Course List Spring 2017

CH108 Engaging Exodus in a Multi-cultural and Racialized World
Carolyn Pressler
3.0 credits
Tue 5:45 PM–9:00 PM, Room A
Old Testament elective. This course may be taken to fulfill a distributional elective for Social Transformation and for Black Church Leadership.
Book List

The book of Exodus provides powerful paradigms for liberation, covenant, and artful worship. The story of God delivering a motley group of Hebrew slaves from their Egyptian oppressors has defined and empowered Jews throughout their generations, and has fueled resistance movements from African captives brought in chains to the Americas, to the Warsaw uprising, Nicaraguan Base Communities, and the Civil Rights movement. Divine revelation at Sinai, central to Jewish identity, has also inspired and helped shaped Christian understandings of covenant, while the Ten Commandments, the heart of the covenant, is a taproot of western law. The final chapters of Exodus, describing the building of the Tabernacle, perhaps less well known than the stories of deliverance and covenant, witness to both the essential role of worship in the life of a delivered people, and the importance of art to liberating worship.
This seminar examines the book of Exodus, pressing students to sharpen their understanding of their own and their communities' social locations, and to develop ethical interpretations of Exodus from and for those contexts. Participants will also investigate the role the book has played for communities that differ from theirs, and how such interpretations challenge and inform their own interpretation. Students will work together to develop practical, contextualized strategies for responding to Exodus’s call for justice and liberation.

CH162 The Older Testament Life of Church Prophets & Writings

Carolyn Pressler
3.0 credits
Thu 1:30 PM–4:45 PM, Room A
Required for MDiv students. Pre-requisites CH161, CH261. Next planned offering Spring 2018.
Book List

Students in this course examine books from the Prophets, the Psalms, Wisdom literature and other selected writings, with a focus on how to interpret the texts in a congregational setting. Attention is also given to the role of the trained biblical student in empowering laity to interpret the Older Testament texts.

CH261 Introduction to the New Testament
J. Samuel Subramanian
3.0 credits
Tue 1:30 PM–4:45 PM, Room E
Required for MDiv and MTS students. Required option for MARL and MA students. Next planned offering Spring 2018.

This course is designed to give an overview of the content and background of the twenty-seven books that comprise the New Testament canon. These books will be examined within the context of the unfolding history of the earliest Christian communities as they sought to relate to the Jewish and Hellenistic cultures that gave them birth. Emphasis will be placed upon the historical, textual, social and cultural issues presented by these ancient texts. The methods, tools and technical language of scholarly research appropriate to the texts of the New Testament will be introduced. Divergent beliefs and practices of early Christianity will be studied. The relevance of the study for the Church and the Society today will be emphasized.

CH270 The New Testament Church
J. Samuel Subramanian
3.0 credits
Thu 1:30 PM–4:45 PM, Room E
Concentration elective for Black Church Leadership and Narrative Theology.

The word “church” derived from the Greek word, “ekklēsia” is used on two occasions in the Gospel of Matthew in the context of Jesus’ declaration of building his church and the role of the church in the life of the believers. Jesus’ use of the word “church” lays the foundation for the core and the function of the church in the rest of the New Testament. This course will explore different images of the church in the New Testament. This course will focus on the structure, leadership, theological insights, sacraments, worship, social justice, and evangelism practiced among the various ecclesiological communities in the first two centuries CE. This course will provide an opportunity to discern and constitute a viable church in today’s context in light of the New Testament church.

CH330 Presbyterian History, Worship & Polity
Diana J. Barber
3.0 credits
Independent Study Course: Meeting Days/Times TBD
Concentration requirement for Presbyterian Studies. Next planned offering Spring 2020

This course is designed to equip students to become effective presbyters as ordained ministers of Word and Sacrament. It addresses Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) history, worship and polity, and contemporary issues affecting the life of the Church. The course will be taught by Dr. Diana J. Barber.

