Online Courses

Current School Year

Fall 2015

Forgiveness & Moral Repair

In this semester-long, on-line, three-unit class we will meet people from all over the world, from a variety of religious and cultural traditions, who have practiced forgiveness as a means of healing, peace and liberation. Through readings, films, and spiritual practice exercises we will develop interpersonal and pastoral skills in forgiveness. We will work on strengthening our “forgiveness muscles” and support others in doing so as well. We will also explore “the other side of forgiveness”: how we individually and collectively might apologize, repent and atone after wrong-doing. This class will be experiential, drawing on personal narratives, neuroscience, psychology, practical theology and the wisdom and practices of Judaism, Christianity, Islam and Buddhism.


Session

Fall 2015


Dates

9/8/15 – 12/18/15


Instructors


Course Type

Online


Location

Online


Course ID

PS 8430


Pin Required

Yes


Download

Global Religious Traditions

This course will examine the major global religions from a cross-cultural, multi-religious perspective. Taking into consideration that a course that explores many religions cannot be comprehensive, we will consider the religions from a thematic perspective by analyzing fundamental beliefs and practices in the various religious traditions. In addition, we will also examine assumptions underlying the discipline of religious studies. Students will engage through weekly readings and forum discussion, as well as other interactive learning activities, as part of the online learning community. Students of all faiths and backgrounds are invited and encouraged to enroll. Priority given to off-campus SKSM students. [PIN required; 20 max enrollment. Auditors excluded]

The online education format brings with it both benefits and challenges. On the one hand, it provides greater flexibility and the opportunity for all of us to gather together in collaborative learning—no matter where we are in the world. On the other hand, certain limitations can sometimes render the format less interactive than a traditional in-person course. Taking all of this into consideration, and in the hopes of providing a lively learning experience, this course has been designed to provide as much quality interaction as possible—both with the material and with the class community. The course material will include images, video clips, and music relevant to the faith traditions we will be studying, along with the textual readings. In addition, collaborative dialogue with classmates (weekly forum postings as well as “live” discussion via Skype, phone, etc.) will hopefully create a dynamic and stimulating learning environment where we can all engage in thoughtful discussion and reflection.


Session

Fall 2015


Dates

9/8/15 – 12/18/15


Instructors


Course Type

Online


Location

Online


Course ID

HR-8401


Pin Required

Yes


Download

Historical Jesus – Then & Now

This course provides a general introduction through the Quest of the Historical Jesus to the life and activity of the first century revolutionary prophet. Who was Jesus before he became an object of belief and worship? Why did his movement happen right there and then? What was the “good news” that turned the ancient world upside down?

We will consider the best available canonical as well as non-canonical literary and other evidences, will examine assumptions underlying the discipline (politics of interpretation), discuss methodologies and the limits of the historical investigation and also consider and evaluate several fascinating scholarly reconstructions. We will keep a heavy emphasis on the social sciences in this class, which will help us understand how Jesus himself was embedded in a specific history and culture, and how he and his counter cultural message are relevant today in a postcolonial setting.


Session

Fall 2015


Dates

9/8/15 – 12/18/15


Course Type

Online


Location

Online


Course ID

NT 8113


Pin Required

Yes


Units

3


Download

Introduction to Counter Oppressive Sociologies

Rich sociological traditions offer tools and knowledge for dismantling systems of oppression, creating social change, and building just faith communities. This course offers an introduction to the critical analysis of social behavior, organization, and institutions for faith leaders and religion scholars. Students engage foundational texts and empirical research relevant to human experience as well as religious tradition, in order to develop theoretical and substantive bodies of knowledge as well as interpretive skills. Focus areas include feminist theory, affect, postcolonial thought, biopower, social movements, and critical race theories, among others. In each weekly unit, central questions address the nature of human action; the role of State power and ideology; notions of self, “other,” and agency; and systemic oppression and social change. The course requires weekly on-line discussion and frequent live video sessions. Students complete a final project by producing a photo essay as part of an online gallery and symposium.


