Courses

  • STH TC 872: Animals, Theology and Healing
    Explores various dimensions of divine/human/animal interactions, but with a focus upon healing relationships. The course ranges across the areas of theology, spirituality, liturgy, pastoral care, history, psychology, mind/body medicine (stress reduction), and public policy. While Christian theologies of creation and stewardship/ecology are central, the approaches of other religions and their practices will also be examined for purposes of comparison (and perhaps dialogue).
  • STH TC 878: Sabbath: Theory and Practice
    Team taught by a Jewish rabbi and a Christian practical theologian, this course invites students to delve into Jewish and Christian traditions on Sabbath, an important spiritual practice with many layers of theological meaning. We will explore classic texts on Sabbath, including texts from the Bible, the Talmud, and the Mishnah, as well as historical and contemporary Christian writing on the Sabbath or the Lord's Day. Topics to include discussion of motifs of "maaseh breisheet" (creation) and "yetziat mitzrayim" (exodus), blessing and sanctifying, cessation of work, preparation for Sabbath, Sabbath consciousness, and imitatio dei. We also will explore Christian theologies of the Lord's Day, including the meaning of Sabbath in light of the life, death, and resurrection of Christ. This is a course in spirituality and practical theology. We will be studying and engaging in the practice of Sabbath keeping as we closely read classic and contemporary texts, and in this way exploring what the practice of Sabbath embodies and enacts theologically. We also will focus attention on questions of Sabbath keeping and spiritual formation, relationships between Sabbath keeping and pastoral excellence, and implications of Sabbath for social justice.
  • STH TC 879: Preaching Apocalyptic Texts
    This seminar helps students gain competence in exegetical and homiletical approaches that aid preaching apocalyptic texts in the New Testament (e.g., Revelation). The course does so by focusing on the literary matrix of first-century apocalyptic literature and and how that literature can aid students in developing in- class sermons that reflect its unique rhetoric and form.
  • STH TC 890: New Church Development
    The planting and birthing of new congregations requires careful planning, innovative leadership, organizational savvy, a strong spiritual base, and endless creativity. This course is a study in the theology and practice of starting new congregations and covers such topics as contextual worship, organizational development, finance and facilities, exegeting a community, and creative community outreach. Coursework includes specific congregational development research projects.
  • STH TC 897: Our Lady of Guadalupe as Resource for El Pueblo
    This course will consider the contextual dynamics of power and agency that contributed to the establishment of Our Lady of Guadalupe as a powerful symbol for diverse communities across chronological and geographical boundaries. Students will explore narratives, rituals, faith practices, and visit historical sites in Mexico. Facilitated through a protestant feminist /Mujerista perspective, this course will be a travel seminar to Mexico and run in a seminar style with the instructor as facilitator for critical engagement of readings, sharing of experiences, and contextual deconstruction/construction of methods, theories and 'official" historical understandings.
  • STH TC 909: Spiritual Autobiographies
    Participants in this course will read selected spiritual autobiographies in order to gain an understanding of the varieties of religious experience and the interrelationship between spirituality, theology, and historical and cultural context. We will examine the nature of religious experience and the difficulties in translating this experience into language. Moreover, we will explore the important issue of how spirituality relates to the institutional churches, and the various shapes spirituality takes outside these institutions. Through close, empathetic, and critical examination of the texts, participants also will reflect on their own spiritual journeys and spiritual identities. They will prepare written analyses of course texts and, by the end of the course, will write a portion of their own spiritual autobiography.
  • STH TC 912: Classics in Christian Spirituality
    This course serves as an introduction to the study of Christian spirituality through in-depth reading of selected classics in Christian spirituality as well as secondary source scholarship in the discipline. We will delve into texts by early monastics and visionary medieval mystics; look anew at Protestant hymns and poetry; go deeper into Ignatian discernment; and engage the spiritualities of Latin American liberation theologians and African American women. This interdisciplinary seminar opens up reflection on spirituality and theology; spirituality and history; spirituality, gender, race, and ethnicity; spirituality, poetics, and autobiography; spirituality and ministry; and spiritual practice. Students are encouraged to integrate the material with an eye toward their own spiritual lives and vocations. The course will integrate music, art, and poetry to offer a fuller engagement with spiritual classics.
  • STH TC 919: The Sacraments: Rites and Theologies
    Contemporary study of the sacraments brings together ritual studies, liturgical history, the history of dogma, and systematic reflection. This course examines the baptismal and eucharistic rites of the Church, both past and present, along with theological rationales of and commentaries on them offered by ecclesiastic writers of the patristic, medieval, Reformation, and modern periods.
