Religion has played a monumental role in shaping our world – as well as our college. Its impact has been, and continues to be, indisputably powerful. And with its rich history and tradition, religion continues to spark important discussion, discovery and debate. Here at Lakeland, the religion program focuses on Christian theology, but Professor Karl Kuhn stresses that all religions – including Judaism, Islam, Buddhism, Hinduism, Shintoism and Taoism – are explored.
Growing spiritually, intellectually
“Our goal is not to indoctrinate students in a particular religious perspective, but to help them have a developed sense of the Christian theological tradition as a whole,” says Kuhn, an ordained United Church of Christ minister who’s been at Lakeland College since 1999 and authored three books. “And we want our students to engage in a broad set of religious perspectives.”
Lakeland College began as a seminary of the church in 1862, a little more than a decade after German emigrants settled in Sheboygan. After Lakeland College expanded educationally, and the seminary moved to Minnesota, Lakeland College continued to embrace religion as a part of its overall identity and heritage.
Just as religion once helped shape what would become Lakeland College, Lakeland College remains committed to helping interested students shape their broad-based knowledge of religion.
Religion Major Requirements
- REL 111 Old Testament Theology
- REL 122 New Testament Theology
- REL 230 Christian Faith and Contemporary Culture
- One of the following:
- PHI 221 Introduction to Philosophy
- PHI 232 Ethics
- One of the following:
- REL 232 Eastern Religious Traditions
- REL 233 Western Religious Traditions
- REL 351 Contemporary Theology
- REL 361 History of Christian Thought
- REL 362 Biblical Interpretation, Inspiration and Canon (Writing Intensive)
- REL 401 Vocational Practice
- REL 450 Religious Thought, Faith and Vocation
- Three additional Religion (REL) courses, one of which must be at or above the 300 level
Name: Cathy Sims
Hometown: Madison, Wis.
Title: Health aide
Business: Casa Community Services
When Cathy arrived at Lakeland College, religion was in the background of her thoughts. By the time she left, it was a significant force in her life.
“I had grown up in church and gone on mission trips when I was young, but I had kind of backed away from religion,” she says. “My first day at Lakeland, the chaplain was making her rounds and stopped in my room, and we had an immediate connection. Really, that connection brought my faith back.”
As a religion major, Cathy dove with zeal into classes such as feminist theology and biblical interpretation. Meanwhile, her work outside the classroom was a shining example of real-life community outreach. She started three clubs: the Lakeland College Service Group (which rang the bell during Salvation Army drives and provided daycare for a local church); the Eco Friends (which focused on campus-wide recycling and composting); and the Spiritual Life Council (which encouraged students of all denominations to visit the chapel and participate in school activities).
After graduating in 2010, Cathy was chosen for a year-long volunteer program through the United Church of Christ called Young Adult Service Communities. She was assigned to Southern Arizona, and worked for the senior lunch program and the adult day health care program. She took and passed a class to become a certified caregiver, and the day after the year-long program ended, she was hired fulltime.
Outside of work, her community service continues, mostly through a local church.
Cathy’s long-term goal is to become a health care administrator or run her own health care or hospice care organization.
“I think as far as my religion degree, it will be beneficial for the kind of counseling I will be able to give family members whose loved ones are at the end of life,” she says.
As Cathy looks back on her time at Lakeland, she recalls how her perspective changed after some initial trepidation.
“After the first year, I absolutely loved it. I had so many friends, so many great relationships with students, faculty and staff. When it came time to graduate, I did not want to leave.”
Facts about Lakeland’s religion program:
- To earn a major in religion from Lakeland College, a student must complete just 39 credits in the discipline. That relatively low number of required credits allows students to easily combine the religion major with other majors.
- Students who major in religion will critically analyze and discuss biblical texts and comprehend the foundation and culture of religions other than Christianity.
- The Mission House Center is an office on campus that provides opportunity for reflection and education. Twice a year, theological lectures are offered for students.
- There are no prerequisites or religion-based requirements for entering the religion program.
- Career placement for students with a religion major includes work in churches, homeless shelters, campus ministries, elderly care centers and church camps.