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InterCultural Engagement & Action

Course Descriptions

SECC601 Learning in Community (LinC)

Students generally take this class in their first semester; it is required that it be taken by their third.

This course will introduce new students to the diversities present in the seminary community and prepare them for lifelong learning. Through presentations, readings, and small groups, students will learn to recognize and address issues of diversity and how diversities enrich learning. This course will help students adjust to the challenges and rhythms of graduate theological education. Students choosing to take this course in the fall semester will participate in a mandatory retreat.
1 credit

SECC620 Christianity in the Modern World Since 1492

For the past five centuries the churches have had to struggle with a rapidly changing social and intellectual context called “modernity.” Students will examine modern Christian history in the context of colonialism, immigration, urbanization, scientific discovery, and religious pluralism. Special attention will be given to the formation of new churches and theological controversies during this period. This course will help students make sense of the complexity of Christianity and will provide them with resources for pastoral ministry and theological reflection.
3 credits

SECC622 Religion in the American Context

This course will examine the history of religion in the United States from colonial days to the present. Attention will be given not only to the dominant religious organizations and institutions, but also to the varieties of religion in America. Of particular interest is the role religion has played in shaping American society and how the American experience has influenced religious forms.
3 credits

SECC660 World Religions

Given the realities of the increasingly multifaith character of North American society, individuals and congregations find themselves interacting with people and groups of a variety of different faiths. This course will be team-taught, covering the content of the main world religions, as well as articulating ways to bear “authentic” witness to Christian faith in multifaith settings.
3 credits

SECC661 Christianity & Islam: Confrontation & Dialogue

Christianity and Islam share belief in one God, Jesus as the messiah, and senses of moral responsibility. They also have fought wars against each other and have negative stereotypes of one another. Current conflicts between and within nations and groups often involve religious ideas and passions.

Today Muslims and Christians are challenged to develop new understandings and relationships that respect each other’s faith commitments, common humanity and global citizenship. The course explores basic beliefs, scriptures, practices, political concerns and future prospects. The course culminates with students planning and carrying out models of inter-religious dialogues that may be used in their future ministries. Moravian Theological Seminary students will join with Muslim students from the Respect Graduate School in class, study, discussion, and dialogue.
3 credits

SECC662 The Bible & the Quran and the Communities that Use Them

This course considers the backgrounds, texts, history of interpretations, and ways in which Christians and Muslims understand their sacred books, shape their communal worship and ethics, and relate to one another and the world in the present. We will reflect on the possibilities for using joint scriptural studies for inter-religious religious dialogue. Knowledge of Hebrew, Greek, and Arabic not required.
3 credits

  • Online Spring 2017.

SECC663 Christian & Muslim Spiritual Guides in Dialogue

Christianity and Islam have extensive historical and rich spiritual traditions. Leaders in Muslim Sufism and Christian Mysticism based their understandings of God, humanity, creation, and eschatology on their respective scriptures and further theological developments. Their insights deal with linking the inner life of individuals to God, relationships within their respective religious communities with worship and ethics, and with the actions in and for the world. Rarely, however, have the spiritual guides been placed in dialogical conversations with one another.

The course opens with a historical description and overview of Christian and Muslim spirituality, moves to considerations of key spiritual guides in their historical contexts, and then places these figures in dialogue with one another with special emphases on their relevance to inter-religious dialogue today and the future shapes of the importance of spiritualities for developing networks for peace-building in the future.

No previous familiarity with the field is necessary and there are no course prerequisites. [Students in the Formative Spirituality program can take this class to fulfill the 2-credit requirement of Contemplative Classics. Talk to your FS advisor to assist in the course transfer.]
3 credits

SECC664 Muslim & Christian Spiritual Guides in Dialogue: Said Nursi & Thomas Merton

Although they were contemporaries, Said Nursi (1877-1960) and Thomas Merton (1915-1968) never met. Both were key and controversial spiritual leaders and social critics in their respective societies, were subject to criticism, and lived for years in faith-deepening isolation. Yet each share similar and often remarkably converging understandings of divine love, worship, prayer, and social action all within the framework of profound spirituality.

