TheoEd Talks Heads to Austin Feb. 5


Elizabeth Lotito
January 4, 2023

Candler School of Theology and Westlake Hills Presbyterian Church will sponsor the next round of TheoEd Talks in Austin, Texas, on Sunday, February 5, 2023, at 5:00 p.m. CST. The event will be held at Stateside Theatre at the Paramount in Austin, with a livestream available for virtual viewing.

An ecumenical speaker series where leaders in the church and the academy share “the talk of their lives” in 20 minutes or less, TheoEd Talks aims to spark conversations that change the way people think about God, religion, and the power of faith to change lives. TheoEd Austin will feature speakers Lisa Sharon HarperJosé IrizarryJohn PavlovitzKara Powell, and Chauncey Handy.

Tickets are available on the TheoEd website. Livestream tickets are free, general admission tickets are $22, and student tickets are $7. For information about hosting a virtual audience at your church or organization, email

Lisa Sharon Harper is the founder and president of Freedom Road, a groundbreaking consulting group that crafts experiences which lead to common action toward a more just world. Harper’s writing, speaking, activism, and training has sparked and fed the fires of reformation in the church from Ferguson and Charlottesville to South Africa, Brazil, Australia, and Ireland. Her book The Very Good Gospel was named 2016 “Book of the Year” by the Englewood Review of Books, and the Huffington Post identified her as one of 50 women religious leaders to celebrate on International Women’s Day. Harper hosts the Freedom Road podcast, cohosts The Four podcast, and writes a weekly column on Substack. She recently published a new book, Fortune: How Race Broke My Family and the World—And How to Repair It All.

José Ramon Irizarry is president of Austin Seminary and vice president of education at the Board of Pensions of the Presbyterian Church (USA). A scholar of practical theology, Irizarry teaches at Villanova University and has held teaching and administrative positions at various educational and theological institutions, including the University of Cambridge, Lutheran School of Theology, Pacific School of Religion, and McCormick Theological Seminary.

John Pavlovitz is a writer, pastor, and activist from Wake Forest, North Carolina. A 25-year veteran in the trenches of local church ministry, Pavlovitz is committed to equality, diversity, and justice—both inside and outside faith communities. He is the author of If God Is Love, Don’t Be a JerkA Bigger TableHope and Other SuperpowersLowRise, and Stuff That Needs to Be Said.

Kara E. Powell is the chief of leadership formation at Fuller Theological Seminary and the executive director of the Fuller Youth Institute (FYI), which helps equip diverse leaders and parents so that faithful young people can change our world. Named by Christianity Today as one of “50 Women to Watch,” Powell completed a PhD in Practical Theology from Fuller Seminary in 2000, an MDiv from Bethel Theological Seminary in 1994, and a BA degree with honors from Stanford University in 1991. Powell is the author or coauthor of 3 Big Questions that Change Every TeenagerFaith in an Anxious WorldGrowing With18 PlusGrowing YoungThe Sticky Faith Guide for Your FamilySticky Faith CurriculumCan I Ask That?Deep Justice JourneysEssential LeadershipDeep Justice in a Broken WorldDeep Ministry in a Shallow World, and Good Sex Youth Ministry Curriculum.

Chauncey Diego Francisco Handy is one of two recipients of TheoEd’s inaugural Graduate Prize in Public Theology. He is a PhD student in Old Testament at Princeton Theological Seminary and a teaching elder in the Presbyterian Church (USA). He received an MDiv from Duke Divinity School and an MA in Bible from the Hebrew University in Jerusalem. Handy’s identity as a Chicano frames his research on the nature of ethnicity and belonging in the book of Deuteronomy.

Recordings of all previous TheoEd Talks—including presentations by Kristin Du Mez, Wil Gafney, Jonathan Merritt, and Austin Channing Brown—are available on the TheoEd website.