My name is Chris Duckworth.
I am a husband, father, Lutheran pastor, baseball fan, novice runner, and political junkie. It’s that third thing – Lutheran pastor – that dominates the discussion on this blog, though it’s hard to tease apart the influences of those other four things.
I was ordained in December 2008 in Arlington, VA, where I served my first congregation. I am blessed now to serve a congregation on the East Side of Saint Paul, MN. Prior to that, I held a number of other church-related positions:
- Hospital chaplain (serving one 3-month internship and a 9-month residency) at Thomas Jefferson University Hospital in Philadelphia;
- Field Sales Representative for Augsburg Fortress Publishers (territory stretched from Northern Virgina through New England);
- Director of Alumni Relations at The Lutheran Theological Seminary at Philadelphia;
- Director of Youth Ministry at a suburban Philadelphia congregation.
As part of my seminary formation I had several wonderful field education opportunities, including part-time service in two Spanish-language Lutheran congregations and a year-long congregational internship.
In addition to my BA in Latin American Studies from The College of William and Mary and my Master of Divinity with a Latino Ministry Concentration from the Lutheran Theological Seminary at Philadelphia, I’ve dabbled in M.B.A. and M.Ed. programs at Temple University in Philadelphia, PA.
In October 2002 I married Jessicah Krey, a beautiful woman, scholar, pastor, friend, baseball fan and lover of justice. Despite her loyalty to the abomination known as the Designated Hitter, I still love her. We have three children: Talitha, Cana, and Naaman.
I’m hopelessly Lutheran. Of course, what does it mean to be Lutheran? At its core Lutheran theology describes human nature, the church, and God in paradoxical terms – Sinner/Saint, Two Kingdoms, Law/Gospel, Justification by Grace through Faith, Theology of the Cross. These paradoxes avoid a black and white, either/or, absolutist approach to faith, but allows for nuance, ambiguity, and questions. Certainly there is much we can and do confidently say about our faith, but the reminder that we are simultaneously sinner and saint, or that God comes to us most clearly where we’d least expect a god to show up – in the suffering of the cross and world – checks our hubris and leads us to proclaim with Martin Luther, “We are all beggars. This is true.”
Though Lutheranism can be dressed up in a variety of ways – particularly in the arenas of polity and liturgy – I believe the church does well when it honors the received theological and liturgical traditions and faithfully presents these gifts to longstanding members and newcomers alike as treasures of faith and pathways to discipleship. As a pastor I take seriously both the Church’s liturgical tradition and our Lutheran confessional heritage, convinced that these gifts are relevant and essential to our church’s identity and ministry today, and not simply vestiges of a church gone by. Lutheran issues are some of the main topics of this blog, of course.
I’m committed to the church and its mission to proclaim the in-breaking of the Kingdom of God. Our faith is inherently eschatological, one that “looks for the resurrection of the dead, and the life of the world to come.” Indeed, every day we pray “thy kingdom come,” and Jesus shows us the Kingdom in myriad ways, both within and beyond the church’s walls and ministry. I believe that the Kingdom of God is rearing its wonderful head all the time – in the church, in our neighborhoods, in the world. Part of my calling as a Christian, and particularly as a pastor and church leader, is to name those instances of God’s Kingdom coming, and to encourage people to see and participate in it.
Since my ordination I have steered clear of politics on this blog. Nonetheless, one of my religious and political passions is the separation of church and state, a tenet of American identity which safeguards the integrity and independence of both church and state. Sadly, many in the church and in politics seek to join what is best kept separate.
- writing and editing of curriculum for Augsburg Fortress Publishers (Here We Stand, Akaloo, Spark, Lutheran Handbook II, and Book of Faith);
- composing prayers for Augsburg Fortress (Sundays and Seasons) and for the ELCA (Churchwide Assembly 2009);
- writing new material, and cross-posting material from this blog, on Living Lutheran and Leading Ideas from the Lewis Center for Church Leadership.
- developing curriculum and worship materials for local synod youth events, both in the Metro DC and Southeastern Pennsylvania Synods of the ELCA.
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