The Rev. Dr. Linda E. Thomas, professor of theology and anthropology at the Lutheran School of Theology at Chicago (LSTC) was inducted into the Martin Luther King Jr. Collegium of Scholars at Morehouse College on March 30.
The theme of the induction service, “Learning to Live the Moral Cosmopolitan Way,” was particularly meaningful to Dr. Thomas in light of LSTC’s Public Church curriculum.
She said, “Our curriculum is decidedly contextual because our students are called to witness to the good news of Jesus Christ in a pluralistic world. LSTC graduates are called to serve in rural Nebraska as well as the suburbs of Lake Geneva, Wis., or cities like Philadelphia and Chicago. Wherever our students are called, they must be prepared to speak at a time when telling the truth is a rebellious act. As a member of the Martin Luther King Jr. Collegium of Scholars, I am called to prepare them for a broad base of ministerial settings for such a time as this.”
Esther Menn, dean of academic affairs, said, “Dr. Thomas is celebrated on the LSTC campus for her courage to address some of the most urgent issues of our times. She does this through her courses on the theology of Martin Luther King Jr. and Black Lives Matter, as well as through the popular blog she edits, ‘We Talk. We Listen. Conversations about Diversity.’ It is splendid that she is receiving national recognition through her induction into this distinguished Collegium of Scholars.”
The Rev. Dr. William J. Barber II, president of the North Carolina NAACP and organizer of the Moral Monday movement, was the Crown Forum Speaker for the 32nd Annual Collegium of Scholars induction. The Rev. Dr. Marvin A. McMickle, activist, pastor, scholar, and president of Colgate Rochester Crozer Divinity School, gave a keynote at the celebratory luncheon. Inductees were “charged” by both speakers to be ministerial leaders who break the silence about the political violence occurring in our country and to offer deep moral language that represents the ethical principles given to us in “the law and the gospel.”
Thomas is one of the architects of LSTC’s innovative Public Church curriculum. Her research, writing and teaching focus on the intersection and mutual influence of culture and religion. Her work is rooted intransitively in a Womanist perspective. In August 2015, Thomas started the blog “We Talk. We Listen. Conversations about Diversity,” which continues to have a wide reach. She has published numerous journal articles and book chapters. Thomas is the co-editor with Dwight Hopkins of Walk Together Children: Black and Womanist Theologies, Church and Theological Education (Wipf & Stock), the editor of Living Stones in the Household of Faith: The Future of Black Theology (Augsburg Fortress Press) and Under that Canopy: Ritual Process and Spiritual Resilience in South Africa (University of South Carolina Press). She earned her doctorate from The American University, the master of divinity from Union Theological Seminary, and a bachelor’s degree from Western Maryland College.
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The Lutheran School of Theology (LSTC) is dedicated to bearing witness to the good news of Jesus Christ. Based in Chicago’s Hyde Park neighborhood, it is the leading urban Lutheran seminary training students for purposeful vocations in the global community. Aligned with its Lutheran heritage and built on a foundation of intellectual rigor, LSTC’s innovative, nationally recognized curriculum gives students skills for visionary Christian leadership in the public sphere.