PURPOSE OF COURSE: In pursuing further the training in congregational studies that began in the first year Colleague Seminar, we will explore ways of reflecting theologically on your congregation, or your pastoral setting, and your practice of ministry within it. This will involve examining both classic and constructive approaches to theology. It will also involve paying close attention to personal experience and to the broader cultural environment as sources of theological insight. The culmination of this fall semester course will be a paper in which the students will work out a theology for ministry that is both informed by classical and constructive writings in theology and genuinely reflects the manner in which they practice it.
AIMS OF COURSE:
• to consider the practical effectiveness of embedded theologies
• to examine several current voices in theology that both recover and question traditions
• to become reacquainted with the method and elastic qualities of systematic theology
• to gain new familiarity with the themes of God, incarnation, atonement, religious community, and eschatology
• to assist the student in ascertaining, articulating, and rethinking the theology with which he/she does ministry
Charles Marsh, God’s Long Summer: Stories of Faith and Civil Rights
W. Paul Jones, Theological Worlds: Understanding the Alternative Rhythms of Christian Belief
Christian students will be reading:
James H. Evans, Jr., We Have Been Believers: An African-American Systematic Theology
Christopher Morse, Not Every Spirit: A Dogmatics of Christian Disbelief
Marjorie Suchocki, God-Christ-Church
Muslim students will be reading:
Farid Esack, Qur’an, Liberation and Pluralism
Fazlur Rahman, Major Themes of the Qur’an
Jane Smith and Yvonne Haddad, The Islamic Understanding of Death and Resurrection
and sections from:
Mohamed Taher, ed. Encyclopaedic Survey of Islamic Culture, Vol. I, Islamic Theology
Seyyed Hossein Nasr, Knowledge and the Sacred
Said Nursi, The Words: From the Risale-i Nur Collection
Through the first two sessions (9/17, 10/1), the entire class will be reading the same texts. Beginning with the third session (10/22, and continuing through the end of the semester), assigned readings will be keyed to the student’s home tradition (broadly understood). Also beginning with the third session, some of the online and written assignments will also vary along these lines. Read instructions for each session closely.
COURSE REQUIREMENTS AND GRADING:
The final grade for this course will be on a Pass-Fail system. The grade is based primarily on the final paper, but also on consistently thoughtful work on the shorter class assignments and readings. Students are expected to participate in class in ways that show careful, thorough preparation and a conscious effort to learn with and from others. Attendance at all sessions is one measure of this. Contributions to online discussions is another.
The final paper will be on “A Theology for Practicing Ministry,” or, more specifically, “My Ministry as I Make Sense of It with the Aid of Theological Motif X.” Details about this will be provided later. The final paper is due January 17.
To get into the class site, you will need to log in using your user name and password. Your user name is your first initial, last name, and letter b (e.g., kcobbb), your password is the first initial of your name, last initial, and 2007 (e.g., kc2007). For both user name and password, use all lower case. If you want more protection, you may modify your password by following instructions on the Blackboard site. The Blackboard login page can be found at http://coursesites.blackboard.com/
To enter the class site, connect to the Internet, open your browser, and surf to the login page at the above web address (URL). You should see a page with a large Bb and “Welcome to Blackboard.com.” Additionally you will see a button entitled “login.” Click that button. [note: you do not need to create an account—this has already been done] This will bring up a screen that asks you to enter your user name and password. Enter your user name and password and click “login.” IF all goes well, this should bring up a page entitled “My Blackboard,” where you will see a link to the course “D.Min. Colleague Seminar II” under “My Courses.” Clicking on this link should take you into the course site. If you encounter any problems logging on, contact Scott Thumma at firstname.lastname@example.org.
SCHEDULE OF TOPICS AND READINGS:
Note: The readings indicated for each class date are to be read for that class.
