Theological Education: The Next Ten Years

[music playing]>>DR. JANE E. REGAN: Now
as you as you likely know, we’ve been celebrating
our tenth anniversary of the School of
Theology and Ministry throughout this academic year. And as we conclude the
celebration this evening, we’re taking a look not
so much at the past, but at the future of
theological education; kind of what it may look like
over the next ten years or so. I’m pleased to introduce
to you the panelists that will be presenting,
all of whom are on the faculty at the School
of Theology and Ministry. And each one will speak from his
or her own area of expertise: Bible, historical theology,
morality, practical theology, and systematics. I’m going to introduce them
in the order in which they will speak, and then
just allow them to speak. So first is Andrew Davis,
who earned the Ph.D. from Johns Hopkins University. Andrew is originally from
Raleigh, North Carolina, and is associate professor
of Old Testament. His research interests
include literary approaches and historical method in
the biblical narrative, prophetic literature,
feminist approaches to the Old Testament,
ancient Israelite religion, and the Book of Job. Brian Dunkle, S.J., grew
up in Freeport, New York, and is assistant professor
of historical theology. He holds the S.T.B.
from the Gregorian University of Rome
and the S.T.L. from Boston College School
of Theology and Ministry. And then his Ph.D.
is from Notre Dame. We like to diversify
a little bit. [laughter] Brian’s area of
interest and expertise include fourth century
Christology and Trinitarian theology, Ambrose of Milan,
the Cappadocians and Augustine, early Christian hymns and
poetry, and nature and grace in early Christianity. Mary Jo Iozzio is professor
of moral theology. She earned her doctorate
from Fordham University. Mary Jo works– her work focuses
on fundamental moral theology, Catholic social ethics,
feminist ethics, virtue ethics, and theological ethics. In the area of
social justice, she has a special interest
in disability studies, anti-racism, and access
to health, education, and economic stability. Colleen Griffith holds
a doctorate in theology from Harvard Divinity
School and serves as professor of the practice
of theology and director of our spirituality studies. Historical and
contemporary spirituality, theological anthropology
with a concentration on a theology of spirituality of
the body, methods in theology, constructive theology,
practical theology– those are all the focuses
that Colleen brings to her research and teaching. And finally at the
end is Dominic Doyle. Dominic was born
in London, England and is associate professor
of systematic theology. A graduate of
Cambridge University in England and Harvard,
he earned a Ph.D. from Boston College. Dominic’s areas of
interest include theological anthropology,
the theology of culture, and the doctrine of
God, particularly Thomas Aquinas and Karl Rahner. Now obviously, to talk about
the theological education over the next ten years
is a daunting task. And clearly, there are present
and emerging trends that shape society and
the Church which must be taken into
account when we engage in theological education. Now these can be perceived as
either positive or negative trends. For example, we can speak
of the rise of diversity as both a positive
and as a challenge. We can speak of the contribution
of the Latino/Latina population in Church and society. Or we can point to
the growing awareness of the need for accountability
and transparency within the Church and
other institutions. Those are just some of the
diverse dynamics and trends that are impacting our
society and our Church. All of these are
important, and they’re important to the way in
which we do theology. And while recognizing that we
cannot do theological education and ignore these trends, whether
they be gifts or challenges or probably a little of both,
the lens we’re picking up to tonight is different. It’s looking at the
trends and the movements and the themes that
shape theology itself. And more specifically
still, the theology as expressed in the subdisciplines
of the people on the panel. Theological education,
particularly as it’s done in the School
of Theology and Ministry, is fundamentally in
service to the Church and ultimately to our world. Even what sometimes has
seemed to be obscure, has as the deep
question behind it that the Christian
theologian asks, how do we more adequately
teach and ultimately live out the reality of God’s
love expressed in Jesus? That’s what we’re all about. So while we’re focusing here
on the theological themes, we recognize that
those are impacted by the culture around us. So with those remarks,
onto the panel. Each person has
about ten minutes– and I’ve got a clock– followed by a brief
time for conversation among yourselves, and
then question and response from the panelists. So without further ado. Andrew?>>DR. ANDREW R. DAVIS:
Thank you, Jane. I want to first thank you, Jane,
and thank Continuing Education for this opportunity to predict
the future in biblical studies. I thought, as a way
to start my remarks, I might read to you from
four job descriptions that came up on the biblical studies
job market in the last two years. Not because I’m on the job
market or plan on leaving. If there’s anything about
biblical studies at BC in the next ten years, I plan
to be here for those ten years and see what I got right
and what I got wrong. But I thought job descriptions
of recent job postings would be an interesting
way to identify what I see as an emerging
trend in the field. So this is from a recent
New Testament posting this past year at Columbia
Theological Seminary: “Asking for a candidate
to engage in research and writing on New Testament
and biblical studies which may include sub-specialities
or interdisciplinary work in such fields as
Mujerista, womanist, feminist interpretation,
disability studies, queer theory, minoritized
hermeneutics, or post-colonial studies.” And a job posting from
Santa Clara University on Old Testament:
quote, “in addition to firm grounding in traditional
methods of interpretation, applicants with facility
and such approaches as literary, cultural,
post-colonial, feminist criticisms of texts
and the ability to teach all levels of
Hebrew are invited to apply.” At Holy Cross, just down the
road from us, they ask for: “we particularly
welcome candidates with contemporary
methodological frameworks such as post-colonial,
ecological, critical race theory, or feminist approaches.” And the last one from
Yale Divinity School for Hebrew Bible two
years ago: “Preference will be given to candidates
who can effectively engage with post-historical
critical approaches, such as, but not limited to
feminist, post-colonial, and literary interpretation.” And I think what these
four examples highlight– I’m sure you can already tell– is that there is a real
interest in biblical studies, I think, in what we might
call contextual approaches. And I think the language
I just read from these job descriptions I don’t
think you would have seen in job descriptions
maybe ten years ago. And so I think, to my
friends who are still in the job market,
this has been something that they have noticed. And I think it’s
reflective of a larger trend within biblical
studies which is that there is a shift
away from, I’d say, focusing on the historical
context of the biblical authors who produced the biblical
text, and a shift in focus to the context of
different communities who have received
the biblical text, and especially communities
whose perspectives have been marginalized in the
history of interpretation. And so that, in my opinion,
is the biggest trend going on right now
in biblical studies. And I see this trend increasing
in the next ten years as more and more communities
whose perspective has been left out are being brought into the
mainstream, and in some ways into the center. And I think that
this trend represents a great opportunity for the
field of biblical studies. But I would say there
is also a big risk here. And the risk is that
biblical studies, because of this new development,
I think is becoming bifurcated. And so on one side,
you have scholars who are trained in historical
critical methodology and are interested in exploring
the historical linguistic background of the
biblical authors who produced the biblical text. On the other hand,
