LOOK AT ALL THE TOPICS WE’VE EXPLORED OVER THE YEARS!
God’s People [re]connect!
June 26 – July 1, 2022 (canceled)
We believe God invites people to live together in unity, a beloved community. As we emerge from two years of change and uncertainty, we invite participants to ask big questions about connection and disconnection.
- What surprised you about how you could connect online?
- What did you learn about yourself?
- What did disconnection teach you?
- What do you need in order to feel connected?
- What about your virtual connections might you feel grateful for?
- What gratitude do you have for the gifts of being able to connect in person?
- Where did you see / feel / hear God?
At AYTI, we will ground ourselves in biblical stories of connection and disconnection, stories of theologians throughout time that can teach us about connection, and we build relationships and create stories together in real time. Participants will develop a theological understanding of connection and disconnection and seek ways to share these gifts with the world. Come to AYTI to [re]connect to your energy and power source – God who loves and connects all people.
“How very good and pleasant it is when kindred live together in unity!” ~ Psalm 133:1
2022 AYTI Co-Instructors: Matt Maruggi and Chris Stedman
Matt Maruggi is an Associate Professor in the Department of Religion and Philosophy at Augsburg University in Minneapolis, MN. He teaches and researches in the areas of vocation, spirituality, liberation theology, the ethics of world religions, and interfaith studies and action. Matt is an experiential educator; he promotes student learning outside the classroom through visits to various houses of worship in the Twin Cities, civic engagement in the Cedar Riverside neighborhood of Minneapolis, and study abroad courses in Central America. Matt co-directs the Interfaith Scholar Seminar, a curricular and co-curricular program that promotes interfaith dialogue and community engagement with students from a variety of religious traditions and core commitments.
Chris Stedman is a writer, activist, and professor who currently teaches in the Department of Religion and Philosophy at Augsburg University in Minneapolis, MN. He is the creator, writer, and host of Unread, named one of the best podcasts of 2021 by the Guardian, Vulture, HuffPost, Mashable, and the CBC. Additionally, Chris is the author of IRL (2020) and Faitheist (2012) and has written popular essays for outlets including the Atlantic, Pitchfork, BuzzFeed, VICE, and the Washington Post. Previously the founding director of the Yale Humanist Community, he also served as a humanist chaplain at Harvard University and a trainer and content developer for Interfaith Youth Core.
AND IT WAS VERY GOOD: Affirming and Advocating for Gender and Sexual Diversity in God’s Creation
June 20-25, 2021 (virtual)
What is the rightful place for LGBTQIA+ people in God’s creation? After decades of fights over human sexuality, LGBTQIA+ people, gender, and gender roles, the church is moving to a place of acceptance, and even advocacy. This year at the institute we are going to look at the role of LGBTQIA+ people in scripture, in our church history, and the faithful advocacy to allow LGBTQIA+ people to be full members of society. We are looking at the events of the past several years through a theological lens, asking what God is doing, and where our discernment can lead us.
2021 AYTI Instructor: Deacon Ross Murray
Ross Murray (he/him) is the founding director of The Naming Project, a faith-based youth ministry and summer camp for LGBTQIA+ youth and their allies. He has worked with youth and families in a variety of settings, and presented LGBTQIA+ youth ministry around the country.
In his day job, Ross is the Senior Director of Education & Training at The GLAAD Media Institute, providing activist, spokesperson, and media engagement training and education for the LGBTQIA+ community members, corporations, the media industry and advocacy organizations desiring to accelerate acceptance for the LGBTQIA+ community. Ross has secured national media interest in stories that bring examples of LGBTQIA+ equality across diverse communities in America, with a specialty in the relationship between religion and LGBTQIA+ people.
“CALLED TO BE CO-CREATORS: YOU ARE ENOUGH RIGHT NOW!”
July 12-17, 2020 (virtual)
Are you tired of being looked down upon for your age? Do you know you have gifts God’s church and world need? Are you eager to dig deeper into how God is calling you in unique ways to God’s redemptive work in our world? If so, then please plan on joining us at this year’s Augsburg Youth Theology Institute. We will look at many ways the world views teenagers and we will construct a theological way of understanding what it means to be a youth. We will explore sites around the Twin Cities that will help you develop a deeper appreciation for how unique you are and how God is calling you to be a co-creator.
2020 AYTI Instructor: Jeremy Myers, PhD
Jeremy Myers has been a member of the Religion department at Augsburg University since 2006 and Executive Director of the Christensen Center for Vocation since 2019. He is a rostered Deacon in the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA) and has served in the field of ministry with youth and young adults professionally since 1997. His first book, Liberating Youth from Adolescence was released in 2018 by Fortress Press.
