W10 Urban Missions in New York City. Urban missions, ethnic and cultural diversity and race relations are inseparable dynamics of modern life and a challenge to the Christian Church as it seeks to fulfill the Great Commission. This course examines the overlap of urban living and human diversity by critically analyzing: demographic trends, the sociology of American race relations, historical and ‘modern’ missiological strategies, the Christian Community Development movement, and a Reformed-Christian perspective on urban missions, the multicultural cultural church and race relations. Classroom learning will be supplemented by travel to New York City to experience urban missions and incredible ethnic and racial diversity. Students will critically examine the history of CRC missions in New York City, visit contemporary urban churches, and study the complexity of ethnically diverse neighborhoods and the challenges of ministry in such neighborhoods. The students will keep a reflective journal of this experience and give a class presentation addressing a specific issue or aspect of urban missions and race relations. Students will gain an appreciation of the challenges of the missional church in the urban setting and exploration of differing approaches to those challenges. Students will be required to prepare for our interaction with Christian leaders and fully participate in that interaction, keep a journal of the interim experience and prepare a class presentation at the conclusion of the Interim. This course will fulfill the CCE requirement. Course dates: January 6-26. Fee: $1445. J. Kooreman. Off campus.
W40 Anti-Semitism & the Holocaust. This course explores the historical, moral, and theological dimensions of the Nazi Holocaust. Students study the history of anti-Semitism that culminated in Hitler’s persecution of the Jews, the historical account of the Holocaust itself, and the moral and theological issues raised by it. Resources used in this class are books on the history of anti-Semitism and the Holocaust, two books by Elie Wiesel, and various films about the Holocaust and its significance. The course also includes a mandatory four-day field trip to the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington, D.C. Evaluation is based on class discussion, a short written report, and a final exam. This course may fulfill an elective in the Religion major and minor. Fee: $300 (approximate) for the field trip. K. Pomykala. 2:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m.
W41 Birth, Sex & Death in the Biblical World. Why is sexual intercourse "unclean" according to Lev 15:18? If the body is in the grave, where is the "person" after death? In recent years, anthropologists and other social scientists have begun to examine more closely the ways in which human cultures conceptualize and organize the ordinary events of the human life cycle. Biblical scholars, too, have begun to consider these things by using the Bible, not as a theological textbook, but as a window into the lives of ordinary people in ancient Israel and the early Church. This course looks at various aspects of the human life cycle as they are described or discussed in the Bible. Material from other ancient Near Eastern cultures is also used to illuminate the thought world of the Bible. Some of the aspects of the life cycle covered are the reasons why people wanted to have children, theories of conception and fetal development, birth and the postpartum period, the female reproductive cycle, the structure of marriage, raising children, sexual activity and restrictions, celibacy, old age, death, and the afterlife. Students get to study biblical texts as reflections of a particular moment in human culture; look at and interpret various biblical texts for themselves; think about how various biblical texts might apply today. Students write a paper which is based on the material covered in class. This course may fulfill an elective in the Religion major. R. Whitekettle. 8:30 a.m. to noon.
W42 Exploring Election. Have you ever struggled with the idea that God has chosen some to be his people and not others? This course engages students in an exploration of the often controversial biblical theme of election. The aim is to provide resources for a richer understanding of the biblical witness and theological approaches to election, and for thinking creatively about what it means for us as Christians today. In addition to the appropriate biblical and historical surveys, we will also see how poetry, novels, music and film help us to engage the current lively debates about the doctrine, and to explore its continuing relevance. No prior knowledge of the subject required. Evaluation is based upon class participation, presentations, a reflection paper and an exam. This course may fulfill an elective in the Religion major and minor. S. McDonald. 8:30 a.m. to noon.
W43 Learning to Pray Like Jesus. This course will study the prayers of the New Testament within their first-century Jewish context, what NT prayers can tell us about the believer’s personal relationship to God, how one strain of ancient, desert monasticism developed contemplative prayer, and Martin Luther’s devotional advice in his book A Simple Way to Pray. We will also wrestle with some of the theological questions raised by petitionary prayer: Can God be influenced? Does God ever change his mind? Does prayer make a difference in the world? Student evaluations will be based on two book reviews, class participation, daily prayer with at least one other class member and keeping a daily prayer journal. This course may fulfill an elective in the Religion major or minor. D. Crump. 8:30 a.m. to noon.
IDIS W25 Experiencing God's Beauty. L. Smit.
IDIS W34 Theology & the Arts. R. Plantinga.