are these scholars who are more interested
in the context in which the biblical text is received. And the problem, the
risk here, I think, is that those two
groups of scholars don’t often enough
talk to each other. And in some way,
this is a product of graduate programs in biblical
studies that you really– programs either specialize
in one or the other of these types of scholarships. And so you’re producing
scholars, professors at Bible, who are able to do
one and not the other. And so in my opinion, this is
the biggest challenge facing the field of biblical studies
for the next ten years is, will this gap continue to widen
in biblical studies, where two approaches to the
Bible will essentially be developing on parallel
tracks that don’t intersect? Or will our field find
ways to bridge this gap? And what I want to say about
the future of biblical studies at BCSTM is that I’m
actually hopeful that BCSTM can play an integral role
in being one of those bridge builders. And that’s because our
Bible faculty at STM are all trained in historical
critical methodology, and are all
specialists, I’d say, in knowing the historical
context, linguistic context, of the biblical authors. And yet by the fact that
we’re at a School of Theology and Ministry, all the work
that we’re doing is contextual. And so for us, it’s
not an either/or. But we’re trained in
the historical critical methodology, that we’re teaching
students who are going out to work in pastoral settings. And so everything
we’re doing is oriented towards the communities of
faith who are ultimately going to receive this text. And so for me, I’m
hopeful of the role that BCSTM can play in
both developing fields of biblical studies, and
hopefully, being part of the bridge and
not contributing to the further division
within the field. Thank you.>>BRIAN DUNKLE, S.J.: Thank you. And thanks for
organizing us again. Andrew’s going to
show me up at least, both in the brevity of
his remarks and in his doing it off the cuff. That’s pretty impressive. But a lot of what he
mentioned certainly will resonate with my
understanding or my experience in the field of history
of Christianity. So I begin with a
bit of a caution. Because I study texts in periods
that are over 1,500 years old, when I am given to prophesy
about the next ten years, my expectations
are pretty modest. [laughter] And I’d say if I consulted most
of my colleagues in the history area, we’d find that the syllabi
we were using ten years ago are a lot like the
syllabi we’re using today, now tweaking and
adapting each year, especially in response
to scholarly trends. But realizing that there is an
important body of literature that we ought to be returning
to of perennial relevance. But I do want to talk about
some trends in the field that were hinted at by Andrew, but
I’m going to build on a bit when I talk about this
related area of discipline, or really disciplinary area of
historical theology and Church history, which informs
how we teach everything from the development of
Christological doctrine to women Doctors of the
Church to our core surveys in the history of Christianity. Now my area of specialization,
typically labeled Patristics, has this division,
or maybe you say distinction, arise even in the discussion
of the name of the field. We refer to, when we
use the term Patristics, we refer to the Fathers
of the Church, which can seem remarkably out of date. And not just because of the
kind of patriarchal resonance, but in fact, more importantly–
and I think this is shared among scholars in the field– the idea that these are Fathers
in the sense of authorities; that these are authorities. So there are many
scholars in this field who have no vested commitment
in seeing Saint Athanasius, or Saint Augustine,
or Saint Basil, as Fathers having
this kind of role. And they would even argue
that by treating them as such, you can’t remain
objective scientifically. You can’t be honest and
critical about their teaching in a scholarly way. And yet, the enduring
power of this paradigm shows up in a variety
of ways, but especially in the very name of my guild,
which is the North American Patristic Society. There have been some
debates about the name, primarily because
its acronym’s NAPS. [laughter] We need those. But it sticks. We’ll see in a few years. It’s under debate. So at the heart of this
history/theology sort of distinction is I
think a necessary balance that I hope we can
preserve at the STM. As historical theologians or
as historians of Christianity, you have to both learn
about the essential figures in Christian history,
but we’re also expected to learn from
them: about versus from. So in my field,
scholars generally prioritize one of
these two approaches. Some, those who are
historical or even contextual historians, subject to
scientific probing and analysis the majors and texts from
the early Christian period and from what’s known
as Late Antiquity. They’re often correcting
traditional views of Church history,
which can be biased by confessional or
apologetic motives, in order to rethink narratives
about the beliefs and methods and the reception of these
great major figures in the past. So in this line,
you’d find scholars more inclined to locate the
dark side of Augustine’s legacy, or to focus on the political
rather than the purely scriptural or theological
explanations for some of his famous arguments. For instance, predestination. And some of the trends come up
in the way that scholars have moved away from traditional
analyses of basic theological controversies through
the centuries– you might think of Arianism– to focus more on the idea
of identity formation. So he suggests that orthodoxy
developed only as a chance to kind of shore up
a group identity, to distinguish our
crowd from that crowd, rather than because of any
enduring philosophical or theological commitments. And again, here we have
the enduring relevance of critical theory
in today’s academy. Now on the other hand,
more theologically-inclined scholars– and I include
myself in this camp– tend to treat the ideas
and the modes of thinking of these great
saints and teachers as enduring models and guides
for contemporary discussions of belief. We’re not denying
the essential role that good, rigorous
history must play in learning about the sources
to determine precisely what they have to tell us in
the first place. But I still think there’s two
develops even in this area that still look to these as sources. First, there’s a
realization that we have to rethink standard notions
of evolution or development of doctrine in a kind of
linear unfolding of a process. And second, there is a much
greater attention to marginal sources, sort of unattended
voices that may have been lost through the centuries,
especially voices that don’t survive in the
mainstream languages– at least mainstream for me– of Greek and Latin. So I think theologians are
more critical or questioning of views of the
history of doctrine on ideas like the two
natures of Christ, or the definition of the
Trinity as three persons sharing one essence, that they’re
kind of inevitable conclusions of a standard and
steady process. Rather, they look to find
voices that may have been lost or kind of even
considered dead ends in early Christian
discussions to see what light they might shed on
theological discussion today. So for instance, one of
my favorite theologians, Saint Gregory of
Nazianzus, likes to talk about how
we’re united to Christ, and he uses the philosophical
language of mixture. It’s blending. Now it’s language that was
abandoned when everybody wanted to draw a sharp division
between Creator and created, but maybe it’s worth recovering,
understood in a proper way, to shed light on how we
get to so intimate a union. Second, theologians
are more deeply taken with the approaches
of minority traditions, especially from areas
like Syria and Ethiopia, where we have tons of texts
that survive but are very often not translated because we
don’t know the languages, or people don’t study
of them as much. And they employ distinctive
theological language, generally more symbolic, you might
say, than philosophical. And that’s sort of
in vogue in itself, and it’s been under-appreciated. So histories of doctrine
that are more global– global histories– and there’s
one in particular by Robert Wilken called The
