This Week: Oct. 17 - 23

Published: October 15, 2011



Autumn is coloring our neighborhoods. A season of celebration for summer harvests has arrived. But even as leaves fall to the ground and winter draws near, the earth is preparing for another spring. The rhythms of nature offer us great promise. Summer and winter, day and night, sunrise and sunset shall not cease.

The School of Divinity also follows these rhythms. During October, we prepare for another spring term.

The Spring 2012 schedule includes many courses that are offered regularly in our program. The schedule also contains some new courses. Their descriptions are below.

  • Spring advising begins October 24.
  • The first day of registration for the spring term is October 31.

View the Spring 2012 Course Schedule on the Academic Resources page.


Descriptions of New Course Offerings

  • BIB 790 – The Gospel of John (3 credits) – Professor Gail R. O’Day
  • The course will focus on the exegesis of the Gospel of John. Course learning goals include:
  • Familiarity with critical issues in the interpretation of the Gospel of John
  • Familiarity with distinctive traits of John, the Johannine portrait of Jesus, and Johannine theology
  • Attention to increasing exegetical skills and facility in biblical interpretation
  • Ability to reflect on the theological and pastoral implications of the Gospel of John
  • MIN 790 – Preaching and Worship in Sacred Time: A Multi-Faith Perspective (3 credts) – Professor Jill Crainshaw
  • Pastoral leaders today prepare for weekly worship in contexts where worshippers regularly encounter people in their workplaces, schools, and communities who observe contrasting religious calendars. Because the Christian calendar remains dominant throughout the U.S. (e.g. Christmas is a national holiday and many school vacations are coordinated with Holy Week and Easter), pastoral leaders have an opportunity and responsibility to encourage their communities to understand when and how other religious traditions observe and celebrate their holy days. This course invites students into a greater awareness of the Christian calendar as it exists alongside other religious calendars, particularly the Jewish and Muslim religious calendars. The course will enable students to experience non-Christian faith traditions as guests in local non-Christian worship contexts. To experience the hospitality of other communities and to reflect on that experience is an important dimension of learning what it means to extend Christian hospitality.  Students will have an opportunity to design worship services and prepare sermons.
  • Meets 12:30-1:45pm, Tuesdays and Thursdays.
  • MIN 790 Art of Ministry III Elective – Public Presentations (1 credit) – Professors Jill Crainshaw and John Senior
  • Art of Ministry III projects and internships include components that are of interest to the larger community. This course is for students who want to develop a public presentation of their Art of Ministry III work. The course will include several workshops (times to be determined) designed to help students enhance their public presentation skills. Each student in the course will present her or his project in a public format to be determined and scheduled in consultation with course instructors and project advisors.
  • SPI 790 African-American Christianities and Spiritualities (3 credts) – Professor Derek Hicks
  • In the words of Howard Thurman, “religious experience is dynamic, it’s fluid, it’s effervescent, it’s yeasty…” These terms are describe the nature of African American Christian expressions in American religious history.  Their Christian experience fits squarely within the church and yet interfaces with other religious experiences within black life. Though unique in context, the black faith tradition has contributed to the diversity of American religion, beginning with the West African cultural expression and continuing through the Middle Passage, chattel slavery, the “Invisible Institution,” and into the development of the Black Church. This course will engage the complexity of black religion by investigating African America Christianities and other spiritualities.  More than a study of Christianity, we will also explore other components of black religious life, including the black “Great Migration,” issues related to the material black body, interfaces with conjure and root work, folklore, storytelling, and the oral tradition. In addition, we will study traditions that come into cultural contact with African American Christianity like black spiritualist churches in New Orleans, Father Divine’s International Peace Mission, and Sweet Daddy Grace’s United House of Prayer for All People.
  • Meets 5:00-7:30pm, Tuesdays.
  • SPI 790 Food, Faith and Spirituality (3 credits) – Professor Fred Bahnson
  • Food is life. Food is physical nourishment that sustains our bodies. Food is an emotional force that binds us to one another in table fellowship. And food is a sacramental vehicle, through bread and wine, for carrying God’s boundless grace into our bodies and out into the world. Whether it’s the Lord’s Supper or the Last Supper, the grand Messianic feast or a simple breakfast of fish on the lakeshore, food has long been a central metaphor of the Christian faith, and for centuries the festal meal we celebrate in the Eucharist hasn’t much changed. But within the past five years in American Christianity, people have a renewed interest in ferial meals, those everyday affairs that are part of life’s routine. Suddenly Christians are rethinking not only what we eat, but how our food is grown, who we eat with (or don’t), who harvested our food, and how agriculture contributes to climate change. Food is now a problem. Can it also be a solution? We will consider these seemingly mundane questions as a set of practical and spiritual challenges to our current way of life, questions that go straight to the heart of our identity as the people of God. In this class we will think about food through scriptural and theological lenses. We will learn to recognize the difference between healthy and destructive farming practices. We will look at the rise of faith-based food projects in America and around the world. We will look at why hunger and obesity are flip sides of the same coin, and how the church should respond to them. In addition to discussing readings together, we will visit farms and community gardens. And naturally, we will eat together.
  • Meets February 24-25, March 23-24, and April 20-21 (onsite with Professor Bahnson).
  • SPI 790 – The Spirituality of Abraham Joshua Heschel (3 credits) – Professor Andrew Ettin
  • Abraham Joshua Heschel (1907-1972) was one of the most profound and influential Jewish theologians of the modern era.  A poet and mystic, he is respected as a systematic religious thinker, yet he also marched with Dr. King on behalf of civil rights and with protesters against the Vietnam war.  As a rabbi, he eloquently expressed the deep beauties of Jewish spirituality while being a leading advocate for interreligious dialogue.   His writings show the influences of Hasidism and existentialism along with European romanticism and American transcendentalism.   His legacy is cited today by feminists and environmentalists as well as mystics and religious intellectuals.  The author of numerous books including the enormously influential God in Search of Man, Heschel is the subject of two biographies and numerous book-length critical studies in addition to many articles and interviews; several edited collections of his writings are in print.
  • Meets 3:30-6:30pm, Wednesdays.
  • THS 790 – Feminist, Womanist, and Mujerista Theologies (3 credits) – Professor Michelle Voss Roberts
  • Christian feminist theology is critical reflection on Christianity done from the perspective of issues of concern to women.  It challenges ideas and practices that are unhealthy for women and constructs alternatives to them.  The course begins with an introduction to the methods and diverse voices of feminist theology.  With special attention to African American (womanist), and Latina/Hispanic (mujerista), and queer perspectives, we will assess some of the major topics in Christian theology: Who is God?  What is the human condition?  What is redemption, and is Christian narrative redemptive for women?
  • Meets 3:30-4:45pm, Tuesdays and Thursdays.
  • THS 790 – The Mystery of the Human Person (1 credit) – Professor Kevin Jung
  • What does it mean to be a human person? Many theoretical and practical ethical issues such as free will, responsibility, brain death, abortion, cyborg, and artificial intelligence (AI) cannot but address the question of how to understand the nature of the human person. This course examines competing theories of mind and body in the philosophy of mind in order to reflect upon their theological and ethical implications. Each week we will read and discuss one essay by a leading philosopher. 
  • Meets 11:00-11:50am, Mondays.


Blessings on your week,

  Jill Crainshaw
  Associate Dean for Academic Affairs




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