Schmidt, Frederick W. 1953–
Schmidt, Frederick W. 1953–
(Frederick W. Schmidt, Jr.)
PERSONAL: Born June 20, 1953, in Louisville, KY; married; children: one. Education: Asbury College, B.A., 1975; Asbury Theological Seminary, M.Div., 1978; Oxford University, D.Phil., 1986.
ADDRESSES: Office—Perkins School of Theology, Southern Methodist University, P.O. Box 750133, Dallas, TX 75275-0133. E-mail—[email protected]
CAREER: Theologian, clergy, educator, and writer. Asbury Theological Seminary, Wilmore, KY, teaching fellow in biblical studies department, 1978–80; Messiah College, Grantham, PA, associate professor in religion, 1987–94; Saint George's College, dean, 1994–95; La Salle University, Philadelphia, PA, special assistant to the president, 1995–96; Washington National Cathedral, Washington, DC, canon educator and director of programs in spirituality and religious education, and acting program manager, 1997–2000; Southern Methodist University, Dallas, TX, director of spiritual life and formation and associate professor of Christian spirituality, 2000–. Ordained Methodist minister; assistant coordinator of Rural Cooperative Parish, Kingsville, OH, 1986–87; rector of Gageville United Methodist Church, Kingsville, 1986–87; staff member of St. Andrews, Harrisburg, PA, 1994–95; staff member of All Saints, Hershey, PA, 1995–96. Served on boards and committees, including at National Institutes of Health; board of examining chaplains for the Episcopal Church, USA; Clergy Leadership Project of Trinity Church, New York, NY; and board of Trustees of Christian Churches United of Tri-County Area, Harrisburg, PA.
MEMBER: American Academy of Religion (secretary-treasurer), Catholic Biblical Association, Society for the Study of Christian Spirituality, Society of Biblical Literature, Society for the Scientific Study of Religion (member of editorial board), Episcopal Church Foundation, Anglican Association of Biblical Studies, Washington Episcopal Clergy Association, Oxford Society.
AWARDS, HONORS: Excellence in Teaching Award, Messiah College, 1990; Ecumenical Service Award, Christian Churches United, 1993; Young Scholars fellow, Catholic Biblical Association, Catholic University, 1993; W.F. Albright Institute of Archaeological Research senior fellow, 1995; American Council on Education fellow, 1996, Center for Leadership Development fellow, 1996; Angus Dun fellowship, Episcopal Diocese of Washington, 1999, 2000; recipient of grants.
(As Frederick W. Schmidt, Jr.) A Still Small Voice: Women, Ordination, and the Church, foreword by Betty Bone Schiess, Syracuse University Press (Syracuse, NY), 1996.
(Editor) The Changing Face of God, Morehouse (Harrisburg, PA), 2000.
When Suffering Persists, Morehouse (Harrisburg, PA), 2001.
Conversations with Scripture: Revelation, Morehouse (Harrisburg, PA), 2005.
What God Wants for Your Life: Finding Answers to the Deepest Questions, HarperSanFrancisco (San Francisco, CA), 2005.
Contributor to Anchor Bible Dictionary, edited by David N. Freedman, Doubleday (New York, NY), 1992, and North American Religions, edited by Amanda Porterfield and Mary Farrell Bednarowski, Syracuse University Press (Syracuse, NY), 1996. Contributor to professional journals and periodicals, including Scottish Journal of Theology, Perkins News, Living Church, Plumbline, and Feminist Theology.
SIDELIGHTS: Frederick W. Schmidt is an educator and theologian whose interests include historical Jesus, spirituality, and New Testament studies. In his book A Still Small Voice: Women, Ordination, and the Church, Schmidt focuses on the issue of women's ordination by examining how five women and their churches have reacted to the ordination of women. To gather his data, he includes interviews with various women in which he asks about their experiences in the Roman Catholic, Episcopal, United Methodist, and Evangelical Lutheran Churches, and in the Southern Baptist Convention.
"Not surprisingly, the women complain of old-boy networks and 'black shirts' who dominate their denominations, of resistant congregations and sexist bishops, of regional variations and persistent marginalization, even where quotas exist to ensure equal gender representation on committees and boards," noted Mary Todd in a review in the Christian Century. Mary E. Hines, writing in Theological Studies, noted, "This study is valuable for its attempt to probe the reality of women's experience in ministry behind the public perception of the different denominations, and for its use of organizational theory to gain a different kind of insight into the human dynamics of church institutions." In his review in the Sociology of Religion, Edward C. Lehman, Jr., noted that "readers primarily interested in the oral history data—the women's stories—will find a rich source of personal testimony about women's hopes dashed by discrimination, trivialization, and marginalization. The book provides additional documentation of patterns also observed in previous research on women in ministry. The text … flows well."
Schmidt discusses human understanding of God's will in What God Wants for Your Life: Finding Answers to the Deepest Questions. The author addresses issues such as placing too much emphasis on looking for signs from God and perceiving God's will as an itemized list of do's and don'ts. Noting that the author uses a mixture "of mainline Christian theology, biblical exploration and personal stories," a Publishers Weekly contributor also commented: "This is an important book on Christian spiritual discernment."
BIOGRAPHICAL AND CRITICAL SOURCES:
Christian Century, November 6, 1996, Mary Todd, review of A Still Small Voice: Women, Ordination, and the Church, p. 1085.
Journal of Ecumenical Studies, fall, 1997, Doris Klostermaier, review of A Still Small Voice, p. 586.
Publishers Weekly, April 11, 2005, review of What God Wants for Your Life: Finding Answers to the Deepest Questions, p. 48.
Sociology of Religion, spring, 1997, Edward C. Lehman, Jr., review of A Still Small Voice, p. 101.
Theological Studies, March, 1997, Mary E. Hines, review of A Still Small Voice, p. 197.
Southern Methodist University Web site, http://www.smu.edu/ (September 19, 2005), information on author's career.