Dimensions of Faith

St. Matthew's invites thinkers and writers to explore the
interface of religion and culture, as we continue as a parish
to challenge our minds and renew our spirits.

About Dimensions of Faith

The biannual Dimensions of Faith Lecture Series at St. Matthew's Episcopal Church in Louisville, Kentucky, invites distinguished theologians, thinkers, and writers to lecture on the interface of religion and culture to encourage our parish to challenge our minds and renew our spirits. The purpose of the series is to offer intellectually stimulating and provocative forums on social, ethical, and theological issues. It is intended to reflect the Episcopal tradition of being open to diverse points of view. 

Upcoming Lectures

John Lansing

Sunday, October 13, 2024
"The War on Truth"

John F. Lansing oversees one of the country's most iconic news organizations, NPR. Lansing is a veteran executive and journalist who has spent decades leading complex media companies. He is passionate about NPR's public service mission and the role of a free and independent media in a strong democracy. From 2015 to 2019, Lansing served as the CEO of the U.S. Agency for Global Media (USAGM), the independent federal agency whose programming reaches an average weekly audience of 345 million people in 62 languages.

Recent Lectures

The Right Rev. Mariann Edgar Budde

Sunday, March 17, 2024

How to Be Brave
In this lecture, Bishop Mariann Edgar Budde invited us to consider the arc of our lives and to consider the spiritual significance of those decisive moments that have taught us what it means to live by faith. Drawing from examples from Scripture, literature, historical figures and her own life, Bishop Budde helped us recognize when it’s time to go, to stay where we are, or to start moving toward a destination that lies beyond our sight. She explored how acceptance of what we would never choose manifests itself in acceptance, and how we respond when situations present themselves and we don’t have time to think. Finally, she reflected on how we all must learn to make our peace with emptiness (the long stretches when nothing seems to be happening), the messy middle in the processes of change, and how to live lives of quiet, steady perseverance.

Douglas Tallamy

Sunday, October 22, 2023
Communities of Calling Lecture

In this talk, Douglas Tallamy, the bestselling author and environmental activist explained his simple and practical idea of landscaping your home’s property to support the local ecosystem is a way that contributes to a sustainable future. Tallamy says, “our landscapes must do the things that enable ecosystems to produce the life support we and every other species requires.” Here are the four functions landscape must perform: “1) They must support a diverse community of pollinators throughout the growing season. 2) They must provide energy for the local food web. 3) They must manage the watershed in which they lie. 4) They must remove carbon from the atmosphere where it is wreaking havoc on the earth’s climate.” 

Silas House

Sunday, April 30, 2023

In this talk, Silas House will look at the many facets that have made him: being raised rural and working class; his deep love for the natural world; being a gay person in a hateful world, and being an artist in a time when art is negated. House will explore the way those elements--thought by many to not mesh easily--have allowed him to survive while also challenging him, and the way they have all made his faith stronger.

Kentucky native, Silas House is the nationally bestselling author of the novels--Clay's Quilt, 2001; A Parchment of Leaves, 2003; The Coal Tattoo, 2005; Eli the Good, 2009; and Same Sun Here (co-authored with Neela Vaswani) 2012, and Southernmost (June 2018)--as well as a book of creative nonfiction--Something's Rising, co-authored with Jason Howard, 2009; and three plays.  His new novel, Lark Ascending, was published on September 27, 2022. House is a former commentator for NPR's "All Things Considered".  His writing has appeared recently in Time, The Atlantic, Ecotone, The Advocate, Garden and Gun, and Oxford American.  House serves on the fiction faculty at the Naslund-Mann Graduate School of Creative Writing and as the NEH Chair at Berea College. He is a member of the Fellowship of Southern Writers, the recipient of three honorary doctorates, and is the winner of the Nautilus Award, an EB White Award, the Appalachian Book of the Year, the Storylines Prize from the New York Public Library/NAV Foundation, the Lee Smith Award, and many other honors, including an invitation to read at the Library of Congress. House was an executive producer and one of the subjects of the documentary Hillbilly, which is now available on Hulu. The film won the Audience Award from the Los Angeles Film Festival and the Media Award from the Foreign Press Association. As a music journalist House has worked with artists such as Kacey Musgraves, Kris Kristofferson, Lucinda Williams, Jason Isbell, Senora May, Leann Womack, Charley Crockett, John R. Miller, and many others.  House is also host of the popular podcast "On the Porch".  In 2021 he was the recipient of the Governor's Award from Kentucky Governor Andy Beshear for his service to the arts in his home state.   

