With the fall semester in full swing, students at Saint Paul School of Theology are discovering new opportunities for learning and growth as they advance their ministry work.
We are also pleased to welcome our newest faculty members as they share the insights they’ve gained from years of experience in faith communities and in the world.
Dr. Joshua Bartholomew, Assistant Professor of Ethics, Church and Society, is teaching Introduction to Ethics this fall. He most recently served as Adjunct Professor of Religious and Theological Studies at Iliff School of Theology and as Research Project Coordinator for the Institute for the Study of the Black Christian Experience. He looks forward to helping students acquire the language and analytical tools they will need to formulate “ethical models of social engagement, and to critique and to discuss contemporary social issues.”
Rabbi Michael Zedek returns to Saint Paul as Rabbi-in-Residence, having previously worked as an Adjunct Professor in Bible and Midrash. He is currently the Senior Advisor for the Central Conference of American Rabbis and is a former Senior Rabbi at Temple B’nai Jehudah in Kansas City. Rabbi Zedek is teaching the fall course in Judaism, and his hope is that students will acquire “an understanding of and appreciation for my tradition and how it may enhance an understanding of their own commitment of faith and fate.”
Dr. Joshua Bartholomew
Assistant Professor of Ethics, Church and Society
Dr. Joshua Bartholomew has done extensive work on economics and movements for racial justice. He is an experienced community organizer who has authored several papers on economic justice, youth empowerment, and violence prevention in communities. Doing this work has given him a deep understanding of how to work with people and contribute ideas in practical ways across social and political boundaries.
“Ultimately,” he explains, “my experience as a community organizer has enabled me to form, to communicate, and to apply my academic ideas in more accessible ways both inside and outside of the classroom.”
Dr. Bartholomew sees an important role for the Christian minister in guiding people to an understanding of the Gospel as both a noun and a verb. The Gospel is not only something we hear, he says, but a lifestyle that involves social action for positive change. It is also a movement of the people for economic and racial justice.
Ministers who preach the God of social justice are called to collaborate with faith and community leaders from all backgrounds. As a Christian minister, he agrees with Malcolm X who said, “I’m for truth, no matter who tells it. I’m for justice, no matter who it is for or against. I’m a human being, first and foremost, and as such I’m for whoever and whatever benefits humanity as a whole.”
Dr. Bartholomew is excited about building fruitful relationships with colleagues and students. He looks forward to learning from his environment and contributing his own knowledge in ways that add value to the Saint Paul community.
Rabbi Michael Zedek
Rabbi Michael Zedek insists “there is no one-size-fits-all” when describing effective faith leadership.
In his new role as Rabbi-in-Residence, he will teach courses in Judaism and interreligious dialogue and collaboration. He emphasizes the Jewish roots of the Christian message when reflecting on the deep connection between the two faiths. “Depending on one’s preferred metaphor, we are in a relationship of mother/daughter or siblings,” he points out. “That translates as an awareness of both shared and distinct DNA.”
Rabbi Zedek hopes to enrich his own faith journey while doing similarly for others at Saint Paul. He calls for a willingness to share our own struggles and vulnerability, pointing to a statement attributed to Rabbi Leo Baeck, the leader of the German Jewish community during World War II: “More important than any sermon the Rabbi gives is the sermon the Rabbi is.”
As a nationally recognized leader, writer, teacher, and speaker, Rabbi Zedek possesses a breadth of wisdom and experience that will benefit the Saint Paul learning community. He returns to the Kansas City Metro Area after serving as Chief Executive Officer of the Jewish Federation of Cincinnati and Senior Rabbi at Emanuel Congregation in Chicago. Rabbi Zedek has traveled the world extensively alongside his beloved wife Karen and has taught at Rancho La Puerta in Tecate, Mexico for more than 20 years.
He also stresses the importance of cooperation between people of diverse faith backgrounds. “I am convinced in a world where there is, alas, no shortage of crisis and trauma that people who care about religious tradition can, should and must work together. After all, we are family!”
At Saint Paul, we are thankful for Dr. Bartholomew, Rabbi Zedek, and all of our dedicated faculty who provide enriching experiences for our students both in and out of the classroom.
If you would like more information on our academic programs, we invite you to schedule a campus visit where you can meet our faculty and students. You may also call us at 913-253-5000. To apply for admission, we encourage you to complete our online application or call 913-253-5084.