Rev. Dr. Courtney Buggs joined the CTS faculty in 2019 as Visiting Assistant Professor of Homiletics, having been awarded a prestigious Louisville Institute postdoctoral fellowship. Prof. Buggs has quickly become an integral part of the CTS community, bringing her wide-ranging experience and expertise to the life of the seminary. She begins the second of her two-year fellowship in the fall.
Prof. Buggs, whose father served in the Air Force and whose mother worked for the federal government, grew up in different places across the US and Europe and graduated high school from the Zweibruecken American High School in Germany. Before entering academia, she served for almost 22 years in the US Air Force as an Air Battle Manager onboard the E-3 AWACS. After completing an undergraduate degree in Electrical Engineering from Louisiana Tech University, Prof. Buggs went on to earn four different Masters Degrees, including an MPA from the University of Oklahoma and an MDiv from Candler School of Theology, before earning a PhD in Religion (Homiletics) from Emory University.
Although she didn’t originally see herself becoming a preacher, Prof. Buggs described having “been long interested in preaching and God-talk” and found an early passion in teaching Bible lessons. Once she began preaching, however, she became “interested in how I might use language to describe God in ways that compel persons to trust God.” She explained, “I had experienced enough preaching that pushes listeners away, rather than draws them. I began working with clergy on their preaching long before going to seminary, simply because I wanted to help preachers communicate their convictions about God more thoughtfully.” It was this passion that led her to study homiletics at Emory.
Prof. Buggs’s research interests include womanism in religion and preaching, prophetic preaching, and embodiment. More specifically, she explained, “I am interested in how African American women employ theological language in various spaces to help shape new realities and possibilities for themselves and other persons who have been marginalized.” Relating to these areas of focus, Prof. Buggs is currently at work on two writing projects, one on womanist preaching and the other “on African American women as impactful theological voices.”
Prof. Buggs said her first year at CTS “has been tremendous,” and she expressed appreciation for a welcoming and friendly faculty, staff, and student body. She said that “the warmth, energy, and variety” in the CTS chapel services have become “the highlight of my week.”
As Assistant Director of the PhD Program in African American Preaching and Sacred Rhetoric, along with teaching in the classroom, Prof. Buggs works with Prof. Frank Thomas to administer the academic processes of the program. “The PhD students are amazing people of faith,” she said, “and it is a pleasure to journey with them.”
Watch the sermon Prof. Buggs delivered last October in chapel:
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