About Frederick Schmidt

The Reverend Dr. Frederick W. Schmidt, Jr. holds the Rueben P. Job Chair in Spiritual Formation at Garrett-Evangelical Theological Seminary in Evanston, IL, and directs the Job Institute for Spiritual formation. He is an Episcopal Priest, spiritual director, retreat facilitator, conference leader, writer, and Consulting Editor at Church Publishing in New York. He is the author of numerous published articles and reviews, including forty-four entries in Doubleday’s Anchor Bible Dictionary, as well as articles in Feminist Theology and The Scottish Journal of Theology. He is author of A Still Small Voice: Women, Ordination and the Church (Syracuse University Press, 1998), The Changing Face of God (Morehouse, 2000), When Suffering Persists (Morehouse, 2001), in Italian translation: Sofferenza, All ricerca di una riposta (Torino: Claudiana, 2004), What God Wants for Your Life (Harper, 2005), Conversations with Scripture: Revelation (Morehouse, 2005) and Conversations with Scripture: Luke (Morehouse, 2009). His latest work, The Dave Test (Abingdon Press) will appear in the autumn of 2013. He is also the series editor for the new Anglican Association of Biblical Scholars Study Series.

From 2000-2012, he worked as Director of Spiritual Life and Formation and Associate Professor of Christian Spirituality at Southern Methodist University, Perkins School of Theology in Dallas, Texas. As one of Perkins’ senior administrators, Dr. Schmidt was responsible for programs in formation, serving over 500 students. He developed the School's program in Spiritual Direction which has thus far served over 150 students from across the country; the program in Anglican and Episcopal studies; and the spiritual formation track in the Doctor of Ministry program. Prior to his arrival at SMU, he served as Canon Educator, Director of Programs in Spirituality and Religious Education, and Acting Program Area Manager at Washington National Cathedral. In this capacity Dr. Schmidt was responsible for the development of a program of religious education and spirituality that annually provided resources for broad-based audiences of over 5000 adults. He also designed and produced workshops and seminars for ecumenical and interfaith constituencies; hosted foreign dignitaries from the Middle East and the former Soviet Union on behalf of the Meridian Institute; and developed the programmatic work and daily operations of the Cathedral Center for Prayer and Pilgrimage. Before going to the Cathedral, Dr. Schmidt served as special assistant to the President and Provost of La Salle University in Philadelphia and as a Fellow of the American Council on Education. From 1994 to 1995, he resided in Jerusalem, where he was Dean of St. George’s College and Residentiary Canon of the Cathedral Church of St. George the Martyr. He has also served in numerous parishes, including St. Andrew’s Episcopal Church in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, All Saints Episcopal Church in Hershey, Pennsylvania and St. Luke’s Episcopal Church in Dallas, Texas.

His work in higher education includes service as associate professor of New Testament Studies, as a lecturer in New Testament studies at Oxford University, and as a tutor at Keble College, Oxford. He has been a guest lecturer at the Smithsonian Institute in Washington, DC, at the National Cancer Institute in Bethesda, Maryland and the Southwestern Medical Center at the University of Texas, Dallas.

Dr. Schmidt holds a bachelor’s degree from Asbury College, the Masters of Divinity from Asbury Theological Seminary and the Doctor of Philosophy from Oxford University. His honors include a Fellowship in administrative leadership with the American Council on Education; a Senior Fellowship with the W.F. Albright Institute of Archaeological Research; the Young Scholars Fellowship presented by the Catholic Biblical Association; nomination to Class XI of the Clergy Leadership Project, sponsored by Trinity Church, Wall Street; the Angus Dun Fellowship (Episcopal Diocese of Washington); and an Ecumenical Service Award given by Christian Churches United (an ecumenical organization covering a tri-county area and based in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania). He is a recipient of the F. W. Dillstone Scholarship awarded by Oriel College, Oxford; the Hall Houghton Studentship awarded by the Theology Faculty of Oxford University; and an Overseas Research Student Award, presented by the Committee of Vice Chancellors and Principals of the Universities of the United Kingdom. Dr. Schmidt is a member of the American Academy of Religion, the Society of Biblical Literature, the Catholic Biblical Association, the Society for the Scientific Study of Religion, and the Society for the Study of Christian Spirituality. From 1998 to 2000 he served as a member of the Institutional Review Board for Heart, Lung and Blood Research at the National Institutes of Health and he currently serves on two Data Safety Monitoring Boards for NIH. He is Secretary-Treasurer of the Anglican Association of Biblical Scholars and a member of the Board of Examining Chaplains for the Episcopal Church, USA.

