Let Freedom Ring

Religious Education at the Intersection of Social Justice, Liberation, and Civil/Human Rights

REA Annual Meeting 2012

2-4, November, Atlanta, Georgia

REA2012 Annual Meeting Breakout Sessions

Below are details for Friday, Saturday morning, Saturday afternoon, and Sunday morning breakout sessions. Presenter, titles, and abstracts are provided.

R = Research Interest Group: presentations of developed research and presented in formal papers that are within one revision of being of publishable quality.  Papers are posted on the web site in September and attendees are expected to read the papers before the session.

C = Colloquy: less formal than Interest Groups and involve presentations of religious education research, planning, and programming in their beginning stages.  Outlines or other related materials might be posted on the website in October.

W = Workshop: presentations of scholarly and practical resources or approaches supporting the multiple practices of religious education.

RIG papers that were given at the 2012 annual meeting of the Religious Education Association can be downloaded here. PLEASE RESPECT THESE AUTHORS–DO NOT USE A PAPER OR PRESENTATION FOR PURPOSES OTHER THAN MEETING PREPARATION WITHOUT THE CONSENT OF THE AUTHOR.

Friday Sessions  –  3:30-4:45 p.m.


Moon Son

Teaching Social Justice in Christian Higher Education: Some Post-Economic Crisis Educational Solutions
This study attempts to explore some post-economic crisis educational solutions in the context of Christian higher education for justice. The current global financial crisis is inseparable from the issue of justice. Through literature-based methodology, the author analyzes each segment of justice in concrete situations. The first section provides general approaches to religious education for justice. The second describes a black Christian pedagogy for justice. The third analyzes Sandel’s philosophical pedagogy for justice. The fourth considers oppression of women through climate justice.

Susanne Johnson

Class Matters in an Age of Empire:  ‘Fugitive Democracy’ and “Fugitive Christianity’ in the Quest for Justice
This paper seeks to make visible a key lynchpin of Empire-that of class exploitation-and to situate the reality of class within the multiple, interlocking oppressions of Empire.  Further, it depicts how working-class people use collective power to resist Empire, through tools and strategies of faith-based organizing, similar to popular education methods, Citizenship Schools, and organizing effectively deployed during the civil rights era.


Daniel Shin

A Plea for a Theology of Freedom: Hans Frei on Christian Discipleship in the World
The aim of this essay is to explore Hans W. Frei’s thought on Christology and ecclesiology at the intersection between religious education and social justice, human liberation, and civil rights. It closely follows Frei’s discussion of intention-action identity analysis to examine his understanding of the self as public, the unsubstitutable identity of Jesus, and the constitution of Christian identity. In particular, it highlights the pivotal importance of the exchange between Christians and public realities in the demonstration and cultivation of Christian identity.

Hosffman Ospino

Religious Education and the Communal Shaping of a Christian Social Conscience: The Testimony of César Chávez
The life of César Chávez and his commitment to justice were deeply shaped by religious education practices and convictions at home and in his community. This paper is a critical exploration of biographical accounts of Chávez as well as collections of his thoughts. The paper examines the pedagogical importance of Catholic practices, stories, and devotions that inspired Chávez’s social conscience. His testimony is introduced as a case study to affirm the communal dimension of religious education and the potential of popular Catholicism to shape and sustain social commitments among Christians.


Evelyn Parker

Desecrated Spirits:  Bodies, Intersectionality, and Redemption and Dark Skinned Girls
This paper considers questions of dishonoring the bodies of dark skinned African and African descended women and girls by considering intersecting oppressive systems of gender, race, class, and sexuality that desecrate the spiritual wellbeing of a dark skinned girl and may result in ultimately destroying her physical body.  The experiences of dark skinned girls, questions of contexts of meaning, and intersectionality are analyzed using videos and documentaries.  Redemption is explored within faith communities and their educational ministries for faith and formation.

Alyson Huntly

In Parables: Girl’s storytelling as possibility, and resilience, and empowerment.
This paper presents data from three years of qualitative research with groups of girls who had experienced poverty, disruption, abuse, or trauma. Girls shared personal narratives and engaged with girl stories from literature and from sacred texts. Girls’ storytelling selves were interpreted as embodied performances of their wisdom and power. The research suggests that storytelling creates enlarged spaces of possibility for girls in the face of life’s difficulty and that storytelling selves are girls’ power, realized as participation, meaning making and embodiment.


Barbara Fears

The Underground Railroad: A Model of Collaboration, Liberation and Education
This paper examines the interworking of the Underground Railroad (UGRR), the nation’s first civil rights movement, where multi-racial, multi-generational persons risked great harm to themselves and their families to free an estimated 100,000 persons from constitutionally and religiously sanctioned racial oppression during the era of U.S. chattel slavery. The collaborative and liberatory nature of the UGRR provides an example that Christian Educators may use to address the various -isms of our generation. Using the analytical framework of critical race theory, this work presents a model of Christian Education based upon the three roles/functions of the UGRR process (1) fugitive slave/freedom seeker, (2) station keeper/aide, and (3) conductor. The model, like this movement, also acknowledges the individual and institutional nature of injustice, helps persons take authority/responsibility for their beliefs and subsequent behavior in the public square and teaches that such intervening work on behalf of others is an act of theosis.