Session

Fall 2015


Dates

9/8/15 – 12/18/15


Instructors


Course Type

Online


Location

Online


Course ID

RS 8450


Pin Required

Yes


Units

3


Download

Mental Disorders and Oppression in the US

This anti-oppression course is designed for those of us who are called to be with people who live with mental disorders. We will spend the semester together exploring the complex world of mental “illness” in the US (although we will venture abroad just a little bit). We will companion each other through the weeks – these are emotionally difficult topics, and part of what we will do in this class is support each other as we scrutinize the ways in which our culture treats people who have been given the label of “mentally ill.”

Along the way, we will gain an understanding of the recently released new DSM-5 – and the implications of the new definitions of what behavior is, and isn’t, considered pathological. We will look at intersections of oppression, using race/ethnicity; class; age; gender; institutional power as the anti-oppression framework to examine cultural definitions and treatments of people who live with “mental disorders.” We will take specific issues (e.g. therapies; treatments; pharmaceuticals; criminal justice; mental health policies; children; youth; veterans) to examine the intersections. And we will also look for hope – making sure to find positive examples wherever and whenever possible.


Session

Fall 2015


Dates

9/8/15 – 12/18/15


Course Type

Online


Location

Online


Course ID

CEPS-8499


Pin Required

Yes


Download

Mysticism and Social Change

This course will explore the powerful synergy between mystic spirituality and social activism. Martin Luther King Jr. wrote, “Only through an inner spiritual transformation do we gain the strength to fight vigorously the evils of the world in a humble and loving spirit.” In the urgent and troubling context of current world events, we will look to the example of “mystic-°©‐activists” from diverse cultures and faith traditions for insight and inspiration. Readings and multimedia materials will include Buddhist, Christian, Hindu, Jewish, Muslim, and Indigenous sources.

The model of “mystic-°©‐activism” refers those individuals (whether self-°©‐identified as mystics or not) whose recognition of the unity of all life, and whose love for the Divine in all creation, compelled and sustained their work of peace and justice-°©‐making. Online class discussions will identify key principles, consider areas of common ground and uniqueness among those studied, and students will be encouraged to incorporate any practices and perspectives that may enrich their own lifework. The ethical implications of the mystic experience and worldview will be a focus throughout.

All of us who work and serve and struggle in the world require a regular discipline of, as Howard Thurman put it, “watering our roots” to replenish the inner spirit. Through a holistic approach of both heart and head, we will engage specific practices to nourish and sustain an ongoing commitment to anti-°©‐oppression work and ministerial service.


Session

Fall 2015


Dates

9/8/15 – 12/18/15


Instructors


Course Type

Online


Location

Online


Course ID

RSSP-8410


Pin Required

Yes


Units

3


Download

SKSM and Institute of Buddhist Studies: Our Co-Sponsored Courses Fall 2015

During Fall 2015, the Institute of Buddhist Studies will offer the following courses. Please note ~ we participate in the same GTU registration periods. To register for an IBS course, follow the same instructions as registering for a Starr King course. See How to Register. Most, but not all, IBS courses do not require a PIN, so pay close attention when registering. View IBS Fall 2015  Course listings, including:

  • HRPH-8455 Topics in Japanese Buddhist Thought: Women, Family, Dharma
  • HRHS-8307 Premodern Shin Buddhist History

Again, the Institute of Buddhist Studies and Starr King School have different requirements for registration. For example, SKSM does not accept auditors. Although sponsored by SKSM, IBS courses follow IBS rules. Please check course descriptions carefully before registering.


Session

Fall 2015


Dates

9/8/15 – 12/18/15


Instructors

TBD


Course Type

Online


Location

No Location


Pin Required

TBD

Sustainability and Resilience Practices for Spiritual Leaders

How do those called to bless the world – to engage with the suffering and healing of others, and of the planet – ground and sustain themselves? Students will link theory, practice, and personal experience to develop their personal theologies for sustainable, resilient leadership – and learn practical tools to serve their vocations “for the long haul”. Together, we will explore concepts including compassion fatigue, measuring emotional and spiritual health, vocational burnout, trauma stewardship, boundary setting, and care for self and community. Participants will also explore how to positively influence organizational culture and build healthy, sustainable congregations and other organizations. This interactive, multi-faceted course combines multimedia, readings, class discussion, a praxis (action/reflection) component, and more, and is open to all interested in spiritual leadership for social change.