CH468 Historical Theology II: Kierkegaard Onward CANCELLED
Kyle Roberts
3.0 credits
Zoom-in Course: Tue 1:30 PM–4:45 PM, Room A
Required for MTS in Public Theology. Next planned offering Spring 2018.

This course is an in-depth history of modern theology, from the post-Reformation period to the close of the twentieth-century. The story begins with the eighteenth-century context of the Enlightenment, and then turns to the influential thought of Søren Kierkegaard—who sets the stage for many subsequent debates in modern theology. Tracing developments in Protestant, Catholic, and Eastern Orthodox theology throughout the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, the course culminates in the unique opportunities and challenges of postmodernity, post-secularism, and political theologies, each of which perplexes and fascinates theology currently. Some of the topics covered include the doctrine of revelation and religious epistemology, the relation between faith and reason, Christology, biblical criticism, the role of religion in the public sphere, and “death of God” theologies.

CH468HY Historical Theology II: Kierkegaard Onward
Kyle Roberts
3.0 credits
Online Course NEW FORMAT
Required for MTS in Public Theology.

This course is an in-depth history of modern theology, from the post-Reformation period to the close of the twentieth-century. The story begins with the eighteenth-century context of the Enlightenment, and then turns to the influential thought of Søren Kierkegaard—who sets the stage for many subsequent debates in modern theology. Tracing developments in Protestant, Catholic, and Eastern Orthodox theology throughout the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, the course culminates in the unique opportunities and challenges of postmodernity, post-secularism, and political theologies, each of which perplexes and fascinates theology currently. Some of the topics covered include the doctrine of revelation and religious epistemology, the relation between faith and reason, Christology, biblical criticism, the role of religion in the public sphere, and “death of God” theologies.

CL204 Church Administration
Greg Meland
3.0 credits
Intensive Course: May 16–19, May 22–25 9:00 AM–5:00 PM, Strobel

Pre-requisite CL203. Must be taken the same year as CL203.

This course covers the basic practices involved in administering a parish, e.g. human resources, accounting, and strategic planning. The course will involve a two week seminar by the National Association of Church Business Administrators (NACBA), hosted in Strobel Room on United’s campus. This course is offered pass/fail. No book purchases required.

CL301 Capstone Seminar
Kyle Roberts
3.0 credits
Thu 5:45 PM–9:00 PM, Room A
Next planned offering Spring 2018 hybrid.

The purpose of this seminar, to be taken in the student’s final year, is to assist the student in integrating course work, formational activities and contextual experiences into a clear statement of ministry. In addition, each student will develop a case study that presents issues around their understanding of ministry, which will be peer reviewed and explored. Issues around spiritual formation in various contexts of ministry will also be addressed.

CL325 Worship and Music Skills Training CANCELLED
John Chang-Yee Lee
1.0 credits
Tue 11:35 AM–12:20 PM, Bigelow Chapel

This class will include thirteen 45-minute sessions, with an invitation for further conversation over lunch. Intended to be concrete, hands-on, fun, participatory and experiential workshops—not lecture-based classes. Each session will focus on building skills and developing a greater sensitivity for worship and music leadership. The aim is to help worship leaders in imagining and leading transformative worship and music. Intended for students and others interested in worship leadership. Musical interest is helpful, but not necessary. Led by Chaplain John Lee and Tom Witt, United's Music Coordinator.
There are no books required for this course.

CL330 The Worship of the Church
John Chang-Yee Lee
3.0 credits
Tue 1:30 PM–4:45 PM, Room A
Required option for MDiv and MARL students. Next planned offering Spring 2018.

This is the beginning survey course in worship and liturgical basics. The course explores the meaning of worship within differing ethnic contexts, the theological commitments behind liturgy and the structure of worship using the transposition of scriptural texts. We examine liturgical history, emancipatory liturgical language, sacraments, weddings, funerals and other aspects of worship practice. Students will learn to access worship resources, write liturgies and survey different denominational and cultural styles of worship.

CL670 Introduction to Pastoral Care & Pastoral Theology
Lucy N. Mungai
3.0 credits
Tue 5:45 PM–9:00 PM, Room C
Concentration requirement for Pastoral Care. Required option for MDiv students. Next planned offering Spring 2018.

