Certificate of Sexuality and Religion (CSR)
Many communities are in crisis today over issues of sexuality. In these painful debates, religion and the interpretation of religious texts and practices often play a defining role in the status and treatment of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgendered (LGBT) people in religious congregations and the broader society.
More than ever, strong leaders are needed to provide compassionate and informed guidance on these issues in religious communities and institutions, professional societies, advocacy organizations, and legal and legislative bodies.
PSR's Certificate in Sexuality and Religion (CSR) is designed to provide specialized training for such leadership in religious settings by providing a unique program focusing on the theological, historical, ethical, pastoral, and practical dimensions of sexuality, sexual orientation, religion, and gender identity.
Graduates of the program can expect to find vocations in the religious arena as religious directors, religious educators, activities directors, other religious work, and in some cases even clergy. Participants may come from a wide variety of backgrounds, including:
- Seminary students, clergy and lay leaders from Protestant and Catholic traditions who want to be better equipped to lead the often painful conversations and important constructive actions required to advance the full inclusion of LGBT people within their faith communities.
- Journalists, counselors, psychologists, and other professionals whose work involves issues of sexuality and religion.
- Folks who may not necessarily be interested in the certificate program but who are interested in taking a CSR course or two as a Special Student or Auditor might be LGBT activists and friends who want to become more articulate about religious issues and establish collaborative alliances with religious communities.
The CSR provides working professionals and students with knowledge and skills to apply theological, historical, ethical, pastoral, and practical dimensions of sexuality, sexual orientation, and gender identity to their religious vocations. The goal of the program is to help students to demonstrate the following skills in vocations of religious leadership and work:
- Think theologically about contemporary sexual practices and identities
- Understand the history of faith traditions in regard to sexuality and sexual identity
- Speak knowledgeably about contemporary sexual practices and the scientific and psychological information relevant to them
- Consider the historical and theological development of ethical systems used to evaluate and regulate moral judgments concerning various sexual practices and identities within faith traditions
- Gain authority and expertise in leading discussions on issues of religion and sexuality both within faith traditions and within society more broadly
CSR courses are taught by faculty from Pacific School of Religion and other Graduate Theological Union member schools. Some courses are offered by adjunct faculty selected by PSR's Center for Lesbian and Gay Studies in Religion and Ministry.
Course Requirements for the CSR
CSR students complete 21 credit hours to be completed in an expected period of two years or maximum of four years part time study. Required courses include 9 hours of foundational courses, 9 hours of specialty elective courses, and 3 hours dedicated to a final project in a field of interest. The most CSR courses are scheduled in intensive formats during the summer and January sessions. Other classes are held on weekends or evenings during the regular fall and spring semesters, or are available online. As course offerings change each year, a list of course offerings that qualify that year for the CSR may be obtained below or from Director of the CSR program.
Foundational courses (9 credits)
Three credit hours in at least three of the four following foundational areas of study are required:
- A. Religious texts and sexuality/sexual identity
- B. Human sexuality with a focus on sexual orientation and gender identity, including attention to contemporary scientific and psychological understandings of sexuality
- C. Theology, ethics, and sexual identity, including discussion of the limits and conditions of appropriate sexual conduct
- D. History of sexuality/sexual orientation issues and religion.
Electives in Special Study Track (9 credits)
Specialty elective courses support four "tracks" of study in the CSR, including:
- Congregational Leadership, featuring such classes as Welcoming Christianities, Conflict Management, LGBT Worship and Ritual, Teaching the Bible and Sexuality in Communities, and Constructive Theologies and the LGBT Experience
- Pastoral Care for LGBT People, with courses on Pastoral Care for LGBT People and Families, LGBT Worship and Rituals, Creating an Affirming Community, and Queer Youth in Crisis
- Advocacy/Justice Work, focusing on Conflict Management, The Church and LGBT Concerns, Teaching the Bible and Sexuality in Communities, and LGBT Activism in Religious Movements and Denominations
- A custom track designed for students with specific needs and interests. Please consult with the CSR advisor to approve a custom track.
CSR Final Project (3 credits)
A final project is undertaken by each student after course work is completed. The general focus is determined at the start of the program and is used to guide the student's work throughout the course of study. Register for CSR 3001 in the semester you complete your Final Project.
Academic Program Manual for the CSR
Other CSR forms
CSR Course offerings for 2013-2014
Required and elective coursework for the CSR program can be taken through a variety of means. PSR offers several courses each year that are designed specifically with CSR requirements in mind (“CSR-Designed Courses”). Other PSR courses and courses at other GTU schools will sometimes meet those requirements as well (“CSR-Suitable Courses”). In addition, some courses can be taken, in consultation with the instructor, so as to meet CSR expectations (“CSR-Potential Courses”).
Courses in the latter of those three categories require approval from the CSR Coordinator, who will also discern with the student which of the courses will work for CSR requirements and which ones will work for electives. Other courses not listed here may apply to the CSR with approval from the CSR coordinator. The following is a list of courses for all three types of courses offered during the 2013-2014 academic year.
Summer Session 2013
- LS-1001: Liberation Liturgies, Mitulski (PSR)
- PSFT-2001: Shameless Lives, McClintock (PSR)
- FTRS-3500: Finding Your Prophetic Voice, Robinson (PSR)
Fall Semester 2013
- BSRS-8220: Gender, Sexuality, and the Bible, Valentine (PSR online course) Fulfills CSR requirement A
- HRRS-8421: Queer Studies: Multi-religious Perspectives, Cordova (SKSM online course)
- FTRS-8195: Entrepreneurial Ministries, Quamina (PSR online course)
- STRS-2384: Christ and Culture, Johnson (PSR)
- RS-1441: Comparative Sexualities and Culture, Teunis (PSR) Fulfills CSR requirement B
- FTRS-2450: Refuge in the City, Flunder (PSR)
Spring Semester 2014
- NTRS-3515: Gender, Sexuality, and the New Testament, Lin (PSR) Fulfills CSR requirement A
- SPRS-2402: Sources for a Sex-Positive Spirituality, Tanis (GTU, PSR)
- STRS-8329: Feminist Readings of LGBT Theologies, Hunt (PSR online course) Fulfills CSR requirement C
- HS 8357: Homosexuality & the Christian Tradition, Schlager (PSR online course) Fulfills CSR requirement D
- STRS-2560: Erotic Christianity, Johnson (PSR blended course)
- RA-2217: Love and Sex in Modern Jewish Literature, Seidman (GTU)
*Required Core CSR areas:
A. Religious texts and sexuality/sexual identity
B. Human sexuality with a focus on sexual orientation and gender identity, including attention to contemporary scientific and psychological understandings of sexuality
C. Theology, ethics, and sexual identity, including discussion of the limits and conditions of appropriate sexual conduct
D. History of sexuality/sexual orientation issues and religion