Summer Sunday School

"Once more I come to the edge of all I know and believing nothing believe in this"

Christian Wiman

Our summer Sunday school will explore poets who were on the edges of Christian belief. We will hear from experts on poetry talk about the faith of poets such as William Blake, Langston Hughes, Seamus Heaney, and Christian Wiman. Through understanding these poets' struggles with belief expressed in their poetry, the contours of our own faith might be made clearer and stronger. 

July 7: The Rev. Dr. Travis Helms

The Reverend Travis Helms will begin our series with an exploration of the way poetry performs theology – “incarnates insight,” as poet and priest Malcolm Guite puts it – and then examine what that performance looks like in practice. Our close-reading will focus on pieces by the poet and theologian Christian Wiman (Professor at Yale Divinity School, and former Editor of Poetry Magazine). Wiman’s poetry grapples with difficult questions of faith (Wiman has lived for years with an incurable, unpredictable form of blood cancer), and often opens into surprising revelation. By attending to the theological insights embodied in Wiman’s poems, we will hope to gain a deeper appreciation of how poetry can aid us in our own lives as people of faith.

Rev. Dr. Travis Helms is Campus Missioner to the University of Texas + other Austin area colleges / universities. He received his PhD in Divinity, with a focus on theological elements in the work of four American poets (Emerson, Whitman, Stevens and Crane). He directs LOGOS Poetry Collective, a “poetry church” missional community that congregates in East Austin.

July 14: Dr. Coretta Pittman

Dr. Pittman will explore the poetry of the Harlem Renaissance, a groundbreaking intellectual and artistic movement led by African American artists, intellectuals, and poets centered in Harlem, New York, during the 1920's. 

July 21: Dr. Richard Russell

Dr. Russell will speak with us about the Irish poet Seamus Heaney, who had a complicated relationship with his catholic faith and upbringing. 

July 28: Dr. Jennifer Hargrave

Dr. Hargrave will discuss the radical and visionary faith of the 19th century poet William Blake. 

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