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Dr. Michal Beth Dinkler and the Rev. Skip Masback on Belonging and Christian Freedom

June 7, 2018, 6:00 pm - 9:00 pm


“Paul’s Not-So-Secret Secret: Belonging and Christian Freedom in the Midst of Affliction”

Dr. Michal Beth Dinkler and the Rev. Skip Masback deliver a lecture entitled, “Paul’s Not-so-Secret Secret: Belonging and Christian Freedom in the Midst of Affliction.” Maya Angelou said once in an interview, “You are only free when you realize you belong no place – you belong every place – no place at all. The price is high. The reward is great.” Paul traced the Christian path to this freedom with a secret he blabbed from one end of the ancient world to the other. As he framed his secret in his letter to the Philippians: “I have learned the secret of being well-fed and of going hungry, of having plenty and of being in need. I can do all things through him who strengthens me.” (4:12-13). This lecture explores how our youth might claim this freedom Paul calls them to and offer youth workers practical suggestions for helping individuals and youth open their lives to “him who strengthens” us.



Rev. Skip Masback headshot Skip Masback

Skip Masback is the Founding Director of the Yale Youth Ministry Institute and the former Associate Director of the Yale Center for Faith and Culture. He came to Yale after serving for 19 years at The Congregational Church of New Canaan. Skip retired from Yale in December 2018 and currently serves as Chair of the Advisory Board for the Center for Continuing Education at Yale Divinity School.

In addition to the customary responsibilities of preaching, teaching and pastoral care, Skip’s ministry has always included substantial emphasis on deepening and broadening youth ministries both in the church and beyond. He has lectured and consulted on youth ministry issues in denominational settings and at Yale Divinity School, where he serves on the school’s Dean’s Advisory Council and the school’s Ministerial Studies Committee Working with Dean Harry Attridge, Skip developed the Yale Divinity School Bible Study program for local churches. He has contributed essays on preaching texts from Paul’s Letter to the Romans for publication in Feasting on the Word, Volume XI.

Skip came to the ministry after practicing law for fourteen years. He graduated from Williams College and Columbia Law School before joining the Washington law firm of Hogan & Hartson in 1976. His national litigation practice included representing major corporate clients and public interest clients such as the National Wildlife Federation, the NAACP Legal Defense Fund, and the Democratic National Committee. Skip helped start the National Endowment for Democracy in 1983 and was the founding general counsel for the Commission on Presidential Debates. Skip founded the Legal Services Board for the Whitman Walker Clinic and started a legal services clinic there for people living with HIV/AIDS. After resigning from Hogan & Hartson in 1983, Skip and colleagues founded the firm of Ross, Dixon & Masback, a firm which grew to include 115 lawyers in four cities across the country.

Skip left the practice of law in 1991 to enter Yale Divinity School, graduating with a Masters of Divinity degree in 1994. While at Yale, he was the founding chair and president of “I Have a Dream,” New Haven, Inc., an after school enrichment program. Skip and his wife, Amy, have three children, Owen, Katrina and Elisabeth.

Michal Beth Dinkler Headshot Michal Beth Dinkler

Dr. Michal Beth Dinkler is Assistant Professor of New Testament at Yale Divinity School. Professor Dinkler’s research lies at the intersection of New Testament and literary theory, focusing especially on the usefulness of narratological theories for the study of New Testament narratives. Her first book, Silent Statements: Narrative Representations of Speech and Silence in the Gospel of Luke (2013), demonstrates how close attention to speech and silence illuminates the plot, characterization, themes, and narrative rhetoric of Luke’s Gospel. Her second book, Literary Theory and New Testament Scholarship (YUP, in progress), guides students and scholars of the New Testament through the maze of heterogeneous phenomena associated with contemporary literary theory, and offers practical examples that illustrate the interpretive benefits of an updated literary approach to the New Testament. Professor Dinkler’s work has been published in journals such as the Journal of Biblical LiteratureJournal for the Study of the New Testament, and Biblical Interpretation, among others. She co-chairs the Speech and Talk: Discourses and Social Practices in the Ancient Mediterranean World Section of the Society of Biblical Literature and serves on the Steering Committee for the Book of Acts Section. She is a candidate for ordination in the Presbyterian Church (USA).