Summer session 2017 registration is now open! All immersions, workshops, courses, and more are open to the general public.

This year’s courses include:

*Indicates CEU credit available

Read on for full course descriptions and registration information!

Randall MillerLeading churches, social advocacy groups, and nonprofit organizations through processes of moral discernment and decision-making has never been quite so challenging. Over the past half-century churches have been pushed from their once privileged place at the very center of social and public life to the very margins. In addition, ongoing church scandals and what some view as unwarranted intrusions into the political arena have further eroded the moral authority traditionally accorded to churches, clergy, and other religiously identified leaders and fostered a profound skepticism and even hostility towards organized religion. This entry level course takes seriously the challenges and opportunities for doing Christian Ethics in a postmodern context. Rather than an “issues” or “rules” –based approach, the class will focus on the key concepts, tools, and skills that students will need to clarify their own beliefs and perspectives, understand the “art” of moral reflection and discernment, and provide ethical leadership and guidance to others. Intended audience: MDiv students.

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Public worship is one of the primary collective acts of faith communities. As such, worship offers crucial opportunities for communities to grapple with the pressing social issues, struggles for justice, and conflicts of our time.  This course explores the ways in which worship can serve our communities when the times are troubled. How can we creatively engage in truth-telling, justice-making and lament through ritual, prayer, word and song? What strategies for worship can offer hope and resilience in times of social unrest and struggle? What resources does our worship offer for resisting racism, classism, patriarchy, heterosexism, colonialism, etc. in their particularities and their intersections? How do we create worship services that address important issues, hold the complexities of those concerns, and generate imaginative possibilities for transformation? Through reading, discussion, case studies and worship planning and design, we will discover ways to worship that help us to live and lead as spiritually and theologically rooted people of faith in unsettled and unsettling times.

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This intensive course is designed to orient students to the primary types of academic writing generally assigned at PSR and the Graduate Theological Union (GTU), including reflection papers, research papers, critical essays, and exegetical papers. The course is intended to help students learn or “dust off” the writing skills they will need to succeed academically while in seminary. Through lectures, online discussions, written exercises, reading assignments, and one-on-one check-ins with the instructor, participants will learn the art and technique of composing critical writing in a U.S. academic setting.

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In many movements for social change, trauma plays an important, if unacknowledged, role. Social, cultural, and personal trauma can serve to motivate activism even as the effects of trauma may be unrecognized and unaddressed. The process of social change can itself cause trauma and/or reinforce previously experienced traumas. In this context, rituals and ritualizing become important sites for attending to trauma in social change work. This seminar explores the connections between movements for social change and the dynamics of social and personal trauma, as we consider the role that ritual can and does play in uncovering and addressing trauma by engaging participants in the process of reconstructing memory, giving expression to that which has been silenced, offering frames for making meaning, and embodying visions of transformation. We will explore ritual as both part of the process of social change itself and as a source of healing the trauma embedded in activism and movements for social transformation. Evaluation will be based on leadership of discussions, critical reflection, observation, and ritual design/analysis.

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Latinos/as make up 38.8% of the population of California and are one of the driving forces in the vitality of Christianity in the state and around the hemisphere. Intended for church leaders of all backgrounds, this course will introduce students to the varieties of Latino/a experience in the United States, while also relating these experiences to Latin America, and explore ways in which these experiences and the resulting perspectives affect or enrich standards views on scripture, church, and theology.

The course will engage:

  • The importance of context in theology and hermeneutics
  • The Latino/a reality in the US
  • Issues of language and culture
  • Defining dimensions: Mestizaje, in-betweenness, exile, identity and generational issues
  • How all of this affects the reading and interpretation of Scripture, church history, theology, preaching, counseling, and church administration

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Part II of Desde el Otro Lago will build upon Dr. González’s teachings of the Latino/a reality in the US and expound on the importance of context within theology and hermeneutics. It’s offered online, from June 19 – 23, under the leadership of Professor Filipe Maia.  Assignments for the second week will be sent to those who register for 3 credits.