Session

Fall 2015


Dates

9/8/15 – 12/18/15


Course Type

Online


Location

Online


Course ID

RSFT-8416


Pin Required

Yes


Units

3


Download

Spring 2016

Aging Issues & Ministry

This course can be taken alone, but it is also the second half of a winter semester intensive course. It is suitable for students interested in chaplaincy, pastoral and congregational ministry, as well as for students interested in broader sociological perspectives. We will share our attention between focused pastoral and broader societal aspects of aging. Our culture encourages us to understand aging-related issues only as a person’s individual problems and ignore systems of privilege and difference. These misapprehensions lessen our ability to be effective in our ministries.

We will touch on ageism/stereotypes; changing roles; spiritual development; loss of independence; paid/unpaid caregivers; dementias; congregational programs; death/dying, both individually and in the broader societal context in which these individual situations and problems are situated. You will be offered a wide variety of readings and resources to use in your own work. This course can be taken as a follow-up to Aging Issues and Ministry, Jan. 2016


Session

Spring 2015


Dates

2/1/16 – 5/20/16


Course Type

Online


Location

Online


Course ID

CEPS-8400


Pin Required

Yes

Global Religious Traditions

This course will examine the major global religions from a cross-cultural, multi-religious perspective.  Taking into consideration that a course that explores many religions cannot be comprehensive, we will consider the religions from a thematic perspective by analyzing fundamental beliefs and practices in the various religious traditions.  In addition, we will also examine assumptions underlying the discipline of religious studies.  Students will engage through weekly readings and forum discussion, as well as other interactive learning activities, as part of the online learning community.  Students of all faiths and backgrounds are invited and encouraged to enroll.  Priority given to off-campus SKSM students.


Session

Spring 2016


Dates

2/1/16 – 5/20/16


Instructors


Course Type

Online


Location

Online


Course ID

HR-8401


Pin Required

Yes

Introduction to Liberal Religious Education

This online seminar course provides a broad introduction to the theory and practice of liberal religious education, with an emphasis on Unitarian Universalist congregations. Topics include history and philosophy of Unitarian Universalist religious education, teaching and learning, developmental theories, the congregation as an educating community, social justice visions for religious education, current approaches and innovations in religious education for all ages, collegial relationships and professional standards for religious educators, and curriculum resources. The course draws from another by the same name, developed by Betty Jo Middleton, Roberta M. Nelson, Eugene B. Navias, and Judith Mannheim, with support from a St. Lawrence Foundation grant. Open to seminarians, ministers, religious educators, and other lay leaders.

 


Session

Spring 2016


Dates

2/1/16 – 5/20/16


Instructors


Course Type

Online


Location

Online


Course ID

ED-8465


Pin Required

Yes

Queering Ecclesiology and Rites

Across Asia and Latin America we are witnessing the emergence of queer faith-based communities in very dissimilar contexts and with very different histories. Exploring the way that these communities address issues of ecclesiology and rites would benefit students to explore the ways that our global village is moving in terms of the intersections among religion, gender, and sexuality. The course investigates what are the struggles and mechanisms that these communities have to cope in their context with ingrained homophobia, transphobia, lesbophobia and the like. At the same time, it will examine how those communities enact interreligious and multireligious dialogue and rituals and how faith and activism are coupled to counter oppressive discourses and colonial performativities in their own situations. The course also features guest ministers and activists from different context to whom we can turn to learn from their experiences and who will be “present” every class through recorded videos.


Session

Spring 2016


Dates

2/1/16 – 5/20/16


Course Type

Online


Location

Online


Course ID

RSHR-8450


Pin Required

Yes

SKSM and Institute of Buddhist Studies: Our Co-Sponsored Courses Spring 2016

During Spring 2016, the Institute of Buddhist Studies will offer the following courses. Please note ~ we participate in the same GTU registration periods. To register for an IBS course, follow the same instructions as registering for a Starr King course. See How to Register. Most, but not all, IBS courses do not require a PIN, so pay close attention when registering. View IBS Spring 2016 Course Listings, including:

  • HRPH-8888 Topics in Zen Buddhist Thought
  • HR-8344 Traditions of Buddhism in West

Again, the Institute of Buddhist Studies and Starr King School have different requirements for registration. For example, SKSM does not accept auditors. Although sponsored by SKSM, IBS courses follow IBS rules. Please check course descriptions carefully before registering.