First Thousand Years– they call attention to
these marginal voices. So on either front, whether
more properly historical or more properly theological, there’s
a lot of work to be done. And the scholarly landscape
will shift, if not change radically, in ten
years, and so will our syllabi. But I do want to point us
to one particular challenge in historical theology
that we have to identify. I think the backgrounds
of our students are going to raise challenges
for assumptions that we traditionally make about
what students come with. While I think in previous
generations professors teaching in graduate programs
could presume something like just general
education, especially in a Western tradition
which we inevitably favor in tracing the
history of doctrine, that’s just not the case,
except in limited instances. Liberal arts programs
are closing down. Humanities programs–
like, for instance, recently at Wheeling
Jesuit University– are kind of shoring up to
become more focused on STEM and professional training. In the process, we’ve
got students coming, I think, with much
better sensitivity to issues of critical
thinking and hidden biases, but often without the kind of
global, historical training that we may have
presumed previously. So I’d put on a
prophetical hat to say that we’ll have to balance
this concern to learning about the sources with a
learning from them, always ready to rethink
received narratives on the basis of new evidence
and new perspectives. But of course, at the STM,
we’ve got the special challenge, the special call, to see
how both of those processes are related to ministry. Relating to training
our students to serve, and to bring this wisdom,
accumulated through centuries, to the service of those
in need and those who need to hear Christ’s voice. I thank you.>>DR. MARY JO IOZZO:
So as with others, thank you for the invitation. Thank you all for your
attendance here with us this evening. Yes, we are not wearing the
prophesy or the prophets’ hats in looking into the
future, the seers. But we’re doing the best that
we can knowing where we started and where we are today. I could venture to say
that each one of us has grown quite a
bit from the days when we were in graduate school. And the body of literature
that’s available has likewise grown. More than any one
scholar could read is now produced in all
of our disciplines. So moral theology. A living tradition in
transition is the way I’m framing my comments. Over the last 50 years
or more, the discipline of moral theology has burgeoned
from its enclaves in seminaries and monastic houses
of study and, perhaps, houses of religious formation,
with a fairly homogeneous student body and a fairly
homogeneous set of faculty members. The discipline is now present
in both private and public colleges and universities with
far more heterogeneous student and faculty populations, as you
can tell from the panel right here. We have among us only one
person who is a vowed religious. The other four of
us are lay persons engaged in theological work. It’s fairly new, both in
moral theology and all of the theological disciplines. So what had been an almost
uniform, dominant male, postulant, or cleric
composition of persons interested in the field
of moral theology, to now lay men and lay
women, to persons of minority communities, and to the gender
diversity in our consciousness now more broadly,
this is the change that happens not only
in the discipline, but in the discipline’s
subject matter. This shift has
influenced the ways that the tradition is
taught, or traditions are taught, the materials
that we professors use, and the audiences that the
discipline now reaches. So it’s not just, as it had
been in seminary formation, for the purposes of, you
studied moral theology, for all intents and
purposes, to learn how to conduct confessional
and penitential services for the faithful, in a
Catholic setting, anyway. It’s a very exciting
time in the Guild. And for some, it’s more
than a little dangerous to be in moral theology,
especially for those who dare to delve
into subject matter that questions
time-bound conclusions that have been pronounced by
the Church’s teaching authority. We can probably
recall a few times the silencing of some
theologians of recent memory. Elizabeth Johnson in
systematic theology was called to cease and
desist with some of her work in systematic theology. And Margaret Farley was called
to cease and desist her work in sexual morality– a
moral theologian writing on sexual morality. Both women religious. So the Church has,
at some level, tentacles that can reach
to women religious, where lay women and lay men
have a little more freedom to speak and to
write and to teach, as those ecclesial authorities
can only speak then to their deans and/or
presidents to request silence. So historical
consciousness has been key to a shift in moral
theology from a focus on particular acts– is this sin or not sin? How grave a sin is this? What penance ought
I to do to repent? We’ve moved from
that singular focus, or what had been a
somewhat singular focus, to an appreciation
of moral agency more broadly, the what’s
and the why’s and the how’s of what moral agents do. Every single one of
us is a moral agent, and what we do is our
expression of moral agency, our freedom to do
x, y, or z thing, given the parameters
of our being raised in certain cultures and what
rules we have decided to abide and what to disobey. Members of the guild
in moral theology likewise recognize
the multiple contexts in which formation of moral
agency, or the lack thereof of, has become determinative
of a moral agent’s freedom to do and to be as she or he
wishes to become in their best sense of future determination–
self-determination. This awareness of context
is critical for the field and will remain
critical for the field, insofar as we begin to recognize
more and more the differences between, for example,
privilege and a lack thereof. So change in this
awareness of context has unfolded relatively
quickly in the scheme of the discipline that can trace
its start to the literature of the penitential period– excuse me, the
penitential literature of the Patristic
period of time– Brian’s area of study– as well as Andrew’s
area of study, where we have prescriptions
in Scripture to direct us. So we’ve gone from
penitential literature of the Patristic period to the
medieval scholastic’s summae– Thomas Aquinas’s Summa
Theologica, for example. Not the only one
of the “summa” that had been written in
the 12th, 13th, 14th, and even into the
15th centuries. To the premodern development of
casuistry to the modern manuals of moral theology– again, a
lot of that being confessional literature in general– that’s 18 to 19
centuries of development. 18 to 19 centuries. That’s 1,800, 1900
years from the start of what could be called
the discipline to today. So in the last 100
years, the discipline has changed dramatically. For many of the reasons that
I mentioned in my opening remarks, now there are
lay persons in the field, and the discipline
has moved out of, still remains in the
seminaries, but has moved beyond
seminary instruction to the wider public. And a professional guild
of ethicists has emerged. So in less than 100 years, the
discipline has broken free, we can almost say, from
the boundaries that were set by ecclesial structures
and authoritative directives for the benefit of the faithful. Has broken free because
the faithful are similarly more educated than the
laity had been previously. So as laypersons
went to university, some of those persons, such as
myself and others in the room, have engaged with the
theological disciplines. This is relatively new. Nevertheless, the
discipline remains concerned with the
search for truth– for the moral truth,
whatever that might mean– that’s attentive
to today’s contexts and that is expressed
rather differently today than it was in the past. But it’s the same insights. The same interest
in looking for, what is the right thing to do here? So while the academic
discipline has moved from confessional
utterances to sin no more, and to avoid the narrow occasion
of sin to forming consciences, that formation requires
examination of the contexts and the structures that
contribute to or thwart human flourishing for the
moral agent herself or himself, and the ecclesial, educational,