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Erika KatskeJoin veteran faith-based community organizer, Erika Katske, for an interactive exploration of community organizing and social movements. Now more than ever, we need creative, determined and spiritually-rooted organizers to aid in the work of building strong, resilient and responsive communities – and to cultivate a new generation of leaders that are morally grounded, relational, and skillful at building and using power. We need leaders who approach organizing as a spiritual practice.

Using and examining several different models of organizing, this course will allow participants to examine their own paths to – and styles of – leadership. It will also analyze the unique and demanding task facing today’s prophetic leaders, presenting ways we can rebuild community life that leads to both needed social change and restored democracy. The course will include both theory and practical skill-building and will be helpful to those who seek to build relational and communal power in either congregations or community organizations.

A range of justice issues will also be explored, including safeguarding immigrants, sustaining LGBT legal protections, maintaining funding for social services and defending the environment. Together, we will approach issues that impact us and our communities, using both traditional and new ways of thinking about building and using power to create the just world we envision.

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Erika KatskeJoin veteran faith-based community organizer, Erika Katske, for an interactive exploration of community organizing and social movements. Now more than ever, we need creative, determined and spiritually-rooted organizers to aid in the work of building strong, resilient and responsive communities – and to cultivate a new generation of leaders that are morally grounded, relational, and skillful at building and using power. We need leaders who approach organizing as a spiritual practice.

Using and examining several different models of organizing, this course will allow participants to examine their own paths to – and styles of – leadership. It will also analyze the unique and demanding task facing today’s prophetic leaders, presenting ways we can rebuild community life that leads to both needed social change and restored democracy. The course will include both theory and practical skill-building and will be helpful to those who seek to build relational and communal power in either congregations or community organizations.

A range of justice issues will also be explored, including safeguarding immigrants, sustaining LGBT legal protections, maintaining funding for social services and defending the environment. Together, we will approach issues that impact us and our communities, using both traditional and new ways of thinking about building and using power to create the just world we envision.

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Clark KelloggInnovating is at the core of successful enterprises today whether in congregations, or start-ups, or nonprofit agencies. It requires diligence, discipline, and the credible projections of future trends and competitive forces. It requires imagination, focus and human resources. It also requires shared tools, practices, and habits of mind.

This course will introduce students to the tools and practices of innovation, deep congregational insight, and design thinking in churches. This is a learn-by-doing lab. Students will work collaboratively to understand and then solve challenges of today’s congregational agencies.

The goal of this course is to equip students with skills and practices that drive administration and management in pastoral organizations, business, and social innovation. These practices enable one to meaningfully contribute to congregation-centered problem solving; they emphasize empathy, flattened hierarchies and networked decision making with large and small churches.

Students will be introduced to research methods, ethnographic interviewing/observation, analysis and synthesis, reflective thinking, persona and scenario creation, ideation processes, rapid prototyping, collaboration, concept testing, iterative design, and narrative communication.

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Tim KochThis course will build upon Audre Lorde’s concept of “erotic knowledge” as a queer base from which to focus on connecting our own erotic sensibilities directly to biblical texts, constructing matrices of meaning that speak to our individual and shared concerns. A broadly interdisciplinary approach will be employed and warmly welcomed, in working toward paradigms for the use of scriptural texts that are authentically liberative for queers of all sexualities, whether in or out of the academy, in or out of organized religion.

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Tim KochThis course will build on Audre Lorde’s concept of “erotic knowledge” as a queer base from which to utilize biblical texts (which is central to QUB, part I), and go beyond baseline methodological questions to the creative and authentic appropriation and application of biblical texts in the queer pursuit of justice-making. A broadly interdisciplinary approach will be employed and warmly welcomed, in deriving, developing, and adapting tools and capabilities, suggested or even modeled in scriptural texts, for liberation.

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“Education is for improving the lives of others and for leaving your community and world better than you found it.”

—Marian Wright Edelman, founder and president of The Children’s Defense Fund