Students who take Professor Eric Law’s upcoming course, Diversity & Context, can expect to wrestle with some pressing issues in today’s ministry: how to hear the powerless, how to identify and respond to racism, and how to recognize and rejoice in diversity.
Participants can also expect to leave the weeklong intensive course with practical tools to serve congregations, help lead change and resolve conflict. The course is a core class for Bexley Seabury’s doctor of ministry in congregational development program and is also open to seminarians as well as members of the community interested in CEUs or lifelong learning.
“Students discover ways to create a gracious environment to engage people, especially in the congregation situation, to speak the truth about themselves and the organization that is the church,” Law says. “The process of getting at that is the understanding that people with different cultural backgrounds will speak their truth in different ways. In the course, we talk about the powerful and the powerless. If you get to only listen to the powerful in any situation, you won’t get the complete truth. By listening to the powerless, you get a fuller picture of what is happening.”
Law will teach his Diversity & Context course in Chicago from January 19–23, 2015. He has a long history with the seminary, where he has taught courses since Seabury’s Doctor of Ministry program was created in 1995.
The relevance of the course only increases every year.
“When we talk about working with the powerful and powerfulness, and then add race and culture to it, people say, ‘Now I understand why people with good intentions in a multicultural situation aren’t successful,’” Law explains. “What this course does is explain the multicultural perception and supplies the theological context to allow people to speak truth to each other in love. Only then can they move forward. If they have been involved in a multicultural situation and have been frustrated in it, the course will get them very excited, because there is hope. The Gospel causes us to challenge the powerful and hang out with powerless. The ah ha! moment is, ‘Now I get it, and now I know what to do.’”
Law is the founder and executive director of the Kaleidoscope Institute, which provides leadership resource and training for building inclusive community, intercultural competency, community transformation, congregation vitality and stewardship. He has been a consultant and trainer for more than 25 years working with the Roman Catholic, Episcopal, United Methodist, Presbyterian, American Baptist, United Church of Christ and Lutheran churches in the United States, Canada, Asia, Australia and Europe. He is the author of seven books: “The Wolf Shall Dwell with the Lamb,” “The Bush Was Blazing But Not Consumed,” “Inclusion: Making Room for Grace, Sacred Acts, Holy Change,”“The Word at the Crossing,” “Finding Intimacy in a World of Fears” and “Holy Currencies.”
Law is an Episcopal priest, a composer of church music, a photographer and a playwright. His blog, The Sustainist: Spirituality for Sustainable Communities in a Networked World is published weekly.
Learn more and register for Diversity & Context online.