institutional, political, and social milieu in which
each agent is to thrive. Now, in the last 50
years, the discipline has moved from those
seminaries and universities to other settings beyond
strictly academic instruction to an application. This is going to continue. Application of professional
ethics, of moral theology, philosophical ethics, to
hospital ethics committees, for example. Research universities
and research protocols. How will we treat the
subjects of our research? Corporate boards, for-profit
and non-profit institutions, professional societies. I see a couple of my
colleagues here in the room. There is, in the
United States alone, the Society of Christian
Ethics, the Catholic Theological Society of America, which
has a group dedicated to moral theology. There is the College
Theology Society, which has a group dedicated
to moral theology, and the American
Academy of Religion– kind of a zoo for all– has many multiple sessions
dedicated to the subject matter of theological
ethics, religious ethics, of all religions, not
just the Christian faith. So into these different
places, consider where did this come from? Why did moral theology
end up in institutions? Non-academic and non-seminary
formation-type institutions? They ended up there in
many ways as a result of the Nazi pogrom against
the Jewish community, where medical doctors
were performing experimental procedures on the
adult and children prisoners. At the Nuremberg trials, this
history of experimentation, gross experimentation on
unconcerned participants, was exposed and
rejected outright. The Nuremberg
trials formed for us what has become known as
the Helsinki Agreement, that we will not allow medical
professionals to do this again. So it’s extended from
the medical professionals to all other kind of
professional organizations. These protocols
require assessment by persons who are
trained in moral theology or philosophical or
theological ethics. The reach of the
discipline reminds me of the first dictum
of what I like to think of as the first
dictum of morality, and that is that every
human act is a moral act. So everything that we
do has moral value, positive or negative. Very few things that we
do, have, are neutral. They either will have
positive or negative value in the scheme of
a moral evaluation or assessment of the action. So it’s fairly clear
that the discipline has plenty of material
about which to opine. The concerns of the 20th
century ethics committees’ needs will continue
and have continued into the 21st century. As the 21st century
unfolds, we find ourselves facing new
questions in search of answers that will protect
human flourishing more broadly. Perhaps you read the
op ed in today’s Globe by Bill McKibben
called “The Clock Keeps Ticking in the Fight
to Save the Planet.” Following the alarm
that Rachel Carson sounded in 1962 in her
text The Silent Spring, and perhaps even before that
with Teilhard de Chardin and his work in
cosmic consciousness, we could call it, I suppose. Environmental sustainability
is a critical concern in moral theology and
many other disciplines. As many members of the
guild are laypersons, the discipline has entered
also an open engagement with concerns regarding
family planning, intergenerational family care,
household budgeting matters, as well as concerns for
our sisters and brothers relegated to the
margins and/or oppressed as a result of inequality
and outright poverty. Similarly, scholars recognize
a positive and critical array of gender and sexual
diversity, as well as the intersections of race,
culture, and disability. Attention to global realities
have taken center stage in Catholic circles,
especially with the development of a global network of
scholars through the Catholic Theological Ethics
in the World Church. These initiatives
of CTEWC, for lack of spelling it out every time. These initiatives–
I lost myself. –of international
and regional meaning– the initiatives of
this organization of international and regional
meaning, scholarships, and a monthly newsletter,
are read by over 100 people, are filled with contributions
from new and emerging scholars, as well as scholars who have
been in the field for decades. For many of the people that
our students are reading are involved as well in
Catholic theological ethics. And our younger
scholars are involved in Catholic theological
Ethics in the World Church. Thus, while the contours of the
discipline have been enlarged in response to contemporary
needs and challenges, the sources coupled with
scientific and other disciplines’ specific data– again, this is the
intersectionality that’s coming up– remains stable. The tradition of moral
theology, the discipline of moral theology, I
believe, will always hold fast to the what is
often known as the Wesleyan Quadrilateral, that is
Scripture, tradition, reasoning about what needs
to be done, and experience. Thank you.>>DR. COLLEEN M.
GRIFFITH: Good evening. And it’s great to see so many
familiar faces out there. Thank you for coming. I’m going to make a practical
theological move right now. A very bodily-oriented one. Without leaving your spot in
place, could we just all stand? We’re a large panel, and we’ve
gone over 30 minutes so far. So let’s just stand and
stretch for a minute. Thank you. I’m very happy to speak this
evening about the standpoint of practical theology. You know, it’s a
younger discipline with respect to its
appearance in the academy. And yet practical
theology today stands as an academic discipline
with substantive international scope. It’s the focus of several
scholarly journals. It’s a growing choice of
study within university doctoral programs. And Catholic
practical theologians have become significant
voices within this field, making contributions from
European, Asian, African, Australian, North and
South American contexts. Practical theology– or PT,
as it’s referenced often– is an umbrella term
under which one finds a wide variety
of offerings: contextual theologies,
pastoral theologies, praxis-based theologies,
public theologies. Whatever the stripe,
practical theologians share in common some
core commitments that are evident
in the work being done by these theologians. Four of these major
commitments are, firstly, a commitment to the study
of the realm of practice. Personal and communal
practices of lived faith. Consideration of these
as theological carriers. For practical theologians,
the realm of practice is not that of
application of theory, but rather a bona fide
realm of knowing unto itself that becomes a very
important resource in the doing of theology. Practical theologians look
to the embodied practices of lived faith– those of individual persons
and communities of faith– alongside of texts, and
view these practices as part of the noetic content
of the Christian tradition, as resource material to
be drawn upon and studied. Second commitment of
practical theology. Practical theology stays keenly
aware of contextual dynamics in the doing of theology,
considering plural contexts in which faith gets practice. Paying attention to the
socio-ecclesial cultural standpoints of those engaged
in practices of faith and those of the
researchers, the theologian herself, himself. And to aspects of the
situatedness of praxis, including gender, race,
sexuality, class, power dynamics, geography,
landscape, et cetera. A third core commitment. Practical theology is
committed to interdisciplinary. It attempts to read and
describe and interpret the realm of practice,
all the while engaging central
Christian claims, and knows that this requires
thick description that is often served well by the incorporation
of an interpretive lens from a further discipline. Be that social science,
natural science, neuroscience, psychology, economics,
political science, not all of these, of course. But a further discipline
judiciously chosen for its help in interpreting more fully
the practice, the situation, the claim at hand, the people. Practical theologians see
benefit in boundary-crossing, in purposeful, interdisciplinary
zig-zagging, and do not favor what’s been named,
quote, “gated communities of discourse.” A fourth core commitment
of practical theologians. Practical theologians
do their theology in the service of life,
the Church, and the world. Practical theologians, keeping
the lives and struggles of real people in view,
