Lisa M. Hess

Professor of Practical Theology and Contextual Ministries


Lisa’s area of specialization is interreligious learning, conscious feminine leadership and Christian spirituality. She is author of A Companionable Way: Path of Devotion in Conscious Love (Cascade, 2016), Learning in a Musical Key: Insight for Theology in Performative Mode (Princeton Theological Monograph series, Pickwick Publications, 2011) and Artisanal Theology: Intentional Formation in Radically Covenantal Companionship (Cascade, 2009), among other publications. A graduate of the 2013 Conscious Feminine Leadership Academy with Women Writing for (a) Change in Cincinnati, Ohio (www.womenwriting.org), she is a certified facilitator and affiliate leader in this lineage of wisdom, holding contemplative circles for women to come to voice and bring the Feminine more fully to expression in the world. Her research continues to focus on the redress of contemporary theological education and faith community life with an intentional formation in radically covenantal companionship, circle-way leadership and the discernment of gifts and challenges in an increasingly pluralistic and global-local world.



BA, Carleton College (1991)

MDiv, Princeton Theological Seminary (1996)

PhD, Princeton Theological Seminary (2001)




A Companionable Way: Path of Devotion in Conscious Love. (Eugene, OR: Cascade, 2016)

Learning in a Musical Key: Insight for Theology in Performative Mode. Princeton Theological Monograph series (Eugene, OR: Pickwick Publications, 2011)

Artisanal Theology: Intentional Formation in Radically Covenantal Companionship (Eugene, OR: Cascade, 2009)


Book Chapters/Compilations:

“Being Shaped by the Ritual Practices of Others: a Classroom Reflection,” Teaching Theology and Religion: Special Issue: Multifaith Theological Education. Vol. 16, Issue 4, October 2013, pp. 338–345.

“Toward an Intimacy of Difference: Philosophical & Theological Resources for Human Connection Through Difference” Alienation and Connection: Suffering in a Global Era. Lisa Withrow, ed. (Lexington Press, 2011), pp. 97-114.

Introduction, George MacDonald’s Diary of an Old Soul (New York: Barnes&Noble Publishers, 2006).



“Befriending Outsiders: Table Fellowship, Habits of Mind, and Delight Amidst Difference” Spiritus: a Journal of Christian Spirituality. Vol 15 No. 1 Spring 2015.

“Founders, Finding, Being Found: Women’s Wisdom in Teaching and Learning in Theology and Religion” with Mary Pierce Brosmer and Mary Elizabeth Mullino Moore. Teaching Theology and Religion. Vol. 18, Issue 2, April 2015, pp. 170–185.

“A Begrudging, Recalcitrant Academic Observes What She’s Learning: Distance Learning in Leadership Formation,” Teaching Theology and Religion.Vol. 17, Issue 3, July 2014, pp. 264–271.

“Encountering Habits of Mind at Table: Kashrut, Jews, and Christians” CrossCurrents 62:3 (Sept 2012): 328-336.

“A Contemplative Empiricism: Methodological Musings for an Artisanal Theology in Religious Leadership Formation,” Journal of Religious Leadership.Vol 8 No. 1 Spring 2009 (peer-reviewed)

“Pastoral Implications,” Lectionary Homiletics. Vol. XX No. 4 Ordinary Time 2009.

“Sacred Encounters,” Seasons of the Spirit curriculum (2009)
“Pastoral Implications,” Lectionary Homiletics Vol XIX No. 2 Lent 2008.

“Formation in the Worlds of Theological Education,” Teaching Theology and Religion Vol. 11 Issue 1 January 2008 (peer-reviewed).

“A New Sacred Grove” Teaching Theology and Religion Vol. 10, Issue 3, July 2007.

“Sabbath Observance for Religious Leadership: It’s Not About Time or Eternity” Sustaining Pastoral Excellence monthly,[http://www.divinity.duke.edu/programs/spe/articles], June 2007.

“The Gift of Worship: Living Both Ways” in The Upper Room Worship Book, Accompanist and Worship Leader edition, ed. Elise Eslinger (Nashville: Upper Room Books, 2007).

