Inside the Classroom: Theology in an Ecumenical Context

Written by Hannah Crivello
November 20, 2013

From its inception, Seattle University's School of Theology and Ministry has partnered with faith communities to create an ecumenical space for learning in developing the next generation of transformational leaders. One of the foundational courses at the school which has this ethos is "Theology in an Ecumenical Context." This upcoming Winter Quarter 2014, Rev. Dr. Michael Kinnamon and Dr. Michael Reid Trice will be team teaching this special course, which tackles the topic of faith in light of contemporary issues?-not only as members of particular church traditions but as members of the one, universal church of Jesus Christ.

Students will benefit from the team-teaching format, as both professors have varied experiences?-Dr. Trice, for example, studied in Germany while Dr. Kinnamon studied in the Middle East and has taught in India; both approaching the task of theology from different angles. Students will have a greater appreciation for the diversity of theological voices from the global church; develop an understanding of the purpose and practice of ecumenical dialogue, interfaith relations, and how the church has responded to major issues of the day, including war, poverty, and environmental destruction. The goal of the course is to ultimately help students think theologically on a new level.
Dr. Kinnamon shares that behind this effort is his own conviction that more recent theology (e.g., liberation or post-modern) is basically inexplicable without an understanding of these complexities. Dr. Kinnamon shares: "This course is absolutely essential for ministry in a pluralistic era and absolutely foundational for an ecumenical school like Seattle University's School of Theology and Ministry.? Students are challenged not just to learn about other Christian (and, to a lesser extent, religious) traditions, but to get inside them, to see the world from other confessional and cultural perspectives."

Dr. Trice adds: "The religious I.Q. requires one to develop an integrated picture of one's own faith tradition in the cultural and religious sea that marks our current age. The student learns that self-awarenes of this integrated kind requires a rooted desire to be taught by religious perspectives other than one's own.? Amidst ecumenical perspectives and tangible differences, we profess deep unity in the Gospel. This is the heart of the course."

Registration is still open for current students to sign-up for this course!