As COVID-19 has swept across our nation and the world, the Duke Divinity community has engaged in theological reflection and conversation about faithfully responding to this global challenge. Faculty, alumni, and students have contributed articles, video, and devotional messages in a range of publications that offer ministerial perspectives and spiritual hope.
Faculty Respond to the Crisis
Articles and More Featuring Duke Divinity Alumni, Faculty, Staff, and Students
It's Not Just the Coronavirus -- Bad Theology Is Killing Us
The Rev. William H. Lamar IV, pastor of Metropolitan African Methodist Episcopal Church in Washington, D.C, and Duke Divinity graduate, on white evangelicalism and COVID-19.
Religious Liberty Should Be a Protection, Not a Weapon
Professor Curtis Freeman writes in the Greensboro News & Record on the lifting of the governor's order on indoor religious services in North Carolina.
The Old, Evil Idea of Humans as Units of Production
Th.D. student Whitney Wilkinson Arreche writes in The Christian Century against the idea that protecting the American economy requires the sacrifice of lives.
Listening and Learning Will Help Us Live through This Crisis
David Emmanuel Goatley shares practical wisdom from his decades of experience supporting pastors and churches during times of crisis, including how pastors can take steps now to help weather the trauma and changes of Covid-19.
Offering Hope and Help
Pandemic response requires more than words of encouragement for those who are suffering. It requires concrete steps to undo systemic injustices, writes David Emmanuel Goatley, director of the Office of Black Church Studies.
Life on the Other Side of Easter in 2020
Writes Professor Luke Powery, “On the other side of Easter, we may not always sense a resurrection reality, but something new is being born in us, through us, and around us, even as we wait for what is to come.”
Dying Gives Us a Chance to Confront Truth
"Covid-19 is not a blessing," writes Professor C. Kavin Rowe in The Wall Street Journal. "It is one more obvious, terrible instance of a broken world. But amid all the reasonable concern, we shouldn’t lose sight of the deeper cause of our anxiety—our mortal fear—and the unprecedented chance within this life to become fuller, richer and more joyful human beings."
‘All Shall Be Well,’ She Wrote. But There’s More to the Story.
In an episode of the Prayer amid Pandemic podcast, Professor Amy Laura Hall tell us why we know so little about Julian of Norwich’s identity but why we still read her writings on the vision she received while sick today.
The ‘Tie That Binds’: Fellowship is Disrupted and Distanced, But Not Destroyed
We do not have to let social distancing disrupt or destroy “the tie that binds” and “the fellowship of kindred minds,” writes Professor David Emmanuel Goatley in Baptist News Global.
Being a Resurrection People in a Time of Death
Writes Professor Valerie Cooper, “Often celebrated for the resilience of our community by people who never stop to wonder why we have had to be so resilient, or what they can do to lighten the loads we bear, the black community in the United States has grown expert at enduring the unendurable.”
We’re Losing Easter Services, But We Aren’t Losing Easter
“This isn’t the first time an epidemic has closed churches on Easter Sunday,” writes Professor Lauren Winner in a reflection in The Washington Post.
This Year Easter Will Feel More Like Passover
The Exodus story will mirror the experience of millions across the globe who are staying inside their homes, praying that death will pass them by and that God will once more provide deliverance, writes Professor Stephen Chapman.
A Letter for Holy Week 2020
Professor Jeremy Begbie asks "Why might we need the arts at a time like this?"
Fearing Courageously in the Face of COVID-19
Professor Warren Kinghorn asks what it means for Christian physicians not to be afraid in the face of COVID.
Tragedy and Triage in the Time of a Pandemic
Professor Luke Bretherton writes about how the essential fragility and precariousness of human life must shape our ethical imagination, without generating despair as to the possibilities of good action in this kind of world.
