Hickory, NC – The Lenoir-Rhyne University Institute for Faith and Learning will open its 2019-20 speaker series with a presentation by Mary Elise Lowe, Ph.D., Thursday, Oct. 24, at 7 p.m. in Grace Chapel. The event is free and open to the public.

A frequent lecturer and author of numerous articles and books, Lowe’s presentation titled, “A Queer Theology of Vocation,” will highlight how Martin Luther taught that every individual had a vocation to serve God and neighbor. However, she notes, many models of vocation often exclude LGBTQI persons because of traditional stereotypes about family, work, and identity. Drawing from Lutheran theology, biblical studies, and queer theory, Lowe proposes a more inclusive understanding of vocation that honors the calls and gifts of all persons.

An independent scholar, Lowe is associate professor of religion at Augsburg University in Minneapolis. Her teaching, research, and writing focus on contemporary theologies, LGBTQI theologies, the theology of Martin Luther, and disability theologies. Lowe’s most recent essay “The Queer Body-Mind in Martin Luther’s Theology: From Subaltern Sodomite to Embodied Imago Dei,” is forthcoming in “The Alternative Luther – Lutheran Theology from the Subaltern.” She is also the author of “From the Same Spirit: Receiving the Theological Gifts of Transgender Christians” and “Rabbi, who sinned?’: Disability Theologies and Sin.”

Lowe earned a doctorate from the Graduate Theological Union in Berkley, California, and a Master of Divinity from Luther Seminary in St. Paul, Minnesota. She also lived and studied in the Seattle area, Chicago, the Twin Cities, Holden Village, and the country of Swaziland, where she completed her pastoral internship. When she is not teaching, Lowe enjoys making music with friends, biking, skiing, baking, and camping.

The Lenoir-Rhyne University Institute for Faith and Learning speaker series continues with these dates and speakers as follows:

Richard Beck, Ph.D. on Thursday, Jan. 30, 2020, 7 p.m., at Grace Chapel

Eboo Patel, on Thursday, April 23, 2020, 7 p.m. at P.E. Monroe Auditorium.

For more information, visit lr.edu/publicevents or contact Jonathan Schwiebert, LR professor of religious studies, at [email protected] or call 828.328.7184.