Coming Out Religiously

Religion, the Public Sphere, and Religious Identity Formation

REA Annual Meeting 2013

8-10 November, Boston, Massachusetts

2013 Annual Meeting Breakout Sessions

For those who prefer a printed copy, the 2013 Proceedings, which is a complete copy of all papers and handouts available before the meeting, can be downloaded as one large file here and then printed and bound at your local copy shop.

Below are details for Friday, Saturday morning, Saturday afternoon, and Sunday morning breakout sessions. Presenter, titles, and abstracts are provided.  Papers in pdf format will be posted here after September 25.


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.

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.

P = Poster: displayed in the Ballroom Foyer on Saturday, 8:00 a.m. – 10:00 p.m.  Authors will present their posters from 10:15 a.m. – 12:00 noon that day.

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

1 = Friday
2 = Saturday morning
3 = Saturday afternoon
4 = Sunday

Hence, R-3.a is a Research Interest Group session on Saturday, 3:15-4:30 p.m.

Friday Sessions  –  3:30-4:45 p.m.

C 1.a

Elizabeth DeGaynor
The Place and Function of Religion in Schools (Past, Present, Future)
This colloquium will use Fraser, Purpel, Noddings, and Nord to survey the history of religious education in colonial America, the rise of common schooling, and the constitutional issues at stake. After describing two flawed models (the “sacred public school” where one religion is preferred and the “naked public school” where religion is excluded), we will explore a few of the solutions offered to honor the cultural significance of religious faith in the lives of American citizens, including natural inclusion, spiritual literacy and liberal educational models.

Matt Hoven
Coming Out Religiously in Sports
Sport is widely regarded as a secular endeavor. Yet, beyond proselytizing witness by Christian athletes, papal speeches over recent decades underline spiritual and human values in sport. An examination of explicit papal writings about sport–based on the work of sociologist James Mathisen–categorizes magisterial teaching and clarifies its approach. Strengths and weaknesses of this position are made with the help of various religious educators. Overall, a basis for faith-based schools, athletic associations, sport chaplains and parents to challenge secular assumptions in sports is proposed.

C 1.b

Sue Kim and Stephanie Varnon-Hughes
The Whole Child, Educated Interreligiously: Models for Interfaith Engagement in Church and at School
Religious leaders and educators are increasingly called to respond to religiously diverse families, classrooms, and a public square filled with voices from various traditions, and often in conflict. How can congregational leaders help Christians, especially those who struggle with issues of diversity, grow interreligiously? How can teachers work to educate interreligiously, even while sustaining the core religious convictions of their children and families? What are the needs of communities–whether classroom or congregation–when it comes to interfaith dialogue and young people?

Johan Liljestrand
The Value of RE for Citizenship Education According to Swedish RE-Teachers
Swedish RE has the purpose to teach about religion and to present a comprehensive view of different traditions. However, this assignment can be interpreted in different ways by different RE-teachers with different consequences for the education of citizens. In this contribution RE-teachers are considered as socialization agents representing an important part of the enacted curriculum. The purpose of this contribution is to explore Swedish RE-teachers’ notions of citizenship.

C 1.c

Miriam Martin
Engaging the World: Discipleship, Eco-theology and Religious Education
To live as a committed Christian today means to live in the world recognizing that the ecological crisis is a religious crisis. It demands that a mature disciple employ a faithful practice based on critical reflection regarding the context, culture and operative theologies that shape their worldviews and anthropologies. Religious educators may be inspired to take up the renewed challenge offered by Pope Francis to teach a religious way of life that cares for the earth as well as addressing the concerns for those made poor. Exploring a model of discipleship offered by Sallie McFague, this paper examines critical issues in religious education for fostering a faith formation which truly engages a major concern of the world, the very integrity of creation.