Session

Spring 2016


Dates

2/1/16 – 5/20/16


Instructors

TBD


Course Type

Online


Location

Online


Pin Required

Yes

Unitarian Universalist History

This course begins with an examination of the (alleged) antecedents to Unitarianism and Universalism in pre-Reformation Europe. We begin with development of Unitarianism in Poland, Transylvania, and England, then on to that of North American Unitarianism through its classical age, the Transcendentalist development, and the various crises of identity and purpose that develop into and through the late 19th and 20th centuries. Then we turn our attention to Universalist ascendency, decline, and then consolidation with Unitarianism. Careful attention will be paid throughout to the Unitarian/Universalist social location in relationship to class, race, and gender identities, and how these sometimes enabled and sometimes impaired social justice advances.

 


Session

Spring 2016


Dates

2/1/16 – 5/20/16


Course Type

Online


Location

Online


Course ID

HSFT-8462


Pin Required

Yes

Previous School Year

Fall 2014

Dynamic Youth Ministry

This lively and interactive course grounds participants in philosophical, psychological, programmatic, ethical and theological aspects of youth ministry. Geared particularly toward Unitarian Universalists, this course seeks to embody a vision of youth ministry that is a vibrant, robust, and flexible part of every congregation. Topics of instruction include leadership and spiritual development, professional support for youth advisors, denominational polity, adolescent life issues, building intergenerational community, and a critical analysis of different models of youth ministry and programming. Recommended for all religious leaders, both new and old to youth ministry.


Session

Fall 2014


Course Type

Online


Location

Online


Course ID

EDFT 8462


Pin Required

No


Course Size

1 – 20


Units

3


Download

Global Religious Traditions

This course will examine the major global religions from a cross-cultural, multi-religious perspective.  Taking into consideration that a course that explores many religions cannot be comprehensive, we will consider the religions from a thematic perspective by analyzing fundamental beliefs and practices in the various religious traditions.  In addition, we will also examine assumptions underlying the discipline of religious studies.  Students will engage through weekly readings and forum discussion, as well as other interactive learning activities, as part of the online learning community.  Students of all faiths and backgrounds are invited and encouraged to enroll.


Session

Fall 2014


Instructors


Course Type

Online


Location

Online


Course ID

HR 8401


Pin Required

No


Course Size

5 – 20


Units

3


Download

Illness, Health & Healing

Illness is both soul-shaking and soul-evoking for the patient and for all others for whom the patient matters.  We lose an innocence, we know vulnerability, we are no longer who we were before this event, and we will never be the same.  We are in uncharted terrain, and there is no turning back.  Illness is a profound soul event, and yet this is virtually ignored and unaddressed.

– Jean Shinoda Bolen, Close to the Bone

Illness, Health & Healing is a two-semester on-line course in which students  (1) listen deeply to the voices of the ill and their caregivers;  (2) explore ways of fostering health and healing in their congregations and communities; and (3) develop practices to aid in their own healing and well-being.   During the Fall of 2014 students will focus on poetry, illness and pastoral care.  Students will work with healing stories, both contemporary and ancient, from a multi-religious perspective, and craft their own.  They will develop and/or deepen their pastoral skills and personal spiritual practices through weekly exercises.


Session

Fall 2014


Instructors


Course Type

Online


Location

Online


Course ID

PS 8450


Pin Required

No


Course Size

8 – 24


Units

1.5


Download

Intro to Systems Thinking

This is an introductory course in “systems thinking,” a leadership model that recognizes that people, structures, and processes interact within organizational systems to foster organizational health. Wherever your ministry takes you: serving a congregation; working as a hospital chaplain; supervising volunteers in a voter registration drive; even living in an Occupy encampment, knowledge about systems thinking offers you tools to respond appropriately to the needs of the system in which you find yourself.

Our study of congregations and other organizations will be rooted in anti-oppressive understandings of the interconnections of systems and ethnicity, class, gender, age, and disability. Our work will also take us into uncharted territory to explore systems thinking in relation to social media and non-hierarchical organizational systems. This class has been designed to meet Unitarian Universalist fellowship requirements, but all are welcome.