Ted Newell

The Power of Movements to Transform Persons
Freedom movements have demonstrated power to transform identity. Accepting a movement’s story generates change in who a person believes him or herself to be. Movements offer a reading of history that refocuses individual and collective Memory around a cause, presenting a Vision of transformed human living. Absorbing the Story of a movement can lead to something like personal conversion. Seeing vocation as outgrowth of a Story of surpassing worth, religious educators may seek the transformation for God-honoring service by building an informed sense of the surpassing value of the Story.


Michael Robinson

Freedom of Inalienable Rights: Drawing Insight from Martin Luther King, Jr. in Addressing Poverty as an Issue of Economic Justice
Governed by the Constitution and the Bill of Rights, as citizens of the United States we should be free sovereign autonomous individuals, free to have the power and right of self-determination over our own minds, bodies, lives and souls. This paper argues that the sustained level of poverty in the United States infringes upon the inalienable rights of many people in the United States. It also explores how religious education can seek to inform moral conscience in response to unjust capitalist conditions that compromise and thus threaten the liberty, democracy, and equality of all U.S. residents. Martin Luther King, Jr.’s theology of social ethics is examined for its rich content, which provides a prescription for doing justice and empowering the poor. On a broader level, this study investigates how progressive religious education can foster moral education theoretically and practically to empower the poor in a democratic society. It shows how progressive religious education can encourage the poor to exercise their democratic rights, participate in democracy, and seek redistributive justice as an expression of prophetic Christian faith.

Daniel Justin

Prophet of Prudence: The Practical Wisdom of Martin Luther King Jr. as a Model for Justice Education
Rarely is Martin Luther King Jr. remembered for his prudence. Yet as practical wisdom, this virtue was critical to his achievements. Tracing the roles of justice and prudence in Aquinas’ thought, this paper considers King as an exemplar of practical wisdom. His witness challenges religious educators to promote not only a passion for liberation but also the prudent discernment of effective action. With examples from service-learning in the parish and higher education contexts, this paper identifies obstacles and opportunities in cultivating an active and sustainable faith that does justice.


Mai Anh L. Tran

Radicalizing Faith: Religious Education for Public Conscientization
How do we repair the souls of those returning from Iraq? How do we respond to the spiritual crisis of personal & corporate bullying? How do we interrogate invisible forces of “slow violence” which make toxic social, political, & ecological environments? This proposed colloquium invites constructive work toward identifying signature pedagogic strategies which Religious Ed as a field could contribute to religious leadership and practices that advance “inter-activism” and “local performative theologies” in the face of 3 complicated forms of violence: moral injury, bullying, & slow violence.

Derek Jones

The Death of Masculinity as We Know It: A Practical Theology of Masculine Identity
Male adolescent trauma signals the presence of an insidious injustice lurking within normative notions of masculinity that coerces young men and women into rigid gender binaries.  While feminists scholars have drawn attention to such patriarchal practices, many Christians have been unwilling to similarly interrogate normative masculinity.  Viewing Christ as similarly disruptive, I provide a curriculum that combines feminist scholarship with Christian traditions, addressing adolescent male trauma by bringing masculinity under the transformative power of Christ through baptism and the Eucharist.


Teri Elliott-Hart – – – – – – WITHDRAWN

Inside Out: Religious Education for Social Transformation and Personal Formation
This research project explores a variety of pedagogies, seeking to identify practices that enable communities of faith to integrate the personal formation of their members with the communities’ actions for social transformation. Both the history and the current practices of Christian religious education reveal a division between two educational dimensions: the formation of self and the transformation of society. Rather than separate tasks, participants are invited to understand these as one integrated task. Healing racism/working for racial justice will be used as a case study.

Altagracia Perez

A Liberative Pedagogy for Multicultural, Inclusive Urban Congregations
Urban churches often do not reflect the diversity of the communities that surround them and that they are called to serve.  How can congregations work for change if their own institutional life does not reflect the changes they seek to make in the world?  Resources for leadership development are needed to equip congregations that are multicultural and inclusive, or seeking to become so.  This presentation will offer a liberative pedagogy for lay leaders that can bring diverse people to create meaningful community that can respond to the challenges and injustices present in urban centers.


Kathy Adam

Three Faiths, Two Countries, One Peace
The project is a study of learning in a context, Israel and Palestine, where there are 3 faiths, 2 countries and 1 hoped for peace. It began in the US with readings and conversations with members of the 3 faiths and 2 countries. The learners traveled to the region to learn about the situation so they could make their own discoveries about issues of justice there. The learners met with members of the 3 religious to learn about the role of religion in the political situation in Israel and Palestine. It is hoped that they will become advocates for peace with justice when they return to the US.


