At The Threshold — Theology 101: Psalms and Lament


The second in a 3-part series, “Back to School: Theology 101” where we are looking at theological concerns during this season of pandemic. Grief is a part of the human experience, but typically the entire world isn’t grieving all at once. Our guest today acknowledges this grief and the soul shaping aspects of this season by pointing us to the worship book of the ancients, the Psalms. Dr. Kris Kvam, professor of Theology at Saint Paul School of Theology in Greater Kansas City and Oklahoma City, guides us through some painful and healing words of scripture that point toward a faithful witness of God in these turbulent times. This episode debuted Sept. 22, 2020.

Dr. Kristen Kvam, a Professor of Theology at Saint Pauls School of Theology also teaches courses in the fields of Engaging World Religions and Women, Society, and Church studies. Born and raised in Litchfield, Minnesota, amid the tenacity of Nordic Lutheran piety, Kris holds degrees from Emory University (PhD), Yale University (MDiv; STM), and St. Olaf College (BA). Scriptural interpretation, Christian doctrine, and Luther studies form primary concerns of her scholarship. A lay member of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA), Kris Kvam has extensive experience as an ecumenical theologian and has served the Church through several global ecumenical bodies. For 10 years she was a member of the Lutheran-Roman Catholic Commission on Unity, the international bilateral dialogue sponsored by the Vatican and Lutheran World Federation. She also served on the national Lutheran—Roman Catholic Dialogue USA, and chaired the ELCA’s Advisory Board for the Department of Ecumenical Affairs. She has chaired the ELCA’S Justice for Women Consulting Committee and served as an advisor to the ELCA’s Church Council. She was sent by the ELCA to the 1999 Parliament of the World’s Religions in Capetown, South Africa.

Her ecumenical work contributed to the volumes The Church as Koinonia of Salvation and The Apostolicity of the Church.

This episode debuted on September 17, 2020.


  • Alter, Robert.  The Book of Psalms: A Translation with Commentary. New York:  W. W. Norton, 2007.
  • Eklund, Rebekah. Jesus Wept: The Significance of Jesus’ Laments in the New Testament.  Library of New Testament Studies, Volume 55. London: Bloomsbury T & T Clark, 2015.
  • Hopkins, Denise Dombkowski. Psalms, Books 2-3. Wisdom Commentary Series, Barbara E. Reid, General Editor. Collegeville, MN: Liturgical Press, 2016.
  • Miller, Patrick. “Things Too Wonderful: Prayers Women Prayed.” In They Cried to the Lord: The Form and Theology of Biblical Prayer, 233-243, ed. Patrick D. Miller. Fortress: 1994
  • Newsom, Carol A., Sharon H. Ringe, and Jacquline E. Lapsley, ed. The Women’s Bible Commentary. Twentieth Anniversary Edition, Revised and Updated. Louisville: Westminster John Knox, 2012.
  • Priests for Equality. The Inclusive Psalms. Brentwood, Maryland: Priests for Equality, 1997.
  • Tanner, Beth LaNeel. “Hearing the Cries Unspoken: An Intertextual-Feminist Reading of Psalm 109.” In Wisdom and Psalms: A Feminist Companion to the Bible (second series), ed. Athalya Brenner and Carole Fontaine, 283-301. Sheffield, England: Sheffield, 1998.

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