The course will trace their lives in the contexts of their times and regions, the energizing cores of their faiths and practices, the growing convergences and clear differences of their spiritualties, and their relevance for today’s ministry and inter-religious dialogue.
3 credits

SECC665 Shared Personalities in the Bible and Quran

The Scriptures and Traditions of Judaism, Christianity, and Islam have much in common and have significantly different interpretations of what they share. Their scriptures share accounts about and reflections of nearly 30 personalities. This course opens with issues of interpretation, then moves to examining the respective views on key figures with considerations of how the views may be used within each faith and in inter-religious dialogue.
3 credits

SECC670 Shapers of Faiths: Early Christian and Muslim Leaders

The course will consider some key shapers of the Christian and Muslim faith traditions. Students will examine their historical contexts and their influences on their religious traditions, and place them in dialogue with one another. The persons to be considered are: (Christian) Paul of Tarsus, Athanasius, Desert Mothers, Augustine of Hippo, Gregory of Nyssa; (Muslim)Muhammad, Ibn al-Arabi, Mothers of the Faithful, Abu Hamid al-Ghazali, Jalal al-Din Rumi.
3 credits

SECC721 Isaiah: The Fifth Gospel

Isaiah’s words have touched people for centuries and were particularly important to the Jesus of the Gospels, leading some to label it The Fifth Gospel. This course examines the entire book of Isaiah focusing on its message(s), rhetoric, and relevance for both ancient audiences and today’s faith communities. Attention will be given to the historical situations, the literary forms, and the canonical shape of Isaiah as well as to the voices of those marginalized who have turned to this text for hope. Additionally, discussions will include how early Christians applied Isaiah’s messages to the church and how Isaiah continues to shape our understandings of Messiah, justice, righteousness, Zion, and Shalom, among other concepts. This intercultural immersion course offers students a space to process their placement experiences and intercultural encounters in the context of the biblical texts. Students will log 30-40 hours immersed in a pre-approved setting in the community.
3 credits

  • Prereq: SEBK610
  • Background check required.

SECC724 Proclaiming Justice Across Cultures: Ezekiel-Malachi

After Jerusalem’s destruction in 587 BCE, the leaders of Judah are taken by force to Babylon while others flee to Egypt and other parts of the world. Those in exile struggle to maintain their Judahite identity while trying to navigate the precarious and often dangerous new environments. Further, under Cyrus of Persia’s mandate in 540 BCE, God’s people are allowed to return to their ancestral land and rebuild the Temple and Jerusalem. The crossing of boundaries and cultures taking place throughout these periods forced people to navigate national, class, race, ethnic, theological and other differences. Learning how to build healthy relationships across cultures was just as essential in ancient Yehud as it is in today’s society. This intercultural immersion course offers students a space to process their placement experiences and intercultural encounters in the context of the biblical texts.
3 credits

  • Prereq: SEBK610
  • Background check required.

SECC725 Understanding Social Justice and Diversity through the Lens of the Hebrew Bible

We live in an increasingly diverse and global world filled with many complexities that at times prevent us from getting to know the “other” such that we lose the richness of community that is possible. To break down these barriers, this course will investigate the historical, philosophical, and religious dimensions of oppression as well as resistance to the concept of “loving thy neighbor as thyself” (Lev 19:18). Since biblical texts have been used to both oppress and liberate certain groups, we will read modern discourses on multiculturalism, social justice and diversity in the 21st Century in tandem with the Hebrew Bible. Areas of focus will include racism, classism, religious oppression, sexism, heterosexism, transgender oppression, ableism, ageism, and other areas of marginalization.
3 credits

  • Prereq: SEBK610
  • Background check required.

SECC726 Does God Choose Sides? The Bible & US Politics

Students will read, discuss, write about, and experience how politics and religious/biblical rhetoric intersect in today’s US society and consider its global impact. They will explore community organizing, grants for public ministries, and agency partnering to evoke positive change. Students will log 40 hours immersed in a pre-approved organization of the community political system.
3 credits

  • Background check required.

SECC820 Jamaica: History, Culture and the Moravians (Study Abroad)

This intercultural immersion course introduces students to the history, culture, and religion of the Caribbean island of Jamaica. Established in 1753 the Moravian Church is one of the most important institutions in Jamaica. Students will study the impact of slavery, emancipation, colonialism, and national independence on the Moravian Church. There will be interactions with students at the United Theological Seminary and with Moravians in various churches. The Rt Rev Hopeton Clennon, a native of the country, and Rev. Neilson Waithe of the United Theological College in Kingston will co-teach the course with Professor Craig Atwood.
3 credits