Day 1: Baptismal Theology & Life

Day 1: Baptismal Theology & Life

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Dr. Edie began this plenary session by explaining that theology is conversation about God and it is another form of worship.

At a Glance


Introduction to Baptismal Theology & Life

Faculty Speaker:

Rev. Dr. Fred Edie, Assistant Professor of the Practice of Christian Education and 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

Dr. Edie began this plenary session by explaining that theology is conversation about God and it is another form of worship. He reminded us that worship is our first, best and most natural response to who God is, and it includes components such as Book (Holy Scripture), Bath (Baptism), Table (Communion/Eucharist), and Time (the ordering of our lives).  We then focused on the symbolic importance of water, noting that meanings are multi-faceted with potentially contradictory layers.  Students moved from the scientific to the ecological and then to the biblical as we explored the pervasive presence of water.  Biblical stories (from the flood and the parting of the Red Sea in the Old Testament to Jesus offering living water in the New Testament) are remembered, and we are re-membered into these stories through baptism. Baptism also calls us into a vocation, a way to utilize our God-given gifts, and we must discover what form that ministry will take.


“The faith of the early church is the result of symbols deeply lived.”
— Dr. Edie in plenary quoting Thomas Finn

 “I’m a little tea pot short and stout”
—sung by a student, with gusto, in order to reclaim his lost and found backpack

“Tater tot cakes are the new unleavened bread”
—a student speaking the praises of breakfast food in the Great Hall and its potential to replace manna

“We [adults] have built a ghetto and made you live in it.”
—Dr. Edie in worship, on how adults underestimate teenagers and prevent them from living lives of consequence here and now

Other Activities

Today brought lots of activity and time to get to know one another. A rain shower soaking us on the way into morning prayer was the perfect introduction to a day spent talking about baptism. We enjoyed a relaxing afternoon playing games on the Duke Chapel quad, Frisbee on the dorm lawn, and walking through Duke Gardens.

Looking Ahead

Tomorrow we welcome Dr. Ellen Davis, a professor in Old Testament at the Divinity School, who will talk about creation.  It will also be our first Arts Village, first artists’ showcase, and first hospitality meal!  We’ll look forward to having the Rev. Shane Benjamin and the choir of Asbury Temple United Methodist Church join us for worship.