Dr. Todd Hall

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.
 

Recent Posts

 

“Remember Me:” Worship, Stuff, and the Communion of Saints

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 … [Read more...]

Not in Vain

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. … [Read more...]

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

  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 … [Read more...]

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

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 … [Read more...]

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

//  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 … [Read more...]

In the Face of Death: The Meaning of “Faith” in Christian life

My grandmother, Juanita Saxon, went to sleep in the Lord in May of this year. She passed after a long, strenuous battle with congestive heart failure (and other ailments). My grandmother was (as was my grandfather, “Pop”), to me, the very picture of Christian faithfulness. By her last breath she had fully formed her life into the image of her Lord, sharing in his passion in her own (as must we all), and finding herself finally to be alive and ready to be at rest in him. I was with her during the time of her passion, with my family. Seeing her suffer and then pass into her rest has been the cause for much reflection for me. Perhaps most … [Read more...]

Fallout: The End of Atheism

“Meaning” in a world without God I recently read an article about a monument erected on a public space in Florida, counter a ten-commandments monument, celebrating “atheism.” It was billed as an expression of free-speech, and I suppose it was. But thinking about it further stirred a question within me. Beyond the pettiness of it (framed within the context of “protecting atheist rights”), why would an atheist erect such a monument? If one truly rejects the existence of a god of any kind, and thus rejects any sort of telos to the universe (and one’s own life), why would one choose to celebrate this reality? And if one lives out what one … [Read more...]

Two Generations of Seminary Students at Austin Grad

  Two generations. The presence of two generations at an institution is a meaningful thing. It suggests longevity, yes. But it also suggests tradition, meaning, worth. Parents who send their kids through the same processes and places for growth and education offer the greatest compliment of all, an acted-upon trust in and recognition of the value of the institution. It’s been a fun year at Austin Grad, and recently, in this spring semester, the circle was completed, and a second generation of friends became students at this place. Let me start with some back story. I actually came to Austin Grad, then the Institute for Christian Studies … [Read more...]

Memories: A Poem of Grief and Hope

Very often, grief is expressed most poignantly in poems. The capacity for vivid description, for transmitting feeling, is central to poetry, and thus the poets of grief are given outlets to express both hope and pain in such a way that allows for readers to enter into the experience. I am not much of a poet, but I offer the poem below, written about 6 months after my wife Jennifer died. It is my hope that someone experiencing grief, right now, may enter into the poem and find themselves not alone. It is my prayer that we grieve with hope, that the “anchor holds.”         … [Read more...]

“Don’t Judge” and other Ironies

Perhaps the greatest irony of our present age is the absolute moralism of a culture which rails against institutionalized morality. “Don’t force your morality on me” is often uttered in complete sincerity and without a hint of irony. Increasingly in our contemporary world, this commitment to the morality of moral relativism is becoming manifest in the church. And as has always been the case, there’s “no Catholic like a convert.” One can often see in the language of these converts to the new morality of the West all the righteousness of the raging prophets, dealing out the fiery judgment of God against those who would dare to “judge others.” … [Read more...]