  • STH TC 937: Vocation, Work, and Faith
    Who am I called to become? What am I called to do? What are my gifts and where will they be recognized and of service? These kinds of vocational questions are fundamental to our lives. The course seeks to open up reflection, study, and dialogue about vocation, work, and spirituality in religious traditions and in our own life experience. Work and vocation are often connected. Work too is a crucial religious question in contemporary society. Work exerts a powerful--and often unrecognized--influence on human beings. It can support life, develop talents, elicit creativity, and enable people to contribute to the common good. Work also can demean human beings, undermining their dignity, perpetuating unjust structures, overpowering values, and crowding out other important spheres of life. Labor issues are important concerns for faith communities and faith-based community organizations. This course explores vocation and work as theological/spiritual issues, including implications for ministry. We will explore themes such as: work as spiritual practice or challenge; labor and justice issues; discerning vocation; creativity; Sabbath; "time poverty"; and work-life balance. The course involves site visits, vocational mentoring, seminar presentations, and individual research/ministry projects.
  • STH TC 954: Proseminar in Liturgical Bibliography
    Selected classics and recent books in liturgical studies will be read in order to examine different methodologies employed in the field.
  • STH TC 960: Theologies of Preaching
    This doctoral seminar course helps students become familiar with attempts across multiple traditions to understand what preaching is theologically. It aims to equip them to engage the theological task constructively as homiletical theologians in their own right.
  • STH TE 805: Growing in Faith: Ministries with Children, Youth, and Young Adults
    What can we learn from the growing faith of children? And how can the church foster a Christian way of life during the hopes and challenges of adolescence and young adulthood? This is a practical, interactive course designed to equip students to lead educational initiatives with young people in diverse contexts. After discussing biblical, historical and developmental perspectives on the spiritual lives of young people, we will explore a broad range of educational strategies, from Godly Play to confirmation classes, mission trips, vocational discernment and the emerging church. Assignments will include observation in local congregations, curriculum analysis, interviews with practitioners, and a final integrative project.
  • STH TE 808: Creative Pedagogy
    This course examines the transformative potential of creative pedagogy, in which individuals and communities learn through the free play of possibilities that deepen faith. By engaging practical, historical, theological approaches, students learn to consider the tensions, risks and opportunities of creative pedagogy, while acquiring skills to teach and learn through the body, the imagination, and the senses.
  • STH TE 811: Doing Theology Aesthetically
    In this course learners explore the aesthetic dimensions of meaning-making through visual art and aesthetic practices. Discussion of texts, experiences of making art, and engagement in aesthetic practices shed light on the potential strengths and limitations of using aesthetic experience as an effective teaching approach in religious education.
  • STH TE 812: Introduction to Christian Education: Person, Community, and Religious Education
    This course is a practical introduction to ministries of learning and teaching in Christian communities. It will explore the dynamics of individual and communal faith formation in diverse contexts, drawing on a range of perspectives from theology and the philosophy of education. Students will analyze the education offerings of religious communities, evaluate educational resources, practice effective teaching approaches, and design educational strategies appropriate to their community of faith.
  • STH TE 819: REligious Education for Social Transformation
      This course explores a religious pedagogy that enables communities of faith to integrate the personal formation of their members with their communal public actions for social transformation. Both the history and the current practices of Christian religious education reveal a division between two educational dimensions: the formation of "self" and the transformation of society. Rather than separate tasks, participants are invited to understand these as one integrated task. The pedagogy of practicing theology will be introduced to show how it enables people in communities of faith to develop their personhoods, as they participate in the communities' actions for social transformation.
  • STH TE 821: Adult Religious Education
    This seminar explores some foundational theories that have shaped the field of adult religious education, providing encounters through reading, discussion, and practice. Learners will deepen their understanding of key challenges posed by postmodernity as positivism, meta-narratives, and neo-liberalism undergo deconstruction. In addition, learners will test and refine theoretical approaches and their implications by facilitating, experiencing, and evaluating practices. Through the semester, the instructor will illustrate how to read a current research theme through the course literature and invite learners to do the same. The course is intended to provide a rich grounding for further research.
  • STH TE 822: Spirituality and Liberative Pedagogy
    The purpose of this course is to draw from the depths of Christian spirituality and liberative pedagogy to discover insights, questions, and directions for future educational practice. The course takes seriously both Christian spirituality and liberative pedagogy in their own rights, exploring practices and pedagogies in their many forms, and pays attention to the creative overlap between the two. The underlying hope is that the class will discover and construct educational practices that deepen spiritual life and contribute significantly to liberation in this world.
  • STH TE 845: Religion and Education
    The relationship of government with schools and colleges based upon religious convictions and the efforts of educators to shape and maintain a distinctive character in such institutions. Issues of educational freedom and the rights of parents in historical and comparative international perspective.
  • STH TE 921: Adult Religious Education
    This seminar explores some foundational theories that have shaped the field of adult religious education, providing encounters through reading, discussion, and practice. Learners will deepen their understanding of key challenges posed by postmodernity as positivism, meta-narratives, and neo-liberalism undergo deconstruction. In addition, learners will test and refine theoretical approaches and their implications by facilitating, experiencing, and evaluating practices. Through the semester, the instructor will illustrate how to read a current research theme through the course literature and invite learners to do the same. The course is intended to provide a rich grounding for further research.