“Stewarding Creation in our neighborhoods: Science and Theology in Action”
June 23-28, 2019
Scholars at this year’s AYTI will develop leadership skills and put creation care theology and science knowledge into action. The world and neighborhoods we live in are series of complicated yet beautiful systems and networks. Therefore, we’ll practice thinking in systems–both ecologically and vocationally within spheres of community, home, congregation, and school. We will use faith-based environmental STEM curriculum to practice problem-finding and problem-solving and then apply STEM to greening our churches, homes, and communities. With the Cedar-Riverside neighborhood as our classroom, we will name our strengths and explore how our gifts and talents meet the needs of the world.
2019 AYTI Instructor: Heidi Ferris, Growing Green Hearts
Prior to Growing Green Hearts, Heidi gained over a decade of first-hand experience through teaching middle and high school level science courses and curriculum writing for classrooms, faith-based groups and secular non-profits. For Growing Green Hearts educators, teaching is an opportunity to empower the learner in their problem-solving skills and unique talents through a real-world scientific lens.
“Light in the world: becoming a public christian leader”
July 8-13, 2018
This year’s Augsburg Youth Theology Institute (AYTI) will equip young people to be leaders for mission in their congregations and communities. Participants will become skilled peer ministers, cross-cultural advocates, and community organizers. They will wrestle with the theory and theology of local missions as accompaniment in Jesus’ name. This experience will empower participants to challenge and lead their congregations into their neighborhoods for the common good.
2018 AYTI Instructors:
Lyle Griner-Peer Ministry
Joanne Reeck-Intercultural Relationships
Minneapolis Area Synod-Community Organizing
“GOD’S MOSAIC: DIVERSITY AS GOOD NEWS”
June 25-30, 2017
America has often been referred to as a melting pot of cultures, races and ethnicities. Yet, as we have seen in recent events, we are not being melted and molded into one similar people. We are different, and our differences are beautiful – race, gender identity, skin tone, religion, ethnicity, sexual orientation, body shape, etc. – this is God’s mosaic. A gift to our world. Together we will explore the sociological theories, biblical narratives, and theological frameworks that help us see, appreciate, engage and celebrate the beauty of diversity in God’s world. To fully explore this topic, all students will participate in a sociology course in the morning. Students will choose between two options for the afternoon track: either a bible course covering biblical texts that show us how and why God desires difference, or a theology class exploring a variety of theologies from populations who are usually marginalized. Through these class times, community based learning experiences, daily worship, and fellowship, students will deepen their understanding of how our differences form God’s mosaic.
2017 ACYTI Faculty:
Tim Pippert, Sociology, Augsburg University
Mary Lowe, Theology, Augsburg University
Eric Barreto, Bible, Princeton Seminary
“Jesus Has Left the Building”
June 19-24, 2016
Are you concerned about the social and ecological situations our world faces? Do you long to see your congregation more engaged with these issues in your community? Do you love your church so much that it sometimes frustrates you? If so, then join us this year for the 11th Augsburg Youth Theology Institute. As a participant, you will gain the skills and knowledge that will empower you to help lead your congregation beyond its walls and into the public square for the common good.
2016 ACYTI Faculty: Jeremy Myers, Ph.D., Associate Professor of Religion
Jeremy Myers is a religion/ youth ministry professor at Augsburg. He earned his B.S. in Child Psychology at the University of Minnesota, his M.A. in Youth Leadership at Luther Seminary and his PhD in Pastoral Care & Counseling at Luther Seminary. He is a commissioned Associate in Ministry in the Evangelical Lutheran Church of America. His current academic interests include articulating a vocational understanding of youth and a public understanding of church. He lives with his wife and two children in St. Paul, MN. Bluegrass music, strong coffee and huge pancakes are a few of his favorite things.
“The End of the World As We Know It?”
June 14-19, 2015
What are we to make of doomsday scenarios, predictions of the end of the world, and a culture that is preoccupied with zombies, post-apocalyptic worlds, and the “Walking Dead”? Perhaps surprisingly, many of these manifestations of apocalyptic thinking derive from biblical texts—for example, the books of Daniel, Ezekiel, and Revelation. In fact, several prominent theologians have argued that apocalyptic thought is the cornerstone of Christian theology! We will spend the week considering what it means to think “apocalyptically”, various historical expressions of apocalyptic thought in Judaism, Christianity, and Islam, and several of the most popular visions of the apocalypse in contemporary society and the church.
2015 ACYTI Faculty: Justin Jeffcoat Schedtler, Ph.D., Adjunct Professor of Religion
Justin holds a B.A. in Liberal Arts from Saint Olaf College, an M.A. in New Testament from Luther Seminary, an M.A. in Classical and Near Eastern Studies from the University of Minnesota, and a Ph.D. in Religion from Emory University. He has taught in several contexts, both secular and ecclesial, in Biblical Studies, Greek, Ancient Religion, and his personal favorite, the book of Revelation. Justin has just published a book on the hymns in Revelation, and is currently co-editing a teaching volume on various manifestations of apocalyptic themes throughout history.
