Cross Cultural education


Known as "Cross-Cultural Mission Experience" pre-2014 and "Cross-Cultural Education" as of the 2014 - 2015 academic year, cross-cultural education is a crucial element of the curriculum and mission of Luther Seminary. Cross-Cultural Education places the student in an unfamiliar context through various educational settings, including but not limited to academic and theological coursework, independent study, immersion encounters, and prior life experience.

Scholarly and theological pursuit of cross-cultural competencies is a critical aspect of cross-cultural education, but so too is real-world encounter with diverse cultural locations and the people who live, work, and worship there. Students will demonstrate their acquisition and continued integration of cross-cultural competencies, including but not limited to the knowledge, skills, attitudes, and self-awareness that contribute to becoming effective cross-cultural Christian public leaders.

Cross-cultural competencies include but are not limited to:
  • Discovery: Discovering the shape, contour, and origins of your theologies and personal worldviews
  • Examination: Learning to critically examine those theologies and personal worldviews in order to better understand the Other and build a wider frame of reference in Christian public leadership
  • Theology: Understanding theology as a foundation for intercultural relationships with others
  • Actions: Building a knowledge base of language, behavior, and theology that enhances the worth and dignity of others
  • Skills: Developing skills of empathy and verbal/non-verbal communication with others
  • Attitudes: Crafting attitudes of curiosity, respect, and openness toward others
  • Engagement: Learning how to engage in respectful silence, listening, learning, and experiencing with others
  • Leadership: Learning how to be a leader of communities of faith in all their unique particularities and contexts.

Cross-cultural competencies are critical to Luther Seminary's mission and vision:

  • Past: As a community crafted by Scandinavian and European immigrants and English-language learners, a rich legacy of cross-cultural migration and experience is at the center of Luther's heritage.
  • Present: As an institution seeking to educate Christian public leaders for the present realities of Christian ministry, we have a responsibility to recognize the diversity in our own community, learn about our multifaith and multicultural neighbors, and educate ourselves about our world.
  • Future: As a community of the faithful working hard to bring Christian traditions into a new era of public meaning, it is critical for us to face the challenges of the future with our eyes and arms open. It is our responsibility to lead future generations of faith communities toward a more just world and to stand in solidarity with the oppressed.
  • Called and sent by The Holy Spirit: What does it mean to be called and sent by The Holy Spirit? How does The Holy Spirit appear to the world’s many persons, faiths, practices, traditions, and cultures? How can we recognize The Holy Spirit in others? How can we listen when others speak to us about their vision?
  • To witness to salvation through Jesus Christ: How do marginalized communities within and outside of Luther Seminary speak about salvation? How do communities of color understand Jesus Christ? How do queer, trans, or disabled communities understand Jesus Christ? How do revolution, liberation, learning, and freedom fit into a narrative of salvation by Jesus?
  • To serve in God’s world: What does it mean to serve in God’s world? How can we best serve the liberation of others? How can we best serve our neighbors, friends, and families? How can we work toward a kingdom of God in our lifetimes? What does that kingdom look like to you?


Students may achieve cross-cultural competencies through:
  • Luther Seminary and SCUPE coursework: In the distributive curriculum, tagged coursework fulfills the 0.5-credit CCE requirement. In the portfolio curriculum, tagged coursework can be used to build cross-cultural competencies and aid students in demonstrating those competencies in their portfolios. Please see the following sections for examples of possible Luther Seminary coursework.
  • ELCA Seminary coursework: You can work with the Registrar to register for a reciprocal ELCA Seminary course. Please see the following sections for examples of possible coursework in places like Guyana, Detroit, the Holy Land, Chicago, and more.
  • Independent study immersion experience: You can work with the office of Contextual Learning to plan an independent study immersion experience. Please see the following sections for examples of possible immersions in Mexico, Michigan, Canada, Native American reservations, and more.
  • Clarification and demonstration of one's own prior study or immersion experience: This can be done as a "Petition for Waiver" in the distributive curriculum or as a component in one's portfolio in the portfolio curriculum.

A snapshot from an AMEXTRA immersion experience in Mexico.


Possible Luther Seminary coursework options for 2014 - 2015 include:
  • CD 1613: The Holy Land: Its People, Places, and Prayers
  • ED 3539: Christian Education and Dismantling Racism
  • EL 4532: Religious Education in Relation to Creation
  • EL 4546: Religious Education for Children
  • HC 1333: Desert Spirituality for Twenty-First Century Christians
  • NT 3280: Race, Ethnicity, and the New Testament
  • RM 4510: Exploring Small Town and Rural Ministry
  • RM 4515: Ministry in Small Town and Rural Contexts
  • RM 4520: Foundations of Small Town and Rural Ministry
  • ST 1424: Liberation Theology
  • ST 1420: Theology and Church in the Global South
  • ST 1462: Feminist, Womanist, and Mujerista Theology
  • ST 1422: Church's Encounter with World Religions
  • SCB302: SCUPE: Urban Principalities and the Spirit of the City
  • SCB303: SCUPE: Public Theology and the City
  • SCH303: SCUPE: Public Issues in Urban Ministry
  • SCH304: SCUPE: Urban Peacemaking in a Culture of Violence
  • SCH305: SCUPE: Restoring Urban Communities
  • SCH307: SCUPE: Eco-Justice: A Vision for a Sustainable City
  • SCM302: SCUPE: Interfaith and Intercultural Ministry Intensive
  • SCM304: SCUPE: Christology and Culture
  • SCM305: SCUPE: Dimensions and Dynamics of Urban Ministry
  • SCM306: SCUPE: The Art of Prophetic Preaching in the Urban Context
  • SCM402: SCUPE: Interfaith Intensive: Dealing with Diversity and Preparing Religious Leaders for a Multi-Religious World
  • SCSMPR: SCUPE: Supervised Ministry Practicum