Session

Fall 2014


Course Type

Online


Location

Online


Course ID

RS 8400


Pin Required

No


Course Size

6 – 30


Units

3


Download

Mysticism & Social Change

This course will explore the powerful synergy between mystic spirituality and social activism. Martin Luther King Jr. wrote, “Only through an inner spiritual transformation do we gain the strength to fight vigorously the evils of the world in a humble and loving spirit.” In the urgent and troubling context of current world events, we will look to the example of “mystic-activists” from diverse cultures and faith traditions for inspiration. Readings and class explorations will include Buddhist, Christian, Hindu, Jewish, Muslim, and Indigenous sources. Through a wholistic approach of both head and heart, we will consider specific tools and practices to nourish and sustain us in our ongoing commitment to anti-oppression work and ministerial service.


Session

Fall 2014


Instructors


Course Type

Online


Location

Online


Course ID

RSSP 8410


Pin Required

Yes


Course Size

4 – 15


Units

3


Download

Promised Lands and Immigrants

This online course will focus on the cases of Latina/o immigrants in the United States and Japan in relation to their experiences of faith, ethnicity and gender. The approach is interdisciplinary as we will draw from several fields for the analysis of the class topics. The goal of the course is to provide grounds for students to acquire tools for understanding the different realities of immigrants. Issues of faith, race/ethnicity, gender and migration will be constantly connected to pastoral reflection throughout the course, especially since our world is increasingly becoming multicultural, multiethnic and multi-religious.


Session

Fall 2014


Course Type

Online


Location

Online


Course ID

RSHR 8427


Pin Required

No


Course Size

3 – 20


Units

3


Download

SKSM and Institute of Buddhist Studies: Our Co-Sponsored Courses Fall 2014

During Fall 2014, the Institute of Buddhist Studies will offer the following courses. Please note ~ we participate in the same GTU registration periods. To register for an IBS course, follow the same instructions as registering for a Starr King course. See How to Register. Most, but not all, IBS courses do not require a PIN, so pay close attention when registering. View IBS Fall 2014 Online Course listings.

Again, the Institute of Buddhist Studies and Starr King School have different requirements for registration. For example, SKSM does not accept auditors. Although sponsored by SKSM, IBS courses follow IBS rules. Please check course descriptions carefully before registering.


Session

Fall


Instructors

TBD


Course Type

Online


Location

No Location


Pin Required

TBD

Spring 2015

Eco-Theologies

As theologians rooted in Judeo-Christian religious traditions have responded to the complex nexus of the injustices of ecological crises and social inequities, a variety of critical and constructive theologies have emerged. This course explores contemporary eco-theologies, including ecofeminist, ecowomanist, queer eco-theologies, and Native American theologies of creation. Each student will research one current ecological issue as a conversation partner for the theologies we will study. We will also be asking questions about the implications of these theological projects for liturgical practices, congregational mission, and the students’ own constructive theological work where applicable. Weekly reading and regular online participation in Moodle’s discussion board, periodic group work via synchronistic online tools, two synthesis papers, and a final project are required.


Session

Spring 2015


Instructors


Course Type

Online


Location

Online


Course ID

CEST 8450


Pin Required

Yes


Course Size

3 – 15


Units

3


Download

Global Religious Traditions

This course will examine the major global religions from a cross-cultural, multi-religious perspective. Taking into consideration that a course that explores many religions cannot be comprehensive, we will consider the religions from a thematic perspective by analyzing fundamental beliefs and practices in the various religious traditions. In addition, we will also examine assumptions underlying the discipline of religious studies. Students will engage through weekly readings and forum discussion, as well as other interactive learning activities, as part of the online learning community. Students of all faiths and backgrounds are invited and encouraged to enroll.


Session

Spring 2015


Instructors


Course Type

Online


Location

Online


Course ID

HR 8401


Pin Required

Yes


Course Size

5 – 20


Units

3


Download

Illness, Health & Healing (Part 2)

Illness is both soul-shaking and soul-evoking for the patient and for all others for whom the patient matters.  We lose an innocence, we know vulnerability, we are no longer who we were before this event, and we will never be the same.  We are in uncharted terrain, and there is no turning back.  Illness is a profound soul event, and yet this is virtually ignored and unaddressed.

