The Christian Studies Blog


Dr. Todd Hall

Todd Hall is the director of the library and assistant professor at Austin Graduate School of Theology. Todd graduated Austin Grad (then the Institute for Christian Studies) with a B.A. in Christian Studies in 1999, and a M.A.T.S in 2001. He began working with Austin Grad in 2006 and completed a M.S. in Library Science at the University of North Texas in 2008. Todd has a Ph.D in Education from Texas State University. His research focuses on the pedagogy of spiritual formation, especially as it takes place (or doesn't) in seminaries. He has a daughter whom he has raised as a single father, having lost his wife Jennifer in 2000. His research and writing interests include grief and grief ministry, theological bibliography and information-seeking skills development, and pedagogy and spiritual formation.
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Recent Posts

"Remember Me:" Worship, Stuff, and the Communion of Saints

Posted by Dr. Todd Hall on April 12, 2018 at 10:35 AM

Like most congregations, the church that I attend has our Sunday hymns projected onto the screen at the front of the building. This has been very helpful for several members who struggle with eyesight problems. But unlike some congregations, we’ve kept our hymnals in the pew as well. I always like to hold the hymnal in my hand and sing along that way—usually because the projected songs don’t have shape notes, which is the only way I can read music, but also so I can reflect on the words of the songs we’re singing.

On a Sunday morning a couple of weeks ago I took the hymnal from the back of the pew in front of me in preparation for the opening of our corporate worship. Like always, I opened the hymnal to the correct song number, but something made me flip to the front of the book. There I found a memorial plate to a member of our church who had gone to be with his Lord many years before. My mind was flooded with memories of the man as I read the words, “This hymnal is given to Holland Street Church of Christ in loving memory of…” He was a good man, a good husband and father and grandfather, and he had lost his battle with heart disease suddenly. My brother, our minister, the worship leader/youth and family minister, and I stood around his hospital bed and sang hymns over him from these very hymnbooks as he passed from this life. I read the plate again and tears filled my eyes.

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Topics: Worship, Incarnation, Teaching Moment, Communion

Not in Vain

Posted by Dr. Todd Hall on February 22, 2018 at 1:03 PM

What’s in a name? Well, it turns out that the answer to that question is “a whole lot.” Names can be venerated and names can be tarnished. They can follow someone around, and they can come to symbolize character and personality. Names matter. Especially the Name of God.

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Topics: 10 Commandments, 10 Words, God's Name, Blasphemy

Ring Around the Collar and the Gospel: What's Your Story?

Posted by Dr. Todd Hall on January 4, 2018 at 11:39 AM


Human beings are “enstoried” creatures. We find ourselves inundated, moment by moment, with data of various kinds that must be interpreted, and the stories that we live within form the framework for our interpretation of the world around us. This can be true at the simplest level of life—I recognize and understand the different functions of a fork and a knife because of the narrative surrounding such implements (especially around proper table etiquette)—to the most profound of social difficulties—see, for example, the highly charged competing narratives on either side of various race issues in the United States. The stories we tell ourselves and that we live by thus have powerful implications for every facet of life, from ethics to epistemology to ontology. So what stories are we living by? (e.g., a grammarian lives by the story that this is an improperly built sentence in English; here, I am a deconstructionist: Down with the Binaries!)

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Topics: Discipleship, On-Topic Today, Technology, Teaching Moment

The Prince of Peace: Life in an A.D. World

Posted by Dr. Todd Hall on December 23, 2017 at 9:41 AM

I have always been taken by stories of mercy and reconciliation in the midst of conflict. These moments stand out like beacons of light in great darkness; they are often stark reminders of ways in which the proclamation of the gospel calls disciples of Jesus to act as agents of hope and peace in the midst of horror. The so-called “Christmas Truce” of 1914 is one such example, and in many ways the impulse toward peace and fraternal unity stands as a powerful example of how a Christian’s life should be lived in the fractured and contentious age in which we find ourselves. If we really are disciples—students—of Jesus, we must never forget that the child born in that dark age so many years ago reigns forever as the Prince of Peace.

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Topics: Christmas, Prince of Peace, Discipleship, Christmas Truce

The Struggle is the Glory: Trials, Travails, and the Astros

Posted by Dr. Todd Hall on November 17, 2017 at 10:14 AM

 On November 1, 2017, it was all worth it. The struggling, the long-suffering, the disappointment of the many years all made this moment sweeter. I was suddenly aware that I was glad for the struggle. Glad for the broken TV remotes, for the moments of absolute heartbreak. I savored the hurt now in light of the glory.

I suppose I should explain what I’m talking about: I grew up in Houston. That’s probably enough for you to understand what I’m getting at, but I’ll explain for those of you who grew up in, say, Dallas, or Pittsburgh. This means the sports teams I’d loved my whole life specialized in tearing my heart out. Oh, the Rockets had responded to the “choke city” label (placed on them by the Houston Chronicle after they’d gone down 0-2 to the Suns in the Semi-Finals) by brilliantly defeating the Knicks in 7 in the finals, and followed that up with a sweep of Shaquille O’Neal’s Magic the next year. Glorious days, those.
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Topics: Personal, Teaching Moment

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