Civic Action

Civic Action and Pastoral Leadership

EL4550, Luther Seminary, Spring 2021

    An exploration of varieties of civic action to which pastoral leaders can attend.

    The rise of digital technologies has rapidly shifted focus from that of “the private and the public” to the “personal and the collective.” In the process rising generations have little understanding of how traditional civic organizations and structures function. This course will focus on helping emerging pastoral leaders to reflect theologically on the structures and systems of civic action to gain a sense of what might be possible, and to encourage and empower lay people across generations. Questions addressed will include: how do courts function (eg. harassment, immigration), what kinds of state and federal aid might churches participate in utilizing (eg. county extension agents, nutrition programs), how can churches support local economic development, what kinds of nonprofit collaboration are possible, and what role can Christian public leaders play in civic action in pluralist and public spaces. Full course (1.0)

    Here is a print version of the syllabus, but please note that any revisions that exist in the online moodle version of the class take precedence over this syllabus. There are additional resources available for this course.

    There are several resources I will mention during the semester, in addition to the required reading.

    Required reading:

    • R. Bregman, Utopia for Realists (Back Bay Books, 2018)
    • M. Cimperman, Social Analysis for the 21st Century (Orbis, 2015)
    • K. Haga, Healing Resistance: A Radically Different Response to Harm (Parallax Press, 2020)
    • R. Hobbs, Mind Over Media: Propaganda Education for a Digital Age (W.W. Norton Co., 2020)
    • E. Liu, Become America: Civic Sermons on Love, Responsibility, and Democracy (Penguin Random House, 2019)
    • “Government and civic engagement in the US: Discipleship in a Democracy” ELCA social statement adopted on June 24, 2020

    Students must also choose one theology text from the following list:

    • K. Brown, Stand Your Ground: Black Bodies and the Justice of God (Orbis, 2015)
    • S. Craigo-Snell and C. Doucot, No Innocent Bystanders: Becoming an Ally in the Struggle for Justice (Westminster John Knox Press, 2017)
    • S. Jones, Call it Grace: Finding Meaning in a Fractured World (Viking, 2019
    • H. Kim-Cragg, Interdependence: A Postcolonial Feminist Practical Theology (Pickwick, 2018)
    • C. Moe Lobeda, Public Church for the Life of the World (Fortress Press, 2004)
    • D. Sollee, The Silent Cry: Mysticism and Resistance (Fortress Press, 2001

    Also recommended:

    • H. Boyte, Everyday Politics: Reconnecting Citizens and Public Life (University of Pennsylvania Press, 2005)
    • The Good Society: A Journal of Civic Studies (published by Penn State University Press)