Pastoral care is the art of ministry as it relates to the psychological/theological needs of persons and faith communities. This course addresses pastoral care issues in relationship to the multiplicity of contexts in which ministry occur. Theories and theologies for intervening in situations of grief and loss, illness, trauma, family and the relational spectrum based on biblical and theological understandings of God and human experience will be explored. Course also examines specific contexts and issues of oppression and injustice, with attention to pastoral ethics, listening and communication skills. Students will engage in a variety of didactic, empirical and integrative experiences through class presentations, discussions, videos, verbatim, theological reflection and role plays in order to make possible both personal and vocational growth and to facilitate readiness for Christian leadership. Students anticipating parish ministry or those envisioning specialized ministry in various settings are encouraged to participate.

CL692 Science, Spirituality and Ministry
Andrea Hollingsworth
3.0 credits
Thu 8:15 AM–11:30 AM, Room E
Next planned offering TBD

This course invites participants to consider how recent research on spirituality in psychological disciplines (and related fields, such as the neurosciences) may challenge and enliven our theological ideas, our approaches to ministry, and our general vision of what it means to be human. Topics for study and conversation will include spirituality and evolution; spirituality and health; embodiment and the question of “the soul”; human cognition and spiritual transformation; near-death experiences; cognitive neuroscience and spiritual practices (both East and West); hallucinogens and spiritual “technologies” of the future; and spirituality and suffering (loss, mourning, death). Throughout, the course will encourage creative, integrative reflection on practical ways to foster spiritual transformation in ministry settings.

DM500ON Research I: Tools
Timothy Senapatiratne
1.0 credits
Online Course
Pre-requisite all coursework completed.

Students will be introduced to common research methodologies suitable for the writing of a dissertation at master's or Doctor of Ministry level. They will also be equipped to choose appropriate mixes of methodologies for their particular research interests and individual topics. This includes hands-on advice in the area of available research resources, as well as feedback on the dissertation structure and content proposed by each student. There will be an emphasis on helping the student move from a place of writing "about a topic" to tutoring, occasional class sessions and the use of videos.

DM501ON Research II: Proposal
Timothy Senapatiratne
1.0 credits
Online Course
Pre-requisite all coursework completed.

Students will be introduced to common research methodologies suitable for the writing of a dissertation at master's or Doctor of Ministry level. They will also be equipped to choose appropriate mixes of methodologies for their particular research interests and individual topics. This includes hands-on advice in the area of available research resources, as well as feedback on the dissertation structure and content proposed by each student. There will be an emphasis on helping the student move from a place of writing "about a topic" to tutoring, occasional class sessions and the use of videos.

EL100 Spiritual Journey Program 
Greg Meland, Coordinator
0.5 credits
Meeting Days/Times TBA

Greg Meland will be coordinating the Spiritual Journey Program for returning students (matriculated prior to summer 2016). He will announce the sign up for spiritual directors in Moodle after the start of spring semester.

EL210HY Public Theology for Social Transformation
Kyle Roberts
3.0 credits
Hybrid Course: On-campus sessions 2/27–3/1 8:30 AM–4:30 PM, Room A
Next planned offering Fall 2018 hybrid.

This course explores the theological and spiritual foundations enabling and inspiring a more just, more humane, and more Shalom-oriented society. The course argues for an understanding of theology as a "public" discipline, one that is attentive to issues emerging from and pertaining to the world (rather than merely the church). Along with reflection on the nature of the various manifestations of the "public," we will also explore the connections between theology and politics, culture, economics, and other social issues.

EL250 Introduction to Spiritual & Personal Formation
Sara Lynn Wilhelm Garbers
3.0 credits
Zoom-in Course: Fri 8:15 AM–11:30 AM, Room A
Required course for MDiv and selected MAL students. This course replaces the requirement of EL100 Spiritual Journey for MDiv and selected MARL concentrations.

