Marriage, Sex & Family in Historical Perspective

Trace the major historical shifts in cultural understandings of marriage, male and female sexuality, and the socio-political role of the family, from the early church to the present day. Explore the ways in which Christian belief and practice have shaped these understandings. Develop a historical framework that provides insight into present-day debates surrounding gender identity and sexual practice. Finally, build a repertoire of language for missional engagement with these themes in the post-modern context.

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There are no prerequisites for this course.

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When thick fog settles in the valley where I live, sometimes I just need to drive up the mountain where the sun shines in order to gain a fresh perspective on my situation. That is what it was like for me to take Sarah William's course, Marriage, Sex and Family in Historical Perspective. As a teacher and lay preacher, I was longing for greater clarity on such issues as gender identity and sexual practice. I found it very helpful to gain a historical perspective, examining how the church has viewed marriage, sexuality and family in its various cultural and socio-political contexts, while continually connecting major themes of the past with today. Through her brilliant discourse, lively group discussions, and pauses for quiet reflection, Sarah created a space where the Spirit spoke powerfully to my mind and my heart. Instead of providing neat and tidy answers to complicated questions, Sarah presented frameworks for thinking about these issues and engaging our culture. For example, instead of narrowly defining identity in terms of sexuality, define identity in terms of who I am in relation to who God is. Also, since postmoderns are listening with their hearts first, then their minds, extending the humble hospitality of listening and engaging the imagination are ways that God will use to reach our culture. — Krista Barlow 

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Spring Session May 13—June 8, 2019
Summer Session June 24—August 2, 2018

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