This Week: Sept. 12 - 18

Published: September 12, 2011


What Language Shall I Borrow?

Multicultural Contexts Courses for the Spring 2012:
Appalachia, Nicaragua and the Holy Land


My 86-year-old friend, Gloria, enjoys telling others about the journalistic work her grand-daughter is doing in Tokyo, Japan. “I read her blog every day,” Gloria said to me with a smile. “She and I stay in touch through email and on Facebook too.  I don’t type the words and sentences as fast as when I got my first computer. I was 75 then. But I do okay. I like it when my grand-daughter visits me in person, but when we are chatting online or Skyping or I’m seeing her pictures on Facebook, it’s just hard to believe she’s oceans of miles away. I’ve learned a lot from her about Tokyo even though it has always seemed so far away to me. I also learned how to use Facebook because of her.”

Facebook and email, Twitter and blogging, websites and text messaging — these and other technological innovations have and are changing the ways people understand and engage with the world. So, too is the reality that increasingly more people travel across national and international boundaries to live, work, and play. This means that ministry settings ranging from congregations to hospitals to not-for-profit organizations include voices and stories of persons from diverse cultures who have varied faith perspectives. Also, people of faith today have access to information about peoples across the globe and are able to maintain daily or at least weekly connections with relatives, neighbors, colleagues, friends, and sometimes even strangers who live in geographically distant places.

A goal of the School of Divinity is to provide curricular opportunities for students to explore theological, spiritual, and pastoral dimensions of doing ministry in diverse national and international settings.  One of the Mission Statement’s guiding principles states that the School of Divinity aims to

Encourage Global Perspectives: Through theological reflection, critical inquiry, and ministry formation, the divinity school encourages students to explore diverse religious, cultural, and ethnic perspectives within both national and international contexts.

Th. During the Spring 2012 term, students can enroll in courses that include travel to Appalachia, the Holy Land, and Nicaragua. A fourth course that involves travel to an urban setting in the U.S. is in the planning stages. Each of these courses meets our curriculum’s core “multicultural contexts” requirement.


General Information about Spring 2012 Multicultural Contexts Courses

MIN 595  Multicultural Contexts: Jews, Christians, and Muslims in the Holy Land
Professor Neal Walls

This course begins over winter break with an interfaith pilgrimage to the Holy Land with Jewish, Christian, and Muslim students from Wake Forest University. Participants will “walk the pilgrim’s road” together through the contested lands of Israel and Palestine to examine historic successes and failures of religious pluralism. 

  • Course Travel Dates:  December 30, 2011-January 13, 2012
  • Cost:  Under $3800 per person

MIN     Fierce Landscapes: Listening to the People of Appalachia
Professor Bill Leonard

This seminar finds its home among the people of Western North Carolina. Students learn experientially through on-site interactions with leaders of congregations, schools, settlement houses, rural and urban non-profits, and other community organizations. Conversations explore the changing nature of Appalachia, economic and ecological issues, church life, and varying religious traditions in the region.

  • Course Travel Dates: January 2-14, 2012
  • Cost:  $300, which includes books, room and board, and travel in the region

CDS 790 Nicaragua: Global Health and Cross-Disciplinary Development
Professors Mark Jensen and Veronice Miles

Wake Forest University’s initiative in Nicaragua offers opportunities to develop cross-disciplinary courses for students in the University’s professional and graduate schools.  The state of development and the extent of human needs within Nicaragua provide a compelling context to consider the role of the legal, medical, clergy and business professions both within their individual disciplines and as they intersect through development efforts.  This course provides structures for such reflection among students from each school.  

  • Course Travel Dates: January 5-15, 2012
  • Cost:  $500 toward the cost of travel and lodging
  • Application deadline: September 23, 2012 

You can also view more detailed information on the multicultural context courses for Spring 2012.


Students enter professional ministry in a world where young people in Tokyo Skype regularly with grandmothers in Winston-Salem, North Carolina, and where local marketplaces echo with varied languages. The 12th Century lyrics of an oft-sung hymn ask a question not unimportant to these 21st Century realities:  “What language shall I borrow?” Students who participation in multicultural contexts courses have opportunities to wrestle with this question practically and theologically as they encounter people who give voice to life’s deepest meanings in rich and varied languages and from diverse perspectives. 

Important Dates from the Office of the Academic Dean
Last Day to Add a Course September 14
Last Day to Drop a Course October 5
Incomplete Work from the Past Term (Spring 2011 and Summer I/II 2011) is due to the instructor on or before September 30



Blessings on your week,

  Jill Crainshaw
  Associate Dean for Academic Affairs