Showing posts with label College. Show all posts
Showing posts with label College. Show all posts

Friday, September 12, 2014

A Dialogue of Classes: Interpreting the Real World

by Marguerite Spiotta 
Special to R3

As a college student at a liberal arts institution, the ways in which my courses interconnect and comingle never cease to amaze me. This semester especially, the subject matter of my four classes interconnect with such ferocity that I wonder if perhaps in the convergence exists absolutely no coincidence at all. In other words, I see God guiding and focusing my course work to reflect something greater and more indicative of the real world than my neatly labeled binders and sharpened pencils might suggest. My classes very much call on and interact with the real world, the one outside the stone covered walls of the Rhodes College community. Two of my classes in particular beg for this type of real life application – Public Speaking and Liberation Theology.

I write this post in reaction to and dialogue with Dr. Johnson’s post of September 4th, “Ferguson Fiasco: Doing Theology After Ferguson-Part 1.” In Dr. Johnson’s post, he highlights the ways in which the crisis in Ferguson, Missouri “reminded [him] (again) that [his] call as both pastor and professor is to do ministry in the real world. ” Johnson goes on to express the ways in which “the issues and problems in Ferguson are reminiscent of the issues and problems in the late 1960’s when, according to Canon and Pinn, ‘ministers and academics took a public stand against injustice and demanded a re-visioning of life in the United States that took seriously the humanity of African Americans’” (1). This forced me to question my own role in this theological discussion as a student, a female and white student at that. What should my theological response sound like? And perhaps more importantly, how can my theological response push me outside the walls of institutionalized academic study and into the real world?

I see a partial answer to my question emerging from something I learned in my Liberation Theology course. We first studied Paulo Freire, and Johnson’s discussion of the academic setting reminded me immediately of Freire’s Pedagogy of the Oppressed. In Freire’s book, he puts forth his model of partnership dialogue between teacher and student as well as the model of problem-posing discussion. Freire’s methodology, I believe, becomes relevant as I begin to grapple with the events transpired and still transpiring in Ferguson, Missouri. Freire’s model proves useful because it encourages dialogue rather than monologue. He promotes emergence and constant unveiling as opposed to submergences and silencing.

At this moment, I cannot yet identify my own resolute opinion in this ongoing discussion pertaining to Michael Brown, but I know that my voice begins through the type of dialogue that Freire supported. My courses dialogue with one another, and more importantly they dialogue with events happening in our society today. I see the academic setting as providing a launching pad of dialogue that interacts with the world in which we live. I look upon this academic school year with great hope that my voice will emerge strongly, relevantly and with a theology that ministers and caters to the sorrows and joys of this very real world.

Saturday, March 8, 2014

Colleges Should Teach Religion to Their Students

I think religion should be taught in college. I’m not talking about “religious studies,” that is, the study of the phenomenon of religion. I’m talking about having imams, priests, pastors, rabbis, and other clerics teach the practice of their faiths. In college classrooms. To college students. For credit. I think religion should be taught in college because I believe it can help save floundering undergraduates. I’m not talking about “saving” them in Christian sense. I’m talking about teaching them how to live so they do not have to suffer an endless stream of miseries.

If you had asked me when I was a professor whether universities should teach religious practice in order to help undergraduates navigate life, I would have said you were crazy. First, I would have said my students were pretty well adjusted, so they didn’t needed to be saved. Second, I would have said that even if they were in trouble, religion couldn’t help them. Third, I would have said that even if they were in trouble and religion could help them, religion wasn’t real knowledge and couldn’t, therefore, be part of a university curriculum. And fourth, I would have said that even if undergraduates needed saving, religion could save them, and religion could be part of the curriculum, the separation of church and state made teaching religion in public universities impossible.

You may have all of these reservations as well. But I don’t think you should, and I’m going to tell you why.

Read the rest here

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Call for Submissions: Kissing in the Chapel, Praying in the Frat House: Wrestling with Faith and College

What is your story of wrestling with faith as a college student?
How has your faith changed as a result of your college education, personal relationships, or cultural experiences?
What, if anything, does spirituality and God have to do with college life?
We want to publish your true stories of faith and life in college! The book of collected essays will be arranged by topic areas. Essay topics may include:
  • faith, doubt, and struggles to believe
  • sex and sexuality
  • service learning
  • faith off campus
  • does God have a plan for me?
  • relationships with those of other faiths and no faith
While the book is intended particularly to resource Christian congregations and church-related colleges, stories from those of many faith traditions — or no faith tradition — are welcomed. In short: essays addressing any experience of faith and life in college will be considered for publication
Please submit a clean and polished Word file noting your full contact information to, by July 15, 2013. Authors of essays selected for inclusion in the collection will be notified by late summer.
Age Limit: Writers should be 18 to 30 years old.  Word Count: Aim for 6-14 pages, double-spaced.  Submission Process: This is an open submissions process.  Publisher: The book is under contract with Alban Publishing