The pre-course requirements for the two August intensives have gone out.  I posted the ten books for the two courses as a comment under the previous post.  We’re now at less than a month till the seminary’s “practical” commencement.

I thought for this week I would feature a snippet of what the Cultural Contexts of Ministry class will be doing on the Wednesday you/they are here:

… Now get in groups of similar denominations or traditions.  In some cases, this may turn out to be a single individual or two.  Non-denominational and house church students can meet together initially, but they should not assume that they most belong in the same tradition.  For example, a particular non-denominational church might fit far better traditionally with a Baptist group than with a house church group.

The first goal of the afternoon is for each of these groups and traditions to map out where they fit in relation to the other groups and traditions in the room.  They can, for example, each come to the board and put their group name in an overall list at the far right of the board.

The next goal is to join these groups on the far right together moving back in time and tradition to the left.  This will probably require some erasing and reordering of the list on the right to make it easy to join groups together.  They might put important names and dates down as well at key junctures.

… This phase of the exercise is done when all the groups have mapped themselves to as common roots in American Christianity as possible.

There are two goals for the remainder of the day…

A) We want to see in general how these branches come back together in church history.  Most will be Protestants of some sort.  We will want to see how the branches go back to the fountainheads of Protestant tradition (Luther, Calvin, Anglicanism, etc.) and then back into Roman Catholicism.

B) The most important goal for the remainder of the day is to fill in blanks in American Christianity.  Depending on the composition of the class, we might end up either with a very diverse or a very monolithic group of students.  The more monolithic the class, the more the professor may have to represent other traditions. 

In particular, the day should not close without the class having some sense of where the Reformed, Presbyterian, Baptist, Anabaptist, Restorationist, Congregational, Lutheran, Episcopal, Methodist, and Pentecostal traditions fit on the map of American Christianity.

There’s a snippet from Aug. 12th, the third day of the Cultural Contexts of Ministry intensive class.