Chris Johnson ’85

Alumni and Faculty

Visiting Assistant Professor in Religion

A 1985 graduate of Gustavus, Chris went on for a Master of Arts from Luther Northwestern Seminary in St. Paul and his Ph.D. in theology, ethics and culture from the University of Iowa.  He served as assistant professor of religion and director of service-learning at Buena Vista University in Storm Lake, Iowa, prior to returning to Gustavus to launch the Center for Vocational Reflection in 2001.

Chris works in a variety of capacities with state, regional, and national projects around issues of experiential learning, vocation, young-adult development, and spirituality in higher education, including research, writing, and facilitating retreats and workshops.  He is a Circles of Trust® facilitator associated with the Center for Courage and Renewal; a member of the Purpose Project Guild, in association with the University of Minnesota Center for Spirituality and Healing; and an Art of Hosting facilitator with the InCommons initiative, associated with the Bush Foundation.

Chris is also co-founder and board member of Prairie Oaks Institute at Robert Creek, a new nonprofit education, retreat, and sustainable-living center located on a 200-acre century farm near Belle Plaine, Minnesota, whose work is to nourish expansive imagination, bold thinking, wise action, and cross-sector solutions to the unprecedented environmental and social challenges of our time.

Originally from a dairy farm-family of six kids near Litchfield, Minnesota, Chris and his wife Kim ('85) now live in St. Peter with their 16-year-old twins Josiah and Mara; 21-year-old son, Amos, is a student at Gustavus


BA, Gustavus Adolphus College, 1985 MA, Luther Northwestern Theological Seminary, 1989 PhD, University of Iowa, 1996

Courses Taught


REL-132 (Religion & Ecology)

Synonym Title Times Taught Terms Taught
REL-253Changing the World82014/JN, 2013/JN, 2010/JN, 2009/JN, 2008/JN, 2005/JN, 2004/JN, and 2003/JN
CUR-399Senior Seminar32012/SP and 2011/FA
FTS-100First Term Seminar12004/FA
REL-244Special Topic: Love, Justice, and Violence12004/SP
REL-233Christian Social Ethics12003/SP
REL-268Career Exploration12002/JN