☰ In This Section

Major/Minor Image

Biblical reconciliation calls us to be reconcilers, peacemakers, vessels of God’s love, and advocates in a broken and divided world. The reconciliation studies major prepares students to follow this call.

Why should I study reconciliation studies?

Within a biblical context, reconciliation as God’s idea acknowledges the divisions that separate us from one another and God. The world is not as it should be—hunger, violence, racial discord, human trafficking, the oppression of women and girls, and more dominate our histories and current conditions. Love in action drives reconciliation. Diversity is God’s gift to humanity and creation.

Reconciliation embraces the gifts, challenges, and complex relational dynamics that come with living in a diverse and fractured world. It attends to our hurts. It recognizes the vulnerable and the despised as vital members of the beloved community. Alongside others, reconcilers are agents of change.

Following the way of Jesus, God, and the Holy Spirit, we too can cross boundaries of division and co-build relationships that nurture our mutual dignity as image bearers of God. We can experience changes in our outlook as we unearth the biases we harbor. We can discover that reconciliation transforms lives and embraces hope in the midst of despair and inequity. With the help of God, Jesus, and the Holy Spirit, we can co-partner with others to deepen empathy and nurture compassion, love, and justice for the common good. We can initiate practices with others that redress systemic inequities and injustice.

In a world gripped by busyness and enmeshed with strife, attending to our personal, spiritual, and emotional inner life enables us to be mindful of our need for restoration. Nurturing our connection with others and fostering kindness towards ourselves and those we encounter enrich our faith journey and relationships. Through the love of God, Jesus, and the Holy Spirit, reconciliation studies embraces rest, promotes table fellowship, and observes contemplative practices that nurture individual and community wellbeing and agency across the branches of our lives. As Howard Thurman notes, reconciliation is “a way of life” that impacts every aspect of our lives.

 

What can I do with this degree?

Our graduates go on to build careers as:

  • Public service employees
  • Nonprofit and NGO employees
  • Public relations specialists
  • Community and human service officers
  • Ministers and missionaries
  • Lawyers in law enforcement
  • Public policy makers
  • Healthcare researchers
  • Community developers (domestic and international)
  • Business people
  • Educators
  • Editors
  • Environmental justice and stewardship practitioners
  • Artists
  • Cross-cultural communication specialists
  • Counselors

What skills will I develop?

As a reconciliation studies major, you will:

  • Learn to engage with diverse communities and individuals
  • Understand and practice conflict mediation
  • Foster multi-faith partnerships and dialogue
  • Develop interpersonal relationship skills
  • See the world from the experiences of others
  • Learn to communicate cross-culturally
  • Understand the biblical and theological basis for reconciliation and justice
  • Complete a reconciliation practicum that will help you develop cross-cultural leadership skills
  • Learn how to advance social change and promote racial reconciliation
  • Explore how contemplative practices can shape our relationships with God, Jesus, and the Holy Spirit and others
  • Create work environments that enable others to flourish as vital contributors

You’ll also have the opportunity to participate in the R.E.A.L. Experience—a program specifically designed to help you gain the relevant, hands-on experience employers desire—so that when you graduate, you’ll be as impressive in practice as you are on paper.

What unique experiences or opportunities will I have?

Like many majors at Bethel, reconciliation studies majors take off for a semester to study abroad in Asia, Africa, Central America, Europe, and more. Living in other countries is a great way to understand the unique ways we can learn from and reconcile with God and others. Students also participate in internships that provide ongoing opportunities to co-build and sustain partnerships in a diverse world. These practical experiences enhance students’ ability to engage in mutual learning opportunities with diverse communities while breaking down walls of division and inequity in our world. Fostering love, peace, healing, forgiveness, and hope in our world are foundational principles of the Reconciliation Studies Program.

Reconciliation Studies majors can implement the practices they have learned from diverse peoples in various settings. They can apply conflict and mediation skills to their relationships and social, cultural, interpersonal, work, and faith circles.

Academic Plans and Course Catalog

See plans

7th

in U.S. News' "10 colleges where the most students study abroad"

99%

incoming students who receive financial aid