The Coronavirus Pandemic Feels Like an Unending Holy Saturday
"It’s the pandemic to be sure, but it’s also the season of Holy Saturday, a time to reflect on the blessings of friendship, marriage, community, and hope," writes Richard Lischer, James T. and Alice Mead Cleland Professor Emeritus of Preaching.
COVID-19 Presents A Moral Crisis, Not Just A Medical One
Professor Luke Bretherton on how the coronavirus pandemic is rightly provoking us to ask in new, more intentional ways how a truly good life cannot be one built on the domination, exploitation or abandonment of others.
Reconciliation in Difficult Times
A service for Passion Sunday featuring Edgardo Colón-Emeric, Irene and William McCutchen Associate Professor of Reconciliation and Theology and director of the Center for Reconciliation.
Nathan Kirkpatrick: Our Rituals Will Change This Year
A reflection on Holy Week from Nathan Kirkpatrick, managing director at Leadership Education at Duke Divinity.
Professor Amy Laura Hall on the Plague
Professor Hall finds solace in Julian of Norwich, who also lived through a plague.
An Alternative to ‘Virtual Communion’ for the Scattered Church
Professor Curtis Freeman co-wrote an article on Eucharistic communion in these pandemic days.
The coronavirus pandemic raises cutting questions about Christian hope and human society. Plough editor Peter Mommsen sat down – virtually – with Stanley Hauerwas to discuss how people of faith should respond.
How You Build Resilience for the Long Haul
Dean Gregory Jones joins retired 4 Star General Robert Brooks Brown and Head of the Coach K Leadership & Ethics Center Sanyin Siang in talking about how to build long-lasting resilience.
Harlem Pastor Increases Focus on Church’s Mental Health as Covid-19 Takes Toll
Duke Divinity alumnus and First Corinthian Baptist’s Rev. Michael Walrond preaches from home, retools programs, focuses leaders on trauma. ‘My responsibility is to care for the well-being of people.’ (Wall Street Journal subscription required. Duke faculty, students, and staff are eligible for free subscriptions.)
Unexpected Guides in a World Undone
Attending, caring, and listening may seem like small practices in light of the monumental challenges we face today. But it is through this everyday work that we are to discern and pursue a new common life, writes Professor Brett McCarty.
How to Think About What's Next When the Future Is Unclear
COVID-19 presents us with overwhelming daily challenges, but we must also begin to consider what's ahead, writes Nathan Kirkpatrick, managing director of Leadership Education at Duke Divinity.
Embodied: How COVID-19 Disrupts The Rituals Of Death And Dying
Professor Raymond Barfield is among subjects interviewed for a WUNC program on how the coronavirus pandemic strains the death care industry and interrupts personal grief processes.
A Virus That Hits All Faiths Tests Religion's Tie to Science
Dean L. Gregory Jones is quoted in The New York Times about the need for faith leaders to encourage their congregations to protect the health and safety of the community.
Leading During COVID19 - Creative Missions and Evangelism with Laceye Warner
Watch a video with Professor Warner on how churches can still practice missions and evangelism during unusual times.
Faith Leaders Address Religious Life in Coronavirus World
Duke faith leaders, including Divinity School Dean Gregory Jones, share insights into how faith communities are adjusting to life and worship during a time of pandemic.
The Body of Christ Continues to Gather in Prisons
Sarah Jobe, a prison chaplain and Th.D. student at Duke, writes about her experience as a chaplain at a women’s minimum custody prison and her belief that the most faithful thing Christians could do would be to ask for prisoners to be set free.
What Next? Thinking Ethically About Mitigating COVID-19—A Focus on the Margins
Professor Patrick Smith asks how we might address the pandemic while working hard to minimize the widening of existing disparities in our society.
A Sunday Without Church
A piece in The New York Times asks how churches are dealing with canceled worship services. The article features Duke Divinity alumni, including Ben Williams at Christ UMC in Chapel Hill and Wilson Temple in Raleigh, which is pastored by Chris Brady.
