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Complexity Theory at TST

For eleven years I’ve been called the “director” of the Toronto School of Theology. I can hardly use that word without chuckling, because I don’t direct much. Most often I’m the directee.

After all, TST is a consortium which exists to serve its seven member colleges, and to administer various policies and procedures required by the University of Toronto. TST has no other reason to exist.

So, as the so-called “director,” my job has been to follow the direction of others.

Complexity theory


Canadian Christian Scholars on Pilgrimage

Just as medieval English Christians liked to “go on pilgrimages” in April, as Chaucer put it in his Canterbury Tales, Canadian Christian scholars in the twenty-first century like to head for “the learneds” in May.

The “learneds” that I’m talking about are the seventy-plus academic societies that meet every year over the space of about a week under the umbrella of the Congress of the Humanities and Social Sciences.


The Value of Continuing Education for Church Leaders

Many church leaders find that continuing education strengthens their ministry. The kind of continuing education that I have in mind is a formally structured program where students address important issues in theology and ministry, engage current academic research, and have their work evaluated and commented on by senior educators.

The Toronto School of Theology offers two degree programs that are geared to professional enrichment. And in the future I hope we can expand our offerings.


Has Western Culture Secularized?

"As societies modernize, they become less religious." This is the "secularization thesis." Its roots go back to the Enlightenment of the eighteenth century. It was developed by the first sociologists in the nineteenth century. It has been hotly debated by sociologists, historians, theologians, philosophers, and other scholars for several decades. It probably passed its peak about fifteen years ago, but it still has its champions.

The discussions can be complicated. But let me reduce the thesis to three forms.

The retreat of Christendom


In Which the Director Brags a Little about the Toronto School of Theology

To be at the Toronto School of Theology is to be at one of the best centres in the entire world for studying theology and religious studies.

That was the word a few days ago from QS World University Rankings, one of the five most respected surveys of global higher education. It’s the only one that ranks subject areas as well as institutions.


Developing Indigenous Relationships at TST

One of our priorities at the Toronto School of Theology is to develop closer connections with Indigenous communities and individuals. Currently, the Indigenous presence at TST is small.

Some modest progress


Spiritual But Not Religious

I was an undergraduate in 1966 when Time published its famous cover emblazoned with the single question, "Is God Dead?" By then I was already on what people today might call a spiritual journey, wondering about the things that this issue of Time was raising. Does God exist? Who is God? How can we know? Why is it important to know?

My undergraduate journey


Does Learning Assessment Help?

What are the biggest changes in higher education in North America over the past twenty-five years? Almost every list would include the development of an intensive "culture of assessment".

TST’s quality assurance processes and accrediting standards require us to do assessment in two areas in particular: What did our students learn in each course? How effective are our programs?


Theological Studies and Religious Studies

The widely recognized QS survey of world universities ranks schools as a whole, but it also ranks them in forty-six subject areas. One of these subject areas is called “theology, divinity, and religious studies.”


Theology and the Arts at TST

Throughout the history of humanity, it seems, people’s sense of God has flowed into their works of arts, and their works of arts have led them to a sense of God.