Amanda Pittman
Learning Hospitality as Political Practice: Religious Identity and Political Engagement
Theologian Luke Bretherton suggests that hospitality provides the best model for Christian political engagement, for it is theologically grounded, more robust than alternate models, and it respects the role of religious communities in the formation of political actors. Moreover, these actors are better able to operate within a pluralist society without sacrificing or obscuring their Christian identity. Adopting and exploring that model, this colloquium explores the pedagogical implications for religious communities: how might hospitality be learned in the context of religious education?

R 1.d

Joshua Reichard
Religionless Religious Education? Secularizing for the Common Good
This paper is a creative application of John B. Cobb’s proposal of “secularizing” religion for the common good to the scope and practice of religious education. As religious private schools participate in state-funded voucher programs, they can “secularize” in terms of emphasis and mission. A “religionless” religious private school may affirm a critical examination of its inherited tradition and seek to serve public needs and solve social crises rather than to simply remain internally focused. Religious education may thus become a valuable and contributing voice in the public square.

Bert Roebben
Transatlantic Encounters: What Research on Religious Education in Public Schools in Europe Can Contribute to the Issue of Religion in the Public Sphere in the USA
In this paper I reflect on developments of the last 30 years in RE in public schools in Europe and confront these with the situation of religion in the public realm in the United States. The paper should be considered first of all as an invitation to encounter and to exchange thoughts, as a contribution to a common ‘transatlantic’ understanding of the issue of globalization of religions and world views in a complex and pluralist world and as a reflection on the kind of religious education to face this situation adequately and hopefully.

R 1.e

Harold Horell
On Learning to See the World Religiously: Moral Awareness, Faith, and Public Moral Discourse
Our moral awareness directs our attention to salient ethical cues in our lives; for instance, drawing us to notice a child on a playground being bullied or to attend to news stories about civilians being injured during armed conflicts in the Middle East. This paper discusses how we can learn to ground our moral awareness in the commitments of our specific faith communities, while also remaining open to dialogue with people of diverse religious outlooks so that we are able to discuss moral issues in the religiously diverse social and public places (the public squares) of our global age.

Erik Renkema
Religious Identity of Dutch Cooperation Schools
The research focuses on the religious dimension of the identity of and the religious education at Dutch primary schools that are known as so-called ‘cooperation schools’: schools that are a product of a merger between one or more schools for public (i.e., non-denominational) education and one or more schools for private (denominational) education. The merging private schools concern so far always protestant or catholic schools. This research will describe how these schools see themselves in a religious perspective of their identity and how this perspective is shaped in the organization of religious education at these particular schools. Next to results of theoretical research, results of empirical research will be presented. This contains attention to possible religious views on development of children, on (goals and contents of) education, and to the motivations of the board to organize religious education the way it is organized.

R 1.f    moved to Saturday, R 3.k

R 1.g

Sinai Chung
Educational Vocation of Korean American Church in the Public Sphere
Church has a responsibility to play a both prophetic and priestly role in educating the public for a righteous and humane society. Church needs to address the ways to play this role. Trying to find out one of such ways from the experiences and practices of Korean American Church, this research explored the following three contributions. Korean American Church can bring the hope (1) of transforming the racial discrimination and actualizing the racial reconciliation from its experiences and practices as an ethnic minority group, (2) of overcoming dehumanization and recovering the meaning of life through sharing its traditional spirit and practice of “we-ness”, and (3) of enriching the layers of moral character formation by suggesting some ethical themes retrieved from Korean traditional ethical virtues. This research, with these contributions, would be beneficial for church, including Korean American Church, to grapple with recapturing its role in the education of the public.

Kevin Dowd
What Has Columbine to Do With Jerusalem? Anthropological and Sociological Insights from Manifest Tragedy Applied to the Hidden Violence of Bullying in Our Schools
In the wake of school shootings and other similar tragedies, there is little hesitancy about including various religious communities in the work of counseling, memorializing, sharing assembly space, etc. The author argues that this instinct is proper (anthropologically, sociologically, constitutionally) and that such cooperation should exist not only in the wake of exceptional “macro-violence” but also in combatting daily “micro-violence” such as bullying that occurs regularly, with sometimes tragic results, but which has not been adequately recognized by our society as the violence it is.

