Elizabeth Drescher, PhD


DSC00110Elizabeth Drescher, PhD is Adjunct Associate Professor of Religion & Pastoral Ministry at Santa Clara University. She holds a PhD in the Graduate Theological Union and an MA in Systematic Theology from Duquesne University.

Dr. Drescher’s commentary on religion in American life has appeared in The Atlantic, The San Francisco Chronicle, The San Jose Mercury News, The Washington Post, Christianity Today, Sojourners, CrossCurrents, On Faith, AlterNet, and Religion Dispatches as well as other popular and academic publications. Her work has been highlighted by  the Utne Reader, the Daily Beast, Newsweek, the Guardian, the Wall Street Journal, Australian Radio National, the BBC, CNN, State of Belief Radio, and other national and international news outlets.

Elizabeth is the author of Tweet If You ♥ Jesus: Practicing Church in the Digital Reformation (Morehouse, 2011) and, with Keith Anderson, Click 2 Save: The Digital Ministry Bible (Morehouse, 2012). Dr. Drescher’s current book project, Choosing Our Religion: The Spiritual Lives of America’s Nones (Oxford University Press, 2016), explores practices of meaning-making, self-fulfillment, ethics, and self-transcendence among America’s fast-growing religious demographic, the religiously unaffiliated.

She has been the recipient of numerous grants and awards for the study of spirituality in everyday life, including an Wabash large project grant for the study of collaborative pedagogies in religious studies and a journalism fellowship from the Social Science Research Council for its “New Directions in the Study of Prayer” initiative, which is funded by the Templeton Foundation. She also the recipient of a Hackworth Grant from the Markkula Center for Applied Ethics at Santa Clara University in support of her study of ethical practices among the religiously unaffiliated.

Elizabeth is a Consulting Scholar at The BTS Center, where she developed and co-edits the award-winning Bearings blog.

She lives with her family in Northern California’s Silicon Valley.

4 thoughts on “About

  1. I enjoyed your workshop at ANTS on Friday. I have a Louisville Institute Pastoral Study grant to work on how to provide chaplaincy pastoral care to SBNR’s. I am a CPE Supervisor (hospital chaplain and chaplain educator). With all the bibliography out there on Nones, there is very little on providing pastoral care to them on their own terms, within their own worldviews. Any suggestions for me? Thanks, MMT

    • THat’s a really great question. I haven’t been studying the unaffiliated in terms of their engagement with the church or ministry leaders, so I have no specific suggestions. However, I do think it’s important, first, not to be quick to label. Even if someone self-identifies as “spiritual-but-not-religious,” it’s important to remember that that means very different things to different people. Starting by asking about what a person finds “spiritually meaningful” in terms of practices or objects might be helpful.

  2. I totally agree with you! I’m just looking for people who have written about all the interesting sources of strength people draw on, the new range of metaphors we might try in offering pastoral care, etc. Just as you are free of the burden of obedience in your work, chaplains are free of any pressure to corral people into traditional language or practices, and I hope in my study to open up our field to a wider scope of possibilities in our pastoral care…. Thanks, MMT

  3. Leaving the organized church does no good if we don’t find Jesus in the process. The good news is that we can find Him. He is as close as the mention of His name.

    This is a time when we need to finish the Protestant Reformation. That means holding fast to sola scriptura, the priesthood of all believers, and salvation by faith alone. Today’s Protestant churches may teach these doctrines, but they do not practice them.

    Seeking Jesus instead of organized church is what the Bible would call “seeking first the kingdom of God.”

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