Kaitlyn Schiess

I grew up around the United States as a military brat, but I spent the biggest chunks of time in Colorado and Virginia. I also grew up in the church: Sunday morning, Awana, youth group, summer camp. My mom has been in ministry for most of my life, so I like to think I’ve got a little PK attitude in me too.

I graduated from Liberty University in 2016. I started out in the Government department, with the plan of getting a degree in political science and going to law school after I graduated. I also joined the debate team, a place that provided more academic rigor and intellectual challenge than I had ever experienced. I spent all four years researching and debating with the team, traveling all over the country (and even overseas!) for debate tournaments. Those four years of debating taught me so much about research and argumentation, but it also left me frustrated and disappointed with the politics classes I was taking. During my sophomore year, I spent a whole semester researching critiques of capitalism for debate—I didn’t always agree with the philosophers and economists I was studying, but I was exposed to a wide range of thought and enjoyed wading into deeper waters. That same semester, I took a political economics class in the government department, and every class left me disappointed: positions the professor didn’t hold were ridiculed and caricatured. I eventually changed my major to history, in order to study some of the same developments in American politics, but without the same level of ideological rigidity in the government department. I still wanted to go to law school, but I needed to get out of the department that felt increasingly influenced by the partisan climate of the school in general.

The summer before my senior year, I interned with a church youth group and was given opportunities to teach, lead small groups, and write curriculum. By the end of that summer, I was considering making what felt like a massive shift in my life plans: going to seminary instead. When I showed up at Dallas Theological Seminary a year later, I thought I was leaving my prior interest in politics behind me. Instead, I quickly discovered two things: (1) there was a hunger among my peers for better and more theologically-informed thinking about politics, and (2) the Christian tradition has rich theological resources for this kind of thinking. Suddenly politics and theology didn’t seem like polar opposites, they seemed like two sides of the same coin.

I wrote The Liturgy of Politics to introduce Christians to questions they might not be asking: about our political work, our corporate worship, our spiritual disciplines, and how all of these things might be more connected than we think.

I am currently finishing up my ThM at Dallas Theological Seminary, and I continue to write about theology, politics, and culture at places like Christianity Today, The New York Times, Christ and Pop Culture, CT Women, RELEVANT, Sojourners, Fathom, and the Christian Research Journal. I also contributed some thoughts to this New York Times piece and this HuffPost piece.

Connect with Kaitlyn

Check out these other episodes with Kaitlyn