Saturday, May 26, 2012

Theology at St Olaf College

St. Olaf College General Education Curriculum
Biblical and Theological Studies–Theology (BTS-T) Requirement

A course on Christian theology that acquaints students with ongoing efforts to understand the essential content of Christian belief in a critical and coherent manner, and that engages students in theological reflection.

Intended learning outcomes:

Students will demonstrate:

1. knowledge about Christian teachings, including knowledge of their historical development, their complexity and variety, and their coherence.

2. skill in reading and interpreting theological texts.

3. ability to evaluate the truth and meaning of their own and others’ theological positions.

4. ability to apply theological knowledge and skills to issues of historical, contemporary, or personal significance.

Course guidelines with Curriculum Committee comments:

1. The principal focus of these courses must be Christian theology, understood as critical and normative reflection on Christian teachings.

Comment: While these courses may also consider other traditions or disciplines in relation to theology, Christian theology must be the principal focus. Theology is understood as “critical and normative reflection.” Theology is critical in that Christian discourse about God and Christ claims to be meaningful and true. Hence these courses must explore criteria of meaning and truth, and address such questions as, How, if at all, are Christian teachings about God and Christ meaningful? Theology is normative in that it intends to shape Christian discourse about God and Christ. Hence these courses must address such questions as, What kinds of claims about God and Christ are consistent with Christian teachings?

2. Courses must consider substantial examples of historical or contemporary theological reflection, and attend to the context, the variety, and the coherence of the theological claims they advance.

Comment: Christian theology is a temporally extended and multi-cultural
discussion about Christian teachings concerning God and Christ. Courses
satisfying this requirement must introduce students into this discussion by
presentation of historical or contemporary movements or figures. Where
appropriate, this may also involve considerations of critics of Christianity,
minority Christian traditions, other religious traditions, or theological
interaction with non-theological disciplines.

3. Courses must include explicit attention to Christian teachings about God and
Jesus Christ; courses may include attention to significant aspects of other central
teachings as appropriate to specific course goals.

Comment: Although these courses must include substantial attention to
Christian teachings about God and Christ, they need not be exclusively
concerned with them. They may also include the relation of these teachings to
other Christian teachings about, for example, creation, sin, anthropology,
ecclesiology, eschatology, and more. They may consider other aspects of
Christianity such as religious practice, institutions, or ritual. They may include
comparisons of Christian teachings with those of other religions.

4. Courses must provide opportunities for students to engage in explicitly
theological reflection, and to apply their theological knowledge to matters of
historical, contemporary, or personal significance.

Comment: Students in courses meeting this requirement will both acquire
knowledge of Christian theology and participate actively in theological
discussion, through informed engagement with a variety of theological

Monday, May 7, 2012

Except When It Doesn’t

1.  Theology matters a lot.  Except when it doesn’t.

2.  Seeking the truth is hopeless.  Except when it isn’t.

3.  Giving free gifts is impossible.  Except when they appear.

4.  God can’t be spoken about.  Except when God speaks.

5.  We have always been modern.  Except when we weren’t.

6.  Life is more fragmented.  Except when it fits.

7.  Popular culture is irrelevant.  Except when it’s all we got.

8.  No one can understand another.  Except when you read this.

9.  Everyone is fake.  Except when you are authentically fake.

10.  We are in a serious crisis.  Except when we aren’t.