Instructor Highlight: Jason Fout

fout_jasonThe Reverend Dr. Jason Fout has shared his research and wisdom with ChurchNext in two courses: as part of our series on The Book of Common Prayer in partnership with Bexley-Seabury, Jason taught us about the history of our professions and beliefs in Creeds and Commitments of the Prayer Book; in a fascinating course called Who Is Jesus? he explored the various ways we might get in touch with who Jesus was and is.

Jason also gave a fascinating talk at this year’s Consortium of Endowed Episcopal Parishes (CEEP) conference on his research and experiences in the Diocese of London, and the ways that Bexley-Seabury and the folks in London have been working to create a “seminary without walls.” Here at ChurchNext, we of course love their mission of deepening Christian formation in innovative ways, unbounded by place or even time.

Jason joined the faculty of Bexley Hall in 2009. Before that, he and his family and lived in the UK for four years, where he was completing his PhD at the University of Cambridge. He is from the Diocese of Chicago and was ordained there in 2001, after having attended seminary at Seabury-Western Theological Seminary. His dissertation was on the glory of God and its relation to human agency at Cambridge, under the supervision of Professor David F. Ford and the late Professor Daniel W. Hardy. His research interests include contemporary Anglican theology, as well as the history of Anglican theology and constructive theology in the areas of Christology, political theology and theological anthropology. He also has a growing interest in the practice of Scriptural Reasoning, in urban studies, particularly related to the New Urbanism, and theological readings of the built environment.

He is an avid cook, a keen road cyclist and a longsuffering fan of the Chicago Cubs and English Test Cricket. We’re grateful to have partnered with Jason and look forward to his next project.

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Instructor Highlight: Chris Stepien

There are precious few mentions of Jesus in the Bible that involve his childhood. However, that doesn’t mean there’s nothing we can learn from imagining what the child Jesus would have been like. Chris Stepien, author of Three Days: The Search for the Boy Messiah, has consulted stepienScripture, commentaries, and other authorities to piece together what life for the pre-teen Jesus would have been like.

As a journalist, in fact, Chris Stepien has spent his career asking tough questions and telling intriguing stories. His Amazon author profile tells the story:

He’s worked as a television producer-director and writer for the American Broadcasting Company (ABC). From 1979 to 1987, while at WXYZ-TV, Detroit, he won six EMMY awards for documentaries, sports and celebrity specials, and children’s programming, as well as many other honors. Stepien left broadcasting to co-found Adventure, Inc., a successful Detroit-based video/film production company. He created award-winning communications for Fortune 500 companies like General Motors and Ford Motor Company for nearly nine years. Since 1996, Stepien has crafted marketing and advertising for global clients as writer-creative director and owner of Stepien Creative Services, Inc.

A lifelong metro Detroiter and Roman Catholic, Stepien attended parochial schools and was an altar boy. He and his wife, Ellen, have two adult sons, Alex and Mike. Chris and Ellen are Vincentians, active members of the Society of St. Vincent de Paul (SVdP). Stepien, a former SVdP conference president, is currently spiritual advisor to a group of Vincentians in Dearborn, Michigan. Their core mission is to respond to the needs of poor families in the surrounding community, visit them in their homes, and provide financial assistance, guidance, friendship, and hope.

Bible studies, spiritual exercises, and praying the rosary inspired the author to write this novel about young, preteen Jesus. Stepien relied on his humble love of God and his passion for visual storytelling to help him shape this account of the boy Messiah, and His Passover pilgrimage. His experiences serving the needy and children of alcoholics were very influential, as well.

So if you’re yearning to know and understand Jesus this Easter season, consider our course, either as an individual or in a small group. We’re grateful to offer the research and talents of Chris — and of all of our gifted instructors — as we seek to shape disciples, transform hearts, and share the Good News.