Blogging for Plenary #2: Dean Blevins

As the mastermind behind this year’s REA Program, Dean Blevins introduced the theme  “Brain Matters: Neuroscience and Creativity” with interdisciplinary reflection and humor.  Dean reviewed David Hogue’s presentation with “Father Guido’s Quiz,” a video clip of carton characters singing a song identifying the parts of the brain and invited us to explore new horizons of neuroscience and the implications for religious education.

Diligently parsing interdisciplinary claims, he asked us to recoginize three intersecting frames defining creativity: anthropological (a sense of being), historical (judged by a community and time), and metaphorical (“true” originality). Using Howard Gardner’s Creating Minds, Dean asked WHERE is creativity and provided a multidisciplinary view:

He noted that creative people often feel out of sync and different as they weave seemingly unrelated propositions and experiementations. Quoting Mary Hess, he reminded that being on the edge of so many things may put us in the center of everything.

Aware of the new frontier(s) that awaits us as insights from Neuroscience and Religious Education are combined. Dean invited us to dance with scientists arguing that each can enrich the 0ther.  Neuroscience can offer religious educators a sense of the complexity of creation (illustrated with a 1 cubic mm brain tracing) and invite inventive minds to new understandings of spiritual experiences and human development. Correlatively, religious education can offer neuroscience ethical frameworks to evaluate the implications of their discoveries. Do you want to join in the dance?




Dean is Professor of Christian Education and Director of the Master of Arts in Christian Formation and Discipleship Degree Program at Nazarene Theological Seminary.

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