R 1.h

Stephen Parker
School Worship, John G. Williams, and the Idea of Childhood Piety at the BBC
This paper discusses the contribution of the wartime broadcaster, J. G. Williams, to the shaping of ideas of childhood piety at the BBC, and later in his published work for religious educators. Comparing this with challenges to his approach from John Hull, in his 1975 book School Worship: An Obituary, consideration is given to how ideas of childhood piety changed over time (between the 1940s and the 1970s), and across the boundaries of broadcasting and religious education, arguing that these mutual histories may be informative of the other, amidst a changing religious context.

W 1.i

Beth Katz
RavelUnravel: A Tool for Exploring and Understanding Religious and Spiritual Identity
RavelUnravel is an interactive, multimedia program that furthers interreligious understanding and skills through its 3 components: 1) a website featuring 900+ video interviews about religious/spiritual identity; 2) a campaigns feature that allows users to run their own RavelUnravel video campaign using the RavelUnravel questions & site; and 3) curriculum sets using RavelUnravel themes, questions, and videos. Through this workshop, Project Interfaith is seeking feedback from REA members to better evaluate and advance program outcomes and to identify collaboration opportunities with researchers.

W 1.j

Elizabeth Nolan
Doing Religious Education — Educationally, Ethically, Evangelically
RE has a long history in school education, and for many cultures, learning your faith tradition is part of learning to function within your community. In Australia, as Nineteenth century religious diversity caused tensions, government schools aiming for ‘secular’ education were established as alternatives to religious ones, but in the Twentieth century, all government schools had some form of religious education. Debate about government funding of Chaplains in schools raises the questions of how to do RE educationally, ethically and ‘evangelically’. The workshop aims to progress this debate.

Saturday Poster Pre­sen­ta­tions – 10:15–12:00 noon

(posters on display 8:00am-10:00pm)

P 1

Hanna Markus
Teachers in Monoreligious Education and Religious Tolerance as Their Educational Goal

It will be examined how teachers in Dutch Christian monoreligious primary and secondary schools concern world view, religious diversity, and religious tolerance as educational goal, and to what extent this can be related to the age/development of pupils. Teachers’ thinking and acting will be presented. The research provides empirical knowledge that will help taking decisions in political, public and school areas regarding how to stimulate religious tolerance. Proposed methods and research process will be presented, as well as some results of an interdisciplinary review of international literature.

P 2

Catherine Owens
Spiritual Formation in the Secularized University: Training, Practices, and Community Transformation

Some developmental psychologists and educators now see a need to support student spiritual formation in secularized institutions of higher education. While secularization has changed or eliminated the role of spiritual life chaplain, a trained and educated spiritual leader can offer such support both directly to the students and indirectly to facilitate the institutional transformation into a community of support. The author suggests some topics to be covered in training these leaders, focusing on the importance of individual spiritual practices and the introduction of communal rituals.

P 3

Christopher Welch
A Pedagogy of Critical Consumption as a Task for Religious Educators

Consumer culture dominates our consciousness — often without our awareness. The negative effects of consumer culture require a response from religious educators concerned with personal flourishing and the common good. Pedagogy for critical consumption includes setting an example of conscious consumption, building on students’ openness to experience, fostering habits of reflective questioning, and guiding students in the search for information. This pedagogy is grounded in a spirituality that empowers agency in imagining and participating in building a different cultural reality.

P 4

Emily Peck-McClain
Revealing the Power: Pauline Apocalypticism and Ministry with Adolescent Girls

This project begins with listening to adolescent girls about their lives, including their faith, families, schools, and social activities. While reading the lives of these girls, I will be closely reading Romans 1-8. It is my hypothesis that after hearing from adolescent girls and reading Romans 1-8, there will be significant theological connections that warrant further exploration and suggest certain pedagogical strategies for helping girls reflect on their lives with powerful theological support. This research is concerned with how girls live out the theologies taught to them.