Katherine Balmforth

All Children Matter: A Christian Response to Inequality
Recently the Movement Advancement Project, Family Equality Council, and the Center for American Progress, collaborated on a report entitled, “All Children Matter: How Legal and Social Inequalities Hurt LGBT Families.” In that report several specific risk factors are identified for the children of LGBT parents. The report also makes recommendations for how organizations, concerned with the well-being of children, can best address those potential risks. We will discuss how those recommendations can be applied in Religious Education.


Mary Brown

From The Huffington Post to the Classroom: The Use of National Multimedia in Religious Education
We are a national media organization covering news with a strong track record of thoughtful, topical journalism on religion and social justice issues. In 2011, we produced 300 short-form video reports on subjects including poverty, sex trafficking and the immigration debate. We report on faith in action – how religion drives and reacts to the headlines.  65% of Americans say religion is important in their daily lives, but only 2% of news coverage is devoted to the topic.  Our video library is available at no charge for classroom use.

Saturday Morning Sessions  – 11:00 a.m.-12:15 p.m.

Poster Session

Karen Gieseke, A Future I Trust In: Identity and Vocation as the Parent-Leader
Download accompanying paper.

Matt Hoven, God and Sport: Religious Learning in Sport Academies

Virginia Lee, Making Theology Understandable: The Educational Legacy of Georgia Harkness

MiKyong Park, Finding a Way to Stand Together as One Family

Joshua Reichard, Religious Education and Racial Diversity: An Empirical Case Study of Student Race and Religiosity in the Context of Urban School Choice.  Poster

Ina ter Avest, Space of Encounter, the Architecture of the School: Enabling Self-Empowerment of Parents as Co-Educators of Teachers. 
Download accompanying paper.

Kathleen Turner, Liturgical Dance as Liberative Pedagogy.  Download accompanying paper.

Daniella Zsupan-Jerome, Empowering Public Voice through Blogging as a Pedagogical Practice


Narola McFayden

Disrupting the Nightmare of Poverty: Towards a Transformative Pedagogy
Poverty as a result of economic injustice is a reality. Mahatma Gandhi called poverty the “worst form of violence.” Martin Luther King Jr. dreamed of economic security for all. The negative effects of globalization and capitalism on the human spirit are astounding, a reality that religious education must address.

Judith Brady

Social Justice in a World of Poverty and Wealth
The United States has glaring disparities of poverty and wealth as witnessed by public demonstrations for the 99% who struggle and against the 1% who thrive. This paper will explore poverty and its effect on families, especially women and children in the United States of America using statistics from the US Census (2010) and The Research Supplemental Poverty Measure: 2010, along with analysis by the Economic Policy Institute. How can Americans approach issues related to poverty when American politicians consistently fail to reach consensus? Education for social justice begins with reading the Bible for signs of liberation and justice. Writings by Gustavo Gutierrez and Letty Russell will assist in explaining how an option for the poor and solidarity are complemented by hospitality.


Nelson Strobert

Black Soldiers, Education and the U.S. Civil War: Fight for Liberation
The historian, Barbara Fields poses the question “Who Freed the Slaves?” A related question might be “Who taught the slaves?” The education of Blacks took place before emancipation in various venues including Sunday schools, academies, and the slaves themselves in addition to the Reconstruction period following the Civil War. However, another setting for Black education occurred during the Civil War for those Blacks who enlisted into military service. This paper indicates the role of general and religious education as liberating forces for those military men of color who experienced bondage.

Patricia Lipperini

Privileged to Educate: Katharine Drexel and Catholic Social Teaching–An Embodied Pedagogy
Katharine Drexel was an important educator who taught profound lessons to the Roman Catholic Church and American society about the responsibility of privilege and the irresponsibility of prejudice.  As a professed nun dedicated to the education of black and Native Americans, she taught both intentionally and by example.  In the process, she upset conventional expectations for wealth, contributed to expanding views of womanhood, and challenged attitudes about race.  Simultaneous to the development of the principles of Catholic social teaching Katharine lived and taught them instinctively. Her ability to teach by “being”, to authentically inhabit her orientation to justice, provides valuable lessons for religious educators. By studying Katharine’s life, religious educators can illustrate the foundational attitude and habits necessary for the principle of social justice to take root and become, as Katharine found, the only alternative for Christian living.


Richardson Addai-Mununkum

Combating Religion of Social Inaction in Ghana: The Role of Religious Education
The introduction of Islam and Christianity in Ghana significantly affected Indigenous Religion as its adherents abandoned it and embraced Western Religions. This notwithstanding, traditional religious thought still permeates social and religious life of Ghanaians. In this paper, I postulate that indigenous religious thought which has been accommodated by Western Religions is to blame for social inaction and that, Religious Education has not done enough to develop critical religious literacy.  This conclusion is drawn based on data collected from scholarly articles and my classroom memoir.

Christine Hong and Aram Bae

We Are the Way We Were: Re-integrating Asian American Unsung Heroes into Asian American Religious Education
This paper examines the necessity for Asian American churches to rediscover and reclaim their political and civic heroes in worship and educational faith practices, cultivating a stronger Asian American identity in both the religious & political realms. Asian American churches have historically stood as cornerstones for resistance against political & civic injustices. This paper will address ways in which Asian American faith communities can reclaim the legacy of their own political & social activists to redefine a uniquely Asian American religious identity for today’s religio-political arena.


