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Ministry and the Disinherited
There is a serious and vigorous public debate about the influence of religious values upon us as a society and our social responsibilities, particularly to those who are most vulnerable and in need of support. This course has as its focus the effort to theologically reflect and discern from an interdisciplinary approach who are the disinherited. It will explore aspects of the Christian religious dimensions in social and political reform movements, faith-based social services and the influence of religious values on individual behavior and ideas about the role of the church and government meeting human needs.
The course will address, through the interests and research of the students, topics such as poverty, health care disparities, sexual orientation, ethnic, gender and racial discrimination and hunger, immigration, homelessness, public education and the welfare of children. Students are expected to develop an interdisciplinary approach from perspectives found in: biblical scriptures, sacred texts, theological/religious beliefs and values, social work, sociology of religion, law, psychology of religion, political science and social welfare theories in order to contextualize a theological understanding of who are the disinherited and what might constitute a ministry that addresses the needs of these groups.
Each student will present once during the course a brief meditation and will also offer once during the semester a critical reflection in the form of three written questions on the course reading or readings assigned for that week. Each student is expected to present the topic of their final paper to the class for feedback and suggestions.
The course will be taught using the discussion/seminar format. Each student is expected to participate in and maintain the confidentiality of all classroom discussions.
Student evaluations will be based on all written work, class attendance and participation and oral presentation.