tenable, and flawed as reality holds them.” – Marilynne Robinson
Hi! My name is Kathryn Bradford Heidelberger and I’m thrilled to be a new contributing author here at DET. I was born and raised in Oklahoma, the state with the nicest people and most breathtaking sunsets. I grew up in the Southern Baptist tradition, and I'm grateful for the ways in which that tradition taught me to love Scripture, modeled how to seek God in prayer, and encouraged me to take my profession of faith in Christ seriously.
I attended Wheaton College in IL where I intended to major in music performance, though I quickly discovered that the kinds of questions I was asking weren’t being answered in orchestra rehearsal. So I found my way to the Biblical and Theological Studies department, where I was challenged to carefully and charitably assess my long-held beliefs and was encouraged to embrace my academic passion - studying theology opened up a new language for me to interact with faith and practice. Feeling like I was just starting to scratch the surface of some fascinating conversations I was having in the classroom, I applied to Princeton Theological Seminary to continue my education in the MDiv program. One of the best parts about seminary was getting to do it with my husband, Max, who is an excellent theologian and scholar. My greatest joy is doing life with him.
At PTS I focused mainly on historical and systematic theology, initially avoiding Karl Barth but inevitably coming to love him. I avoided Barth because I thought he was the theologian who all the white bearded guys studied (no harm intended here!), but quickly discovered a theological voice that spoke with such passion and brilliance that I had to listen. I love Barth’s complexity, conviction, and creativity, and hope to make his work an integral part of my own in the future.
I also moderated a student group - Food Justice Fellows - which works to raise awareness of the connections between hunger and systemic racism within American urban environments. It was around the table and because of the patience of friends that I was gently brought around to the realities of racism within the United States, and the strong Biblical witness of justice that calls us to act against oppressive systems. I got woke. Now I cannot do theology without attending to justice, to the life of God who ultimately will lift up the oppressed and will bring low the privileged. Now I cannot do theology without literature, art, and poetry, because they often tell the story of justice in ways that theology alone cannot. To this end, I find Mary, the mother of God, to be a particularly helpful starting point for theology, both in her artistic expression and her prophetic witness.
All that to say, my interests are pretty broad, and I’m excited to explore some of them here with y’all at DET (like that quote by Robinson up there!). I’m currently working as a Campus Minister at Benedictine University and, God willing, will be applying to PhD programs in the next year or so. Though I have deep Baptist roots, I now worship within the Anglican Communion. Outside of the workplace and the classroom, you’ll usually find me spending time with Max and our adorable Bernese mountain dog, Calvin, aptly named after the Reformation theologian. I say aptly named because once Calvin, the dog, barked so loudly that our icon of Jesus was knocked off the shelf. He is a true Calvinist, indeed. We love being outside, reading, and doing most anything and everything together.
Also, beyond writing for DET, I am a guest contributor over at the Women in Theology blog. You can read my first post, which was all about Barth and his alleged affair (yep, I went there). Be on the lookout for my second post, which will be published soon!
[Ed. note: And, of course, stay tuned for more of Kathryn here at DET! ;-) ]
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