Higher Learning. Real Experience. Vital Ministry.

Course Descriptions

Thursday/Friday Two-Day Courses
Choose one workshop below that will meet Thursday (2:45–5:30 p.m.) and Friday (9:00 a.m.–5:15 p.m.)

Image of Ted A. Campbell, Associate Professor of Church History, Perkins School of Theology, Southern Methodist University (2012)T/F-1 Methodism and Popular Religion in the United States 
Ted A. Campbell
Associate Professor of Church History

Historical scholarship in the last three decades has cast new light on the development of American Methodism in the nineteenth century. The good news is that Methodism is now being taken very seriously as a factor in American culture by non-Methodist interpreters of U.S. cultural life. The bad news is that they don't see much of a connection between Methodism as a popular religious movement and the Methodist denominations that were evolving at that time. The course will take The Autobiography of William Stevenson as a focus for study. Stevenson (1768-1857) was the first Methodist (or Protestant) to preach in Texas (in 1815) and his Autobiography is a classic expression of nineteenth-century Methodist popular religion.

Download Suggested Reading: Autobiography of William Stevenson 

Image of Heidi MillerT/F-2 Becoming God’s Gesture for the World: Extending Worship and Sacrament into Our Daily Lives 
Heidi A. Miller
Assistant Professor of Christian Worship

How do we connect what we purport to do in Sunday worship with what we encounter on Saturday night or Monday morning? Amidst the devastating realities of the world, the gestures we enact in gathered worship – kneeling, standing, breaking, thanking, taking, sharing, proclaiming, embracing, praising, lamenting – are the very things the world needs from us. This workshop will explore how we as worshippers can deepen our encounter with God in our gathered worship, and how we may extend this into the very pattern of our lives in service for the world.

Suggested Reading: For the Life of the World by Alexander Schmemann and Practicing Our Faith: A Way of Life for a Searching People by Dorothy C. Bass

Abraham SmithT/F-3 The Gospel of Mark: Constructing Character in Troubled Times 
Abraham Smith
Professor of New Testament

The Gospel of Mark has characters (dramatic actors) and it also builds character (essential values for living). This course will examine how Mark builds the latter through the former. The course will examine: 1) Mark’s overall plot; 2) Mark’s negative characterization of the disciples; 3) Mark’s positive characterization of Jesus and the “little people”; and 4) Mark’s rhetorical goals, including that of building the character of its readers and auditors as they faced the pressures of tyranny in the late sixties and early seventies of the first century CE.

Suggested Readings: Sowing the Gospel: Mark’s World in Literary-Historical Perspective by Mary Ann Tolbert and A Costly Freedom: A Theological Reading of Mark’s Gospel by Brendan Byrne. Students should also read the Gospel of Mark in one sitting and bring to the course a copy of the Gospel, preferably the NRSV.

Saturday One-Day Courses
Choose one workshop below that will meet Saturday (9:15 a.m.–5:15 p.m.)

William J. AbrahamS-1 Terrorism and Theology 
William J. Abraham
Albert Cook Outler Professor of Wesley Studies

Terrorism rumbles on in our contemporary world with no end in sight. How should we identify it? Why does religion show up in its origins? What can we do about it? Drawing on his experience in Ireland, Professor Abraham provides a lively introduction to the challenges we face.

Christopher S. AndersonS-2 Luther on Music 
Christopher S. Anderson
Associate Professor of Sacred Music

This course will investigate Martin Luther's theology of music both as an historical phenomenon (in its time, as an unusually compelling combination of tradition and innovation) and as a body of ideas that can bear upon the contemporary practice of church music. To a unique degree among the Reformers, Luther identifies music, in practice as well as in theory, as a place around which significant theological discourse can and should be built. We will explore how his ideas might look if realized in today's Church.

Suggested Reading: Luther's Liturgical Music: Principles and Implications by Robin A Leaver

Ruben L. F. HabitoS-3 Introduction to Spiritual Practice  THIS CLASS HAS BEEN CANCELLED
Ruben L. F. Habito
Professor of World Religions and Spirituality 

A study of aspects of the spiritual path as embodied in Christian as well as Eastern religious traditions, with introductory guidelines for engaging in forms of spiritual practice. The stages of purification, illumination, and union will be examined, as these are given concrete expression in the Zen path on the one hand, and in paths of Christian spirituality. Meditative and contemplative exercises will be introduced, as well as mindfulness exercises, labyrinth walk, and other forms of spiritual practice that can be incorporated into one's daily life.

Suggested Readings: Clearness Committees and Their Use in Spiritual Discernment by Jan Hoffman; Spiritual Discernment: The Context and Goal of Clearness Committees by Patricia Loring; Chapter VIII, “Living the Questions,” in A Hidden Wholeness: The Journey Toward an Undivided Life by Parker J. Palmer

S-4 'A Well of Living Waters and a Beehive of Temptations': Biblical Exegesis in the Early Church 
James Kang Hoon Lee
Assistant Professor of the History of Early Christianity

The interpretation of Scripture was perceived as a "dangerous" enterprise among Christians in the early Church, for in seeking "honey" from the beehive, one is exposed to the "sting of bees" (Origen, Homily XXVII on Numbers). Passages that contain the most beautiful mysteries may at first be offensive and scandalous, yet it is by struggling along this road of obstacles that one reaches the "river of God" and the "living waters" of wisdom and divine knowledge. Journey through the Scriptures with the early Christians, including Origen, Augustine, the Cappadocians, and the desert Fathers and Mothers, so as to draw "living water" from the well.

Suggested Reading: The Spirit of Early Christian Thought by Robert Louis Wilken