Spirit doesn't always 'play nice,' Professor L. William Countryman will tell graduates at CDSP

April 4, 2008

Church Divinity School of the Pacific (CDSP) in Berkeley, California, has announced that the preacher for this year's graduation ceremony will be the Rev. Dr. L. William Countryman, Episcopal priest, noted author and Sherman E. Johnson Professor Emeritus in Biblical Studies at CDSP. Countryman's commencement homily will be titled "The Spirit Doesn't Always Play Nice." Commencement ceremonies will be held on Friday, May 23 at 10:30 a.m. on the CDSP campus, located at 2451 Ridge Road, in Berkeley. In addition to the class of 41, three will receive honorary degrees: Matthew Kenyon Chew, CPA, former member of the CDSP Board of Trustees, and former trustee of the Church Pension Fund;Georgene Treadwell Keeler, former chair of the CDSP Board of Trustees; and Sharon-Gay Smith, Consortial Registrar of the Graduate Theological Union, of which CDSP is a member. "We are delighted and honored to have Bill Countryman preach at our commencement this year," said Donn F. Morgan, president and dean of CDSP. "For his boldness, wisdom, humor and insight, he is respected and beloved by students and faculty alike, as well as by countless others in the church." L. William Countryman is professor emeritus of Biblical studies at CDSP. Ordained a priest in the Diocese of Oklahoma in 1965, he served parishes and chaplaincies in Oklahoma, Ohio, Illinois, and Missouri. He is actively involved in ministry at Good Shepherd Episcopal Church in Berkeley.A graduate of the University of Chicago (A.B., M.A., Ph.D.) and of the General Theological Seminary, Countryman taught at the University of Chicago, Southwest Missouri State University, and Brite Divinity School (Texas Christian University) before coming to CDSP and the Graduate Theological Union in 1983. Countryman writes and speaks on a wide variety of topics, ranging from the Bible to gay and lesbian spirituality. He is perhaps best known for Dirt, Greed, and Sex, a study of sexual ethics in the New Testament and today (recently reissued in a revised edition), and for Living on the Border of the Holy, which explores the nature of ministry, lay and ordained. He has recently published Interpreting the Truth: Changing the Paradigm of biblical Studies, which argues for better conversation between church and academy. Countryman has explored the issue of spirituality in works such as The Mystical Way in the Fourth Gospel, Forgiven and Forgiving, The Poetic Imagination: An Anglican Spiritual Tradition, and Love Human and Divine. He is co-author with the late M. R. Ritley of Gifted by Otherness: Gay and Lesbian Christians in the Church. For additional information, visit CDSP's website.

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