P 5

Min Sun Lee
The Korean Folktale of Barideggi Princess as a Resource to Develop Self-Agency in Korean Christian Women

This study uses story as a way to develop the narrative identity of women in relation to self-agency and to nurture critical reflection for spiritual formation and theological understanding about God and self. It focuses on interdisciplinary interests, heuristic experience, and commitment as Korean Christian women. Indigenous stories invite women to participate in the complex dialogues and connections regarding colonialism, globalization, patriarchal features from multi-religiosity, and loss of self-agency. They are used as a means of capturing nuanced understandings of Christian women who are often taken for granted. The study seeks to bring about a positive transformation of patriarchal understandings of God, others, and self while allowing women to practice using their voices in the formation of more contextualized and gender-inclusive communities of faith.

P 6

David Csinos
Power Struggle: The Challenge of Mutual Learning in a Seminary Classroom

In environments of mutual learning, students and teachers share power and become co-learners. While thought has been given to how teachers can empower students toward mutual learning, what happens when students do not share power with teachers and peers? This is the situation in which I found myself while teaching a second-year seminary course. Using this experience as a case study, this poster will analyze issues that surface when power dynamics among students and teachers challenge mutual learning, an approach to learning that seeks to embody and pass on the ideals of democratic societies.

P 7

Lindsay Radice
World Religions: A Course Full Of Opportunities for Catholic Colleges and Universities

This poster presentation develops an approach through which a World Religions course offered at a Catholic university can provide an opportunity for students to be formed both in Catholic identity as well as prepared for active and respectful participation in global society. My research will demonstrate that the two factors of proper curriculum development and creative means of student evaluation can facilitate a more holistic education reflective of the goals vocalized in Ex Corde Ecclesiae.

Saturday Sessions  –  10:45-12:00 noon

C 2.a

Jos de Kock
The Contribution of Schools and Religious Communities to Religious Formation of Christian Youth
Young Christians may be less individualized than some widely shared reflections in literature suggest, and religious socialization of these youngsters, instead, often takes place in tribal forms of sociality. What are the implications of this insight for the contribution of (religious) schools and religious communities to the religious formation of Christian youth? My argument sheds light on the broader issue of the contribution of institutions to religious formation of a new generation of Christian youth in a de-institutionalized world with an increase of multi-religious and secular voices.

Sabrina Jafralie
The State of Quebec’s Ethics and Religious Culture Program
In 2007, the Quebec government implemented the Ethics and Religious Culture (ERC) program in all primary and secondary schools. The program consists of two combined subjects: 1) Ethics and 2) Religion. The program is a mandatory course taught in all elementary and secondary schools in Quebec. The stated purpose of the program is 1) to recognize others and 2) the pursuit of the common good. However, a major concern for parents and teachers is the religious component of the program. This proposed research examines the perceptions and experiences of secondary teachers and administrators managing and teaching the ERC program in order to investigate the challenges that continue to plague the ERC program.

C 2.b

Rachelle Brown
Un-barring Hope: Theological Education and the Prison
This paper draws on personal pedagogical experience teaching in a theological certificate program at a state prison. Grounded in the method of case study, it uses liberationist pedagogy from bell hooks, Paulo Freire and Rebecca Chopp to show that by offering liberation through affirmed personhood, theological education in the prison can counter the dehumanizing pedagogy of the prison system. When the proper alternative methods are used, prison theological education offers helpful critique of religious education in the public sphere broadly.

Deborah Court and Jack Seymour
What Might Meaningful Interfaith Education Look Like? Exploring Politics, Principles and Pedagogy
Though interfaith education presents political challenges, it is the main vehicle for communities to address violence and discrimination based in bigotry and misunderstanding. This colloquium, coordinated by a Jewish and a Christian educator, explores the possibilities and procedures. Beginning with a review of literature, the coordinators pose a series of questions: Who should invest resources in interfaith education? To what ends? In public schools, religious schools, congregations? How do we engage with theologies? The leaders hope to spark discussion within REA and generate new practices.

