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Spirituality and Sustainability of Interreligious/Interdenominational Dialogue in Theological Study Programs

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This article is part of broader research on “The Interrelationship of Theology and Praxis in the Context of Sustainable Intercultural and Interreligious Dialogue”1 in which we explore two essential concepts: sustainability and interreligious dialogue. We have narrowed this broader topic to study how facilitation of students’ spirituality in theology study programmes develops an environment for sustainability of interdenominational/interreligious dialogue. We provide a theoretical glimpse into research from theology, pedagogy, and spirituality. Our future research process will be based on our findings. One of the current challenges is globalization, which coincides with diversification of cultural norms and moral values. The sustainability provision for our home – Earth – suggests new ways to achieve common solutions, not only economically (prosperity) and politically (peace and stability), but also religiously (justice and solidarity) in terms of current changes. But, looking deeper, theology is searching for new definitions for traditional concepts such as “my neighbour”, “creation”, and “community of believers”. Bert Roebben states that the Christian community (and the global community as a whole) needs to find means to “grow in a common humanity” (Roebben, 2018). In this article, we reflect on how a spiritual approach can be methodologically integrated into theology studies to promote spiritual growth and establish sustainable interreligious dialogue: What type of theology should create the foundation of theology study programmes to promote students’ spirituality as a prerequisite for sustainability? How does spirituality promote sustainability of interdenominational/interreligious dialogue? Research methodology combines hermeneutic insights on conditions for sustainability of interdenominational/interreligious dialogue, its theological foundations, spiritual practice as a pedagogical basis, and the possibility for implementing sustainable dialogue support mechanisms in theology study programmes. Theology study programmes that promote student spirituality develop an environment for sustainable interdenominational/interreligious dialogue.

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Social Sciences, Education, other