Core Courses


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RELI 505 Christian Leadership - 3 credits
3 day on-campus immersion

Taken during summer at the beginning of the program, this course raises fundamental questions regarding Christian leadership and organizational understanding. What makes a Christian leader? How is leadership exercised effectively in mission-driven organizational contexts? How do we interpret and understand organizational behavior? Students will evaluate leadership styles and begin developing an understanding of organizations by reflecting on scripture, Christian tradition, leadership and organizational theories, social sciences, and the arts. The course concludes with a retreat experience on campus.

The Theology and Leadership Retreat brings students together to spend time in prayer and celebration, to reflect on their vocations as leaders in the church and world, and to begin building a community of learners with their cohort. Students will also discover the larger Gonzaga community, explore the Ignatian spiritual practice of discernment, inspire each other with their personal stories, and collaborate with others in transformative team-building exercises. Taken as part of the Christian Leadership course, the retreat connects spiritual formation to the study of leadership.

RELI 506 Systematics I: God – Humanity – Christ - 3 credits

The first of a two course sequence, this course explores systematic theological questions regarding the nature of God, God’s relationship with humanity, and the person and mission of Christ. Who or what is God? How does God relate to the created order, especially to the human world? What is redemption? What is the incarnation? Beginning with a consideration of theological method, this course introduces students to both classical texts and contemporary approaches to these and other theological questions.

RELI 507 Systematics II: Spirit – Church – World - 3 credits

The second in a two course sequence, this course explores systematic theological questions regarding the mission of the Spirit in the church and the world, including theologies of history and eschatology, but with special attention to the liturgical and sacramental life of the church broadly understood. What is the mission of the Spirit? Who is the church? Where is the Spirit moving us today? How do we participate in the work of the Spirit? The course explores these systematic theological questions related to the fields of ecclesiology, liturgical and sacramental theology, and mission and ministry through an examination of classical and contemporary writers.

RELI 510 Biblical Interpretation I: Old Testament - 3 credits

Written over the course of roughly 1000 years, the Hebrew scriptures are some of the most referenced works of all time. Three of the world’s religions, Christianity, Islam, and Judaism, revere them as sacred writings. Indeed these texts represent the overwhelming majority of the Christian Bible. This course introduces students to methods of biblical interpretation, explores the historical origins and development of the Old Testament, and explores the theological themes of these texts. What are the chief concerns of the writers and to whom are these writings addressed? Where were they written and when? How did these writings develop over time? Students will explore these questions, among others, by utilizing tools from the academic fields of history, cultural anthropology, archaeology, and literature.

RELI 519 Biblical Interpretation II: New Testament - 3 credits

The canonical New Testament comprises an anthology of early Christian literature composed over roughly a seventy-year time period (50-120 CE). This stage in formative Christianity witnessed the transformation of the early Jesus groups from essentially a Jewish reform movement centered in ancient Palestine to a predominantly Gentile movement spread throughout the ancient Mediterranean world. Our goal in this course will be to examine and interpret a representative selection of texts from the New Testament in a manner that does justice both to the world behind the text (the social/historical dimension) and the world in front of the text (the theological dimension).

RELI 530 Moral Theology - 3 credits

What are the foundational sources, principles, and concepts of Christian ethics? What is the good life that leads to human flourishing? In order to answer these questions, Christians turn to four sources: the Bible, the teachings of the church (tradition), reason, and experience. This course will explore the foundational sources of moral theology and apply these sources to moral discernment in concrete situations through case studies. Students will pay particular attention to the way in which context impacts moral discernment and effective moral leadership.

RELI 545 Church History - 3 credits

How has Christianity developed over time? What questions drove the Christian community to reflect further on the meaning of being Christian in various historical and cultural situations? This course provides students with a historically grounded understanding of the Christian tradition from its origins to the present day. Students will explore the relationship between Christianity and culture and the central human and religious questions expressed in the history of Christian belief.

RELI 581 Ignatian Integration - Final Project* - 2 credits

This course functions as the program capstone.  Following the life and Spiritual Exercises of Saint Ignatius of Loyola, students reflect on their significance for effective leadership in the contemporary context.  At each point in the journey, students integrate material from previous courses, particularly as it relates to key themes in Ignatian spirituality.  In the final assignment, students will create a project for their program portfolio which brings practices of Ignatian spirituality to bear on emerging challenges in their own lives and ministries.

*Must be in the field of study of Theology and Leadership

RELI 606 Ministry Leadership Seminar  - 1 credit
5-day on-campus immersion

This seminar brings students together with faculty and professionals in a variety of ministries to explore the challenges and opportunities of leadership in ministry. Students will reflect on their own experiences in ministry and model real-life situations as they learn to apply leadership principles in the context of ministries including presiding, liturgical ministry, parish administration, and religious education.

The Theology and Leadership Institute hosts a series of mission and ministry leadership seminars. Students will connect with experienced professionals from various ministry and mission related fields including parish ministry, education, healthcare, and advocacy and charity organizations. In these intensive seminars students will be immersed in real-life situations in a workshop environment in which they can integrate insights from their coursework into their practice of authentic leadership. In addition students will hear presentations from experts and spend time as a cohort in prayer and discernment.