Dec  2016 07
Six Seminary Courses Open to the Public

Phillips Theological Seminary continues its tradition of opening its doors to all kinds of learners by offering courses for audit to the public.

“Whether you’re a Sunday school teacher looking for a deeper dive, a clergy person wanting a refresher on an issue, or a dedicated lifelong learner seeking more information on a topic, we welcome you,” said MaryAnn Morris, director of admissions and student services.

There are six courses offered at the seminary this spring that are open for auditors. That means you can be in the class but not receive academic credit.

An audit application is required if you would like to take a class. The seminary recently reduced its audit fee to $40 per credit hour to encourage more people to experience theological education. A limited number of auditors may be permitted in some courses, depending on the course size and the type of the course.

Contemporary World Religions begins Jan. 2 with Dr. Charles Kimball from the University of Oklahoma. Kimball is known across the nation, especially for his work on Islam. This course is an introduction to comparative considerations in the study of religious myth, ritual, and community life, as well as to central doctrines and practices of major religious traditions of the world.

On April 7-8, Patricia Hoerth, adjunct instructor in spirituality, is leading a course in Creation Spirituality at Turtle Rock Farm. Students will have the opportunity to study, experience and reflect on deep ecology—a philosophical view that places human beings as part of a mutually-dependent web of life—on this 24-hour retreat.

“All six of our audit courses don’t require prerequisites, so they’re great for people wanting to learn more about religion, spirituality and theology from top level instructors,” Morris said.

To begin the application process, or to find out more about the audit program at Phillips, contact Morris at 918-270-6464 or by email at

Phillips Theological Seminary Audit Courses

6:45-9:30 p.m. (Tuesday nights)

AH 6503 Religion and Politics — Joseph A. Bessler

Against the backdrop of the 2016 presidential election, this course will explore the deep interaction between political and religious discourse, primarily in the United States. Attending to discussions of Civil Religion and the separation of church and state, we will also explore the overlapping structure of theological and political proposals in both the Convention speeches and other major addresses of the political campaign. While exploring the rhetorical dynamics of religious language in political discourse we will also explore several theological interpretations of American public life. No prerequisites. Instructor: Joseph A. Bessler, Robert Travis Peake Professor of Theology.


AH880.05 Crucifixion to Crossfit, Martyrdom to Martial Arts: Embodiment in the Christian Imagination — Sarah Morice Brubaker

This course will consider different theological answers to the question, “What does it mean to have a good body?” By “theological answers” is meant answers with a theological history and theological stakes. The class by no means wishes to restrict itself only to overtly religious models of good embodiment, but rather to look at models of good embodiment that are theologically important... even if they do not announce themselves as such. Student readings and discussions will draw upon clearly theological works from the patristic, medieval, modern, and postmodern worldviews; but students will also be asked to reflect theologically on embodiment in contemporary popular culture, including in their own contexts. The discourses of gender theory, feminist analysis, critical race theory, and masculinity studies will be used as tools of theological analysis. While it is not a class on any of these discourses per se, the course will avail itself of them as they prove useful to the task at hand. No prerequisites. Instructor: Sarah Morice Brubaker, Assistant Professor of Theology.

Jan. 2-6 (8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m.)

HR 5003 Contemporary World Religions — Charles Kimball

Dr. Charles Kimball, Presidential Professor and Director of Religious Studies at the University of Oklahoma, will be teaching HR 500 Contemporary World Religions the very first week of the spring semester and the new year. This is a wonderful opportunity to study the world’s great religious traditions with a very well-regarded scholar who is especially well-known for his work on Islam. A graduate of Oklahoma State University, he holds the MDiv degree from The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary and a ThD from Harvard University. He is also an ordained Baptist minister. This course is an introduction to comparative considerations in the study of religious myth, ritual, and community life, as well as to central doctrines and practices of major religious traditions of the world. No prerequisites. Meets Mon-Fri, 8:30am–5:00pm. Instructor: Charles Kimball, Presidential Professor and Director of OU Religious Studies Program, University of Oklahoma.

Jan. 9-13 (8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m.)

SP 800.033 Reading Biblical Texts through Movement — Sharon Jacob

This course seeks to interpret Biblical texts through the use of movement and dance. Students will read and analyze selected these texts in their historical, social, and political contexts and use movement to construct interpretations of these particular texts. The use of movement and dance will help students create interpretations from different perspectives leading to a deeper reflection that will begin to construct conversations that address or probe into social and ethical concerns that are relevant to our contemporary contexts. No prerequisites. Meets Mon-Fri, 8:30am–5:00pm. Instructor: Sharon Jacob, Assistant Professor of New Testament.

April 7-8 (5 p.m. Friday to 5 p.m. Saturday at Turtle Rock)

SP 800.02 Spirituality: Creation Spirituality — Patricia Hoerth

How does God’s first revelation—creation—inform theology, ministry? This course offering provides students the opportunity to study, experience and reflect on deep ecology—a philosophical view that places human beings as part of a mutually-dependent web of life. Through experiential processes on a 24-hour retreat, students will develop a deeper understanding of the natural world that is our home and the implications for how we live on the planet. This course is in retreat format and will be held at Turtle Rock Farm: A Center for Sustainability, Spirituality and Healing. It is located an hour and a half west and north from Phillips. There is a course fee of $60 per person to cover the cost of meals and overnight lodging. No prerequisites. Meets overnight on one weekend: from Fri at 6:00pm through Sat at 5:00pm. Instructor: Patricia Hoerth, Adjunct Instructor of Spirituality.

April 28-29 (8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m.—Friday and Saturday)

PL 880.05 Financial Literacy and Pastoral Leadership — Gary Peluso-Verdend (In association with Pension fund of the Christian Church)

In this course students will participate in a Financial Literacy and Pastoral Leadership seminar hosted by the Pension Fund of the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) for pastors and students of Phillips Theological Seminary. In addition, they will read and reflect on texts related to their personal relationship with money and the history of how Protestant churches in the U.S have raised money for mission and ministry. The context of the information provided in this course will be specific to Disciples; however, students from all denominations are welcome. More information about the seminar is available in the dean’s office. No prerequisites. Meets one weekend: Fri: 8:30am – 5:00pm; Sat: 8:30am – 5:00pm. Instructor: Gary Peluso-Verdend, Associate Professor of Practical Theology.


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