This course is rooted in a vision of formation as the central work necessary to realize social transformation. As such, students will engage with varied intercultural and developmental models related to personal growth and social action. The intersection between the inward journey and the outward journey of faith, life, and leadership will be explored. Course outcomes will be pursued through personal reflection, readings, discussion, case studies, small-group conversations, videos, and lecture presentations. This course will use Zoom to include distance learners.

EL400 Ethical Leadership
Rufus Burrow, Jr.
3.0 credits
Online Course: On-campus sessions Mon 1/23 & 4/17 1:30 PM–4:30 PM, Class A
Dr. Burrow will lead the class sessions via Zoom. Course does not meet Methodist residency requirement.

This course will explore theoretical and practical aspects of that type of leadership model that places morality at its center. Four specific areas of ethical leadership will be examined and emphasized: character grounded in morality; courage; creative and transformative acts of civility; and aiming for the establishment of the beloved community. Attention will also be given select representatives of the ethical leadership tradition, e.g., Sarah Grimké, Martin Luther King Jr., and Vine Deloria, Jr. 

EL590HY Social Analysis & Community Engagement
Christian A.B. Scharen
3.0 credits
Hybrid Course: On-campus sessions 3/2–3/4 8:30 AM–4:30 PM, Class A
Required course for the concentration in Social Transformation. Next planned offering TBA.

This course empowers students to think critically about injustices as complex, structural realities embedded in our cultural, economic, religious, and political systems. The social sciences and critical theory offer rich tools and knowledge that can be deployed for dismantling systems of oppression, creating social change, and building just communities. Using these conceptual tools, students will engage in community-based action-research and assess the issue they anticipate addressing in their capstone project.

TR105 Constructive Theology
Demian Wheeler
3.0 credits
Zoom-in Course: Thu 8:15 AM–11:30 AM, SLC
Required for all masters-level students. Next planned offering Spring 2018.

This course provides a basic introduction to the nature, tasks, and methods of “constructive theology,” an approach to theology that emphasizes the ways in which theological discourse is both constructed and engaged in an ongoing process of reconstruction. Students will be exposed to the rich diversity of Christian theological interpretation, both ancient and modern, explore classical as well as current perspectives on major doctrines, themes, and issues, and read a variety of contemporary constructive theologies, all with the expectation that they will acquire the necessary background and hermeneutical tools for locating and developing their own theological voices.

TR120 Global Journey CANCELLED
Thorsten Moritz
3.0 units
Meeting Days/Times TBA
Course to include an optional (with added expenses) trip to Germany 4/21–5/1. Next planned offering Fall 2017.

There is much talk of “global theology.” Ironically, this expression often refers to the reality that theology differs contextually across the globe. In that sense theology is diverse in its local expression, not in any colonizing global claims. This course leads to encounters with a range of local expressions of theology across the globe, including a 12-day or so overseas trip (alternative arrangements will be in place for those who cannot participate in the trip) to experience such diversity in real life situations. While abroad, students will be co-learners with our hosts and will be encouraged to relate their experiences to TR175 Hermeneutics.

TR121 Ancient Future CANCELLED
Thorsten Moritz
3.0 credits
Thu 5:45 PM–9:00 PM, Room E
Formerly Theology II: Ancient Future. Next planned offering TBA.

Formerly "Theology II": One of the most fascinating questions in theology concerns the continuities and discontinuities between the founding moments and eras of religious communities and their present pursuits: How can we connect ancient wisdom to modern or postmodern communal praxis? Should we become primitivists who long for a return of the “golden days” (were there ever golden days?), or should we deconstruct and reconstruct our ancient beginnings? Can we ignore them and build something entirely new? This course charts a possible way through the maze while allowing for other ways to coexist. It thrives on pursuing – at one and the same time – expressions of church that are both continuous with and diverse from each other and their predecessors.

