Ministry in Church and Society

  • STH TC 867: Theology and Popular Culture
    This course places the Christian gospel into dialogue with a variety of expressions of North American popular culture (film, television, art, music, entertainment, sports, etc.) in an effort to understand the complex relationship between the two. The course takes up at with this dialogue against the wider background of the study of religion and popular culture and by exploring the nature of self and transcendence, morality and the spiritual quest as those are constructed and configured within popular culture. The course asks to what extent contemporary expressions of Christian worship, preaching, Ministry, evangelism, and spirituality might better engage popular culture and to what extent these expressions already reflected the values, patterns, and practices of popular culture.
  • STH TC 868: Worship in the Anglican and Wesleyan Traditions
    A study of the historical, theological, liturgical, and sociocultural influences which have shaped the worship patterns of the major American denominations claiming a Wesleyan heritage.
  • STH TC 869: Prophetic Preaching, Pastoral Ministry, and Social Change
    This course is designed to help students wrestle with several central issues around prophetic preaching in contemporary Christian churches: the relationships of prophetic preaching to the gospel, to the Bible, to the social-political context, and to pastoral ministry generally. Since the course is designed to be a seminar, students will be expected to wrestle with these issues not only in class but also through a sermon and a public message. By the end of the course, students should be able to develop their own vision for prophetic preaching in a way that integrates the above concerns by moving from a specific Biblical text to a sermon as well as a public message in light of a situation. Pre-requisite TC715 Intro to Preaching or its equivalent.
  • STH TC 871: Spiritual Foundations for Peace Building
    Through reading and reflection on biographies and autobiographies of national and international peace-builders, students will look at how the cultural contexts and spiritual practices of the peace-builder influenced their peace- building work. The focus will be on peace-builders beginning in the 20th century with Gandhi, King, Chavez, Day, Deming, and others. Students will also explore their own contexts and how those contexts impact their perspectives on both spiritual formation and confliction transformation.
  • 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.