The Women’s Marches, #MeToo movement, and calls to Resist! push against the institutionalized misogyny and sexual violence of our political, religious, and cultural institutions. What will they say about us 50 years from now, in the year 2058? Will we be thought of as a watershed moment like 1968, 50 years ago, when Martin Luther King’s prophetic voice and his tragic assassination galvanized a world to challenge war, inequality, and racial injustice? What will the witness of our faith communities be in this critical moment? Join us in Berkeley for #PSRSummerofLove to engage with instructors and texts that challenge heteropatriarchy in its many forms! Let’s give them something to talk about, 50 years from now!
In progressive theological education and in the work of spiritually inclusive ministry, we must create communities of care for all those who are differently gendered, in doing so we affirm the inherent worth and dignity of all people of all genders. Living into this spiritual imperative requires quality pastoral care for transgender and gender nonconforming individuals. This course addresses culturally relevant and diverse situations of care that are unique to transgender and gender nonconforming communities.
Now more than ever, we need creative, determined and spiritually- and morally-rooted organizers to aid in the work of building strong, resilient and responsive communities. These uncertain times demand a new generation of community leaders – religious and not – who are morally grounded, relationship focused, and skillful at building and using community power. From these strong foundations, individuals become more able to carry out the work of social movements – the large waves of change that mark this time as a moment for resistance. In this class, we will examine and try out several different models of organizing, explore our own personal paths to and styles of leadership, look at the unique and urgent work facing today’s prophetic leaders, and uncover ways to build and re-build community life (based in spiritual teaching and practice) that lead to needed social change. Throughout this class, we will delve into some traditional as well as some new ways of thinking about community organizing in and outside of faith contexts.
The symbol of the Sankofa bird represents a crucial insight from West African culture, to wit, true wisdom come from “looking backward while walking forward,” i.e., that the quest for meaning in human life in the present is actively abetted if we can learn to draw on and creatively reinterpret the best of our communal histories and traditions.
From a very different vantage-point, Christian Ethics, particularly as practiced within the Liberal Protestant Tradition, also seeks to creatively bridge past and present by bringing important insights from scripture, tradition, reason, and experience into conversation with the observations, challenges, and values of postmodern life.
Hence, the kind of ethics taught in this course can be distinguished from some other forms of religious ethics in that it stresses the importance of maintaining profound theological commitments while not diminishing the significance of critical thinking, interpretative engagement (hermeneutics), and moral discernment. To put this more plainly, in a world that often demands black or white responses, the Liberal Protestant Tradition, at its best, seeks to hold revelation in creative tension with reason. This is no easy task.
This online course with the overall theme of a “Summer of Love” extends the Golden Rule of love of neighbor to love of God’s creation. It explores the pastoral and theological foundations and eco-resource to prepare yourself and your church to become a “Climate Church” in the 21st century, exploring themes of climate change, environmental racism, prophetic preaching, ritual protests and civil disobedience, and networking with interfaith and green organizations for collaborative work for environmental care and justice.
We live in a time of competing narratives, and transformative preaching requires preachers to create and deliver compelling narratives. This course will explore the art of storytelling and how it can enable such preaching. We will use narrative theory to examine the poetics of storytelling. How do the elements of narrative affect us when we read or hear stories? The course will employ an inductive methodology. We will listen to recordings of stories told by gifted storytellers from a variety of cultures. How do these narrative artists go about their craft? What can we learn from them about both the structure and the delivery of stories? We will consider how preachers can incorporate storytelling in our preaching and will use in-class exercises each day to work on our own storytelling skills.
“Who do you say that I am?” Matthew’s Jesus asked that question of his disciples (Mt 16:15). Many different answers and approaches to that question have appeared over the centuries since then. The question itself both expands and deepens when accompanied by visual engagements and responses. This course combines a variety of images and texts in an exploration of how “queer” Christ appears outside the “standard” or dominant representations of Jesus, and then further, how this queerness can inspire and inform movements of liberating social change. The co-teachers of this course will offer their expertise in Christology, queer theory, and the visual arts to invite an approach to social transformation rooted in historical traditions and contemporary insights. Beyond white, heterosexual maleness, who do you say Jesus is?
This immersion course in Cuernavaca, Mexico, will explore communities of liberation in modern Mexico, focusing on the LGBTQ and women’s communities and on issues of economic justice within Mexico and between Mexico and the United States. Students will develop their knowledge of written, spoken and read Spanish through language classes and immersive living experience with native Spanish speakers. The program will include multiple field trips to sites of cultural and artistic importance, lectures on related topics, and dialogue with community members. Some knowledge of Spanish is suggested but not required.
“Why?” asks the persistent two-year old, having discovered one of the most powerful words in the English language. Contemporary pedagogy recognizes that helping students develop their own questions, can help deepen learning much more than providing well-rehearsed answers. But the value of questions is not new. From Abraham to Jesus, the biblical story turns on the questions. “Am I my brother’s keeper?” “Who is my neighbor?” In studying texts, the ancient Rabbis developed the Jewish tradition of Midrash, which uses questions to help the faithful reader slow down and live more fully into the sacred story. Drawing on the Scripture’s art of staying with the questions and the Jewish tradition of Midrash, we will explore an “inquiry based” approach to preaching.
“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