In addition to his work in the academy and the church Dr. Schmidt currently serves as a patient safety and ethics consultant on Data Safety Monitoring Boards for the National Institutes of Health and Allergan, Inc.

He lives with his wife, Natalie (who is also an academic and an Episcopal priest), and Hilda of Whitby, their Gordon Setter.

Throw Like a Girl: The Power of Enacted Contradictions

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In a world fraught with an increasing number of bitter debates over what is theoretically possible, the best antidote to prejudice may still be the enacted contradiction.  That, at least, is one of the lessons to be learned from the Little League career of pitcher Mo’ne Davis who pitches at 70 mph and just threw history’s first shut out for Philadelphia’s Taney Dragons. She shatters sexist assumptions about what it means to “throw like a girl” and she does it all with composure that most adults f … [Read more...]

A prayer and benediction for Robin, child of God, and for us all…

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We are saddened and rendered fearful by the loss of one with so much energy. We watch the news that tens of thousands --- hundreds of thousands --- have died and hardly register the loss. But, then, someone who has lived so publicly, so fearlessly, so vulnerably, and joyfully dies and the dimensions of human loss are crystalized, brought to bear on a single life, a single loss, an individual tragedy. In response, we rehearse his gifts. We scour his life for an explanation. The most fearful among … [Read more...]

Sobriety: “Guardian of the spirit”

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Dictionaries capture the impoverished meaning of the word “sobriety” in modern, American parlance.  One on-line dictionary, for example, offers three possible meanings:The state or quality of being sober. Temperance or moderation, especially in the use of alcoholic beverages. Seriousness, gravity, or solemnityBroadly speaking, however, the popular understanding of sobriety often amounts to little more than freedom from the influence of addictive substances (though some AA sites d … [Read more...]

Burning Snow

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Saint John Climacus, a seventh century monk at the monastery on Mt. Sinai was admired for his spiritual depth. As a result, a neighboring monastery asked him to serve as their spiritual director.  We don’t know much about Climacus, but it is reasonably certain that the one book he wrote, The Ladder of Divine Ascent was written in response to that request.Consisting of thirty chapters that allude to the life of Jesus and the Old Testament story of Jacob’s ladder, the book consists of three sec … [Read more...]

When a Fast is not Fast

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I realize that I risk appearing to be a "traditionalist" --- gasp! --- i.e., someone who believes that Lenten fasting has a specific purpose, defined by the history of its observance. But it does. Kallistos Ware puts it succinctly and accurately: "The primary aim of fasting is to make us conscious of our dependence upon God. If practiced seriously...The purpose of this [fasting from food] is to lead us in turn to a sense of inward brokenness and contrition; to bring us, that is, to the point … [Read more...]

Lent: It’s more fun and alleluias than you think

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If you spend any time with social media, you probably noticed the number of Facebook postings that featured Puritan Valentine’s Day Cards.  The artwork wasn’t very elaborate, as should be the case with Puritan cards.  But I loved the sentiments.  One card read:“You’ve bewitched me.  There’s no other explanation for the gophers in my garden.”Another announced:“I thought to write you a love poem.  For that thought I have beaten myself with a rough branch each night hence.”And anothe … [Read more...]

Nothing to Celebrate: Question Ten of Ten

   Taking The Dave Test during the Holiday Question Ten: “Can I be a friend?”Introduction to the seriesMuch of the last year was thread through with considerable loss.  My brother, Dave, battled a fatal brain cancer for nearly eight years and he died this last January as the result of a fall that was due in large part to his disease.  He would have been 58 years old in October.In reaction to Dave’s quest to find a durable faith and supportive friends, I wrote a book called The Da … [Read more...]

Nothing to Celebrate: Question Nine of Ten

   Taking The Dave Test during the Holiday Question Eight: “Can I walk wounded?”Introduction to the seriesMuch of the last year was thread through with considerable loss.  My brother, Dave, battled a fatal brain cancer for nearly eight years and he died this last January as the result of a fall that was due in large part to his disease.  He would have been 58 years old in October.In reaction to Dave’s quest to find a durable faith and supportive friends, I wrote a book called The … [Read more...]


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