“What is suffering? What is hope?” These are questions I have asked for years with classes full of students training for Christian ministry. Now, I ask these questions in classes with Buddhist, Muslim, Jewish, Christian, and ‘spiritual but not religious’ students, all in training to be spiritual care therapists. The institution where I serve is in the process of transitioning from a mono-religious Christian theological College to a centre for multi/inter-religious education. Those of us who teach in the program are disrupted continually by pedagogical challenges that both perplex and energize us. The multi-religious classroom decolonizes spaces long dominated by Christian theological discourse. Course content yields to a fluid and open-ended, interactive process. My “mastery of the field” gives way to an ongoing practice of surrender—a kenotic self-emptying—that usually leaves me shaken in overwhelming awe or angst-ridden questioning. Through a practical theological methodology that begins with lived human experience, this paper shares an autoethnographic account of my experience as a teacher in the multi-religious classroom. It presents key dimensions of the theology of the cross as an interpretive framework and closes by examining how the theology of the cross offers a practical Christian theological reflective process to empower decolonizing pedagogy.
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