This course introduces students to the role of context and culture in theology and in the practice of ministry through a first hand cross-cultural experience and careful reflection upon it. Students will travel to China in May of 2012 visiting seminaries, churches, church outreach projects, and cultural sites. Selected readings and discussions will raise questions regarding otherness, enculturation of faith particularly in relations to the State, communication, and theological/ecclesiastical diversity.

In FC 339/339-T, students explore ministry, vocation, and methods of discernment primarily from Quaker tradition, listen for God’s leadings, learn and apply various ways to understand, discern, name, and nurture gifts and callings of others, identify their own and class members’ gifts for ministry, gain insight into related challenges and limitations, and test with others their sense of calling and gifts for ministry.


This course explores certain biblical passages through the lens of midrash, a particular manner and style of Jewish biblical interpretation. Students will examine how the midrash fills ‘gaps’ in the biblical story and what ideas the Rabbis are trying to articulate in historical rabbinic midrashim. Students will also explore “modern midrashim,” how modern writers (and other artists) use biblical passages as a springboard for their own imaginative renditions. Finally, students will practice writing their own midrashim. Throughout the course will consider how midrash opens the biblical text and how midrashim, both classic and contemporary, speak to faith and life today. Prerequisite: BS101 or permission of instructor.