– Jean Shinoda Bolen, Close to the Bone

Illness, Health & Healing is a two-semester online course in which students  (1) listen deeply to the voices of the ill and their caregivers;  (2) explore ways of fostering health and healing in their congregations and communities; and (3) develop practices to aid in their own healing and well-being.

During the Spring of 2015 students will focus on poetry, illness and pastoral care.  Students will work with healing stories, both contemporary and ancient, from a multi-religious perspective, and craft their own.  They will develop and/or deepen their pastoral skills and personal spiritual practices through weekly exercises.


Session

Spring 2015


Instructors


Course Type

Online


Location

Online


Course ID

PS 8450


Pin Required

Yes


Course Size

8 – 24


Units

1.5


Download

Leadership for Social Change: Theory and Practice

Open to all, and geared toward those engaged in community organizing, activist, social work, and nonprofit settings; also a foundational course for students in the MASC (MA in Social Change) program. Topics include visionary leadership, assessing organizational and community needs, social movement history, coalition building, power and identity, theological reflection, spiritual and emotional care for social change agents, and more. This interactive online course combines web technologies with an in-person praxis (action/reflection) component to deliver a dynamic distance learning experience for social change practitioners around the world. Participants will engage in academic scholarship, professional development, and spiritual practice responding to their particular interests, gifts, and challenges. Students will build a classroom community for peer reflection and support, while articulating and advancing their unique goals for their own learning and leadership in social change.


Session

Spring 2015


Course Type

Online


Location

Online


Course ID

RSFT-8418


Pin Required

Yes


Course Size

5 – 15


Units

3


Download

Queer Liberation Theologies: Latin American, Asian, and African Contexts

What does “liberation” mean to queer individuals and communities? How do Christian traditions worldwide relate to queer issues and queer believers? For the last twenty years queer theologians and communities have been developing contextual theologies in order to challenge and critique the ingrained heteronormativity in theological thought, spiritual practices, and institutional governance. Drawing from an interdisciplinary perspective, the course aims to examine and explore the development of queer theologies in the specific contexts of Asia, Africa and Latin America. The focus of the course is intentionally non-US centered in order to offer future ministers, scholars, and activists tools to collaborate and interact with experiences, key topics and thinkers within the complex and yet fascinating world of queer liberation theologies, thus, enriching their worldview and praxis glocally.


Session

Spring 2015


Course Type

Online


Location

Online


Course ID

HRRS 8420


Pin Required

Yes


Course Size

3 – 20


Units

3


Download

SKSM and Institute of Buddhist Studies: Our Co-Sponsored Courses Spring 2015

These courses are co-sponsored by the Institute for Buddhist Studies and Starr King School for the Ministry.

During Spring 2015, the Institute of Buddhist Studies will offer the following courses. Please note ~ we participate in the same GTU registration periods. To register for an IBS course, follow the same instructions as registering for a Starr King course. See How to Register. Most, but not all, IBS courses do not require a PIN, so pay close attention when registering. View IBS Spring 2015 Online Course listings (please check back if necessary).

  • Topics in Japanese Religion: Japanese Religious Landscape, Grumbach
  • Topics in Buddhist Traditions of Japan:  Teachings of Zen Master Dogen, Leighton
  • Psychological Aspects of Buddhism III, Bermant

Again, the Institute of Buddhist Studies and Starr King School have different requirements for registration. For example, SKSM does not accept auditors, while some IBS courses do allow auditors. Please check course descriptions carefully before registering.


Session

Spring


Instructors

TBD


Course Type

Online


Location

Online


Pin Required

TBD

Unitarian Universalist History

This course begins with an examination of the (alleged) antecedents to Unitarianism and Universalism in pre-Reformation Europe. We begin with development of Unitarianism in Poland, Transylvania, and England, then on to that of North American Unitarianism through its classical age, the Transcendentalist development, and the various crises of identity and purpose that develop into and through the late 19th and 20th centuries. Then we turn our attention to Universalist ascendency, decline, and then consolidation with Unitarianism. Careful attention will be paid throughout to the Unitarian/Universalist social location in relationship to class, race, and gender identities, and how these sometimes enabled and sometimes impaired social justice advances.


Session

Spring 2015


Course Type

Online


Location

Online


Course ID

HSFT 8462


Pin Required

Yes


Course Size

5 – 30


Units

3


Download