Practical Theology Seminar

REL804
Fall 2017
T 1:30-3:20pm
Area: 
Area IV
Professor: 
Permission Not Required
No Limit to Enrollment
Course Description: 

Why do we worship in a particular way? Why does my pastor perform communion the same way? Why does the adult Sunday school class prefer that curriculum or teaching style? Does our worship practice demonstrate our commitment to welcoming the stranger? Are children and youth marginalized in our church? (Should they be?) Should we do more as a community of faith? Are we really living into the great commission? All of these and so many more are questions at the core of practical theology.

This seminar offers an orientation to the field of practical theology and an overview of methodologies for doing practical theological reflection in a variety of contexts. As a field Practical Theology is both old and new. Practical theology is concerned with the practices and actions, past and present, of God, individuals and communities. Practical theology is also concerned with reflecting on these actions with an eye towards renewed or improved practices in the future. Thus,we utilize practical theological methods to help us explore the connections between our religious traditions and convictions and the way that we do ministry.

Background Expected: 

No prerequisites

Course Requirements: 

Students are required to do weekly readings (see syllabus for most up to date list) and complete the following course requirements:

1)      CLASS PARTICIPATION:  (20% of final grade)

2)      Book Review and Presentation: (30% of final grade).

3)      MINI-ETHNOGRAPHY/CONGREGATIONAL STUDY: (50% of final grade).  Utilizing the tools of practical theology and congregational studies each student will design and conduct a practical theological research project.  The emphasis in this project is two-fold: (1) mastery of practical theological research and methodologies and (2) analysis of religious communities or practices. The final project will be assessed on how well the student completes each of the major tasks of practical theology. (18-20 pages)

Basis of Evaluation: 

See above requirements.