R 2.c

Cok Bakker and Ina ter Avest

Coming Out Religiously: Life Orientation in Public Schools
In state schools in the Netherlands religion is a contested topic. In contrast with schools with a clear religious identity, the core characteristic of state schools is their neutrality towards religious convictions. Recently however principals of state schools of a large board of primary schools in Rotterdam started to rethink this historical generated model of religious education. The process of rethinking is founded in two main developments in the Dutch society. First of all, research shows a come back of religion in the public domain. And second there is a growing awareness of the segregational aspect of subdividing children of one class into three different groups for religious education: Christian, Islamic and humanistic.
In our presentation we inform a variety of models of ‘Life Orientation’ that is developed in every day practice to meet today’s requirements of good education, that is, to teach pupils to respond to life questions from different religious and secular perspectives. In our presentation we elaborate on one of the innovative models of ‘Life Orientation for All Pupils’. We recommend teachers should rethink their coming out religiously and respect plurality of worldviews.

Karl Kitching
Children ‘Coming Out Religiously’: Power and the Acceptable Limits of Choice in Ireland’s Education System
This paper examines the dimensions of power through which children come to identify religiously in and through Irish schools. Empirical analysis demonstrates the discursive embedding of a concept of rational, individual ‘choice’ as a metaphor for how one comes, or should come to identify with a particular faith or set of values. Rather than assume the discourse of ‘choice’ unilaterally enacts religious freedom, the analysis suggests four dimensions of power through which it can be worked to realize particular ways of ‘becoming religious’ in childhood, and to suppress others as ‘inauthentic’.

R 2.e

Kieran Scott
Inviting Young Adults to Come Out Religiously, Institutionally and Traditionally
This paper will focus on three facets of the portrait that consistently appear in nearly all research studies on young adults: 1) spiritual, not religious, 2) anti-institutional, anti-church, and 3) dismissive of tradition. These three characteristics need a (religious) education response and correction for young adults to participate in our social and public spaces. An educational response proposes a counter argument, the other side of the picture. This response offers guidance and direction to young adults to come out religiously, institutionally and traditionally into the public world.

Paul Vermeer
Religion as the Topic or Subject?  On the Place of Religion in the School’s Curriculum
This paper addresses the following questions: Does teaching religion in school require a specific subject? And, if so, which pedagogical approach is appropriate? In several European countries religious topics are discussed as part of subjects like philosophy, citizenship education or social studies, and religious education as a specific subject is in danger of disappearing. This is an alarming development, for, it is argued, teaching religion in school really requires that religious education is a specific subject. Discussing religious topics in other subjects is not enough for pupils to get an understanding of religion and religious phenomena. In order to account for this, a pedagogical approach is advocated that aims to enhance the pupils capacity for religious reasoning. This latter aim has general educational value, which implies that religious education should not only be a specific subject in denominational schools but in public schools as well.

R 2.f

Denise Janssen
Coming Back Home: An Ethnographic Study of Teenagers Active in Church-Based Youth Ministries and Their Pathways into Active Congregational Life as Emerging and Young Adults
This paper seeks to discuss the findings of an ethnographic research project studying church-active young adults who were also church-active adolescents and became reengaged in the life of local congregations. It analyzes their stories, seeking to understand the reasons for their investment in congregations as adolescents and today, noting distinctives in their stories of adolescent experiences that increased the likelihood of meaningful adult investment in congregations. It explores periods of non-engagement in congregations often experienced by emerging and young adults. Finally, it seeks to offer insights for the Church through deeply listening to and analyzing the stories of young adults.

William J. Mascitello
A “Theotic” Religious Education for the Christian West: Orientation of the Practitioner’s Relationships with God, Self, Others, and the Whole Created Order to the Divine Image
Christians are called to build up the all-inclusive Kingdom of God while working toward restored relationships with God, self, others, and the whole created order. A worldview emphasizing the goodness of creation and a positive human anthropology informs these efforts. The concept of theosis offers such a hope-filled orientation encompassing the call of practitioners to union with the divine and its corollary consideration of ever more perfected relationships as they are increasingly open to the presence of the divine and attentive to relationships with others and the whole of creation.

