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:

Public Theology in the City, Dayton's Bluff MN (Fall 2014)

There will be a new SCUPE Public Theology in the City class starting this September, this time hosted by Pastor Chris Berthelsen at First Lutheran Church in St. Paul.  The dates are September 19-20Oct. 17-18, and Dec 5-6.  Pastor Jim Erlandson will be team teaching this course.  The Public Theology in the City course will deal with poverty, race, and hunger issues in the Dayton's Bluff community of St. Paul. For more information, please contact Pastor Erlandson at Lutheran Church of the Redeemer at

Detroit Urban Plunge
Detroit MI, January 5 – January 14, 2015

Offered by Lutheran Theological Southern Seminary at Lenoir-Rhyne University, this course will introduce participants to some of the socio-cultural dynamics of metropolitan Detroit that shape life, inform theology, and challenge ministry in a time of profound crisis. The course will explore varied settings of ministry and creative engagement on the part of urban visionaries, responding to core issues of post-industrialization (such as food security, alternative media, place-based education, justice for returning citizens, single parent households, lifestyles, "ruins" art, etc.), in the process of divining the prophetic energies already at work in the city. Contact Associate Professor of Church and Ministry Dr. James R. Thomas for details:

LTSP J-Term Travel Trip, El Salvador (January 13 - January 22, 2015)

The contemporary history of the Christian church in El Salvador has provided remarkable examples of the transformative power of the gospel. The martyred Archbishop Oscar Romero is the most famous of a great cloud of witnesses who have responded in faith to the movement of the Spirit in what Vatican II called "the signs of the times." In this travel seminar we will study first-hand the recent history and the present reality of the church in El Salvador and the context of its work. Particularly since we are traveling from the country to which so many Salvadorans are migrating, we will give special attention to issues around that migration. The purposes of this trip are to strengthen ecumenical and global collaboration in the work of the gospel, and to find orientation, insights, and renewal for the work of the church in our own settings.

Assuming 10 students, the cost would be $1665 plus airfare, which is currently around $725, making a rounded total estimate of $2400. Remember that airfare rates can change. The cost estimate includes practically all expenses: airfare, housing, all meals in El Salvador, all transportation in El Salvador, translation, honoraria for speakers, preparatory materials, and all other organizational expenses. Personal spending, food purchases in the U.S. on travel days, and any visa costs are not included. If you hold a U.S. passport, you will not need a visa, but will purchases a tourist entry card for $10 going through customs in El Salvador.

The instructor for the seminar is Dr. John Hoffmeyer. Please contact him ( at your first convenience if you are interested in the seminar. Please do not hesitate to contact him with any questions that you have concerning the trip as you think about the possibility of taking advantage of this wonderful educational opportunity.

LSPS Summer Hispanic Ministry Summer Term, Austin TX (May 24 - July 1, 2015)

The Hispanic Ministry Summer Term at the Lutheran Seminary Program in the Southwest (LSPS) is designed for ELCA seminary students to develop leadership skills in Hispanic Ministry and build a network of colleagues who share this commitment. The first week involves students in the LSPS Spanish Language and Hispanic Ministry intensive. Weeks 2 through 6 consist of a weekly seminar with Prof. Jay Alanis and several outstanding guest instructors and contextual education in teaching parishes where students engage in Hispanic ministry under the guidance of supervising pastors.

Tuition is $4860, which includes an administrative fee of $600. Full scholarships are available to cover the total tuition cost of the summer term for ELCA students. Students are expected to pay their own transportation, housing, and meal expenses. Normally, we expect students to have access to a car for the duration of the summer term. Housing costs are $625.00 (home stays), $1525.00 (double room), or $2425.00 (single room). The single and double rooms are at local hotels. A non-refundable housing deposit of $200 is due by April 30, 2015.

Registration for the Hispanic Ministry Summer Term is done online at:

FASPE Fellowship's Intensive, Berlin, Krakow, and Oswiecim (June 14 - June 24, 2015)

FASPE (Fellowships at Auschwitz for the Study of Professional Ethics), in collaboration with The Museum of Jewish Heritage—A Living Memorial to the Holocaust, is now accepting applications for a fellowship that uses the conduct of the clergy during the Holocaust and in Nazi Germany as a launching point for a two-week intensive study of ethical issues facing religious leaders today.  Fellowships include an all-expenses-paid trip from New York to Berlin, Krakow, and Oswiecim (Auschwitz) where students will work with leading faculty to explore both history and the ethical issues facing religious leaders today.  All program costs, including international and European travel, lodging, and food, are covered.

The 2015 FASPE Seminary program will run from June 14 to June 24, 2015. Completed applications must be received by Tuesday, December 23, 2014. Inter-faith dialogue is a central component of the FASPE Seminary program. All FASPE programs are non-denominational and students from all religious faiths are encouraged to apply.  FASPE will make every effort to accommodate diverse religious and dietary needs. To apply or to learn more about FASPE, please visit: If you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to contact Mr. Thorin R. Tritter, Ph.D., Managing Director of FASPE at