Dr. Michael Pasquarello III is today's Friday Faculty Feature. He is Beeson's Methodist Chair of Divinity, Director of the Robert Smith Jr. Preaching Institute, and Director of Doctor of Ministry program. He is ordained in the United Methodist Church, and is married to Patti.
Where are you from?
I was born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, and grew up in a suburb south of the city. My father was a machinist for General Electric in downtown Philadelphia for more than 40 years. My grandparents on both sides were immigrants who came from Italy around the turn of the century. My parents met at a bilingual church founded as a mission to Italian immigrants in South Philadelphia called, First Italian Presbyterian Church of Philadelphia, where I was baptized as an infant.
How do you understand your vocation as a professor?
I have always thought of myself as a pastor with a Ph.D. We are called to “profess” what we believe as we teach, write and serve our students and the churches they represent. I understand our academic work as the intellectual love of God grounded in and oriented by the church’s calling to worship and serve the Triune God.
What do you enjoy about being in the classroom?
I get to continue learning as I teach! I love what we do at Beeson and also the way we go about it. We are deeply committed to faith-seeking-understanding which guides my approach to teaching and learning. I have also found that being in the classroom makes research and writing come alive in the service of the church. I am convinced from the years I was a pastor that our vocation requires a lifetime of learning and formation. Our classrooms are places where we have the privilege of cultivating such habits.
What are some of the most important lessons you hope students will learn from you?
Knowledge and love are inseparable. As Augustine said, we cannot know what we do not love, and we cannot love what we do not know. Theological education seeks to form and transform both the head and heart, the intellect and will in relation to God and others. And since we are historical beings in our learning, we need the wisdom of both Scripture and the Christian past to guide us in finding our way forward as God’s pilgrim people.
I have known of Beeson since its early years and had great respect for the school and for Dr. Timothy George as its founding dean. As a Ph.D. student, I used Dr. George’s book, The Theology of the Reformers, to prepare for my comprehensive exams. When I was invited to join the Beeson faculty as Methodist Chair of Divinity and Director of the Preaching Institute, it was clear that God was calling me to a place of service that would allow me to contribute in very satisfying ways. I am deeply grateful to be a member of the Beeson community.
What is a fun fact people may not know about you?
I am a huge baseball fan and have been as long as I can remember. I am also a loyal Duke fan and love Duke Blue Devils basketball. My wife, Patti, and I are dog lovers. I have had three English Springer Spaniels. We now have Bella, a 13-and-half year old Boston Terrier, and Bonnie, a seven-year-old “Spollie,” which is a King Charles Cavalier Spaniel and Border Collie mix.
What project(s) are you currently working on?
I am currently working on three, chapter-length pieces related to Scripture and preaching in the Wesleyan tradition, and a chapter on the Trinity and Baptism in the Methodist tradition.