September 17: Embedded Theologies and the Moral Life
Reading: Marsh, God’s Long Summer: Stories of Faith and Civil Rights
Assignment due: Write five theological profiles, ½ page each, describing the
concept of God found in each of the five figures presented in
God’s Long Summer.
October 1: Theological Worlds
Reading: Jones, Theological Worlds
Assignment due: Look in your files for a written statement of your religious beliefs at an earlier stage of your life, ideally at around the time you were elevated to becoming a recognized religious leader. Most ordained/recorded clergy have had to write personal confessions of faith as part of the process of being ordained. Others may have done it as part of their graduate theological training. Alternatively, dig out a sermon you preached early in your career in which you recall attempting to declare your fundamental beliefs. Read this in light of Theological Worlds and write a 1 page analysis of it, placing it in its world(s), and comment on the continuities/discontinuities with the world you most strongly inhabit today. Bring to class: 3 copies of your 1 page analysis.
• Post on course website by 9/21 the two “Theological Worlds” you scored highest in, and the one you scored lowest in.
• Post on course website by 9/27 one question raised by the Jones book. Enter electronic discussion with questions posted.
October 22: Theological Method
Christian Morse, Not Every Spirit, pp.1-112
Readings: Evans, We Have Been Believers, pp.1-52
Suchocki, God-Christ-Church, pp.1-48
Islamic Rahman, Major Themes of the Qur’an (chapters 4, 5)
Readings: Esack, Qur’an, Liberation and Pluralism (chapters 2, 3)
Nasr, Knowledge and the Sacred (chapters 2, 3, 4)
Nursi, The Words: From the Risale-i Nur Collection (pp.133-149)
Assignment due: Write a 2 page account itemizing what resources (in general terms, e.g., scripture, prayer, newspaper, friends, etc.) you draw on to prepare one of your better sermons, and, in light of this, identify which of the methods of the 3 authors (Morse, Evans, Suchocki) you are most at home with, and explain why. Post on course website by 10/17. Muslim students have a parallel assignment, itemizing resources as above, and, in light of this, identifying one of the authors you have read for this session as presenting the method you are most at home with and explain why.
• Post on course website by 10/16:
Christians: one question raised by the Evans book.
Muslims: one new insight you’ve gained from assigned readings about the way your own tradition seeks religious knowledge.
All: Enter electronic discussion with questions/insights posted.
November 12: God and Jesus Christ/God, Incarnation, and Atonement
Christian Morse, Not Every Spirit, pp.113-170, 198-224
Readings: Evans, We Have Been Believers, pp.53-98
Suchocki, God-Christ-Church, pp.49-125, 227-236
Islamic Rahman, Major Themes of the Qur’an (chapters 1, 2, 7)
Readings: Taher, Islamic Theology (chapters 2-11)
Smith & Haddad, Islamic Understanding of Death & Resurrection (chp. 1)
Assignment due: In 3 pages, outline the lesson plan for a three session adult Sunday School/Jumma class on one of the following: the doctrine of God, Jesus Christ, Incarnation, or Atonement. The content and tone of the lesson plan should stretch a bridge between this session’s readings and the capabilities of lay members of your religious community.
• Post on course website by 11/7:
Christians: one question raised by the Suchocki book.
Muslims: one new insight you’ve gained from your assigned readings about God or atonement.
All: Enter electronic discussion with questions/insights posted.
Also: Bring in 7 copies of your favorite hymn (or Islamic prayer) about either God or Jesus.
December 10: The Religious Community and Eschatology
Christian Morse, Not Every Spirit, pp.288-346
Readings: Evans, We Have Been Believers, pp.119-154
Suchocki, God-Christ-Church, pp.129-224
Islamic Rahman, Major Themes of the Qur’an (chapters 6, 8)
Readings: Esack, Qur’an, Liberation and Pluralism (chapters 4, 6, 7)
Smith & Haddad, Islamic Understanding of Death & Resurrection (chps.2-5)
Assignment due: By no later than December 5, post on the course website a 1 page outline of your final paper, identifying the key theological motif (e.g. God, creation, sin, christology, ecclesiology, eschatology, etc.) which you will be using to clarify what guides you in your practice of ministry, & indicating your particular angle on this motif. Attach to it a 1/2-page working bibliography. Each student will then be asked to respond to another student’s outline.
