Cross-Cultural Travel and Global Christianities: Perspectives from Turkey

For several years, Drew Theological students have traveled to Turkey as part of their professional training in the master’s of divinity degree. Drew believes that Christian leaders today should be a positive force for respect and responsibility on a global scale. A cross-cultural experience challenges students to view their own lives, values, and belief systems with greater objectivity while encouraging them to appreciate the values, belief systems, historical experiences and cultural resources of context that is not their own. While in Turkey with Professor Melanie Johnson-DeBaufre, students learn about the complex politics, history, and culture of this secular yet predominantly Muslim country. They visit the state religious organizations and also wide range of other religious communities, including Alevis, Mevlevis, Jews, and several kinds of Christians. They also meet with many socially active secular and religious groups working around issues of the environment, gender-justice, religion and democracy, and human rights. In this video, the professor and students reflect on some of their experiences thinking about the challenge and promise of religious diversity in Turkey and here in the U.S.