Mark Hearn

Liberating Men: Empowering Men to Engage Freedom Work
This paper explores the endeavor of educating and engaging men in liberative work that aims to free the self internally, in relation to others, and in social institutions. While feminist studies rightly argue that men hold a large disadvantage in social power and privilege, Men’s Studies scholars (Boyd, 1997; Connell, 1995; Kimmel & Messner, 1998) also note that most men do not live fully liberated lives but hold their privilege in such a way that oppresses women, other men, and their own selves (Kaufman, 1998). The first half of the paper uses critical feminist theories to lay a theoretical framework to probe issues of masculinity and power; semi-structured interviews with fifteen men supplement these theories. The second half introduces a spiritual formation project the author has conducted with men at a church over the last four years that uses transformative pedagogies to reframe religious education for the purposes of engaging men in liberative work.

Anba Suriel — WITHDRAWN

Habib Jirjis: Reformer of Religious Education in the Coptic Orthodox Church
In its ancient history, the Coptic Church protected against heresy and preserved the doctrines of the Christian faith. Then, as if being buried under the sands of Egypt and suffering under various and numerous persecutions, the Church struggled to regain its earlier relevancy for over 1000 years. The Church may not have survived in its present resurrected state if it were not for the work and inspired leadership of a single layperson. This paper examines the writings and vision of Habib Jirjis as he sought to drag his church-into the twentieth century through educational and structural reform.


Russell Dalton

Meek and Mild: American Children’s Bibles’ Stories of Jesus as a Boynew title
While there are certainly examples of American religious education materials that promote freedom and justice, this paper claims that most religious education materials for children published in the U.S., especially those published by Protestant Christians who have been part of the dominant culture, have used the Bible to teach lessons that maintain the status quo by promoting virtues such as submission and obedience to authority, hard work, and contentment in one’s station in life. In addition, these materials often ignore or downplay potential meanings in Bible stories that might inspire virtues such as speaking truth to power, standing up for justice, promoting radical hospitality and inclusion, etc. Given the status and power of those who wrote and published the materials this is perhaps not surprising, but it is helpful for those who wish to educate for peace and justice today to understand that they have long-standing historical trends and assumptions to overcome.

Joseph Petriello

Into the Holy Darkness: Ignatian Education and the Advent of Justice in an Age of Uncertainty
How can a pedagogy of creative tension help Ignatian educators problematize the economic and cultural privilege of adolescents to religiously educate them for justice? There are two aims of religious education for justice: the formative immersion of service with the poor and the critical distancing of the academic study of social justice.  Exploring the liminal uncertainties at the intersection of postmodern culture, contemporary adolescence, and religious education in Jesuit high schools, the research offers seven suggestions to help navigate the postmodern sensibilities of youth today.


Tamar Wasoian

Religious Education for the Praxis of Peace, Reconciliation and Democracy
People are in the streets all over the world seeking change. This paper presents the case of Syrian revolution in the context of the general Middle Eastern and Global shift towards public demand of freedom and democracy. Ancient Mesopotamian model of democratic kingship and Galtnug’s peace proposal for Syria are presented. A praxis of peace, reconciliation and democracy that is informed by Paulo Freire’s key concepts are discussed as they apply to the Syrian context.

Ned Berghausen

Teaching Social Justice through the Lives of Peacemakers
From Alexander the Great to Napoleon, the world celebrates history’s war makers. By contrast, religious educators have the duty to popularize and promote the work of peacemakers and agents of social change. Through this work, their students can be inspired to become peacemakers themselves, and to deepen their own spiritual development in the process. In this paper, the best practices and projects of several practitioners in Catholic high school and university settings are surveyed, including peacemaker research assignments, and a Nobel Peace Prize Laureate module.


Justus Baird

Multifaith Religious Education for Social Justice Advocacy
XYZ Seminary recently dedicated itself to building a multifaith movement for justice. As a seminary, it aspires to bring depth and nuance of religious voices and traditions to pressing social issues. But many faith-based advocates for justice act first and study later. Some rely on quoting single verses of scripture and others engage secular frames, rather than grounding their advocacy deeply in their religious traditions. How might faith-oriented justice advocates plumb the depths of their traditions for guidance, and have cross-faith venues to learn from colleagues in other traditions?

Tracey Blum

The Mental Demands of Social Justice
The struggle to meet the challenges of cultural postmodernity has led many young adults to be more pessimistic of their role in creating a more just society, leading many to limit and compartmentalize their moral convictions as they leave college.  This paper argues that religious educators must address the mental demands of society because they pose a strong hindrance to the development of young people’s ability to create a life of sustained moral commitment. Positively, the presentation discusses how fostering more complex ways of knowing to help young people  address issues of social justice.