Possible ELCA Seminary coursework options for 2014 - 2015 include (but are by no means limited to!) the following. Check back often, as this list will be updated as ELCA Seminaries' 2014 - 2015 course catalogs become available:
  • Wartburg BI 210 W: Introduction to Islam
  • Wartburg HT 221 W: Israeli-Palestinian Conflict
  • Wartburg HT 255 W: Readings in Black Theology
  • Wartburg HT 260 W: American Genocide, Native American History, and Native American Theology
  • Wartburg HT 261 W: American Genocide, African American History, Slavery, and Black Theology
  • Wartburg HT 270 W: Ethics in a Violent World
  • Wartburg HT 276 W: Caribbean Theology, Slavery, and Colonialism
  • Wartburg HT 280 - 282: Interfaith Dialogue Method, with Hinduism, and with Buddhism
  • Wartburg HT 288 W: Christian Mission in a Global Perspective
  • Wartburg HT 381 W: Christian Encounter with People of Other Faiths
  • Wartburg MN 195 W: Rural Plunge Weekend
  • Wartburg MN 277 W: Domestic Violence Interim
  • Wartburg MN 285 W: Pastoral Practicum in Guyana
  • Wartburg MN 291 W: Imagining Rural Ministry
  • Wartburg MN 397 W: Rural Immersion J-Term
  • Wartburg IN 231 W: Spanish Language for Ministry
  • LTSS CHS 530: History and Theology of African-American Traditions
  • LTSS MIN 502: Israel-Palestine Immersion Experience
  • LTSS MIN 502: The Church the World's Poor
  • LTSS MIN 502: Detroit Urban Plunge
  • LTSS MIN 625: Introduction to Peace Studies
  • LSTC CC 407: Communities of Color: Ecology and the Bible J-Term
  • LSTC CC 406: Buddhist Christian Dialogue J-Term
  • LSTC CC 405: Ancient Sites and Current Struggles in the Holy Land J-Term
  • LSTC SF 403: Liturgy and the Cycles of Creation: Wilderness Travel Seminary to Holden Village J-Term


Please be in touch with the office of Contextual Learning if you'd like to craft your own independent study or immersion experience, or if you'd like to discuss your own prior study or immersion experience. Possible options include:

Reforest Chiapas
Chiapas, Mexico
July 27 - August 3 2014

Learn about eco-technologies, sustainable farming methods, and indigenous Mayan cultures as you serve alongside Mexicans, indigenous Mayans, and other service-minded individuals in an intercultural service trip to Chiapas. For more information, click here to visit the AMEXTRA website.

Lutheran Identity in Latin America
Mexico City, Mexico
October 23 - October 27 2014

Experience the realities of poverty, globalization, and spirituality in Latin America, with an emphasis on the role of Lutheran and Protestant churches in Mexico. Learn how to respond to the growing Latino population in your community and worship alongside Lutheran communities on Reformation Sunday. For more information, click here to visit the AMEXTRA website.

Shoulder to Shoulder Interfaith Seminar
Islamic Society of North America
Detroit, Michigan
August 28 - August 31 2014

Shoulder to Shoulder is a national campaign of interfaith, faith-based, and religious organizations dedicated to ending anti-Muslim sentiment. An integral part of ending anti-Muslim sentiment in the United States is ensuring that American religious leaders of various traditions provide leadership to interfaith efforts including ending anti-Muslim sentiment. The goal of the seminar is to prepare participants for leadership in interfaith efforts including working to end anti-Muslim sentiment. Jewish and Christian emerging leaders will be our primary participants. Muslim emerging leaders attending the convention will be invited to join portions of the seminar for tri-faith conversations. Seminarians will be chosen on the basis of their commitment to interfaith efforts and the possibility of their providing leadership in the future to this work. Facilitators will be from the Jewish, Christian, and Muslim communities and will lead the workshops. For more information, click here to visit the Shoulder to Shoulder website.

Our Saviour's Lutheran Church Native American Seminar
Rocky Boy Chippewa Cree Reservation, Rocky Boy, Montana
August 16 - August 27 2014

Our Saviour’s Lutheran Church is on the Rocky Boy's Reservation in north central Montana, home of the Chippewa Cree Tribe. The seminar at Our Saviour's will include participating in the daily life of the congregation, volunteering at Tribal Headstart and Daycare, working with families of newborns, visiting elders in their homes, delivering quilts, learning from tribal members on Chippewa Cree history and language, practicing beadworking and frybread cooking, experiencing a mini-pow wow (including dance and drumming), touring Stone Child College and the Clinic and Wellness Center, and/or undergoing a sweat lodge encounter. For more information, click here to visit Our Saviour's website.