Ames United Church of Christ
Thursday, December 08, 2016
217 Sixth Street, Ames, Iowa

Theologian in Residence


The purpose of the Theologian-in-Residence Program is to stimulate and challenge our thinking about issues of faith as they are informed by the Bible, religious traditions, and contemporary theological discussion. All sessions are free and open to the public. Preregistration and a fee is only required for those that want to eat the catered lunch.

Planned Program for March 3-5, 2017 with a proposed theme of "God, Christ and Religious Strife"

Photo of Harry CookHarry T. Cook is an Episcopal priest (retired), a scholar of ancient religious texts and the ideas that have emerged from them. His primary area of research focuses on both the canonical and non-canonical gospels, and how the texts of each have influenced theological thought since the emergence of Christianity. His approach to the work is philosophical in nature, which results in open-ended inquiries that are intended to draw the interest of non-scholars to supervised study of such texts.
Cook is a graduate of Albion College with majors in English and philosophy, and of the graduate school of theology at Northwestern University where he studied biblical languages, earning honors in Hebrew and Distinction in his degree comprehensive examination.
He spent 15 years as a parish priest – 12 of them in inner-city work – then in 1979 was appointed religion editor of the Detroit Free Press where he developed a widely read column. In 1987, he was called back to parish ministry and served as rector of a suburban Detroit parish for the next 22 years until his retirement in 2009.
Cook is the author of nine books, most recently LONG LIVE SALVATION BY WORKS: A HUMANIST MANIFESTO and WHAT A FRIEND THEY HAD IN JESUS: THE THEOLOGICAL VISIONS OF 19th and 20th CENTURY HYMN WRITERS, both published by Polebridge Press – an arm of the Westar Institute. He posts weekly essays that enjoy a wide audience across three continents. He also publishes FINDINGS, on-line exegeses of the Revised Common Lectionary readings for each Sunday of the church year.

History of Theologians in Residence

Year Theologian Theme
2016 Barry Lynn "God and Government: Are Religious Liberties Crumbling?"
2015 Ruth C. Duck and
Cynthia A. Wilson
"Spirit-filled Worship and Spirit-filled Congregational Singing"
2014 Phyllis Tickle "Being Christian and Church in 21st Century America"
2013 Gary Dorrien "The Crisis and Necessity of Progressive Theology"
2012 Marva J. Dawn "Worship When God Seems to Be Absent"
2011 Ingrid Mattson "Islam: Rumor and Reality"
2010 Peter Sawtell "Biblical Faith and Ecological Hope: Rethinking Theology for the Health of Creation"
2009 Walter Brueggemann "The Good News of Alternative"
2008 Diana Butler Bass "The Practicing Congregation: Imagining A New Old Church"
2007 Randall Balmer "Perspectives on American Evangelicalism"
2006 Christine M. Smith "Resurrection: Fidelity to This Life"
2005 Amy Jill Levine "Jesus, Gender, and Judaism"
2004 Norman Jackson "Is God’s Justice Irrelevant or Central to Our Faith?"
2003 Dale Bishop "Building Bridges"
2002 Doug Adams "Bringing to Life the Humor in the Bible"
2001 John Shelby Spong "A New Christianity for a New World"
2000 John Dominic Crossan "The Historical Jesus and the Birth of Christianity"
1999 Karen Jo Torjesen "Rethinking Gender: Masculinity and Femininity in Early Christianity"
1998 Tex Sample "Christian Faith and Cultural Diversity: Doing Ministry in Oral, Literate, and Electronic Cultures"
1997 George A. Drake "Puritanism"
1996 Rita Nakashima Brock "Who Do You Say That I Am?"
1995 Robin Scroggs "Exploring the Theology of Paul"
1994 Marcus Borg "Meeting Jesus Again for the First Time"
1993 Donald White "The Church and the Environment"
1992 Marty McMane and Alan Johnson "Good News"
1991 Brian Wren "The Language of Worship"
1990 Charles Hambrick-Stowe "Spiritual Roots and Spiritual Growth"
1989 John Bolen "Ethics in the Bible" and
"Faith Development and the Church"
1988 Keith G. Schrag "Creating a Just Peace in Home and Church"
1987 André LaCocque "The Church and the Environment"
1985 Wilson Yates "Art and the Journey of Faith"
1984 Henry Gustafson "A New Vision of the New Testament"