• Post on course website by 12/4
Christians: one question raised by the Morse book.
Muslims: one new insight you’ve gained from the readings about the meaning of the religious community or about death and the afterlife.
All: Enter electronic discussion with questions/insights posted.
Also: Bring in 7copies of your favorite hymn (or Islamic prayer) about death/eternal life.
January 17: Final Paper is due
BIBLIOGRAPHY OF RECENT AND IMPORTANT WORKS RELEVANT TO COURSE:
C. FitzSimons Allison, The Cruelty of Heresy: An Affirmation of Christian Orthodoxy, Morehouse, 1994.
Karl Barth, Credo, Scribner’s, 1962.
Karl Barth, Dogmatics in Outline, Harper, 1959.
Marcus Borg, The God We Never Knew, Harper, 1997.
Sharon Peebles Burch, Collective Absolute Presuppositions: Tectonic Plates for Churches, Peter Lang, 1999.
John Calvin, Calvin’s Institutes: A New Compend, ed. by Hught T. Kerr, W/JKP, 1989.
Denise Carmody, Christian Feminist Theology, Beacon, 1995.
Ellen Charry, By the Renewing of Your Minds: The Pastoral Function of Christian Doctrine, Oxford, 1997.
John B.Cobb, Jr., Becoming a Thinking Christian, Abingdon, 1993.
James Cone, God of the Oppressed, Harper, 1975.
Martin B. Copenhaver, To Begin at the Beginning: An Introduction ot the Christian Faith, Pilgrim, 2002.
Noel Erskine, Decolonizing Theology: A Caribbean Perspective, Africa World Press, 1998.
Robert Evans and Thomas Parker, Christian Theology: A Case Study Approach, Harper, 1976.
Gabriel Fackre, The Christian Story: A Narrative Interpretation of Basic Christian Doctrine, vol. 1, 3rd edition, Eerdmans, 1996.
Tikva Frymer-Kensky, et al., eds., Christianity in Jewish Terms, Westview Press, 2000.
B.A. Gerrish, Saving and Secular Faith: An Invitation to Systematic Theology, Fortress, 1999.
W. Clark Gilpin, A Preface to Theology, University of Chicago, 1996.
Justo González, Mañana: Christian Theology from a Hispanic Perspective, Abingdon, 1990.
Douglas John Hall, The Cross in Our Context, Fortress, 2003.
Peter Hodgson, Christian Faith: A Brief Introduction, W/JKP, 2001.
Peter Hodgson and Robert King, Christian Theology: An Introduction to Its Traditions and Tasks, Fortress, 1982.
Peter Hodgson and Robert King, Readings in Christian Theology, Fortress, 1985.
Elizabeth Johnson, She Who Is: The Mystery of God in Feminist Theological Discourse, Crossroad, 1993.
Luke Timothy Johnson, The Creed: What Christians Believe and Why It Matters, Doubleday, 2003.
Serene Jones and Paul Lakeland, eds., Constructive Theology: A Contemporary Approach to Classic Themes: A Project of The Workgroup On Constructive Christian Theology, Fortress, 2005.
W. Paul Jones, Theological Worlds: Understanding the Alternative Rhythms of Christian Belief, Abingdon, 1989
Catherine Mowry LaCugna, ed., Freeing Theology: The Essentials of Theology in Feminist Perspective, Harper, 1993.
Nicholas Lash, Believing Three Ways in One God: A Reading of the Apostles’ Creed, U. Notre Dame, 1992.
Paul Alan Laughlin, Remedial Christianity: What Every Believer Should Know about the Faith, but Probably Doesn’t, Polebridge Press, 2000.