Previous Speakers

Dr. John Philip Newell

October 23, 2022
John Philip Newell is a Celtic teacher and author of spirituality who calls the modern world to reawaken to the sacredness of the earth and every human being. Newell speaks of himself as ‘a wandering teacher’ following the ancient path of many lone teachers before him in the Celtic world, ‘wandering Scots’ seeking the wellbeing of the world. He has been described as having ‘the heart of a Celtic bard and the mind of a Celtic scholar’, combining in his teachings the poetic and the intellectual, the head as well as the heart, and spiritual awareness as well as political and ecological concern. 

Steve Crump

February 2022
Steve Crump is an American journalist, documentary film producer, and television reporter for WBTV. He is most known for his regional Emmy Awards for stories ranging from apartheid in South Africa to civil rights in the American South. Crump was named the “2016 Journalist of the Year” by the National Association of Black Journalists. He was joined by panelists Annette Turner, Executive Director at Archdiocese of Louisville; Andre Kimo Stone Guess, President and CEO Fund at the Fund for the Arts; Lee Fletcher St. Matthew’s Librarian and Archivist. 

D.L. Mayfield 

October 2020 
Mayfield writes primarily about issues of Christianity, faith, and inequality.  She is the author of three books and has written for numerous freelance publications. She is also the co-host of two podcasts, The Prophetic Imagination Station (on evangelical pop culture) and The Faith and Justice Network podcast (theology and spiritual practices).

Pantsuit Politics

September 2020 
Beth Silvers and Sarah Stewart are the co-hosts of the notable political podcast, Pantsuit Politics. Pantsuit Politics is an informative and grace-filled space where respecting each other as people who are sharing insights into the issues of the day and their hearts.

Dr. Lewis Brogdon 

March 2020 
Dr. Brogdon serves as the Research Professor of Preaching and Black Church Studies at the Baptist Seminary of Kentucky and Chair of the Department of Religious Studies at Simmons College of Kentucky. He has served in numerous positions in undergraduate and graduate institutions like Claflin University and Louisville Seminary as a professor and administrator. Brogdon is an accomplished writer. 




The Very Rev. Ian Markham 

February 2020
Markham is the dean and president of the Virginia Theological Seminary, which is just outside of Washington D.C. In 2019 he made national headlines by announcing a $1.7 million reparations fund for the descendants of slaves who built the seminary, making VTS one of the first American institutions to take this step. Markham has held positions at institutions of higher learning and has authored numerous books.

Nadia Bolz-Weber

October 2019
 Nadia first hit the New York Times list with her 2013 memoir—the bitingly honest and inspiring Pastrix: The Cranky, Beautiful Faith of a Sinner & Saint followed by the critically acclaimed New York Times bestseller Accidental Saints in 2015. A former stand-up comic and a recovering alcoholic, Bolz-Weber is the founder and former pastor of a Lutheran congregation in Denver, House for All Sinners and Saints. 

Jonathan Wilson-Hartgrove 

March 2019
Jonathan Wilson-Hartgrove is a celebrated spiritual writer and thinker. He is the co-founder, with his wife Leah, of Rutba House, a new monastic community in Durham, N.C. He is associate minister at St. John’s Baptist Church and directs the School for Conversion, a nonprofit community organization. He is the author of numerous books.