Advice For Dealing With Uncertainty, From People Who've Been There
Professor Kate Bowler and others share advice for this time on Life Kit, an NPR podcast.
Unleashing the Word and Seeing Pastors as People: A Conversation with Christine Parton Burkett
Duke Divinity Lecturing Fellow in Speech Christine Parton Burkett shares her thoughts on how preachers can best use the tools they’ve been given and how these unique times are creating unique ministry moments.
Life Together Apart
Professor Kate Bowler has launched a resource, including a free short curriculum (When It Was Still Dark: A 7-Week Easter Practice) to search for signs of hope in the midst of despair, in which subscribers will have access to short weekly video teachings, daily downloads with prompts for prayer, connection, journaling, and self-reflection, and an online community.
Moral Guidance on Prioritizing Care During a Pandemic
Professor Farr Curlin makes a joint statement on eschewing invidious discrimination and recommitting ourselves to treating all who are ill as bearers of profound, inherent, and equal worth and dignity.
Professor Will Willimon talked with Wade Powell, the pastor of First UMC Victoria, Tex., about Willimon’s book Leading with the Sermon and what preaching looks like while we’re trying to be the church online during the COVID-19 pandemic.
How to Live in the Face of Fear: Lessons From a Cancer Survivor
Professor Kate Bowler is interviewed in The New York Times on why forcing yourself to stay positive is not always best, the human longing to love and be loved and why living in constant fear makes it important to have two different routines: one for day and one for night.
Kate Bowler: The Emergency Button
In this special podcast episode, Professor Bowler talks with the people that she calls when she needs to push the button, including comedian Joel McHale, writer Nora McInerny, preacher Beth Moore, and Kate's mom for a little dose of courage in these uncertain times.
Coping With Anxiety During a Pandemic
J. Dana Trent, Duke Divinity graduate and professor of World Religions and Critical Thinking at Wake Tech Community College ,writes that now is the time to begin learning how to cope with anxiety.
Digital Pastoral Care in the Era of COVID-19
Gabby Cudjoe Wilkes, Duke Divinity D.Min. student and a pastor, offers guidance and hope for tending a congregation.
Resources for Leading with the Love of Christ in the Midst of Covid-19
The Divinity School has put together a list of helpful resources to equip congreations in response to the coronavirus.
Resources for Christian Leaders During the Coronavirus Pandemic
Faith & Leadership (a publication of Leadership Education at Duke Divinity) has compiled information from government and media sources to offer guidance.
The Fellowship in Theology, Medicine, and Culture equips participants wisely and faithfully to engage their callings to health care through a combination of formal academic study with spiritual formation, mentoring, weekly seminars, church and community-based practicums, and semi-annual retreats.
Ethical Medicine Means Getting Political
"If we want to truly do right by our patients, we must publicly proclaim the ways in which these larger patterns of social brokenness manifest themselves in our clinics and hospitals," writes Brendan Johnson.
We Have an Inadequate Theology of Illness
Graduate Jason Ashe writes on Christian faith and illness amidst a pandemic.
COVID-19 Can Change Our Individualistic View of Health and Wellness
Former fellow Ben Frush on understanding health as a community.
Waiting for Renewal: Holy Saturday and COVID-19
Anna Berry and Jenna Frush ask what it would mean for us to rediscover Holy Saturday and, in doing so, to hold fast to the hope of renewal while faithfully acknowledging the suffering of the present.
Christians, Let’s Flatten the Curve But Remain a ‘Religion for the Sick'
In an article for Christianity Today, Duke TMC alumni reflect theologically on three unique Christian contributions to COVID-19 preparations.
What Martin Luther Teaches Us About Coronavirus
Theology, Medicine, and Culture Initative Fellow Emmy Yang writes in Christianity Today about what Martin Luther teaches us about coronavirus. Is it faithful to flee an epidemic? The German reformer’s reflection on the plague can guide Christians in China and everywhere the Wuhan virus has spread.