with her husband, Rev. Chris Moody, and their son, Gus, a dinosaur and train connoisseur. She has taught at Alma College since graduating from Duke in 2006. She is the author of The Protestant Ethic or the Spirit of Capitalism: Christians, Freedom, and Free Markets (Cascade, 2010) and co-editor of "Lady Parts: Biblical Women and 'The Vagina Monologues,'" which includes six pieces authored by her students. She mouths off now and then at the Huffington Post, and very occasionally tweets at @blanchard_kate.


Eric Barreto

"How I Learned to Leave My Lecture Notes Behind...Sometimes" 2/5/13

Eric Barreto, Assistant Professor of New Testament, Luther Seminary

Eric lives in St. Paul, Minnesota with his wife Holley and two beautiful children. He loves great food, the recent TV renaissance, travelling, and Minnesota's fabulous summers. He is the author of Ethnic Negotiations: The Function of Race and Ethnicity in Acts 16 (Mohr Siebeck, 2010) and the co-author of New Proclamation Year C 2013: Easter through Christ the King (Augsburg Fortress, 2013). These days, he is working on a book on the theology of ethnicity of Acts and how it might shape biblical imagination around diversity in churches today. He is also a regular contributor at the Huffington Post (http://www.huffingtonpost.com/rev-dr-eric-d-barreto/) and hosts a monthly podcast on EnterTheBible.org.  For more, go to ericbarreto.com and follow him on Twitter (https://twitter.com/ericbarreto).


Kent Brintnall

"Is, not Ought"      1/29/13

Kent Brintnall, Assistant Professor of Religious Studies, University of North Carolina, Charlotte

After living in Boston and San Francisco as part of his former life as an attorney, and in Atlanta for doctoral work at Emory University, Kent currently makes his home in Charlotte, NC. Prior to coming to UNCC, he was the inaugural fellow in religion and sexuality at Emory University. Kent's teaching focuses on gender and sexuality, with particular interests in psychoanalytically informed queer theory and the work of French novelist and social theorist Georges Bataille. He is particularly interested in thinking about the ways in which religion, art and sexuality perform similar cultural work.  His first book, Ecce Homo: The Male-Body-in-Pain as Redemptive Figure (University of Chicago Pres, 2012). He is currently co-editing an anthology with Jeremy Biles entitled Negative Ecstasies: Georges Bataille and the Study of Religion and working on a monograph on "queer negativity" entitled The Trauma of Normal. His future projects include a comparative study of pornographic and mystical literatures; a study of serial killers, masculinity and the ethics of revenge; and a comparative study of apophaticism and gay male camp. He currently serves as the North American editor for Theology & Sexuality and the co-chair of the AAR's Queer Studies and Religion groupIn his copious free-time, he watches an absurd amount of television, attempts to keep his three dogs—Fenris, Fred and Dino—happy, and reads obsessively biographies of twentieth-century presidents. 


Lisa M. Hess

"We're Not in Kansas (nor Cambridge) Anymore"       1/22/13

Lisa M. Hess, Associate Professor of Practical Theology, United Theological Seminary

An Ohio native who has lived on both East and West Coasts over the last two decades, Lisa listens, teaches, and writes as a Presbyterian minister (PCUSA) and practical theologian. She understands herself best as a companion, contemplative, wife, teacher, occasional preacher, and poet. Lisa did her doctoral work at Princeton Theological Seminary and is author of Artisanal Theology: Intentional Formation in Radically Covenantal Companionships (Cascade, 2009) and Learning in a Musical Key: Insight for Theology in Performative Mode. She names her primary work as the articulation, modeling, and fostering of an expressive theological delight, able to companion the suffering of self and others. Religious communities of affiliation include the Presbyterian Church (USA) where she currently serves in moderatorial leadership, the Society of Friends (Quakers), the United Methodist Church and occasionally, Gar Drolma of Dayton, Ohio (a sangha in the Drikung Kagyu lineage of Tibetan Buddhism). Find her at https://www.facebook.com/lisa.m.hess where she lurks more than lives. http://www.united.edu/Lisa-M.-Hess/Lisa-M.-Hess/menu-id-316.html

Roger Nam


Blog Moderator

Roger Nam, Assistant Professor of Biblical Studies, George Fox Seminary

A California native, Roger lives in Lake Oswego, Ore., with his with his wife, Samantha, and their two sons, Jared and Asher. As California transplants, they freely complain about the lack of sunshine, while secretly loving the cuisine, culture and the natural beauty of the Pacific Northwest. Roger works primarily on understanding the nature of economy in the ancient Near East, particularly as reflected in biblical and extra-biblical texts. He works secondarily on Late Bronze Age civilizations, social scientific approaches to the Bible and inner-biblical exegesis. His doctoral work was at UCLA in Near Eastern Languages and Culture; he has authored Portrayals of Economic Exchange in the Book of Kings (Leiden: Brill, 2012) and is presently writing a book on the economies of Judah during the Persian period. Before entering the academic field of biblical studies, he was a pastor at Choong Hyun Presbyterian Church in Seoul, Korea (1994-1996), and a financial analyst at Maxim Integrated Products (1997-2000). Find him at http://www.georgefox.edu/seminary/faculty/bio/roger-nam.html

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