bring ethical and spiritual imagination to their
work, and always have an expressed
emancipatory interest. There is what one
of my colleagues Bill Roozeboom likes to
call a liberated edge evident in the aims of
practical theologians. I like to say that practical
theologians are forever lobbyers with respect to
the work that they do. They seek more
than understanding. They wish to effect
specific change. Now in recent years, leading
to the place that we sit today, practical theologians
have worked hard to identify shared
core commitments operative in the discipline. In the next ten years,
in my humble view, practical theology will want
to be mindful of the following, and I have four points here. Firstly, having shown
a lot of leadership in establishing practice
as itself content-full and an important locus
of study, and having shown that the lived faith
experiences of persons and communities provide
important points of access to the “sensus fidei”
and the “sensus fidelium–” the sense for the
faith and people and the sense of the faithful. Practical theology in
these next ten years will want to focus closely
on hermeneutics guidelines governing the study of
the practices of faith. Now this work has already begun. It has to continue, and it
will be a helpful contribution to the theological
enterprise as a whole. A second thought. In recent years, the
dominant dialogue partner of practical theology
has been social science. Yes, psychology,
education– others as well. But I think that new avenues
of exploration in future years will most definitely
want to include interdisciplinary conversations
with the physical sciences, and very significantly
with the arts. I see in our group tonight our
wonderful colleague, Dr. Eileen Daily from Boston University. Thanks for joining
us, Eileen, who really is attended to practical
theology’s conversations with artists, and that kind of
dialogue has only just begun. It is a fertile area for growth. A third observation. Practical theology will need
to keep ever at the forefront, that it is a
theological discipline. Practical theology
remains theology, and not, for example,
sociology of religion. Theological interest and
theological methodology must be evident in practical
theology study of lived faith. And hopefully, theological
interest and method will be articulated by
increasingly diverse voices in this field. We see, for example, how the
entrance of women in theology continues to shape, shake,
and move theology forward. And a forethought. More and more, there is
cross-disciplinary evidence in PT, and we all look
forward to yet more of this. There are lots of fruitful
conversational exchanges and collaborations afoot with
other areas within theology, and more and more theologians
are speaking about themselves in hybrid terms. I’m a systematician who
embraces the methodology of practical theology. I’m a practical theologian who
resembles, in several ways, a moral theologian. I’m a religious
educator committed to practical theological
pedagogy, et cetera. Which leads to my final
point about the future of theological
education in general. The boundaries
that we have had– sometimes very hard
and fast boundaries– between the major
areas of theology have become much more
fluid in our time. And this is healthy,
holding the potential for more creative and
collaborative work, and hopefully an
end to hierarchical ordering of the various
areas that you find sometimes in theologates and in
theological education. Point of fact: interest
in real life situations and incorporation of facts on
the ground where people live must assume importance
for the whole of the theological enterprise. And answering to the three
publics identified by David Tracy– namely the academy,
the Church, and the world– is the job of all theology. Finally, interpreting
Christian faith in ways that are relevant
and meaningful today is really the
responsibility of each and every branch of theology. Thank you.>>DR. DOMINIC DOYLE:
Thank you, Jane. I’m going to begin with a
definition of systematics, and then on the basis of that
definition, state what I think is one of the main tasks for
systematics over the coming decade. And then conclude with a
few areas within systematics that Americans politely call
areas of growth, tension. So what is systematics? Systematics Is done by
hyper-organized grumpy Thomists detached from the real
world who think they have all the answ– oh, I’m sorry. I’m Colleen’s piece. Sorry. [laughter] Systematics is the study
of the central claims of the faith, the doctrines
as they relate to each other, and to other natural truths. And so systematics is about two
things: one, about identity, the central doctrines
of the faith; and two, about relevance, how
these doctrines relate to other disciplines,
science, economics, and so on. So on the basis of
that definition, we can see the two
central features, identity and relevance of belief. And I think systematics’
attempt to hold these together can address one of the
main challenges that will get probably
even more difficult over the coming decade. And that is polarization,
which is essentially when someone chooses
one of these poles at the expense of the other. For example, an exclusive
concern with identity makes someone who might
be a good conservative into a preservative. Put it in a jar. And it’s not that useful. No one can get at it when
it’s tightly closed in a jar. Or an exclusive
concern with relevance makes a progressive
Christian indistinguishable from their secular neighbor. And so what’s the point? The Church becomes an NCO
with incense, I think. So I think what systematics
should try and do– this is the ideal– is to show how tradition and
change are not opposites, but they’re closely related. And in fact, tradition
is really the best wisdom of the past answering the
most difficult questions of that day. So for tradition
to be alive, it has to be open to new questions. But for change to
be authentic, it has to be rooted
in the tradition. So I think this is the
task of systematics: not to fan the flames of
polarization of opposites, but to achieve some fusion
horizons, as Gadamer put it. As a direct result
of this awareness that tradition and
change are the rhythm of systematic inquiry, it
follows that systematicians will need to bone
up on their history and take some of
Brian’s classes. Because in a sense, ideas
aren’t really intelligible unless you see how
they develop over time. As Khaled Anatolios’s book on
the Christological doctrines, or Buckley’s on atheism,
or David Burrell on medieval interreligious
dialogue have shown, you only understand
an idea when it’s grasped in its development, just
as a person is only understood when you get their history. It’s like when I taught high
school, someone said to me, “When you meet the parents,
a lot slots into place.” [laughter] So now some growth areas. I think, like with Colleen,
I think interdisciplinary is going to be one of
the main areas of growth, because there are so
many rapid advances in other areas of
knowledge that challenge or can inform theology. I’ll give four examples. First is ecology. Laudato Si as an obvious example
that’s had enormous appeal. And this crisis, if there
are more decades to come, hopefully will show
us we have to rethink the notion of humanity’s
place in Creation. So that’s a lot of work
to be done in there. It’s inspiring to see
the papacy retrieve a sense of religious authority
that’s respected worldwide for its leadership. You even had all the leaders of
Exxon Mobil and all these oil magnates come and listen
to the pope talk on this. That’s a nice change of the
usual direction of lecturing. Second area is
evolutionary biology, which puts even more
pressure on the notion, maybe a fragile doctrine of
Original Sin, which one colleague of mine
described as “a doctrine under construction.” It’s hard to square evolution
and original sin, in some ways. And more positively,
evolutionary biology could give more evidence and precision
to Ren Girard’s flamboyant monomania about mimetic
desire and scapegoating, and all that kind of stuff. I think it gives a lot
of evidence and backing to Girard’s interesting
take on desire. Third area, neuroscience. Negatively, I think theologians
will have to try and respond to the Philistine
claims of reductionism that reduces the human
to mere brain functions. Semantically,
