Graduate Theological Union

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A Message from President Jim Donahue on the GTU’s 50th Anniversary

Certainly ethicists have always asked the normative questions about what is right and good. That hasn’t changed since I did my doctoral work at the GTU in the early eighties. Relying on the canonical work of Tillich, the Niebuhrs, Durkheim, Rahner, Weber, Barth, and others for a grand unified theory, we focused on identifying laws, norms, and principles that guide behavior.

A Love of Writing and Learning

Reacting to her recognition as the Graduate Theological Union’s 2011 Alumna of the Year, Barbara Green, O.P., (M.A. ’76, Ph.D. ’80) said, “I wonder how I received this great honor. Some of my colleagues at GTU who are influential in such decisions were nice to put my name forward.” Green has been teaching as Professor of Biblical Studies at the Dominican School of Philosophy and Theology for twenty years.

Cross-Cultural Lens: Using multicultural theory to interpret Jesus

Kayko Driedger Hesslein’s daily life is both multicultural and multireligious: she is Canadian of Japanese and German descent and Lutheran. Her husband is both American and Jewish. Her two children have inherited all of these identities. Both as a pastor and as someone diving more deeply into theology, she has been trying to develop a language that explained her and her family’s multiplicious identities on a theological level.

Integrating Practices: Christianity and Buddhism

Daeseop Yi is a Ph.D. candidate who hails from South Korea. He came to study at San Francisco Theological Seminary in 2004 in the Doctor of Ministry program. During his program, he discerned a desire to study more deeply about how transformation within the spiritual process occurs. With this focus he entered the Ph.D. program. “While I was doing coursework in the Christian Spirituality Area, we had to study a religion and a discipline in addition to Christianity.” He became fascinated with Buddhism, he focused on comparing Christian and Buddhist traditions. “I realized that I had been living, integrating, and adopting Buddhist and other Indigenous practices, but studying in an academic way made it really interesting for me.”

Beyond Berkeley: Religion and Cultural Exchange

Courtney Bruntz came to the GTU unsure of exactly what direction she would take. “At that point I was really interested in interreligious work, but thought at some point I would focus solely on Buddhism and the religions of Asia. GTU was a really good place to start that process because of all the different member schools and centers of distinction.” Bruntz’s journey beyond her Lutheran upbringing in Nebraska began at the age of 19 when her sister got married. Her brother-in-law is a third generation Japanese American. She recalls that her brother-in-law’s grandmother kept initiating conversations on the wedding being interreligious and intercultural. “I hadn’t thought about the intersection of two cultures and faith traditions until then. That experience shaped my initial years at college.”

Violence against indigenous religions

Izak Lattu, a doctoral student in Interdisciplinary Studies, denounces changes by the Indonesian government which oppress practioners of indigenous religion.

"Although indigenous faiths such as Sunda Wiwitan, Kejawen and other forms of traditional beliefs represent local ways of addressing the Ultimate Reality, they nonetheless encounter discrimination on a political basis....

An irony to religious tolerance

Izak Lattu, doctoral student in Interdisciplinary Studies, explains how the actions of one Indonesian politician marks the exception to the general principle of religious tolerance in the country for which it is revered.

"It has been years of agony for GKI Taman Yasmin Protestant church congregation members as Bogor Mayor Diani Budiarto has defied a Supreme Court decision to allow them to attend Sunday mass in their place of worship.

Budiarto’s bureaucratic move reflects the failure of not only law enforcement in the city, but also of the country’s civil justice system....

E. Rhodes and Leona B. Carpenter Foundation Supports Two Outstanding Students

Sean Gross and Sheri Prud’homme are grateful recipients of the E. Rhodes and Leona B. Carpenter Foundation scholarship — a two-year full tuition scholarship supporting lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgendered persons of faith, or those endeavoring to insure faith communities’ understanding, affirmation, and inclusion of LGBT individuals. Both are 2nd-year Ph.D. students.

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