Muriel Schmid – moved from C3.2

When Theology Meets History: Insights from Palestinian Liberation Theology
This paper will argue that the tenets of contemporary Palestinian Christian theology highlights two ongoing challenges facing theological discourse inspired by Liberation Theology: the limitations as well as the conditions of the use of biblical narratives to talk about liberation from oppression and the necessary intercultural and interreligious contextualization of the concept of liberation. An examination of the unique theological perspective of Palestinian Christians can help other theologically motivated struggles for justice evaluate their own formulations in their own contexts.

Jana Strukova

When the Keys “Rang” in Prague: The Role of Narrative Catechesis in Shaping Freedom in the Eastern European Context
This paper examines the trajectory of democracy and freedom in the Eastern European context over a twenty-three- year time period.  It looks, first, at the concept of Christian freedom to offer the view of freedom as vocation.  Second, it shows how the Christian church in the region might cultivate this understanding of freedom among its believers.  By using the educational practice of narrative catechesis, believers practice vocational narrative identity.  This identity offers a fresh understanding of self in relation to one’s purpose in family, work-place, church, and society.

Dean Manternach – – – – – – WITHDRAWN

Work: Educating at the Intersection of Vocation and Mission


Chuck Foster

Practicing Freedom: A Clue to the Adaptive Challenge of Congregational Education in Forming Faith
This workshop draws on a framework for education as a theological practice in forming faith from the presenter’s forthcoming book, FROM GENERATION TO GENERATION. Workshop participants will explore together its possibilities for congregations seeking to cultivate among their children and youth practices of freedom in their journeys of faith.


Doug Powe and Brandon Winstead

Horror, Hustle and Hope: A Liberative Framework for Understanding Hip-Hop and its Implications for Religious Pedagogy
Through interpreting the social, cultural, and theological phenomenon of hip-hop culture through the lens of horror, hustle and hope, this work will offer liberative pedagogical models. We believe religious educators and graduate students have much to learn from Hip-hop’s historical and theological realities and how they might shape or impact religious and pedagogical models of liberation, particularly for those with ties to the black church. The work centers on the question, “What can religious educators learn from these liberative expressions for the classroom and contemporary ministry?”

Saturday Afternoon Sessions  –  3:15-4:30 p.m.


Beth Anderson

Engaging Diversity and Building Liberative Community: Issues Related to Incorporating Practice into the Christian Spirituality Classroom
While spiritual practice has the potential to enhance student learning and build a liberative classroom community, some scholars in the field of Christian spirituality highlight the danger of diluting academic rigor by bringing practice into traditional academic space. I bring together insights from the discipline of Christian spirituality with the critical pedagogy of educational theorists. The final goal of this project is to demonstrate how incorporating practice into the Christian spirituality classroom can engage issues of diversity and foster a liberative learning community.

Amy Valdez Barker

Transformative Pedagogies: A Case Study of Witnessing Justice through Polity and Practice
This paper seeks to discuss how an immersion class experience at the General Conference of The United Methodist Church has shaped and transformed students for their future work in the church.  It analyzes how this experience has empowered students to work through systems of polity and legislation in order to be change agents against issues of injustice.  It explores how experiential learning forms students as future leaders in the church.  It captures how an immersion class can transform the ways in which Educators impress upon students experiences that transcend classroom settings.


Meredith Hoxie Schol

A Habitus of Resistance
This paper will reconsider praxis as not only a site of learning, but as a way of registering resistance, a form of protest, from which freedom emerges. If Christian Religious Education (CRE) as a socializing process hopes to be liberating, it must educate not solely through the transmission of a metanarrative, but rather through practices of protest, a habitus of resistance.  I ultimately argue that CRE through not only the liturgy but also acts of service, offers the church freedom from a compulsion to compete with a self-interested cultural hegemony, while respecting individual experience.

Ryan Nilsen

The National Farm Worker Ministry as Freirian Apprenticeship ——-new title
In “Education, liberation and the church,” Paulo Freire proposes apprenticeship as a model of liberative education for people of faith who begin to discover the ways in which they benefit from the systemic oppression of other human beings. Using ten oral history interviews I conducted with National Farm Worker Ministry (NFWM) staff, board members, and volunteer supporters, I propose NFWM as a historical and contemporary example of Freirian apprenticeship which offers valuable insight to those seeking to promote similar educational experiences.


Patrick Reyes

Liberative Education for Farmworkers: Assessing Transformative Potential of Social Media/Networking
Despite being touted as emancipatory tools used for revolutionary means, social media and networking have reinstated the banking method of education. While liberative religious educators and organizers have largely embraced these virtual tools, this paper sets out to show the limitations of such tools if they are not accompanied by embodied praxis. From the perspective of the United States farm working poor, liberative education requires educators to occupy sites of social abandonment, as opposed to virtual websites, and embrace the bodies of the poor as the locus of religious education.

Claire Bischoff

Developing a Spirit of Compassion: Preparing for Social Justice Work through Digital Storytelling
Digital storytelling (DS) engenders a spirit of compassion that helps prepare people for social justice work. Like other forms of storytelling, which have contributed to social change movements, DS encourages personal voice, deep listening, and contemplative awareness. Further, by incorporating visual and audio layers, DS has heightened potential to lead to positive change as audiences are moved by the stories. DS can be used to make social justice claims, as well as to assist people in developing skills necessary for social justice work within and beyond their faith communities.