Paul-Gordon Chandler

September 2018
The Rev. Canon Paul-Gordon Chandler is an author, interfaith advocate, social entrepreneur and a US Episcopal priest. He is also the Founding President of CARAVAN, an interreligious peacebuilding arts non-profit affiliated with The Episcopal Church that uses the arts to build bridges between the creeds and cultures of Middle East and the West. He is also author of four books, including his acclaimed book on Muslim/Christian relations.

Rev. Martin Smith

March 2018
The Rev. Martin Smith is well known throughout the Episcopal Church as writer, spiritual director, retreat leader, and teacher exploring contemporary spirituality.

Sarah Bessey

October 2017
Sarah is an acclaimed blogger, writer and speaker. Her writing has appeared in Huffington Post, The High Calling, Conversations Journal, ChurchLeaders.com, and many other places. Her books included Out of Sorts – Making Peace with an Evolving Faith and Jesus Feminist – An Invitation to Revisit the Bible’s View of Women.

Ruby Sales

March 2017
Sales is a social-justice activist and veteran of the civil rights struggle. Sales has devoted her life to the struggle for racial justice. She has been featured in many journals, books and articles; has published works in journals, newspapers and magazines, and has received many awards and honors. She is one of the founders of SAGE magazine and the Director of The Spirithouse Project.

Luke Schaefer

February 2017
H. Luke Shaefer, Ph.D. is a Professor of Social Justice and Social Policy and Associate Dean for Research and Policy Engagement at the University of Michigan. He is also a professor of social work and the first director of Poverty Solutions.

The Very Rev. Tracy Lind   

November 2016
Tracey has spent the better part of her career working for social and environmental justice, interfaith relations, sustainable urban development, arts and culture, and progressive theology. For 17 years (2000-2017), Tracey served as Dean of Trinity Episcopal Cathedral, a thriving and diverse urban congregation in Cleveland. 

Amy-Jill Levine

September 2016
Amy-Jill Levine is the E. Rhodes and Leona B. Carpenter Professor of New Testament Studies at Vanderbilt University Divinity School, Department of Religious Studies, and Graduate Department of Religion.

The Rev. Bill Brosend 

September 2016
William Brosend is professor of New Testament and director of the Thriving in Ministry program at the School of Theology. A priest of the Diocese of Kentucky, he is the author of five books, including The Preaching of Jesus.

Rev. Dr. Walter Brueggemann 

January 2016
Walter Brueggemann is an American Protestant Old Testament scholar and theologian. He is considered one of the most influential Old Testament scholars in the past several decades.



Dick Sisto

April 2015
Vibraphonist Dick Sisto has been a mainstay of the Louisville jazz scene for many years, as a musician, jazz educator, and radio host. He spoke about Thomas Merton on The Jazz Monk. 

The Rev. Scott Gunn 

April 2015
The Rev. Scott Gunn is an Episcopal priest and self-confessed technophile. He's the Executive Director of Forward Movement in Cincinnati, whose mission is to "reinvigorate the life of the church.” 

Rev. Becca Stevens

October 2014
The Rev. Becca Stevens is from the women of Magdalene Communities in Nashville.

John Shore

February 2014
Shore is an award-winning novelist and popular blogger from Nashville, TN, whose novel,  Everywhere She’s Not, 2019, a  refuted the notion that being gay is a sin.

Rachel Held Evans

October 2013
Rachel Held Evans is an award-winning author and popular blogger. Her first book, Evolving in Monkey Town: How A Girl Who Knew All the Answers Learned to Ask the Questions, explores the relationship between faith and doubt and recounts the challenges of asking tough questions about Christianity in the context of the Bible Belt. In her book, A Year of Biblical Womanhood, takes on the traditionalist resurgence that has left many women questioning their roles at home and church.