R 2.g

Daniel O’Connell
Will Irish Elementary School Teachers Be Able to Teach Christian Religious Education into the Future?
In Ireland, the vast majority of elementary schools are Catholic (89.65%) and publically funded. Religious education is a required subject on the national curriculum for all pupils, and in these Catholic schools, the religious education taught is necessarily Christian. However, the religious identity of young people is changing, since student teachers emerge from the national cohort. Such changes raise questions as to their interest and capacity to teach in Catholic elementary schools in general and religious education in particular. What are the implications for colleges of education?

Jason Okrzynski
Speaking with Meaning: Helping Youth Claim a Public Religious Voice
Young people inhabit a reflexive world. In order to thrive in this world young people learn to speak multiple languages and tongues, often unknowingly. The market, society, and religious communities enter into dialogue with young people each in their own native tongue. Evidence suggests that American culture has a seductive pattern of privatizing religious authority, even as concerns the common civil good. Using the work of M. Luther, J. Habermas and T. Groome, I try to offer a way of understanding how Christian communities can help young people claim a public voice of faith.

R 2.h

Muhammet Fatih GENÇ
Should State Take Responsibility for Religious Education? An Example from Turkey
In this article, the position of State in Religious Education is discussed from the example of Turkish situation. As education of religion is a debated field this situation dates back to its being private branch in changing education system in Turkey. Especially, on March 30, 2012, new law, which regulates education system as 4+4+4 and makes it obligatory 12 years on and off, was accepted. In this system, life of prophet Muhammed and Quran became elective courses in curriculum. As a result, arguments about the education of religion in Turkey grew violent again.

Daniel Moulin
Negotiating and Constructing Religious Identities
This paper explores the complexities of religious adolescents’ experiences of English secondary schools, drawing upon data generated as part of a doctoral study. The data show how Christians, Jews and Muslims negotiate their religious identities in the context of the numerous challenges presented by secondary schools in a religiously plural and largely secular society.

W 2.i

Marian Plant
When Religious Identity Formation Calls for Being Good Neighbors to the “Other”: Using Problem-Based Learning to Help Religious Education and Ministry Studies Classes Respond to Local Congregations’ Challenges
At a time when church leadership and members seek ways to explore their own religious tradition in contrast to and in similarity with the religion of Islam’s traditions and practices, higher education classes in Christian religious education and ministry studies may be untapped resources. One key to tapping into the classes as resources is using Problem-Based Learning (PBL) in them, as demonstrated in a recent class that offered the opportunity to develop a way for several churches to learn more about Islam and explore how they can be good neighbors of Muslims.

W 2.j

Michael Shire
Religions and Civil Society
The major religious faiths have long advocated both a particularity and universalism in their religious teachings. The prophets of ancient Israel propounded universal messages of civilizing influence for all Peoples and Nations. However, emphasis on the particularity within religious traditions has been prevalent in the modern era leaving them open to criticizing voices who accuse religions in general of delusion and danger. How must religious faiths in relationship with other faiths become again a force for repair, for justice and for conscience in this fractured world? How can we get our particularistic religious faiths to be reflective of a world working towards a universal hope for the future? What is the role of religious education in transmitting this dual understanding both in faith and in public schools?

Saturday Sessions – 3:15-4:30 p.m.

C 3.a

Patrick Loobuyck
What is the Consequence of Habermas’s Post-secular Perspective for the Debate on RE?
What does Habermas’ post-secular perspective mean for the idea of RE? We make three theoretical remarks: 1) RE should not limit itself to learning about religion; it can also imply learning from religion — also for nonreligious pupils, 2) because Habermas insists on complementary learning process, integrative religious education is more appropriate than separated confessional RE, 3) RE can contribute to the learning process towards a reflexive religious attitude. Here RE should be linked with citizenship education. All this can be illustrated by what happened in France and Quebec (ECR).

