A Conversation with Gary Peluso-Verdend, President of Phillips Theological Seminary

Jul 12, 2012

Our guest on ST is Gary Peluso-Verdend, President of Phillips Theological Seminary (or PTS) here in Tulsa. Established in 1907, PTS recently changed both its identity and mission statements. The new identity statement, according to the PTS website, is thus: "Phillips Theological Seminary offers theological education dedicated to learning the way of Jesus in order to cultivate vital communities, vital conversations, and the public good." PTS has also made changes to its curriculum, including the introduction of a new Interreligious Understanding program (which will begin in the fall). As Peluso-Verdend has noted of these changes (again quoting the PTS website): "The world of graduate theological education for ministry is in the midst of a radical change. At PTS, we're re-imagining the seminary enterprise. We will continue to educate candidates for professional ministry. In fact, we're devoting considerable resources to re-thinking the coursework and outcomes for the master of divinity degree, focusing on how to cultivate vitality in conversations, in local places of service, and in the broader public. But we are also widening the conversation circles for PTS." On today's StudioTulsa, Peluso-Verdend talks about these "widening" actions at PTS --- and about the broader changes occurring these days in American religious life, and in America's religious thought and scholarship. Also on today's program, our commentator Barry Friedman offers a moving personal essay entitled "When Susan Got Cancer."