Lisa L. Thompson
Lisa L. Thompson, a native of Cedar Grove, NC, is an ordained Baptist minister and has served in university and parish ministry settings. She majored in both psychology and communication studies at the University of North Carolina at Charlotte and worked in case management before pursuing the study of theology and religion fulltime.
Dr. Thompson holds a Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) and a Master of Arts (MA) in Religion from Vanderbilt University and a Master of Divinity (MDiv) from Fuller Theological Seminary. She is Associate Professor and the Cornelius Vanderbilt Chancellor Faculty Fellow of Black Homiletics and Liturgics at Vanderbilt Divinity School. She previously held posts as the Assistant Professor of Homiletics at Pittsburgh Theological Seminary in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania; as a Lilly Faculty Fellow at McCormick Theological Seminary in Chicago, Illinois; and as Assistant Professor of Homiletics at Union Theological Seminary in the City of New York.
Thompson’s publications include “Disruptive and Generative Preaching Practices” in Practical Matters Journal, and “In Search of our Mothers’ Healings: Holistic Wellbeing, Black Women, and Preaching” in Homiletic, The Journal for the Academy of Homiletics. Her forthcoming books are entitled Ingenuity and Preaching the Headlines. Ingenuity explores the ways in which black women navigate matters of voice in preaching, while often in the presence of cultural histories and contexts that deny their abilities to construct meaning on behalf of a community; the volume mines the preaching practices of black women for the sake of re-thinking theologies and methods of preaching as whole. Preaching the Headlines engages the intersection between social and religious discourses for the purposes of helping communities reflect on and engage everyday issues in life as matters of faith.
Dr. Thompson’s research and teaching are connected— as they consider the roles of rhetoric, culture, ethics, and ritual in theological communication. Some of her courses include “Gender, Power and the Pulpit,” “Preaching the Headlines,” “Voice Imagination, and Sacred Utterances,” “Womanist Proclamation and the Arts,” and “Proclamation and the Black Experience.” She has been the recipient of grants and fellowships from the Wabash Center for Teaching and Learning in Religion and Theology, the Fund for Theological Education, and the Lilly Endowment, Inc. funded Program of Theology and Practice at Vanderbilt University. She is the current president of the Black Caucus of the Academy of Homiletics.
Thompson’s primary interests in service, teaching, and scholarship are the ways in which our religious discourses and practices have the ability to influence daily life on both communal and individual levels. As history has proved, these influences can be for the uplifting or destruction of life together. She espouses holding concerns for the flourishing of God’s entire creation alongside intellectual rigor and respect for sacred traditions and texts.
“Our lives are the texture of the texts we preach.” – Lisa L. Thompson