“What is the Story?” The Clergy Journal, Mar 2007, Vol. 83, no. 5.

“Theological Interdisciplinarity and Religious Leadership” Journal of Religious Leadership Vol. 5, no. 1, Spring 2007 (peer-reviewed).

“Being Missional,” The Clergy Journal, July/Aug 2006, Vol. 82, no. 8.

“Having Meaningful Conversations” Caregiving: a Quarterly Publication of the Association of Brethren Caregivers Vol. 8 Issue 2, 2006.

“Stewardship: Questions of Care and Relationship” The Clergy Journal, Sept 2005, Vol. 81, no. 9.

“What is Practical Theology?” Journal of Theology Summer 2005.

Introduction, George MacDonald’s Diary of an Old Soul (New York: Barnes&Noble Publishers, 2006).

“The Challenge of Activism” The Clergy Journal, Apr 2006, Vol. 82, no. 6.

“Integrity and Ritual” The Clergy Journal, Nov/Dec 2005, Vol 82, no. 2.

“Leadership and the Church We Are Becoming” The Clergy Journal, May/June 2005, Vol. 81, no. 7.

“Toward a Full-Fledged Action Theory with a Perspective of Musical Transcendence” Verbum et Ecclesia, Vol. 26 Issue 2 (University of Pretoria, South Africa) Spring 2005.

“Practices of Faith and the Logic of the Spirit” The Clergy Journal, Mar 2005, Vol. 81, no. 5.

“Connectedness” The Clergy Journal, Jan 2005, Vol 81, no. 3.

“Sabbath Renewal: Recovering Play in Pastoral Ministry,” The Clergy JournalOct 2004, Vol 81, no. 1.

“Lifelong Learning” Church Executive Magazine (www.churchexecutive.com), March 2002.



“Notes and comments from ‘A Begrudging, Recalcitrant Academic Observes What She’s Learning: Distance-Learning in Leadership Formation,’” Spiritual Formation from a Distance” teaching session, Society for the Study of Christian Spirituality meeting, Baltimore, MD 2013.

“Liturgical Hospitality within Deeply Rooted Leadership: Possibilities and Pitfalls in ‘Eucharistic Indwelling Engagement,’” Academy of Religious Leadersip Annual Meeting, Chicago, IL 2013.

“Befriending Outsiders: Table Fellowship, Habits of Mind, and Delight Amidst Difference,” Christian Spirituality Group, American Academy of Religion Annual Meeting, Chicago, IL 2012.

“A New Muslim-Christian Companionship? Nur & Chalcedonian Contributions to Science, Light, and Belief in a Shared World,” John Carroll University, October 2011.

“Transforming Difference: Liturgical Hospitality in Jewish-Christian Collaborations” Spirituality Section, College Theology Society Meeting, Iona College, New Rochelle, NY, June 2011.

“A Liturgical Hospitality Project,” Week Two, Cohort One of the AAR/Luce Summer Seminars for Theologies of Religious Pluralism and Comparative Theology, Catholic Theological Union, Chicago, IL, May 2010.

“Are Relationships Communicable Online?” Pathways to Innovation conference, Southwestern Ohio Council on Higher Education (SOCHE), Sinclair Community College, March 2010.

“Response to Jon D. Levenson, ‘Resurrection in Judaism, Christianity, and Islam,’” Ryterband Symposium, Dayton, OH, October 2009.

Homo Academicus and Renewal: Books for Burning?”, Convocation Address, United Theological Seminary, Dayton, OH, Sept 2009.

“An Artisanal Theology: Christian Spirituality Sets the Table with the Local-Artisanal Movement,” Spirituality Section of the College Theology Society, Notre Dame, IN May 2009.

“Correlation and the Promise of Jean-Luc Marion for a Non-Correlational Practical Theology,” Seminar: Methods in Theology and the Social Sciences, Vanderbilt University Divinity School and Graduate Department of Religion, Fall 2008.

“A Contemplative Empiricism: Mindfulness, Wisdom, and Expertise in Teaching Spirituality in Seminaries,” Association of Practical Theology Biennial Meeting, St. John’s University, Collegeville, MN, April 2008.

