Thursday, October 24, 2013

Upper Level Religion Courses for Spring 2014

On the edge of a new semester!
REL 214  Christian Formation  
(1:40-2:55 TTh)    
Dr. Sue Dickson
It’s not your grandma’s Sunday school anymore! What does it look like to love God with all your heart, and soul, and mind, and strength? How can we do that and help others to do it? What does it mean to become Christian? We’ll ponder these questions in REL214 Christian Formation. Through site visits, hands-on projects, music, art, film and more traditional methods, we’ll be discussing how to become and help others become more faithful Christians in the contemporary world. This course is in the practical theology (Christian Ministry) concentration for Religion majors/minors and an elective for others. There are no prerequisites, however basic knowledge of the Bible and Christian theology is expected.

REL 234  History of Christian Worship 
(10:50-12:05 TTh)   
Dr. Peter Slade
Learn about the history of Christian worship from the New Testament church to the present day.   Drawing upon research from his recent study leave, Dr. Slade will guide you through the actual experience of worship for regular churchgoers, paying attention to the culture, art and music as well as the various contexts in which Christian worship developed. This course is in the Christian history concentration for Religion majors and an elective for others.  No prerequisites.

REL 301 Topics in Religion: Political Theology 
(9:25-10:40 TTh) 
Dr. Craig Hovey
Ever wondered what role Christianity plays beyond one's individual faith? How does the church engage with powers, rulers, and ideas? What is religion like in a secular society? What is the political significance of the church by its mere existence? If you find these questions stimulating, then this course in Christian political theology is for you. Political theology is an exciting field of study. This course is in the Theology and Ethics concentration of the Religion major and has recently been approved for the Humanities Core.  No prerequisites.

REL 304 Advanced Old Testament 
(1:00-1:50 MWF)  
Dr. Sue Dickson
Why do bad things happen to good people? What is the meaning of life? Who is God? Where do we find morality? Who are we, anyway? Come explore the wisdom texts of the Hebrew Scriptures (including Proverbs, Ecclesiastes, Job, Song of Songs, and some Psalms) and find out what the Bible says. This course is in the Biblical Studies concentration for religion majors/minors and an elective for others. REL106 is a prerequisite.

REL 3SGK Paul in the Greco-Roman World 
(3:00-4:15 TTh)  
Dr. David Aune
Follow the footsteps of St. Paul and experience the culture of both ancient and modern Greece by studying Biblical and classical texts and then traveling throughout Greece during Spring Break. We focus on Paul’s second missionary journey in Greece as well as the social, cultural and theological issues associated with Paul’s written correspondences to the Thessalonians, Philippians and Corinthians.  Cost of $3,475 includes travel, lodging, taxes and most of your meals.  Fulfills Core Humanities and Course with Study Away for GPS.  No prerequisites.

REL 404  Seminar in Christian Theology 
(12:15-1:30 TTh)  
Dr. Craig Hovey
This semester's theme is the Doctrine of the Atonement: the meaning of the death of Christ. Does an innocent man's death appease an angry God? In what sense should Christ's death be considered a sacrifice? Is it a ransom? To whom? We will go in-depth into these and related debates in contemporary theological scholarship. Not to be missed!  This is one of the required theology seminars for Religion majors and both REL 106 and REL 208 are prerequisites.

Thursday, October 17, 2013

Dr. Craig Hovey discusses What Makes Us Moral

Sue Dickson asked Craig Hovey some questions about his recent book on science and morality after a book launch at Ashland University.

One of your main points is that while science, especially biology, can help explain human behavior, it doesn’t help us know what we should do. Yet we make value judgments all the time. Where do those come from?

They come from a lot of sources, some of which may be closely tied to tendencies that come to us through our biology. But they cannot simply be read off of our biology. As a theologian, I’m ready to identify where Christian morality—such as loving one’s enemy—asks us to do things that seem to be at odds with what comes naturally.

At the same time, it is Christian belief that such things make us more “Christlike”—and here’s the trick: becoming more Christlike actually makes us more human, not less. After all, from its earliest centuries, Christians have talked about the full divinity and full humanity of Christ. He is actually more human than we are; he is the model human. Sin makes us, in a sense, less than human by withering our humanity.

So at a deeper level, we may find another convergence between biology and theology in what the tradition calls natural law. At exactly the points where it seems we are most noticeably departing from what comes to us “naturally,” we actually discover that we had misunderstood our nature. But this is part of the repair Christians believe the redemption of humanity to be.

Thursday, October 3, 2013

Prof publishes book on John Perkins

This fall, religion professor Peter Slade travelled to New Orleans and Mississippi as part of the book launch of Mobilizing for the Common Good: The Lived Theology of John M. Perkins.  Dr. Slade co-edited the book with Charles Marsh (UVa) and Peter Heltzel (New York Theological Seminary).
Born into a sharecropping family in New Hebron, Mississippi, in 1930, and receiving only a third-grade education, John M. Perkins has been a pioneering prophetic African American voice for reconciliation and social justice to America's white evangelical churches. Often an unwelcome voice and always a passionate, provocative clarion, Perkins persisted for forty years in bringing about the formation of the Christian Community Development Association—a large network of evangelical churches and community organizations working in America's poorest communities—and inspired the emerging generation of young evangelicals concerned with releasing the church from its cultural captivity and oppressive materialism. (Taken from University Press of Mississippi's description)
(L. to R.) Peter Slade, John Perkins, Vera Mae Perkins, William Winter
Dr. Slade travelled to New Orleans to attend the CCDA annual conference where he, along with five of the contributors, gave a public presentation and officially launched the book.

On September 17, Slade gave a lecture for the Mississippi Department of History and Archives on the life and legacy of John M. Perkins. The event was in the House Chamber of the Old State Capitol in Jackson, Mississippi. "It was a significant event and I was pretty nervous," reports Slade. He was introduced by William Winter, a former governor of Mississippi, and John Perkins attended. Slade said, "It is an unnerving experience for a historian to talk about the significance of a person's life with them sitting in the front row."