Charles Chesnavage – moved from R4.6

The History of Roman Catholic High School Teachers’ Unions and the Right to Organize:  Is There a Future?
This paper provides a historical survey of the court cases giving Roman Catholic high school teacher’s unions the right to organize and the resistance from Catholic school administrations and local Church leadership in this quest for justice.  The paper will present the rich tradition of Roman Catholic and interreligious social justice teaching on behalf of the worker and the rights of unions to exist without fear of reprisals, via the documents of the Church, and the failure of educational and ecclesial leadership to uphold these teachings as it applies to Catholic high school teachers.

Lindsay McAnulty

Jesuit Education: A Catalyst for Social Change in America
This research paper examines the history of American Jesuit Education through a Social Reconstructivist lens. With a mission rooted in Ignatian Spirituality, the order was often called to serve the most impoverished and isolated members of society. Innovative educators were able to adapt the unique needs of their students in order to provide them the tools necessary for spiritual and educational improvement.  Jesuit education reflects a tradition that has grown to provide resources that inform and inspire students to change the injustices they witnessed in American society.


Siebren Miedema and Gerdien Bertram-Troost

Reconciling the Just, the Civic, and the Sacred in Critical-Pragmatic Religious Education
In our presentation we will: i) first outline our core concern, that is the importance of intertwining the three forms of education: citizenship education, worldview education, and human rights education, then ii) we will secondly position our transformative religious pedagogy within a critical-pragmatic theoretical framework with the aim of our pedagogical, as well as our political program to strengthen the potentialities for social engagement, solidarity, encounter and dialogue and to tackle the dangers of religions and worldviews within the setting of the schools (cf. Miedema and Wardekker, 1999)

Bert Roebben

Kenosis, Human Flourishing and Solidarity: Towards a Theological Anthropology of Education
This paper explores philosophical and theological arguments for a renewed reflection on the goal of education in Late Modernity. What do we mean when we educate children and young people for the future? What are the implications of the highly individualized competence development and assessment models for teaching and learning in our schools? Should solidarity at all be an educational goal in contemporary schools? On the basis of the kenotic dynamic of Christian theology a new vision on the field of tension between human flourishing and solidarity in (religious) education is explored.


Karen Crozier and Clayton Gladish

“Power to the People”: Religious Education as the Recovering of Our Humanity
Critical pedagogues are mindful of how to share power, to name the political and social oppressive powers, and create space for all to find their sense of power (agency) in the hope of engendering healing and justice both internally and externally.  This co-presentation (black female instructor and white male international student) is a reflection of our lived stories regarding how a deepening sense of racial critical consciousness emerged for both of us through a critical pedagogy informed by W. E. B. Du Bois, Howard Thurman, and Charles H. Long.

Carl Procario-Foley and Ann Heekin

Liberating Service-Learning:  Religious Education Perspectives on Solidarity
In this colloquium the presenters propose that service-learning programs, especially in institutions founded in the Christian tradition, are strongest and most faithful to their heritage if they are grounded in education and action for solidarity.  Drawing from the work of Paulo Freire and Susan Toton, the presenters will expose the landmines inherent in service-learning.  A parish center serving undocumented workers will be presented as a case study for exploring a pedagogical approach rooted in solidarity.

C3.2 – moved to C2.2

Elizabeth Ingenthron – – – – – – WITHDRAWN

Critical Pedagogy and Teaching About Israel/Palestine in the United States


Veronice Miles – – – – – – WITHDRAWN

The Praxis of Hope: Nurturing Hope in the Lives of Young Black Women

Violet L D Lee

Olivia Pearl Stokes: Global Educator, Humanitarian, and Leader
Olivia Pearl Stokes was an outspoken advocate for education, children, leadership development, and women’s leadership roles in the church. Stokes’s work was an integral part of fostering race relations in faith communities during the Civil Rights Movement/Era.  Her significant contributions impacted this critical time in U.S. history.  Stokes’s role in international religious education reflected her deep committment to understanding African religious customs and African Traditional Religions (ATRs).  She provided multicultural learning opportunities for youth and educators to many countries.


Barbara Javore

Rising from the Ashes:  Aesthetic Experience and Creative Transformation
Aesthetic responses that arise from brutal attempts at annihilation, offer a powerful testament to the human longing for freedom of the spirit.  The creative process that endeavors to bring about order from chaos is evidenced through artistic representation, even when the setting for this process is so atrocious it defies human reason. The outpouring of creativity in the midst of and as a reaction to extreme repression and cruelty demonstrates the sacred possibilities for creative transformation. This workshop examines the aesthetic experience in the context of holocausts of enslavement and genocide and is designed for adults.   Participants will encounter examples drawn from African-American spirituals, art from the Nazi Death Camps, and Cambodia’s artistic reclamation of a decimated cultural heritage.  They will engage in a dialogue of reflection upon their aesthetic experiences to the artistic expressions provided. A process that facilitates creative transformation in religious education through the aesthetic experience will be explored.


