Gospel and Cultures



This website is an adjunct to a course taught at Luther Seminary by Mary Hess and Gary Simpson. A full syllabus can be downloaded.

Required texts for fall of 2012:

Theories of Culture, Kathryn Tanner

Converging on Culture, Greeve and Daveney

The Christian Imagination, Jennings

Click2Save, Drescher and Anderson

Mashup Religion, McClure

Here Comes Everybody, Shirky

The Penguin and the Leviathan, Yochai Benkler

Media Violence and Christian Ethics, Mitchell

Democratizing Biblical Studies, Schussler-Fiorenza

Critical Social Theory, Simpson

Engaging Technology in Theological Education, Hess

“Theology is what occurs when the Christian community knows itself to be living between text and context, between the revelatory answer and the human question (that is Tillich’s formulation), between the Bible and the newspaper (that is Barth’s formulation), between the tradition bequeathed to it from those who have gone before and the unfinished book of time present and future. Or perhaps we could put it even more simply: Theology is that ongoing activity of the whole church that aims at clarifying what ‘gospel’ must mean here and now.” (Douglas John Hall, “What is theology?” in Cross Currents, Summer 2003, p.177.)

So how are we to do this? And what do we mean by the “whole church” and by “here and now”? The key exploration of this course centers on the relationships among Gospel and cultures. This year (fall of 2012) we will focus particularly on the impact of global digital media on faith communities’ ability to engage the societies and cultures in which they witness.

Previous syllabi for this course

02fall, 04fall, 06fall, 09spring, 10fall

Books reviewed by past participants in the class

Marginality, by Jung Young Lee (added by Scott Hagley) . The New Faces of Christianity, by Philip Jenkins (added by Dwight Zscheile) . Urban World/Global City, by David Clark (added by Johannes Swart) . Exclusion and Embrace, by Miroslav Volf (added by Kyle Small).God's Politics, by Jim Wallis (added by David Everett) . Being Human: Race, Culture and Religion, by Dwight Hopkins (added by Sekenwa Moses Briska) . Beads and Strands: Reflections of an African Woman on Christianity in Africa, by Mercy Amba Yamoah Oduyoye (added by Faith Lugazia) . Public Worship and Public Work: Character and Commitment in Local Congregational Life by Christian Scharen (added by Daniel Anderson)

Digital Cultures

The Material History of American Religion . Resources for American Christianity . The Pluralism Project . The Sociable Media Group . The Visible Knowledge Project . Social theory for pop culture fans . the Visual Casebook project (tactical media) . Digital media and learning . Center for Media, Religion and Culture .

Academic Organizations

Religious Education AssociationAmerican Society of Missiology . Association of Professors of Mission . Evangelical Missiological Society . International Association for Mission Studies . Society for the Scientific Study of Religion . Academy of Religious Leadership . Association for Practical Theology


Gospel and Cultures