Bonnie Miller-McLemore

 Bonnie Miller-McLemore
Address2201 West End Avenue
Nashville, TN 37240

Carpenter Professor of Pastoral Theology, Vanderbilt University Divinity School

B.A., , 1977
M.A., Chicago, 1980
Ph.D., , 1986

Bonnie J. Miller-McLemore is E. Rhodes and Leona B. Carpenter Professor of Pastoral Theology at the Divinity School and Graduate Department of Religion of Vanderbilt University. Her research in the areas of religion, psychology, and culture, pastoral and practical theology, and women and childhood studies focuses on understanding the person and lived theology in the midst of common struggles, such as illness, dying, working, and parenting. She teaches courses on personality theory, self-psychology, women and religion, families and children, pastoral counseling, spirituality and pastoral care, pastoral and practical theology, and methods in religion and science. In both teaching and research, she seeks to bridge common divides between belief and practice, academy and congregation, head and heart. This desire shapes the questions and understandings she brings to her work. So religion is not simply an object of study but a body of practices and beliefs about ultimate and mystical dimensions of life to be encountered and followed. Theology then is seen as the contemplation and testing of this endeavor of religious encounter and trial. And psychology and feminist theory are tools for enhancing faithful care of others as well as cultural forces shaping moral ideals and spiritual hopes and hence requiring theological engagement.

Author, co-author, or editor of over ten books as well as numerous chapters and articles, she is currently working on a collection of essays on how persons embody theology in everyday life, Engaging Theology: The Work of Practical Theology. Recent publications include In the Midst of Chaos: Care of Children as Spiritual Practice (Jossey-Bass 2006), Faith’s Wisdom for Daily Living (Fortress 2008), and Children and Childhood in American Religions (Rutgers 2009). Ordained in the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ), she served as an associate pastor, chaplain, and pastoral counselor while completing her M.A. and Ph.D. at University of Chicago in 1986. More recently, she has held office as president of the Association of Practical Theology, co-chair of two new program units of the American Academy of Religion (the Consultation on Childhood Studies and Religion and the Group on Practical Theology), and secretary of the Executive Committee of the International Academy of Practical Theology. One of seven recipients nationwide of a Henry Luce III Fellow in Theology in 1999-2000, she has also received grants from the Lilly Endowment Foundation, the Association of Theological Schools, and the Wabash Center on Teaching and Learning in Religion and Theology for the study of families, children, and religion; research on practical theology; research on public theology; and exploration of teaching and vocation.

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