Richard Rymarz
What’s in a Name! Teaching Religious Education — Secular, Post-Modern or Post-Secular Considerations
This colloquium will give participants a chance to discuss the notion of post-secularity and related topics, and their relevance for religious educators via two narratives. The first narrative describes the religious disposition of young people in terms of a religious quest in a post-secular environment. The second relies on a modified form of secularization theory and describes religious journey in terms of a widening disassociation. By contrasting these narratives a number of implications will be laid open for further discussion on religious education.

C 3.b

Jeremy Myers
The Youth and Public Church Initiative
Young people are disengaging from local Christian congregations for good reason. Their departure reveals our failure to expose them to compelling content or processes of discipleship that would merit staying engaged. We must seek compelling processes of discipleship that communicate the compelling content of faith. This will happen when congregations become public churches actively proclaiming and forming public faith in the public square for the common good. The Youth and Public Church Initiative seeks to identify and disseminate the theory, theology and best practices that empower this work.

Kyle Oliver and Lisa Kimball
Communities of (Digital) Practice: Preparing Religious Leaders for Lively Online Engagement
The digital revolution has expanded the skill set needed for leadership in faith communities. Theological education has adapted slowly. We chronicle the transformation of a teaching and learning center at a denominational seminary from static enterprise into a dynamic learning lab for digital engagement. Convening communities of digital media practice in an action research setting, the center equips religious educators to be substantial contributors to public conversations about faith. Using situated learning theory we discuss our research with faith formation practitioners and seminarians.

C 3.c

Maureen O’Brien
Identity Formation amid Diverse Narratives in Religious and Theological Education: Classroom Dynamics and Student Perceptions
This colloquium will present results of a qualitative research project that combines the author’s experience as guest instructor in a denominationally and racially diverse theological school with student interviews. While working with texts in religious education, students and instructor faced questions of identity transformation through challenging classroom encounters with the “other.” Following a description of the classroom experience and interview structure along with data analysis, we will consider questions and implications for effective pedagogy in diverse educational contexts.

R 3.d

Ryan Gardner
Critical Reflection for Religious Educators In/For Liberal Democracy
In societies where religion continues to play a critical role in people’s lives–both privately and publicly–there exists a pressing need for increased and improved religious education in/for the public sphere. To understand, respect, appreciate, and learn from various worldviews around while maintaining commitments to their own faith tradition will be vital for teachers and students. Teachers will enhance their ability to do authentic religious education in this setting as they engage in a specific level of professional reflection, referred to in this paper as critical reflection.

Mary Elizabeth Moore and Joseph Kyser
Youth Finding and Hiding Religious Voice: Coming Out Religiously in an Interreligious Multivalent World
Voice is critical to youth; yet young religious voices encounter diverse public values, often communicating inclusion or exclusion based on personality, ethnicity, gender, ability, religion, or sexual orientation. Drawing from youth interviews and focus groups, we analyze influences on youth to speak or hide their religious voices in public spaces, and to claim religious motivations for their central values and actions. We draw conclusions about the interplay of religious motivation and public engagement, suggesting educational approaches in faith communities, schools, and other public spaces.

R 3.e

Ina ter Avest, Gerdien Bertram-Troost, and Siebren Miedema
Parents Coming Out Religiously: Secular and Religious Reasons for Their Choice of a Primary School
In our research project we focus on parents of open Christian schools. Whereas in the fifties all parents coming our religiously resulted in sending their children to the school that was in a formal or informal way related to the religious community they belonged to, nowadays a larger part of the parents is aware of the possibility of the choice of the particular school they desire for their child. Some parents, however, still come our religiously and prefer a ‘clear cut’ religious school. The analysis of the focus group interviews with parents shows that they look at school ‘through the eyes of a child’. We relate our findings on parental choice to the three models of open Christian school identity.