“OMC! Christian Community in the Internet Age”
June 15-20, 2014
In our churches we confess each week that we believe in the communion of saints. Much has been written about what makes for community in the digital age. For example, how does your cell phone influence the way you experience Christian community? Does our technology enhance or hinder our experience of Christian community? We will investigate a variety of resources including theologian Dietrich Bonhoeffer and communication theorist Marshall McLuhen in an attempt to answer these questions.
2014 ACYTI Faculty: Rev. Dr. Hans Wiersma
“Navigating the Intersection of Science and Theology”
June 16-21, 2013
How should Christian faith and science relate to one another? How do scientific findings impact faith? How does faith inform our view of scientific discovery?
Join us as we …
- look at ways of relating science and theology,
- explore the questions that arise when science and theology meet,
- and talk about how science and faith constructively interact by looking at examples from specific scientific disciplines.
2013 ACYTI Instructor: Nate Hallanger
Nate Hallanger served as the Program Director at the Center for Theology and the Natural Sciences, and is the co-editor of God’s Action in Nature’s World: Essays in Honor of Robert John Russell (Ashgate, 2006). He currently serves as Special Assistant to the Vice President of Academic Affairs at Augsburg.
“Stories Worth Living: Exploring Lives of Interfaith Action”
June 17-22, 2012
Stories help us to make sense of our lives; in fact, we are all “storied” people, each with a unique narrative that gives our lives personal meaning. How does your faith story shape the way you live on a daily basis? How can the faith stories of others from across the religions of the world help us to understand our own Christian faith commitment and inspire us to action? Together we will explore the heroic lives of people from across the world’s religions who were deeply moved by their own faith story to act on behalf of others. Prepare to be inspired!
2012 ACYTI Faculty: Matthew Maruggi, Assistant Professor of Religion
Matt holds a bachelor’s degree from the University of Dayton in Psychology and Religious Studies, a Masters in Theology from the same institution, and a doctorate in Critical Pedagogy from the University of St. Thomas. He has worked in community organizations, college campus ministry, taught high school, and directed service-learning initiatives. Since 2008, he has been an assistant professor of religion at Augsburg. His teaching and research interests include Christian ethics and the ethics of world religions, liberation theology, spirituality, and service-learning.
“Our Wild and Reckless God: What Does Forgiveness Mean?”
June 26-July 1, 2011
Nobody likes to think that they are sinful. So does this mean forgiveness is also something we should no longer talk about? What is forgiveness? Who needs it? How do you get it? Who shouldn’t be forgiven? Join us as we spend a week exploring forgiveness in today’s world. We will look to the Bible and to Luther’s theology to develop a better understanding of forgiveness. We will discuss how the church has historically offered forgiveness to a sinful world, and we will reflect on how we practice forgiveness (or not) today.
2011 ACYTI Faculty: Mark Tranvik, Professor and Chair of Religion
Mark Tranvik has clocked hours as a parish pastor and a baseball coach as well as a college professor. He has a deep love for the theology of Martin Luther and for enticing students into the study of Luther’s theology. He served as instructor for the 2004 ACYTI on Vocation. Professor Tranvik has the reputation of being an outstanding instructor and all-around good guy. Despite this, he is deeply in need of forgiveness from a reckless God.
“Christian Faith and Creation: Heavenly Minded and No Earthly Good?”
June 13-18, 2010
What does the Christian faith have to say about our relationship to the environment? Should we be concerned about global warming and the environmental impact of our lifestyle? How can we talk about our current environmental situation in a way the claims God as Creator and yet recognizes our role as stewards of creation? Together we will explore these questions through a biblical, theological, and literary lens.
2010 ACYTI Faculty
Mary Lowe, Assistant Professor of Religion
“The Environment and Christian Theology”
Colin Irvine, Associate Professor of English
“The Environment and Literature”
Professor Karl Jacobson, Assistant Professor of Religion
“The Environment and Holy Scripture”
“Exploring the Life and Times of Dietrich Bonhoeffer”
June 14-19, 2009
Dietrich Bonhoeffer— Pastor, Pacifist, and Conspirator
Dietrich Bonhoeffer was a Lutheran pastor and theologian who stood up against the Nazi regime at a time when many other Christians were in support of it. He was hanged for his role in a plot to execute Hitler. Since then, many have become captured by the clarity and urgency of his theological writings, finding timeless meaning and challenge within them. Spend the week exploring Bonhoeffer’s life and theology with an internationally recognized Bonhoeffer scholar. Engaging conversations, provocative questions, thoughtful readings, and exciting community-based experiences will serve as our method of learning about this influential theologian and his implications for our time.
2009 ACYTI Faculty: Lori Brandt Hale, Associate Professor of Religion
Dr. Hale claims, “What we believe matters” and she finds a deep well of belief that matters in the theology of Dietrich Bonhoeffer. Dr. Hale is respected internationally as a leading Bonhoeffer scholar and is a popular professor at Augsburg. She challenges students to recognize that questions—their philosophical and existential questions (Who am I? Why am I here?)—have theological answers.