neuroscience can help us shift perhaps
one of our key terms in theological anthropology
from the soul to the self as we become more aware of
the inextricably bodily nature of human experience. And then positively,
I think neuroscience can provide a theory
of the neural mediation of religious experience. How the self that
we’ve become aware that has emerged in evolution is
capable of rational reflection and voluntary impulse control. That self, which is an
extraordinary achievement, in religious experience
can be taken offline. This is Patrick McNamara’s
account at Boston University. In that cessation of cognitive
certainty and voluntary control, we can search in these
intense religious experiences– through liturgy, prayer,
worship, meditation, and so on– we can search for an ideal self. A different self that’s
better than the one we have. And hopefully, we
can come back online in a more cooperative,
altruistic, pro-social self. It seems to me that
theories like this, the non-reductionist accounts
of neuroscience and religious experience, can provide
a cross-cultural point of comparison between
different religious traditions that can inform the project
of comparative theology. Perhaps another
area, if we had time, I figure I could
talk about that. But in any case, there are
all these different areas of knowledge. But we should– I think
systematic theology wants to say that
however much we focus on this or that area,
this regional anthropology, this sectional interest,
it’s important, despite the intellectual
fashion industry, to remember that Christianity
does have a grand narrative. And any withdrawal
into this or that area is for the sake of return. And we should attempt to express
the unity of human knowledge. How it is that what we learn
in politics or economics or philosophy or literature or
natural sciences or history– they all together grow from
the same theological stem, and that they can all be
bearers of the Good News. And that’s the nature
of the Good News itself: that nothing is left untouched. The fourth area
is ecclesiology– what it means to be Church. How does grace look like when
it’s experienced together? It’s given by a group, and it’s
shared and grows as a group. And it seems to me this
area of ecclesiology is perhaps the biggest
growth area and also the most acute tension
within systematics. First off is the
obvious issue of what is the social context in which
the Church tries to preach and even tries to exist? And I think the more
we understand that, the more we can respond to
the privatization of faith. The, “I’m spiritual,
not religious,” or, “I don’t like
organized religion,” which, as someone quipped, “do
you want disorganized religion? And if the Church is
a hospital, would you want a disorganized hospital?” So what are the
value and the merits of the organization, the
institutional presence of religion? But in order to provide
that understanding, systematics will have to find
a new handmaid, as it were, of theology. Not just philosophy, but
sociology, as Colleen was saying. Or even better, culture. That is, the meaning
dimension of social groups. This greater
sociological awareness will address what I think
is one of the greatest problems in Catholic theology,
in the Catholic Church, is how to get the message out. It seems to me that the Catholic
tradition has enormous depth and richness in its tradition. The society has enormous
demand, as you– the lack of meaning
and hope and so on. But how do we get supply
and demand to intersect? We’re not very good at
it, is my impression. And I know I have
Monsignor Sheehan here. I listened to your
homilies in Harvard in the basement of the church,
and you could hear a pin drop, because people were
so hungry for it and you communicated
it so effectively. And we’re not always
successful at that, I think would be fair to say. So supply and demand. How do we make that intersect? And I think that
problem is really just a symptom of a
much deeper problem, and that is the mismatch between
the structure of the Church, on the one hand. It’s a pyramid. It has, one might say, not much
transparency or accountability. It’s a broadcast model
based on authority. So there’s a contradiction
between the structure of the Church on the one hand,
and the reality of the culture on the other, especially in
light of a new social media, which is not just a
tool we use, but that forms our consciousness
in a way that it’s flat structure, it’s user-generated
and shared content. It’s not a broadcast model. It’s a network model based on
authenticity, not authority. “The survival of the wittiest,”
as one of my students put it in his presentation. And this task, how
do we address– how do we, a) be
honest and bring to light this contradiction? And then how do we address it? I think there are many tools
that practical theologians can help us address that issue. My time is up. Thank you for your attention. [applause]>>DR. REGAN: So questions. Yes, Theresa.>>DR. THERESA O’KEEFE: Thanks. This is really interesting. Thank you, Colleen, for
getting us to stand up. [laughing] I appreciate
that all of you spoke within your disciplines. And perhaps that
was the expectation. But when I was
thinking about this, I was thinking about
the School itself. And so the only one who spoke to
the student audience was Brian. You spoke a little bit
about the kind of background we are coming to expect. But anyone have thoughts
on what you imagine theological education will
look like in ten years time, given where we are now?>>DR. REGAN: I think the
answer is no, we don’t. [laughter] Please, somebody. Colleen, go ahead.>>DR. GRIFFITH: Okay, sure,
so it’s a great question. One of the things that I
do see is this fluidity with respect to the
various areas that are named as specific,
distinct areas in theology. A lot more crossing of those
boundaries, which I do think is healthy. But I think
theological education is going to be
happening in places other than just the academy. We’d love to see theological
education happening more in our parishes
and congregations in a more intentional way. I’m also imagining that
theologians will also push themselves to
enter into realms that are less familiar to them
outside of the academy, and do things like blog,
et cetera, with respect to their theology
and their message. So I sense that the contexts
in which theological education will happen will not be limited
simply to the university.>>DR. IOZZIO: Yes. Thanks for the question. Colleen mentioned blog. There is a Catholic
moral theology blog that was started probably– well, at least five years ago. Maybe longer than that. I don’t frequent the blog. It’s clearly an initiative of
younger scholars in the field. So what’s happening
in the blogosphere are conversations that
some of us older folks are not engaged with, although
they are conversations and concerns that
we have experienced in what is common
to our experience face-to-face with persons who
are questioning what we have written, or what we are
predicting for the future, or how we have handled
a particular situation. What I see in terms of the
future, similar to what Brian was saying,
that our students are different than my generation. Clearly; and it’s
curious to see. I don’t consider
myself old, but it’s curious to see that over the
30 years of my academic career, the changes in the
student population, what the students come
with, the questions that the students ask. And the resources that an
attentive faculty member is going to access in
order to respond ever more effectively to that
student or those students so they’re not isolated
concerns among them. So it’s a challenge to keep
on top of the discipline. So I have to be
reading in both genres. I have to be reading
in the tradition, because there are certain things
that qualify as moral theology. There are certain texts
that you must at least have awareness of, if
not have read some of it. You would not have a biblicist
never referring to the Bible and expecting students
to read the Bible. Same thing in moral theology. There are some texts that are
the critical sources: Aquinas, Bonaventure from
the medieval period. Clearly there are things earlier
in the Patristic literature that can be mined. There’s the Didache. There’s all these sorts of
texts from the tradition, as well as what’s happened
in the 20th century as I’ve had spent time
