Back to school: class spotlight

It is hard to believe it is mid-August already! In just a couple of weeks, Urbana Seminary’s fall classes will begin. With that in mind, we have asked three of our professors to say something about a class they are offering this semester:

First, Dr. Mike McQueen explains his favorite class: “Ministry and Evangelism in Cultural Context (MECC) is the class I most like to teach for two reasons. First its content is designed to help students think through ministry in the real, changing and frustrating world in which we find ourselves. Truth meets postmodernism, not only in the context of daily witness, worship, preaching and counseling, but also in work, entertainment, sex, and politics. Second this class is primarily oriented toward discussion. Not just readings, but also TV, movies, songs and jokes provide the basis for critique of both culture and church. This course is by far the most popular among students of the courses I teach.”

Second, Dr. Kenneth Cuffey explains why everyone should take a perennially popular class: “There’s Adam and Eve, there’s Abraham and Moses. Don’t forget David, Solomon, and Isaiah. Abraham lived in tents and lied about his wife. Moses talked to bushes, went through the Red Sea, and got the law from God. David killed Goliath, along with lots of others, and got a crown. Solomon was one wise fellow, but overwhelmed by too many wives (as in 1000). Isaiah spoke for God. So the Old Testament is a long string of exciting stories, right? All having nothing to do with each other? Not so! No way! The Old Testament tells a story. It fits together, it flows along, it starts in the beginning and goes somewhere. What? How? Old Testament Survey is designed to be a life-changing experience, as you get a feel for the glue that connects the seemingly separate stories of the OT one with the other. Do you know where God is heading in the story of the Old Testament? Do you know what that story has to do with you in 2014 in Illinois? Old Testament Survey is a great place to discover–about God, about how to read the Bible, and about what holds it all together. Solid. Thought-provoking. Down to earth and practical for now.”

Finally, we are introducing an exciting new class this semester:

Pilgrimage: A Prominent Theme in Celtic Christian Spirituality
Peter D. Spychalla, Ph.D., Assistant Professor of New Testament & Spiritual Formation

Peregrinatio, or pilgrimage, is an important biblical theme expressed prominently and creatively in the piety of Christians through the centuries living in Celtic lands—modern-day Ireland, Scotland, Wales, Cornwall, and Brittany. In the New Testament, believers are exiles (1 Peter 1:1) whose true citizenship is in heaven (Philippians 3:20). They seek their true heavenly homeland (Hebrews 11:13–16), following their Lord and Savior, Jesus, who had no earthly place to lay his head (Matthew 8:20). Celtic believers sought to be “pilgrims for Christ”—some sailing away to new lands for God’s purposes while others separated themselves from earthly distractions in radical devotion to Christ. Celtic hagiography recounts missionary endeavors and fantastical seafaring voyages of Saint Patrick, Saint Columba, Saint Columbanus, Saint Brendan the Navigator, Saint Aidan of Lindisfarne, and others. The motif of the spiritual life as a journey with the Trinity as one’s companion is woven like a Celtic knot throughout hymns, songs, and poems found in Celtic Christian tradition. As an Irish hymn expresses, “Alone with none but Thee, my God, I journey on my way; what need I fear, when Thou are near, O King of night and day?”
We invite you to join this pilgrimage with us this fall at Urbana Theological Seminary as we study this theme and others in the course “Celtic Christian Spirituality.”

These three classes offer great adventures and learning experiences this fall that you will not want to miss out on!