“Bridging Private and Public: Music as Oral Event in Literate Religious Communities,” spirituality section—College Theology Society, May 2007.

“Vulnerable Venture to Lived Compassion: Music as Cruciform Practice Toward a Resilient Spirituality,” Calvin Institute of Worship, staff presentation, Calvin College, Grand Rapids, MI July 2006.

“Relational Renewal of Religious Leadership: a Proposal,” UMC Connectional Table, United Theological Seminary, May 2006.
“Wholly Friends: Buddhist Perspective and Practice Toward Compassionate Companionship in a Violent World,” Midwest American Academy of Religion, Chicago, IL, March 2006.

“Pedagogy of the Invulnerable in the Shifting Ecology of Leadership Formation: Reassessing Formation through Service-Learning in Seminaries, Communities, and the Church” United Methodist Association of Scholars of Christian Education (UMASCE), Jekyll’s Island, GA, August 2005.

“Music, Education, and Reconciliation: the Paradise Road Paradigm,” Music Consortium, Arts and Reconciliation Conference (celebrating 10 years of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission), University of Pretoria, Tshwane/Pretoria, Gauteng, South Africa, March 2005.


Reviews and Notes:

Wise Latinas: Writers on Higher Education. Jennifer de Leon, ed. University of Nebraska, 2014 in Teaching Theology and Religion.

Writing the Icon of the Heart: In Silence Beholding, Maggie Ross. Cascade, 2012 in Spritus: a Journal of Christian Spirituality (Spring 2014).

Crossroads: an Exploration of the Emerging-Missional Conversation with a Special Focus on ‘Missional Leadership and its Challenges for the Theological Education, Robert Doornenbal. Eburon Academic Publisher, 2012.

Crisis, Call and Leadership in the Abrahamic Traditions, eds. Peter Ochs and Willam Stacy Johnson. Palgrave-MacMillan 2010 in Reviews in Religion and Theology Vol. 18 No. 1 January 2011, pp. 47-49.

We are Here Now, Patrick Keifert. Eagle, ID: Allelon publishing, 2006 in the Journal of Religious Leadership Vol. 7 No. 2 Fall 2008.

Friendship: Interpreting Christian Love. E.D.H. (Liz) Carmichael. New York: T&T Clark/Continuum, 2006 in Horizon (forthcoming).

“Books&Bytes,” The Clergy Journal, forthcoming.

Educating for Democracy: Paideia in an Age of Uncertainty, eds. Alan M. Olson, David M. Steiner, and Irina S. Tuuli. New York: Rowman & Littlefield Publishers, Inc., 2004, in Teaching Theology and Religion, Vol. 11 Issue 2.

Transforming Spirituality: Integrating Theology and Psychology, by F. LeRon Shults and Steven J. Sandage. Grand Rapids, MI: BakerAcademic, 2006, in Theology Today, Vol. 64, Number 4 Jan 2008.

Leaving the Lectern: Cooperative Learning and the Critical First Days of Students Working in Groups, by Dean A. McManus. Bolton, Mass: Anker Publishing Company, 2005, in Teaching Theology and Religion, Vol. 10, no. 1, 2007.

Searching for Truth by Thomas W. Currie and What It Means to Be Human by Michelle J. Bartel, Princeton Seminary Bulletin, Vol. XXIII, no. 1, new series 2002: 153-55.



Certified facilitator and affiliate leader in Women Writing for (a) Change, Central Ohio

Certified facilitator, SoulCollage®

Spiritual Guidance Program, Shalem Institute for Spiritual Formation – Cohort 2017

Ordained minister of Word and Sacrament in the Presbyterian Church (USA), Presbytery of the Miami Valley (OH)

Clinical member of the Association of Clinical Pastoral Education

Member of the American Academy of Religion, the Society for the Study of Christian Spirituality, Academy of Religious Leadership (Editorial Board)



In her own Sabbath time, Lisa enjoys strength-training, patio-gardening, SoulCollage®, writing in community and creative renewal of all kinds. Is painting next? With her husband, Brian Maguire, she dabbles in foodie-culture, travel, science fiction TV and the careful shepherding of their Basenji-mix dog, Nala.

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