rehearsing in my earlier comments. So the students are somewhat
reluctant to want to go there. And to learn the way of
reaching the modern student– the contemporary
student, I should say– is challenging for us. So the next generation of
education and moral theology is going to be ever more adept
at communications technologies, as well as presenting
material in ways that will invite
the student to go to the sources in
their original form.>>DR. DOYLE: I’d just
like to ask Theresa, you teach youth
and young adults. What are your thoughts? What do you think
the kind of student will be in the next ten years,
over the next ten years? [inaudible] [laughter]>>PARTICIPANT: As I I
listen to you all talk, you identified my problem, which
is that until we find a mental framework and a vocabulary–>>DR. REGAN: Wait for the mic.>>PARTICIPANT:–in which
to frame the message. We have a message. We have an incredibly
valuable message. We have a huge, rich tradition. But we have a mental
mindset in our society among not just our listeners,
but our people in general– and they’re Catholics– that
doesn’t see the need for it. I preach every Sunday to an
increasingly small population. I don’t think it’s
entirely my experience, but I do think that the need to
identify the point of contact between the contemporary
mindset, which goes back to theology and
all the rest of it, and sociology and
the message that we have is the critical task of
theology in the next 10 years. If we don’t do it, we’ll
be preaching tradition, but to people who don’t have
the slightest interest in it. And I worry about that
hugely, both as a priest and as a preacher. Not to prolong this, but
an organization of which I serve as a chaplain
was talking about how we need to reorganize the Church. Well, I suppose we do. But I said, “Well,
if we reorganize every church in the
world but it doesn’t have a message that
people want to hear, that people resonate with,
it’ll just be a museum.” So I really think you people– I’m out of it now– but I think you people have
an enormous task ahead of you and if we don’t get on with it,
the benches will keep emptying and the people will
keep being indifferent. Ten years ago, we had
O’Flaherty give a paper in this room on
religious indifference. He was a religious sociologist. And it never got published,
he died some years ago. And it was critical,
really, to analyzing the contemporary mindset. I keep thinking of it as I
listened to you talk today. But anyway, I hope
that was some answer. I didn’t expect to
be part of the panel.>>DR. REGAN: Pick back up
with Theresa for a minute. Great.>>DR. O’KEEFE: I think
one of the questions that has to be dealt with is, who
funds theological education? Because historically,
going back long enough, those who are in
theological education were in seminary settings
or houses of formation, and nobody outside that. Now the majority
of the student body are laypeople who are
funding their education either on their own dime or at
the generosity of a university like Boston College. And we have to
kind of think about who do we invest
in order to create a leadership within the Church? And so I think the funding of– well, education more broadly,
but theological education I think is going to somehow
be part of the picture. So I’m focusing less on
the student in the sense that you guys were asking. I’m focusing more on who
can actually afford to come? And how do we create
mechanisms by which it’s possible for
people who have an inclination, a proclivity
for this, are able to come?>>DR. REGAN: Does
anyone want to comment on either of those two–
on Theresa’s comments?>>FR. DUNKLE: I would just point out
that that’s especially relevant in this area, where we’ve
seen two divinity schools or theologates more or less– I mean, not close-close,
but really downsize. And we see theology departments
across the country shrinking, reflecting demographics and
liberal arts, broadly speaking. So I think that’s a very,
very valid question. And we can sometimes
sort of ignore it in fantasizing about the
bright future or all the things that we are going to get done. And those real questions
are very important.>>DR. REGAN: I think that
also raises the question that you had raised about
who are we preparing people to be teaching to? Who are we preparing
the theologians to be ministering to? And what that–
how we present it. Any comments?>>DR. DOYLE: Well, I
was going to ask you, Jane, about your online. Well, I mean, you reach
people in their contexts. In their concrete situation. You can reach so
many more people. Maybe we just put
Michael Himes on a video, and cut out the
middle people like us, and have a few doctoral
students give grades. I mean, seriously. Online.>>DR. REGAN: Yeah. I do think to some
extent that online– particularly as you had said,
moving it out of the academy and into other settings, I
think the online work is often a context in which that’s done
and can be done effectively. So yeah, I think
that is one of them. Other questions? Yes. Barb.>>SR. BARBARA
QUINN, RSCJ: Thanks. Thanks so much
for your comments. It was really interesting. My question is, where within
the train of theological studies does the living tradition
and academic discipline of spirituality fit in? Especially because
I think that’s often the doorway through which
people are attracted to go in to understand
more deeply the tradition of our faith. So where does it fit explicitly?>>DR. GRIFFITH:
So I was actually going to mention the importance
of the twinning of theology and spirituality, but I thought
I’d be speaking too much. Here we are back again. But people have definite hungers
of heart, and that’s eternal. The hungers of the human
heart are very real. And for as long as theology
is communication of doctrines without any sense
of the practices that gave rise to doctrines–
the early Christians were interested in a
lived way of faith. And that gave rise to a
lot of thorny questions, and yes, Christological
controversies and all the rest. But practices
preceded doctrines. And doctrines, actually,
the best of them will always point in the
direction of practice as well. So in theological
education, I think more incorporation of
spiritual practice alongside of the doctrines of
faith is absolutely essential in terms of addressing
people’s real hungers.>>DR. DAVIS: I find
in biblical studies, the challenge I face most often,
and especially the intro class, is students are afraid to
engage in critical analysis of the Bible because they’re
afraid it might do some harm or it will be irreverent to
deal with the Bible in this way. And so I find a lot of my own
kind of pastoral sensibility coming through in
class in wanting to preserve for students a sense
of reverence for Scripture, but also being able
to hold that together with a critical
analysis of Scripture. And so I think
getting students to, even as we’re
analyzing Scripture with critical
methodologies, to always be maintaining a sense of
reverence for Scripture as the Word of God. And also not maintaining a
sort of spiritual mindset with Scripture, even
as we’re engaging in this critical analysis.>>DR. REGAN: Mary Jo, do
you want to comment on that?>>DR. IOZZIO: So in
just the past two years, I’ve begun the
practice of starting each class with a prayer. I’m not the one to
initiate the prayer. I set up a schedule and the
students sign up for a day, and they will offer a prayer
before we begin the class. And they can have
the prayer being something that is a prayer
that everyone knows. Or could be a meditation. It could be a passage
from Scripture. It very often has
turned into being a response to something that’s
happening, contemporaneously. And in fact, the reason
that I started this practice was the result of the horrible,
violent incidents of racism in the United States
over the past two years that have been broadcast widely
the past two and three years. And I brought that
to class, and then I asked the students to bring
their concerns to class. Now, it’s moral theology. If we’re not talking about
what’s happening now, we’re missing the
purpose of learning how to apply the discipline
of moral theology to critical subject
matter to understand, what’s happening here? What can I do in
response to this or that? Good thing or a bad thing. It’s not always the
bad thing, fortunately. It’s not always a horror. It could be the first day
