Just Because We Seem Different Doesn’t Mean We Can’t Be Friends

This may sound like a ridiculous thing to say, but I often find myself in awe of the versatility of religious studies. I suppose when I first started school I thought that what seminary entailed was fairly upfront and simple. I assumed you learned about the Old Testament, the New Testament, preaching, the Trinity, and some history to round it all out. Man-o-man was I wrong! I am now finishing my sixth year taking classes from various seminaries and each semester I learn about the totally different and incredibly creative things people are doing with their degrees. The list below won’t even scratch the surface, but I thought I would share with you some topics out in the world that have been blended with theology:

Psychology: It wasn’t until I started attending Garrett-Evangelical that I really became aware of all the work in this field, including universities that offer degrees or certificates. I think that many people who are already pastors or counselors are the most attracted to this field of research, but if you are interested in learning more a quick internet search will take you to numerous books and an academic journals that can easily get you started.

Science: I think there is a narrative in the world that science and religion are enemies, but this really is not the case. If you just do a quick informational search with the words “science AND theology”, you will come across a plethora of books, articles, journals, departments, and programs created for the explicit purpose to join the two together. Unable to narrow it down, I will share with you just a few of the scientific avenues in conversation with theology: physics, cosmology, evolutionary biology, genetics, neurosciences, technology, the environmental sciences, and mathematics.

Ecology: Also sometimes called, “ecotheology” this has been a growing and developing field since the late 1960s. With the global crisis only becoming more dire, many theologians have done incredible work inspiring and empowering those of faith to see environmental action as a religious duty. What I have appreciated the most about ecotheology is not only the spread of education on the problem, but also the offer of solutions.

Postcolonialism: What many see as just a branch of study in literature, scholarship in postcolonial theology is a quickly growing field in many religious schools. Although this might not have been around the theological landscape as long as the others above, it most certainly is here to stay. If you would like to start learning more, two books I hear cited the most are “Postcolonial Imagination and Feminist Theology” by Kwok Pui-lan and “Heart of the Cross: A Postcolonial Christology” by Wonhee Anne Joh. However, exploring the internet will expose you to numerous other sources.

What are some of the great relationships you have seen with religious studies?