Our increasingly pluralistic society needs a new kind of religious leadership, grounded in a particular tradition and, at the same time, able to interact effectively with other faith communities. This is especially true given widespread fear and mutual suspicion, exacerbated by the violent acts of religious extremists and sensationalist news coverage of their actions.
This course is a laboratory for exploring theoretical perspectives and practical methodologies for interfaith leadership. The overarching questions to be addressed are: What are the attributes of an effective interfaith leader, and how can they be cultivated? Participants should have prior familiarity with the beliefs and practices of Jews, Christians, and Muslims, as well as some background in interfaith encounter and dialogue. The primary goal is to promote the development of relevant practical skills, including: facilitating interreligious encounters; monitoring group dynamics and multiple identities; comparing and connecting intra-faith and interfaith leadership challenges; planning and coordinating multi-faith study of sacred texts; designing interfaith worship; and tapping spiritual resources for conflict transformation. The assigned readings, posted written reflections, and weekly online conversations will all foster development or enhancement of these competencies.
NOTE: This is a hybrid course comprising both asynchronous learning and posting of assignments, along with a weekly ZOOM session from 7:00 to 8:30 p.m. EDT each Wednesday, beginning on May 26 and ending on June 30. Students should come to each ZOOM session, including the first, prepared to engage the topic(s) being considered. Also, take into consideration that this course will be conducted on an accelerated six-week schedule, covering twice as much material per week as would be the case in a semester-long course.
Course fulfills the following curricular requirements:
MAC – Chaplaincy Elective
MAIRS – Ministerial Studies: Arts of Ministry