Jason Hays


Assistant Professor
Core Faculty


BA in Religious Studies - Core Faculty
MA in Religious Studies: Indo-Tibetan Buddhism - Core Faculty
MA in Religious Studies: Contemplative Religions - Core Faculty
Master of Divinity - Core Faculty


PhD, Brite Divinity School
MDiv, Wesley Theological Seminary
MTS, Wesley Theological Seminary
BA, American University

From the heart

I am grateful for the ways Naropa creates a space where heart, mind and body come together in the crucible of the classroom. The result is a deeply transformative way of learning, of serving, of being – not only in the lives of students, but in my own life as a teacher.


James Morris Miller Senior Fellowship for Interest and Proficiency in Christian Social Ethics, Wesley Theological Seminary

Recent publications

  • “Pastoral Counseling and Queer Identities” In Understanding Pastoral Counseling, Elizabeth A. Maynard and Jill L. Snodgrass, eds. (New York: Springer, 2015)
  • “Visual Textuality: Logocentrism and Deaf Religious Identities through Signed Narratives and Ritual” In Religion and the Body, Jennifer Baldwin, ed. (Lexington, forthcoming)
  • “Beyond Disabilities, Diagnoses and Disorders: Prophetic Resistance to the Language of Normalcy Theology and Disability Impacting Professional Ministerial Practice" at the Summer Institute on Theology and Disability (https://youtu.be/uQGsWZXRIEs)
  • "Developing and Maintaining a List of Referral Resources" for the www.CaringClergyProject.org (https://youtu.be/GbEfZUAfE1U)

Scholarship activity

As a scholar-practitioner committed to postmodern theological theories of personal and communal change, Jason is interested in non-pathologizing models of spiritual transformation in congregational, nonprofit and institutional spaces. His areas of specialization include fluid identities, pastoral theologies of embodiment, narrative practices within congregational/community contexts, Benedictine monastic traditions.

Current projects include constructing an interdisciplinary pastoral theology of fluidity, accounting for fluid subjectivities of gender, sexuality, dis-ability, bi-racial and multi-religious identities. Jason is also exploring new monasticism as an emerging model of intentional community, particularly through inter-religious dialogical contexts.

Courses taught

  • Centering Prayer


  • Religious Education


  • Spiritual Models of Social Action


  • Conflict and Diversity


  • Contemporary American Religion


  • MDiv Field Education


  • MDiv Process Lab

What book do you find yourself regularly pressing into the hands of students?

Judith Butler's "Giving an Account of Oneself" and Brother Lawrence's "The Practice of the Presence of God."

Describe a moment when you helped a student reach an “ah ha” or transformational moment.

As a teacher, I'm committed to helping students -- especially those preparing to be chaplains and leaders in spiritual communities -- to critically engage their embedded theological/philosophical commitments, and how those commitments shape the ways we perceive the world, read and interpret texts, and offer spiritual care to others.  During a classroom discussion, a student was exploring a "gut feeling" about why an interaction with a hospital patient seemed "off."  We discussed how the student's theological/philosophical assumptions about the nature of health and suffering prevented the student from entering fully into the spiritual worldview of the patient, which resulted in the student hearing only part of the patient's story.  The student made the connection, and sighed "ah ha."  When the student was able to develop the self-reflective skill of attending to embedded theological commitments -- and to critically evaluate whether those commitments are worth keeping -- the student was able to hear new plot lines in the patient's story, and to explore collaboratively with the patient spiritual sources of healing and wholeness.