Course Description – This Doctoral Course directs a theological and sociological exploration of new approaches toward ministry in the contemporary context. In the religious landscape of the U.S. and Canada, the notion of church, its nature, and ministries, is expressed across a many-colored spectrum. The American Church has many facets. Given the freedom of expression and ingenuity that exists in our American context to meet the challenge of envisioning ministry in the contemporary mix of modern and postmodern cultures, there is no way this course could be exhaustive. Yet, we will explore how some meet this challenge and critique their ministry and their expression of what might be termed a postmodern ecclesiology. The course invites you to think critically about how representations of church have been deployed in America, by whom, and for what purposes. Some of the questions that shape our inquiry: How much does the church employ cultures without succumbing to co-optation? What does the particular notion of church reveal about the spiritual lives of those who produce them? What political, religious, and other cultural realities lay beneath the surface of each notion? How have the realities of class, racial identification,region, denominational affiliation and other identity markers shape the notion of church? What can welearn for our own contexts from these notions of church?
Course Outcomes –
Students will be able to articulate their understanding of new notions and approaches to church in the postmodern era.