Elizabeth Corrie

Reading and Responding to the Signs of the Times: Doing Kairos Theology with Youth
The tradition and practice of doing Kairos Theology can serve as powerful form of religious education, particularly with youth.  Students learn skills in theological reflection and social analysis in order to read the “signs of the times,” and are introduced to nonviolent strategies for social change to help them respond effectively to the “Kairos” moments they name.  This workshop will demonstrate several specific activities used to teach these skills, framed within the larger understanding of bringing religious education into conversation with Kairos theology and peace studies.

Sunday Sessions  –  9:00-10:15 a.m.


Sung Hee Chang

A Journey of Struggle to Know and Represent the Self: Asian American Women’s Freedom/Protest Pedagogical Movements Based on a Postcolonial Diasporic Feminist Imagination
This paper critically reviews the binary Western colonial imagination and constructively describes a postcolonial diasporic feminist imagination that breaks the stranglehold of the pedagogy of colonial imagination over estranged, marginalized, and silenced Asian American women.  It borrows from Kwok Pui-lan a metaphor of a journey of struggle to know and represent the self and, within the framework of this metaphor, analyzes three non-linear and interwoven aspects (postcolonial context, diasporic social location, and storied identities) of a postcolonial diasporic feminist imagination.  It then probes three major pedagogical issues that concern Asian American women’s freedom/protest movements: the decolonization of the colonial imagination, the culture-specificity of each perspective, and the intercultural encounter and dialogue among diverse perspectives.  The contention of this paper is that a postcolonial diasporic feminist imagination helps Asian American women to form their storied identities by decolonizing, contextualizing, and making intercultural their postcolonial context and diasporic social location.

Halise Ozdemir

The Hijab Ban: Liberation or Oppression?
This paper is an attempt to understand the effects of the hijab ban on covered women in Turkey and how they respond to the challenges in educational, professional and social life. This study examines the religious, political and personal aspects of wearing hijab from Muslim women’s perspective. Interviews shed light on the benefits and risks of wearing hijab in Turkey through individual experiences of those who wear it.


Patricia Haggler

In the Basement of the Church: Shared Space, Shared Ideas
“In the Basement of the Church: Shared Space, Shared Ideas” calls attention to the fact that there was more going on in the basement of the church than the teaching of biblical Sunday school lessons and highlights the work of Sunday school youth in civil rights efforts in America during the 1930s and 1940s. The civil rights activism of Sunday school youth was primarily done through alliances first with the Southern Negro Youth Congress (SNYC) and later the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP).  The alliances formed between these groups in the 1930s and 1940s produced a radical religious thought among African-American youth, the remnants of which were articulated in a more aggressive youth activism of the 1950s and 1960s.

Tamara Henry

Hip-hop as Artistic and Pedagogical Resistance in Youth Religious Education
In recent years, a growing body of scholarship has examined the intersection of Hip-hop culture and classroom centered pedagogy with youth. These studies have demonstrated the classroom potential of hip hop for fostering emancipatory teaching/learning aims (e.g., fostering critical consciousness, resistance, activism) While these scholars have been particularly attentive to the liberative role that arts based youth cultures such as hip hop play within schooling settings, attention to hip hop as a liberative pedagogy within youth religious teaching/learning contexts has been virtually ignored. As such, very little is known about the liberative teaching/learning potential for hip hop within youth religious educational practice. This paper seeks to address this gap in literature by examining the liberative potential of hip-hop specifically as an artistic and pedagogical form of resistance within youth religious education.


Mark Hayse

Saving the World One Game at a Time? Justice, Digital Play, and the Games for Change Movement
The Games for Change movement sponsors video game innovations that teach justice and compassion through learning and growth, perspective taking, self-reflection, critical thinking, and adaptive thinking.  However, the educational aims of these games may be diluted by the latent structural qualities within the chosen medium.  Religion appears to be an underutilized resource within these games, despite the great promise and potential of religious education.  This study relies heavily upon literature review and case studies from within the Games for Change community of practice.

Sybrina Atwaters

Flowing Between Sacred Grounds: Constructing Socio-Religious Communities in 3D (Three-Dimensional) Virtual Worlds
Technological advances have created alternative pathways for social action. While different types of virtual environments allow for different user affordances, all virtual worlds are subject to technological constraints and liberties that impact the meanings, identities and artifacts constructed within them. This research builds upon user-driven innovation theories in analyzing reformed religious artifacts and practices emerging within 3D (three-dimensional) virtual worlds.


Harold Horell

Liberating Moral Reflection
This paper argues that if we are to foster life-giving and liberating moral reflection, we must liberate moral reflection from contemporary confusions that prevent people from exploring moral issues effectively. More fully, contemporary awareness of the situatedness of human knowledge has cast doubts on our ability to step back reflectively from morally charged life situations to view them objectively. Conversely, acknowledging the situatedness of moral outlooks can seem to diminish our ability for moral reflection, leaving us open to charges of moral relativism. Hence, moral reflection has become problematic. The author argues that we can develop viable models of morality if we conceptualize moral reflection as an active process that involves the balancing of (1) efforts to step back from morally charged life situations to gain a critically reflective perspective with (2) focused attention on such situations in order to understand how they shape the ongoing unfolding of our lives.

