Carissa Zaffiro | Contributor
Taylor students take pride in their cross-cultural and overseas experiences. While enrolled in the university, one can participate in experiences such as Lighthouse and Spring Break Missions that introduce the student to cultural and religious systems different from their own. In fact, Taylor has frequently been ranked by organizations like Open Doors as the top ten universities for students participating in programs abroad.
But while students travel, how much are they really learning about the theological systems and religions of the world? A class at Taylor called Global theology - or REL350 - is one way I was able as a student to learn about multiple different countries, religions, and systems of theology without ever leaving the cornfields of Indiana.
"It offers students a rare chance to critically and constructively engage with non-Western biblical/theological ideas in a discussion-based format. This is excellent preparation for working alongside believers from many cultures in the church's diverse future," Jenny Collins, director of the Applied Missions minor and former director of Lighthouse programs, said as she recommended the course
Global theology is unique in that every week the student will be studying a different topic of theology - soteriology, eschatology, pneumatology etc. - in the context of a different culture and religion. For example, one of my favorite days in class was entitled, "Christology in Islam" and had the subheading, "Is the God of Abraham the God of Muhammed?" Each class period followed suit until the student found themselves deeply versed in theological and practical knowledge of religions and cultures from all around the world.
Not only are students given quality course content, but the class is almost entirely discussion-based, allowing students to work through difficult topics and learn with and from one another.
"It fosters priceless dialog with international Christians whose wise insights shed fresh light on God's work in our world." Edward Meadors, associate professor of biblical studies and teacher of the course, said. "I love teaching the course for its content but even more for its reminder of the joy that is ours as members of the global body of Christ."
What Student Are Saying:
"As the center of Christianity moves out of the West, Global Theology helped my western mind peek into other cultures, discovering how we each grapple with the different facets of our Creator." - Abby Gruendyke, junior
"The Church worldwide is a beautiful display of God's work in and through humanity. The conversations begun in the Global Theology course will continue to inform my understanding of our faith for the rest of my life." - Jon Kelley, junior
"As I surveyed the personalities and practices of the world, identifying other forms of prayer, teaching, and worship, my heart expanded for others and God revealed Himself to be lovelier, more gracious, wiser and showed me that, in His infinite ways, He can do more than just handle the myriad of worshipful practices and postures that the world offers Him." - Everett Pollard, alum
"Global theology gives a unique perspective on globalization and its relationship to religion across the world." - Robert Chesboro, senior