Let all Who Are Hungry Come and Eat - "In Good Faith": Intentional Interreligious Encounter and the Spirit of Hospitality

Chava Stacie Bahle D.Min.
This thesis-project explores participant experiences in a long-term Jewish-Christian-Muslim dialogue program. Examined through the theological quests for truth, love and peace, participants reflected on their experiences, placing those experiences in conversation with sacred texts and images from their home traditions. T'shuvah, the Jewish theological act of turning toward the holy, is explored as a transtemporal, liberative and conciliatory gesture, through which the program might create change in the participants' sense of self and other. Reflective storytelling as a method is explored in depth.
The author theorizes that t’shuvah did in fact occur, according to participant interviews. T’shuvah in an interreligious dialogue setting may occur in part because of: the phenomenon of multiple “Us-es,” according to the neurobiology theories of Robert Sapolsky; contact theories through dialogue; and the structure of gatherings proposed by Priya Parker. Ethical considerations of intentional interreligious engagement, especially historical wounds and vulnerability, are also discussed.
The thesis-project used semi-structured, one on one interviews, and applied a novel, four step Jewish theological reflection method conceived by the author: p’shat, thick descriptions of “what happened”; d’rash, placing those experiences in dialogue with sacred texts and images; t’shuvah, how the experiences may have created individual and cosmic repair among the dialogue partners; and k’dushah, exploring whether and how participation in the program translated into action in the world outside the program. Framing the interviews through the lens of “participant as storyteller” is explored in detail as a potential contribution to sacralizing the lived experience of the program.
The rich imageries of shared ancestry, meeting at table, fellow travelers and learning in the presence of the other inform the conclusion that the intentional interreligious engagement of this program may create tikkunim (repairs) in both individual and group to group relationships among Jews, Christians and Muslims.

A Quest for Koinonia: Uncovering Spiritual Practices that Inspire and Promote Unity among Christians within a Contemporary Campus Setting

Diane Reneé Schmit Dardón D.Min.
The quest for koinonia among Christians on college and university campuses -- and specifically at DePaul University in Chicago -- is at the heart of this thesis-project. Like so many campus settings throughout the United States, the Christian community at DePaul is complicated, diverse, and marked distinctly by distrust, skepticism, and conflict between Christian students and between Christian groups on campus. This thesis-project posits that spiritual practices inherent in the Body of Christ might encourage and inspire Christian unity on campus. Spiritual practices that emerge through explorations of the experiences and hopes of college students, major global ecumenical movements, and early followers of Christ in Corinth will be considered as a means for developing a pastoral response to the issue of conflict and dissension among Christians on campus and beyond. A brief foray into faith developmental theory, Millennial and post-Millennial generational studies, and ethnocentricity also provide helpful insights. The Practical Theology method and model developed by Evelyn and James Whitehead guide this thesis-project as the work strives to shed light on ways in which koinonia might be realized among Christians within a contemporary higher education setting.

Sharing the Eucharist: Anglican Participation in Roman Catholic Liturgies

Donald H J Hermann
This thesis examines the question whether Anglicans can make a compelling claim to greater participation in Roman Catholic liturgies by reception of Eucharistic communion at such liturgies. The methodology is derived from a process proposed by James and Evelyn Whitehead in Method in Ministry. The argument is made that Anglicans should be provided the same access to Roman Catholic Eucharistic communion as that provided to members of the Orthodox churches. Alternatively, it is argued that Anglicans be invited to receive Eucharistic communion at specific Roman Catholic liturgies that they are invited to attend, including marriages, funerals, and baptisms. Further, it is argued that Anglican spouses of Roman Catholics should have greater access to Roman Catholic Eucharistic communion than is now provided.
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