Goshen College to offer first-hand look at faith in the midst of a drug war

GOSHEN, Ind. — In the most dire situations, people often find themselves strengthened spiri-tually. Ron Stutzman, Goshen College professor of anthropology, hopes to show students the strength that can come from adversity in his course by taking students to Bogotá, Colombia, for “Doing Theology Abroad “ course in May 2003.

“We’ve lost the reason for the connection between our social action and our theology,” said Stutzman. “I want Goshen students to go and visit our brothers and sisters in Colombia who do know the connection. I want us to relearn theology.”

Topics of the course include the structures of international relations that cause warfare, the impact of U.S. aid to Colombian guerillas that seeks to prevent drug traffic and the larger U.S. anti-drug campaign, the challenges of justice advocacy and the ways in which the church can build peace and solidarity with the victims of war.

Some of those faith connections will be built with host families, as well as in class at the seminary. Students will live in the homes of members of Colombian Mennonite churches in Bogotá, and attend church activities and services with them.

Because of the volatile political situation in Colombia, Stutzman said the course would be canceled if conditions in Colombia destabilize or worsen. But the professor believes that group cohesiveness and ability to follow guidance of hosts at the seminary and in students’ homes will ensure security. Interested students will go through a selection process before enrolling in the course.