TR235A History of Arts & Spirituality in Christianity
Wilson Yates
1.0 credits
Mon 1/23, 1/30, 2/6, and 2/13, 1:30 PM–4:30 PM, Hennepin Ave. UMC
Course offered in three 1cr sections. take one, two, or three. Open to auditors. Meeting at Hennepin Avenue UMC, Mpls. The Early Church, Byzantine and late Medieval periods. Includes trip to MIA. Next planned offering TBA.

The heart of this course is the opportunity to move beyond "studying" works of art to "experiencing" art. Together we will learn and participate in the process of entering into dialogue with a work of. The dialogue involves three parts: the viewer (you), the art work, and the artist. We begin with the early church and move through historical eras to modern and contemporary times. In each period we will interpret works in light of the spirituality they express. The course builds on six major roles the arts play in to Christian faith: the liturgical, historical, act of existential questioning, the prophetic, the sacramental role (holy ground) and the visionary role that points to a view of the world we wish to bring into being. The multiple intersections include art, religion, faith and spirituality. Focusing on visual arts and architecture, we will examine the role of these art forms in the church and their influence in shaping Christian spirituality.

TR235B History of Arts & Spirituality in Christianity
Wilson Yates
1.0 credits
Mon 3/6, 3/13, 3/20, and 3/27, 1:30 PM–4:30 PM, Hennepin Ave. UMC
Course offered in three 1cr sections. take one, two, or three. Open to auditors. Meeting at Hennepin Avenue UMC, Mpls. The Renaissance and the Reformation. First day at MIA—overview of Renaissance, Reformation, and Counter-Reformation art. Next planned offering TBA.

The heart of this course is the opportunity to move beyond "studying" works of art to "experiencing" art. Together we will learn and participate in the process of entering into dialogue with a work of. The dialogue involves three parts: the viewer (you), the art work, and the artist. We begin with the early church and move through historical eras to modern and contemporary times. In each period we will interpret works in light of the spirituality they express. The course builds on six major roles the arts play in to Christian faith: the liturgical, historical, act of existential questioning, the prophetic, the sacramental role (holy ground) and the visionary role that points to a view of the world we wish to bring into being. The multiple intersections include art, religion, faith and spirituality. Focusing on visual arts and architecture, we will examine the role of these art forms in the church and their influence in shaping Christian spirituality.

TR235C History of Arts and Spirituality in Christianity
Wilson Yates
1.0 credits
Mon 4/3, 4/17, 4/24, and 5/1, 1:30 PM–4:30 PM, Hennepin Ave. UMC
Course offered in three 1cr sections. take one, two, or three. Open to auditors. Meeting at Hennepin Avenue UMC, Mpls. Modern period. Role of the precursors to modern art and development of modern architecture including Bigelow Chapel. Next planned offering TBA.

The heart of this course is the opportunity to move beyond "studying" works of art to "experiencing" art. Together we will learn and participate in the process of entering into dialogue with a work of. The dialogue involves three parts: the viewer (you), the art work, and the artist. We begin with the early church and move through historical eras to modern and contemporary times. In each period we will interpret works in light of the spirituality they express. The course builds on six major roles the arts play in to Christian faith: the liturgical, historical, act of existential questioning, the prophetic, the sacramental role (holy ground) and the visionary role that points to a view of the world we wish to bring into being. The multiple intersections include art, religion, faith and spirituality. Focusing on visual arts and architecture, we will examine the role of these art forms in the church and their influence in shaping Christian spirituality.

TR272 Arts Practicum
Cindi Beth Johnson
3.0 credits
Thu 1:30 PM–4:45 PM, Intersection
Concentration requirement for Theology and the Arts. Pre-requisites TR271 and the equivalent of one full-time year of study. Next planned offering Spring 2019.

In this experientially based course, students focus on their art forms and/or a particular art concern and its interpretation. Students will demonstrate ability through performing, exhibiting and/or interpreting the arts through a project. Through course discussions and comments, students will develop and put into practice project plans. Examples might include the creation of an art exhibit, a recital performance of music or dance, a poetry reading, a presentation integrating the arts in worship or a series of lectures for a selected audience on the arts in the life of faith and worship. The practicum assumes class participation, reading, critical reflection, project design, practice and a performance/presentation as appropriate before a group at the seminary or other designated settings.