Nora Gallagher

October 2012
Nora Gallagher is the author of five books in the tradition of Dorothy Day, George Orwell and Thomas Merton: the daily living out of faith and doubt rather than abstract “belief.” The author of two memoirs, Things Seen and Unseen: A Year Lived in Faith and Practicing Resurrection, and a novel, Changing Light, Gallagher leads retreats, gives readings, teaches workshops, presents at clergy days, and delivers keynote addresses and lectures. 

Robert Putnam

March 2012
Political scientist Robert D. Putnam is the Peter and Isabel Malkin Professor of Public Policy at Harvard. He has written a dozen books, including the best-selling Bowling Alone: The Collapse and Revival of American Community. Putnam’s book, American Grace, focuses on the role of religion in American public life. Putnam is founder of the Saguaro Seminar, bringing together leading thinkers and practitioners to develop actionable ideas for civic renewal. 

The Rev. Tom Ehrich

March 2012
Episcopal priest Tom Ehrich has served congregations in Indiana, Missouri, North Carolina and New York. His Morning Walk Media, a web publishing and church consulting company, developed the Church Wellness Project.
Ehrich challenges church leaders, both ordained and lay, to rethink their assumptions about what being “church” means and why people are attracted to a church. 




The Rev. Marcus Borg

October 2011
Marcus J. Borg, internationally renowned Jesus scholar, Biblical expert and author, has been described by the New York Times as a “leading figure in his generation of Jesus scholars.” A fellow of the Jesus Seminar, he is Canon Theologian of Trinity Episcopal Cathedral in Portland, Oregon, and Hundere Distinguished Professor of Religion and Culture at Oregon State University. He is the author or co-author of 19 books, many of them best-sellers. 

The Rev. Otis Moss Jr. 

January 2011
Otis Moss, Jr. has been an advocate for education, social justice, civil and human rights all his adult life. He was a board member and Regional Director of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference with Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. He was Co-pastor with Rev. Martin Luther King, Sr., at Ebenezer Baptist Church in Atlanta.
Dr. Moss’ work for reconciliation and non-violent social change in the international community has been recognized around the world.

Amy-Jill Levine 

October 2010
Amy-Jill Levine is the E. Rhodes and Leona B. Carpenter Professor of New Testament Studies at Vanderbilt University Divinity School, Department of Religious Studies, and Graduate Department of Religion.

The Rev. Brian McLaren

May 2010
Brian McLaren is an author, speaker, activist, and networker among innovative Christian leaders. McLaren was the founding pastor of Cedar Ridge Community Church. He left the pastorate to devote full time to writing and speaking. Brian has been active in networking and mentoring church planters and pastors since the mid 1980’s, and has assisted in the development of several new churches. 

Sarah Miles

November 2009
Sara Miles, founded The Food Pantry at St. Gregory of Nyssa Episcopal Church in San Francisco in 2000, and wrote about her work in Take This Bread. The Food Pantry provides free groceries to over 800 hungry families every week, buying between eight and ten tons of food each week, for just pennies a pound, and offers it free to everyone who comes. 

John Dominic Crossan 

April 2003
John Dominic Crossan is a Irish-American religious scholar and former Catholic priest known for co-founding the Jesus Seminar. The author of over a dozen books, Crossan is a leading scholar on the history of early Christianity. 

The Very Rev. Alan Jones 

The Very Rev. Ward Ewing

November 2002
May 2002
The Very Rev. Alan Jones of Grace Cathedral was our Dimensions of Faith speaker in November 2002. Jones was dean of Grace Cathedral Episcopal Church in San Francisco from 1985 until his retirement in January 2009. 
Dr. Ward Ewing became the Dean of The General Theological Seminary in April, 1998, after thirty-one years as a pastor who combined scholarly pursuit with congregational ministry. He served congregations in Tennessee, Florida, Kentucky, and New York. In addition to numerous articles, he has published two books and three courses for Adult Education. 



Rt. Rev. John Shelby Spong

Bishop Spong was a liberal Christian theologian, religion commentator, and author. He advocated for a fundamental rethinking of Christian belief away from theism and traditional doctrines.