Belmont University’s School of Religion announces the launch of a new major, Religion and The Arts, designed to help students prepare to use their artistic talents in Christian ministry. The major is one of six new undergraduate majors being offered starting with the fall 2005 semester under the direction of the School of Religion’s new Dean, Dr. Darrell Gwaltney. The new slate of majors, replacing the single Bachelor of Arts in Religion that had been offered, offer students more choices and degree plans built to have a practical impact on the community of faith and the community at large, says Gwaltney. “The goal of the major is to give students who feel called to be involved in ministry the tools to express their artistic talents in ministry and service,” said Dr. Gwaltney.
In addition, the School of Religion has begun offering a new evening program for working adults who feel called to change careers and join the ministry. The Bachelor of Arts in Ministry will be offered only via evening classes in conjunction with Belmont’s University College program, which provides evening college programs for working adults.
The Bachelor of Arts in Religion and the Arts is a joint venture with Belmont University’s acclaimed College of Visual and Performing Arts. Students majoring in the Religion and the Arts will take four core religion courses, four religion courses that examine the intersection of art and faith.
The Faith and Beauty course will focus on the relationship between art and faith. The Theology and the Arts course will teach how to read and interpret art from a faith perspective for its theological content. Students in this major will also take a course titled Faith and Popular Culture and participate in Religion and the Arts Symposium where they will learn from working artists talking about faith and artistic issues.
Students majoring in Religion and the Arts also will take three courses in drama, art or music, taught by faculty members in the College of Visual and Performing Arts, designed to help them become proficient in their particular artistic skill.
The other five new majors added by the School of Religion for the fall 2005 semester are:
1. Biblical Languages – with a focus on learning Biblical Hebrew and Greek
2. Biblical Studies – with a focus on the Old and New Testaments
3. Religious Studies – with a focus on theology and religious history
4. Christian Leadership – with a focus on preparation for church or para-church ministry
5. Christian Ethics – with a focus on Christian leadership outside of the church community
“We believe these six new majors offer a healthy mix of the academic and the practical, and also a good mix of focus on the church and the community,” Gwaltney says.
The Christian Leadership and Biblical Studies majors offer practical focus useful for the growth of the church, while Religion in the Arts and Christian Ethics provide a way for students to prepare to positively impact the larger community, and the Biblical Languages and Religious Studies majors are for students seeking a more academic major, perhaps in preparation for graduate studies.
Starting with the fall 2005 semester, students can also enroll in one of eight religion minors: Biblical Languages, Biblical Literature, Religious Studies, Christian Ethics, Christian Leadership, Religion and the Arts, Church Youth and Recreation Ministry, and Spiritual Formation.