Day 1: Baptismal Theology & Life

Day 1: Baptismal Theology & Life

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This afternoon we spent some time getting to know one another before heading to the DYA Artists’ Showcase in Goodson Chapel.

At a Glance


Introduction to Baptismal Theology & Life

Faculty Speaker

Rev. Dr. Fred Edie, Associate Professor of the Practice of Christian Education and Faculty Director of the Duke Youth Academy for Christian Formation

Lectionary Texts

Ecclesiastes 3:1-8; Psalm 119:1-8, 33-48,129-144; Romans 6:3-11; John 6:26-36

Reflections on the Lecture

Students Emma H. and JillAnn M. listen to Dr. Fred Edie lecture on BaptismToday in plenary, Dr. Edie prefaced his discussion of baptism by offering a definition of theology: a conversation over many years on the meaning of God’s relationship with God’s people. With this lens in our tool bag, we dove into baptismal theology, unpacking the symbol of water as a class. We quickly realized that water is a loaded (and sometimes contradictory) image! Constructive/destructive, life/death, beginning/end … water is woven throughout the story of God’s people, and so the waters of our baptisms are ripe with every major theological theme in the Christian tradition. Therefore, concluded Dr. Edie, we inherit with our baptisms the Christian story as our story: we are washed in a new identity, are grafted into a new family, are given an ancient history, and are promised a new future. As baptism calls us into the story of all the believers before us and after us, it also calls us to a vocation–a way of engaging that story right here and now using the gifts God gave us.


The question is not ‘Will it be ministry?’ The question is ‘What kind of ministry will it be for you?” — Dr. Edie, challenging us to consider our vocations

You are the holy grail of ecclesial acquisition … you’re under 50, you’re curious, and you’re crazy enough to be in church on a Monday night in the summertime.” — Rev. Bill Lamar, on the importance of realizing that to be a Christian means death before new life

Thank you, God, that you make things I’d never have the courage to. You make rhinoceroses.” — Carolyn Butler, artist in residence, during the Arts Village Showcase

Other Activities

This afternoon we spent some time getting to know one another before heading to the DYA Artists’ Showcase in Goodson Chapel. The artists beautifully shaped, danced, played, and spoke about the centrality of arts to Christian life, each expressing how art has opened up new ways of understanding faith and vocation. This evening we welcomed the Rev. Bill Lamar and the Rev. McKennon Shea to lead us in a moving worship service of baptismal remembrance.

Looking Ahead

Tomorrow Dr. Willie Jennings, a professor of theology and black church studies at the Divinity School, will talk with us about creation. Students will continue their exploration of Christian worship with Dr. Edie, and in the afternoon will attend their first Arts Village workshop. In the evening, we’ll welcome First Presbyterian Church and Westminster Presbyterian Church in Durham at our first evening hospitality meal.