of spring, for example. But it’s always the
question of, moral theology is not this dead discipline. It’s something that is
responsive to what’s happening in real people’s real lives. And to bring a theological
reflection to that is the way that, at least
in the past three years, I have been very conscious
and deliberate about inviting the students to think
more deliberately through a theological lens about
what’s going on in our world. Thank you.>>FR. DUNKLE: To address that
question concretely, I think maybe in
ten years from now, the biggest reflection will be
on the success of our recently begun spirituality program. So Colleen could speak
directly to that. And I think one of the struggles
we’ve had as a faculty is determining not so much
what counts as spirituality, but what doesn’t. Because it so much informs,
I think, what we do. And obviously ancient Aramaic
isn’t going to get you credit. But nevertheless,
maybe it should. [laughter] But it does show the kind
of pervasive presence, to use a clumsy,
maybe even a pun, of the Spirit in everything
we’re doing with spirituality.>>DR. REGAN: Who has a question? Yep. Tom in the back.>>DR. THOMAS GROOME: I want
to go back for a moment to the comments the father
here in the front row made– the challenge of effectively
representing our faith into a contemporary
consciousness. Which, of course,
basically proves the point that the most important
subdiscipline of theology is religious education. Which, this is not a
self-serving comment, clearly. [laughter] But unless we can
communicate it effectively, obviously, what good
is our theology? But I want to go
back to, I think it was Dominic’s, if I
understand him correctly, his closing comments. Which in a sense, implied that
this rich faith that we have that the world is
desperately in need of, that we have a structure, we
have an ecclesial structure that is no longer capable
of communicating it effectively or credibly and
into the present situation. And where do we go with that? In many ways, it’s the
last surviving monarchy in the Western world. The inadequacy, I think,
of the Church’s structures to address the clergy
sex abuse problem has, in a sense, writ
large the ineptitude and the ineffectiveness
of the structures at this point in time. Structures that may have served
well at another time and place, but are not serving as well now. Where do we go with that? How do we attempt
to reform that? I’d love to hear
the panel’s comment.>>DR. REGAN: So who’d
like to start that one?>>DR. DOYLE: I mean,
our previous boss Mark Massa, in his inaugural
job talk lecture, talked about the two
types of religion that thrive, in America, at least. And that’s either the Mormons
or the bricks-and-mortar Catholicism of the
ghetto where you went to school: the Catholic
school with Catholic neighbors, and married a Catholic, and sent
your kids to Catholic school. And those sociological
conditions don’t exist anymore. The Mormons might have
them, but we don’t. The only other model that is
actually increasing in numbers are the evangelicals, whereas
this low, flat structure, entrepreneurial spirit,
very grounded in the Bible, and it has its appeal
of authenticity, because it’s not receiving
orders, or, you know. So that evangelical
model he suggested tends to be nurtured
best in religious orders, in terms of that
charism of the founder. That was his response
as someone who studied a lot of sociology of religion. So I don’t have
any answers, but I think a Lutheran would
say the close proximity to the study of the
Bible, and being open to new forms that hadn’t
emerged, hadn’t thought could emerge, as being
open to surprises, I think would be one example. I think there is difficulty in– I think there are so many great
things about the tradition of the past. I mean, you know from your
upbringing in Ireland, and I think of my father and
his upbringing in Ireland. There was a real
solidity and presence. It’s like James
Joyce in Dubliners. On a Sunday morning
going to church saying, “Here comes everyone. And there was just a sense of
this belonging, which I think a previous generation had. And those conditions
don’t exist anymore. So whatever is to come is
going to be quite different. And I don’t think we
can necessarily predict in advance what that will be. But we can set in
place procedures for discerning
what that will be. And I think the
spiritual encounter, the spiritual
reading of the Bible will be at the heart of
that renewal, whatever form it may take.>>DR. GRIFFITH: Spirit.>>DR. REGAN: Okay. I think you had your hand up. And then one more. [inaudible], go ahead.>>PARTICIPANT: Thanks, everyone. I wondered about the role
of continuing education. We’re all here tonight to try
and learn more about a field that we’re already in. And I wonder, the role of
professional development, of practitioners
learning to get better at their practice, teachers
learning to get better at their practice. If you could speak at all
about how we might think more about continuing our own
education as we move forward, and how that might keep
not just the boat afloat, but learn how to sail
a little bit better?>>DR. REGAN: Shall
I go ahead and– I’ll take a– as director
of Continuing Education, I probably should. I think it’s one of the
most exciting aspects of theological education. And that the role of how– that’s one of the ways I think
that the School of Theology and Ministry will
continue to grow, is in how we reach out
beyond the walls of the STM. And one of the ways we do
that is through our Continuing Education, through the
department and the work that we do. These gatherings,
which every year, we have thousands of
people participating in these kinds of events. And the Encore that I announce
every, at every event, those are really
well-used videos. They get a good
deal of circulation. Google Analytics indicates that
their usage is much stronger than I thought they were. And I think that more
and more, needing to provide the
opportunity for people to both to learn
about their faith, but more importantly
from my perspective to talk about their faith
with other educated adults, or with other seeking
adults, is a key aspect that needs to take place
that is sorely lacking in our Church in many ways. That the opportunity of people
to gather to reflect together on what it means to live as a
Christian in the world today is crucial, whether their
work is specifically in church-related work or not. That all these
disciplines need to be, and can be, and are translated
into, made accessible. Not dumbed down, but simply
made accessible to people who don’t come with master’s
degrees or advanced degrees. So I do think it’s a real value. I think particularly,
and this is– I think more and more,
we need to figure out how to reach out
to the people who are teaching in our
colleges and high schools, particularly in our high
schools and grammar schools, as well as our ministers
and our parishes. That they continue as well to
be nourished by the tradition, because I think that’s often
a lacuna in our offerings.>>DR. DAVIS: And
I think also, we had some conversation
in our faculty meeting about
certificate programs and the development of
certificate programs. Not just at our School, but
at the University at large. And so I think people at
our School in the University are thinking creatively
about how to package courses in non-degree ways that can be
taken by folks before a degree, during a degree, or
after a degree as part of ongoing education. And what’s especially
exciting about that I think, is a lot of these
certificate programs have an interdisciplinary
thrust to them. So it’s not just theology,
but Colleen and I just had a meeting a few weeks
ago with a faculty member from women and gender studies
about a certificate program that could be developed
in that direction. So I think there is stuff
coming down the pipeline that would be exciting in that area.>>DR. GRIFFITH: And
the STM is offering a 18-credit freestanding
Certificate in Spirituality Studies which begins next year. And we’re hoping
that that attracts lots of folks who want to move
more deeply into their faith.>>DR. REGAN: Okay. I’m aware of time. And we begin on time
and end on time. So I’m aware of our time. First of all, thank you
very much to the panelists for their comments. [applause] [music playing]

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