Jennifer Ayres

Lives Worth Living: Religious Education and Social Movements
When people of faith participate in movements for social change, how are their religious and moral identities formed, challenged, and transformed? Although they have explicit and tangible goals as they participate in advocacy, protest, and boycotts, religious social activists also, James Jasper argues, craft “lives worth living” (1997). This paper examines the identity-shaping power of religious participation in social movements, in conversation with scholarship in religious education and social movement theory; and proposes some explicit practices for nurturing religious and moral formation.


A. Vanessa Hawkins

Hurricane Katrina and the African American Creation Narrative
‘Katrina’ has become a household word and has been coded into the African American oral traditions of the Middle Passage, Emancipation and Black Migration.  Land and water has served as a two-way mirror reflecting the depth of African Americans’ vulnerabilities and this country’s injustices. This paper explores intertextually Psalm 137, “The Negro Speaks of Rivers,” and Katrina and the role of land and water in the development of African American spiritualities. These narratives that the destructive nature of water and land are used rhetorically to reclaim and reconstruct displaced identities.

Susan Willhauck

Freeing Speech: Proverbial Wisdom and Faith Formation as Liberation
Words and ways of putting them together to say things are essential for religious faith. This paper contends that it is crucial to recover the practice of seeking words and ways of speaking faith, ever refining them as an act of faithfulness.  Certain sayings, idioms, maxims and proverbs constituting wisdom from various sub-cultures help shape a faith that is liberative, particularly evident in undervalued and dominated cultures.  This paper examines the patois and wisdom of the street and how we find within this a source of theological insight. It explores the intersection of linguistics and Christian theology in order to develop a concrete approach for religious education toward appreciating and appropriating cultural wisdom.

R4.6 – moved to R3.4


Gabriel Moran

Human Rights Are Still in the Making. Religion Can Help.
Human Rights language has spread worldwide in a remarkably short time. But it threatens to be undermined by its own success. “Human rights” that are genuinely universal are few in number: a right to live that includes basic subsistence, a right not to be tortured, and a right to communicate with others. Religions vary culturally regarding some rights but they should be able to converge in their defense of human rights. Religions have to be linked to feminist and environmental movements so as to develop a doctrine of creation central to which is support of human rights for every human being.

Delores Carpenter

The Role of the Sermon-Song in Social Movements
This session will examine how the sermon-song has influnced the civil rights movement of the 1960s and beyond. It will highlight which lyrics black preachers have used to motivate their listeners to take action against injustice.  It will include a brief overview of the songs of the civil rights movement, drawing upon the work of Bernice Reagon Johonson, one of the original Freedom Singers. It will contrast the metaphors of freedom songs to the lyrics of contemporary Christian hip hop songs.


Cate Siejk

Feminist Theologies:  In the Mainstream or on the Margins of C.R.E.?
Contemporary Christian feminist theologians are embracing new challenges raised by questions about the value and impact of their project.  One frequently asked question is the following:  “What is the place and influences of feminist theologies in Christian religious education?”  In this project I investigate the ways in which feminist theologies have been integrated into the educational ministry of the Christian Church during the periods 1975-85 and 2002-12 and how they have shaped prophetic and transformational pedagogies.

Cindy Fierros

Changing Ourselves, Changing the World:  Promoting Spiritual Activism through Anti-oppressive Education
To engage and maintain social justice efforts, it is vital to support the spiritual growth and activism of individuals involved. In this paper, I use critical pedagogy and liberation theology to conceptualize anti-oppressive education for Catholic schools, which can promote spiritual development. Highlighting four tenets of anti-oppressive education-situatedness of oppression, crisis, self-reflexivity, on-going labor-I draw attention to the commonalities of critical pedagogy and liberation theology and their potential to be transformative and augment curricular.


Leslie Long and Peter Messiah

The Church as a Change Agent During Times of Social Injustice
During this highly interactive workshop,the information shared will examine both the church and higher education’s roles within the process of community mobilization and leadership preparedness to address complex societal issues. It will equip leaders with hands-on practical tools to function as local organizers and change agents within their municipality. More directly, it will examine the church’s curative role in context with their respective collective social condition, as well as global and local social injustice, answering the larger question of church and community readiness.


Ryan Gardner, Tom Groome, and Matthew Geiger

Will There Be Faith?: An Interfaith Discussion on Faith Education Pedagogy & Praxis
Tom Groome’s recent book, Will There Be Faith? (2011) proposes a “Life to Faith to Life” approach to faith education that can form, inform, and transform our religious education praxis. Groome contends that religious education should help people achieve a “holiness of life, which demands the works of peace and justice.” This workshop invites practitioners to explore practical implementation of several key convictions of Groome’s vision for educating and growing disciples in their own specific teaching contexts. Join us for a stimulating, synergistic dialogue!

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