Worship Bethany Theological Seminary
bethany theological seminary community
Seminary Library
Walking on main campus

You are here

Katie Shaw Thompson, Master of Divinity

Printer-friendly versionPrinter-friendly version

Katie Shaw Thompson
Master of Divinity

BethanyI have to admit I had no idea how much my cross-cultural trip to Marburg, Germany, would broaden my perspective. By immersing myself in German culture, I learned more about hospitality, theology, global politics, my neighbor, and myself than I thought possible in two weeks.

I was overwhelmed by the hospitality shown to us by the parish church and our host families. I will forever be grateful for those conversations across the table, across cultural differences, and across language barriers about the things that matter deeply to us all.

One of the biggest cultural differences I found was that Germans, or at least the folks we met in Marburg, are much quicker than most U.S. citizens to discuss religion or politics. However, in Germany, it is considered rude to ask personal questions about someone else's autobiography. I was impressed by our hosts' affinity for speaking openly and critically about their country's and their church's historical and present downfalls. I was also grateful that these same folks indulged our North American interest in each other's life stories. In this instance, I found that both cultures had much to learn from each other. I would love if our nation could be more openly critical of itself, but I also value the way U.S. theologians are taught to explicitly consider how our own autobiographies interact with our theology and politics. It was good for me, often a dissenter of the American status quo, to consider both the shortcomings and gifts of my own culture.

I would love to return to Germany, especially after learning more German, but I know that these two short weeks have given me a broader understanding of the human experience, which will have a major impact on my ministry.

Nan Erbaugh
Emphasis in Peace Studies '08

NanBethany taught me so much. I didn't realize what a loner I had really been all my life until I opened myself to life within the Bethany community. I felt stretched, pushed, and affirmed in amazing, helpful ways. The importance of a close, supportive community cannot be overestimated, especially in light of the challenges faced living out the peace witness to which I feel called. At Bethany, I gained more courage to step into this crucial niche of the Church of the Brethren. Add the grounded, spiritual theological foundation and academic depth I gained through course work, and I feel transformed in a powerful, positive way to serve God.