St. Andrew’s integrates
academic study with
practical ministry experience,
and societal engagement.
Shannon Craigo-Snell, a systematic theologian and activist, will lead the discussion during St. Andrew’s College Winter Refresher 2016.
Craigo-Snell is a professor of Theology at Louisville Seminary and an ordained teaching elder in the Presbyterian Church (USA). Her work focuses on the three pillars of impolite conversation: sex, religion, and politics. Framing Christian doctrines as “arguments that have been going on for so long that we have names for them,” Craigo-Snell finds life, humor, and insight in the most traditional philosophical and theological texts. She delights in the intersections of abstract ideas and daily life.
Her writing spans an array of topics, from Buffy the Vampire Slayer to Roman Catholic theologian Karl Rahner. The common thread through all of them is an emphasis on communal, embodied activity. Craigo-Snell takes seriously the notion that what we do with our bodies shapes who we are, what we believe, and how we know God. This is an unexpected focus for a theologian working out of the Reformed tradition, which emphasizes actions that result from belief, rather than exploring how beliefs can result from actions.
She has found enlivening conversation partners in the emerging field of Performance Studies as well as in theatre. Her most recent book, The Empty Church: Theater, Theology, and Bodily Hope (Oxford, 2014), brings theatre directors and theologians into conversation to address the perennial question, “Why go to church?” In answering this question, Craigo-Snell suggests that church is best understood not as a building, or an institution, or even a community, but rather an ongoing performance.
“Church is a disciplines performance of relationship with God in Jesus, mediated by Scripture, in hope of the Holy Spirit.”