Jung Young Lee, Marginality: The Key to Multicultural Theology, Fortress, 1995.
John Leith, Creeds of the Churches, W/JKP, 1982.
Ann Loades, ed., Feminist Theology: A Reader, W/JKP, 1990.
John MacQuarrie, Principles of Christian Theology, Scribner’s, 1977.
Sara Maitland, A Big-Enough God: A Feminist’s Search for a Joyful Theology, Riverhead Books, 1995.
Alister E. McGrath, Theology: The Basics, Blackwell, 2004.
Daniel Migliore, Faith Seeking Understanding: An Introduction to Christian Theology, Eerdmans, 1991.
Donald Musser & Joseph Price, eds. A New Handbook of Christian Theology, Abingdon, 2003.
Douglas Otatti, Theology for Liberal Presbyterians and Other Endangered Species, Geneva, 2006.
Ted Peters, God—The World’s Future: Systematic Theology for a Postmodern Era, Fortress, 2000.
William Placher, ed., Essentials of Christian Theology, W/JKP, 2003.
Amy Plantinga Pauw and Serene Jones, eds., Feminist And Womanist Essays in Reformed Dogmatics, Westminster, 2006.
Karl Rahner, Foundations of Christian Faith: Introduction to the Idea of Christianity, Crossroad, 1976.
J. Deotis Roberts, Liberation and Reconciliation: A Black Theology, Westminster, 1971.
Anthony Robinson, What’s Theology Got to Do with It? Convictions, Vitality, & the Church, Alban, 2006.
Susan Ross, Extravagant Affections: A Feminist Sacramental Theology, Continuum, 1998.
Rosemary R. Ruether, Sexism and God-Talk, Beacon, 1983.
Roger Shinn and Daniel Day Williams, We Believe: An Interpretation of the United Church Statement of Faith, United Church Press, 1966.
Jon Sobrino and Ignacio Ellacuría, eds., Systematic Theology: Perspectives from Liberation Theology, Orbis, 1996.
Dorothy Sölle, Thinking about God: An Introduction to Theology, Trinity, 1990.
Howard Stone and James Duke, How to Think Theologically, Fortress, 1996.
Marjorie Hewitt Suchocki, God-Christ-Church: A Practical Guide to Process Theology, Crossroad, 1993.
Kathryn Tanner, Jesus, Humanity and the Trinity: A Brief Systematic Theology, Fortress, 2001.
Paul Tillich, Systematic Theology (vols.1-3), University of Chicago, 1951.
Keith Ward, Christianity: A Short Introduction, Oneworld, 2000.
Charles Le Gai Eaton, Islam and the Destiny of Man, SUNY Press, 1986.
Farid Esack, Qur’an, Liberation and Pluralism, Oneworld, 1997.
Muhammad Abdel Haneef, Understanding the Qur’an: Themes and Styles, I.B. Tauris, 2001.
Muhammad Iqbal, The Reconstruction of Religious Thought in Islam, ed. M. Saeed Sheikh, Institute of Islamic Culture, 1996.
Murtaza Mutahhari, Fundamentals of Islamic Thought: God, Man and the Universe, Mizan Press, 1985.
Seyyed Hossein Nasr, Knowledge and the Sacred, SUNY Press, 1989.
Said Nursi, The Words: From the Risale-i Nur Collection, trans. Sükran Vahide, Sözler Publications, 1992.
Sayyid Qutb, Basic Principles of the Islamic Worldview, Islamic Publications International, 2006.
Fazlur Rahman, Major Themes of the Qur’an, Bibliotheca Islamica, 1994.
Jane Smith and Yvonne Haddad, The Islamic Understanding of Death and Resurrection, Oxford, 2002.
Mohamed Taher, ed. Encyclopaedic Survey of Islamic Culture, Vol. I, Islamic Theology, Anmol Publications, 1997.