TR524 Science and Religion CANCELLED
George H. Fuller
3.0 credits
Wed 8:00 AM–11:15 AM, HatcheryLA
Class meetings will be held at the HatcheryLA in Redondo Beach, CA.

In this class we will tackle three different elements of this transformative encounter. First we will survey the contemporary scientific account of reality from Quantum Mechanics to Social Biology, developing a familiarity with the different fields. Second we will examine and critique the cultural story of science and religion, seeking to differentiate scientific consensus from the philosophical and cultural commitments of our post-enlightenment culture. Lastly we will explore constructive theological engagements with science and the shape of ethical reasoning given our present and coming techno-scientific situation.

TR602 God
Demian Wheeler
3.0 credits
Zoom-in Course: Tue 8:15 AM–11:30 AM, SLC
Next planned offering TBA.

“God” is one of the most profound and problematic ideas humanity has ever produced. This course is designed to help seminarians think critically and constructively about the meaning, nature, and reality of God. Students will be introduced to some of the most compelling, elegant, and sophisticated theologies of the twentieth and twenty-first centuries, including process theology, ground-of-being theology, death-of-God theology, postmodern theology, black theology, womanist theology, eco-feminist theology, and comparative theology. We will explore the philosophical and scientific reasons why God’s existence has been called into question in the modern world as well as examine various attempts to reimagine and reconceptualize the divine for our time.

TR771ON What is Religion?
Paul E. Capetz & Brian Braskich
3.0 credits
Online Course
Required for MART students. If not used to meet a degree requirement, Leadership Towards Racial Justice elective. Next planned offering Spring 2018.

This course introduces students to major approaches to the study of religion as a human phenomenon and to research methods for studying actual religious communities. This online course is offered every spring semester.
If not used to meet a degree requirement: Leadership towards Racial Justice elective.

TR845 Religious Expression in Short Stories across Cultures
Jann Cather Weaver
3.0 credits
Tue 1:30 PM–4:45 PM, Room C
This course will not be offered in a format accessible to distance learners. Next planned offering TBA.

This course will study the relationship of theology to imaginative literature in the form of short stories. Short stories, as literature, are specialized cultural products, lying bare the implicit theological and cultural belief structures of a particular culture. Reading and studying stories of implicit—and explicit—theological narratives across cultures and historical periods will mirror to students how their own ordinary narratives hold theological and spiritual (i.e., sacred and holy) import. Students will also study the short story in its oral form by listening to stories read on podcasts, such as “Selected Shorts” (short stories read/performed live on stage), and “The New Yorker Fiction,” as well as people performing live stories from their own lives on “The Moth” podcast. We will explore short stories from Christian, Buddhist, Muslim, and Jewish traditions; short stories from Latino/a, African American, Native American, Maori, African, and Eastern European authors; short stories from authors as culturally diverse as Oscar Wilde, Langston Hughes, Alice Walker, Junot Diaz, Gabriel Garcia Marquez, Alexander McCall Smith, Joy Williams, Chinua Achebe, Uwem Akpan, Willa Cather, Toni Morison, Alice Munro, Petina Gappah, Lucille Clifton, Grace Ogot, Fiodor Dostoevsky, George Saunders, and Leslie Marmo Silko.

TR851 Decentralized: New Testament Letters CANCELLED
Thorsten Moritz
3.0 credits
Tue 5:45 PM–9:00 PM, Room E
Required for Narrative Theology concentration; New Testament elective. This course will be held on the main campus. Next planned offering Spring 2018.

Formerly "Narratives 2": The Book of Revelation is technically a letter, albeit with a very different sub-genre from the other NT letters. This course examines a range of NT letters from a narrative interpretive stance. It shows how even letters need to be interpreted on the basis of their implied story layers and how this leads to much improved contemporary interpretation with an "ancient future" continuity that transcends both dogma and historicism.

Last modified: Thursday, 16 February 2017, 10:18 AM