Theological Studies Prof fosters learning and discovery

Tuesday, February 28, 2017

“To me, theological studies is endlessly interesting because it touches on every area of learning and discovery,” reflected Professor Jeremy Bergen, Director of Theological Studies (TS) at Conrad Grebel University College in Waterloo.

Prof Jeremy Bergen teaching in class.Much of Bergen’s theological dialogue takes place with undergraduate and graduate students through courses in contemporary Christian theology, war and peace, and ethics, as well as in a student advisory role. Students from all six faculties at the University of Waterloo take undergraduate theology courses, resulting in a diverse blend of student perspectives. Leading the TS Department at Grebel, Bergen appreciates the frequent interactions with graduate students from backgrounds in areas spanning biology, art, philosophy, and math, along with students who have worked as teachers, engineers, pastors, and many other professions.

Recently Bergen taught the course, “Holy Spirit,” where he and 14 TS students pondered and discussed the ambivalence many have about this subject. “Sometimes we think about the Spirit as preserving traditions, and sometimes as overturning them. Can it be both? And how to tell?” asked Bergen. Engaging a wide range of voices, experiences, and viewpoints, the class reflected on topics such as contemplative prayer, Spirit and science, and Pentecostal perspectives on the Spirit as Love.

“To me, theological studies is endlessly interesting because it touches on every area of learning and discovery”

In his research, Bergen explores how Christians understand the significance of a shared past. “My study of churches apologizing for historical wrongs examines the ‘tools’ the church uses to wrestle with horrible things done in the name of the church,” he explained. Bergen is also studying how the stories churches tell about specific martyrs are motivated by present concerns.

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