Hosffman Ospino
Nineteenth Century Debates about the Need for Catholic Schools as a Legitimate Alternative to the Public School System in the United States: Lessons from Yesterday, Implications for Today
Between the latter part of the 19th and the first half of the 20th century, American Catholics established the largest private network of schools sponsored by a Christian denomination in the history of the country. More than 12,000 elementary and secondary schools were created. The debates leading to the III Plenary Council of Baltimore, which mandated parishes to open and support Catholic schools, constitute an excellent case study to analyze a key chapter in the history of Church-State relationships in the United States. Debates centered about the question of whether common schools met the educational expectations of Catholic students in terms of religious and values formation. Some questioned the legitimacy of a parallel system of schools. Later debates would focus on whether the State could/should support these schools. This paper historically traces key arguments during these debates and assesses to what extent such arguments remain valid and relevant today.

R 3.f

Patrick Manning
Engaging Our Symbols, Sharing Our World: Forming Young People Around Religious Symbols for Participation in the Public Sphere
This paper highlights the potential of symbols, specifically those David Tracy calls “religious classics,” to anchor both dialogue among people of differing beliefs and the formation of young people by their religious communities. Symbols present a particularly propitious focal point for such dialogue because of (1) the congruence of symbolic expression with the dynamics of human cognition, and (2) the suitability of this mode of expression to the present cultural context. A dramatic example illustrates the process of shared reflection upon classic religious symbols through which and for which religious communities should form their youth for responsible participation in public spaces.

Sturla Sagberg

This paper is a philosophical-ethical study of altruism and hope, based on major studies of altruists (Monroe, 1996; Sorokin, 2002 (1954)) and on related discussions of religious education. On this, background memory material from the terror attacks in Norway on July 22, 2011, is analyzed and discussed, proposing some theses for a religious education of hope and altruism.

R 3.g

Cornelia Roux
Faith-Based Schools: Is a Critical Engagement with Social Justice Possible?
Faith-based schools have been part of the education systems in many countries for centuries. The management and curricula of these schools were/are looked upon as foundations for good ethical behavior and the moral fiber of societies. The previous South African Christian National Education system, till 1994, serves as an example of political indoctrination through Religion in Education. This brings the promotion and sustainability of faith-based schools into question. Research since 1993-2008 on religion in previous public faith based schools and the processes for introducing a “new multireligious education” curriculum will be outlined. In this paper I argue that faith-based schools have the propensity to create “artificial safe spaces” due to the particularistic notion of their belief and value system.  The deficiency of interreligious interactions, teaching-learning activities, and the exclusive notion of a faith-based school, will impede a “religious conscience and literacy” that will exclude critical thinking and social justice discourses.

Kevin Sandberg
Listening in Religious Education: The Gift of Self in the Face of Uncertainty
This paper ushers religious education into an ongoing debate regarding the apophatic as opposed to the exclusively cataphatic nature of listening. It provides a content analysis of listening scholarship in the fields of communication, philosophy and religious education. From religious education, it retrieves the sense of listening that is embedded in dialogue, obedience, and contemplation to argue that listening is the gift of self in the face of uncertainty.

R 3.h

Barbara Fleischer and Emily DeMoor
Hope for Environmental Action
Environmental literacy programs tend to emphasize the magnitude of potentially imminent ecological disasters along with actions that humans must take to avoid cataclysmic environmental changes. Research, however, suggests that this environmental information may actually present barriers to action, unless it is coupled with hope. We focus here on Christian literature that finds hope for environmental action in the rhythms and beauty of Creation, in the biblical narratives of a people of hope, and in the faith community that worships and acts on behalf of the shalom of God on earth.

Daniel Justin
Thick Descriptions and Common Goods – MacIntyre and Dewey on the (Im)possibility of Educating for Civic Virtue in a Liberal Democracy
With liberal democracy’s commitment to the individual’s freedom to pursue his or her particular conception of the good life, many have questioned whether educating for the Common Good is still possible. This paper examines John Dewey and Alasdair MacIntyre on the limits and the possibilities of educating for civic virtue in the United States today. Recognizing similar challenges, MacIntyre calls for local communities of practice, while for Dewey, democracy is both the end and means of education. Both offer important insights for the potential and roles of public and religious education today.

R 3.k         [moved from Friday, R 1.f]

Judith Johnson-Siebold
A Feminist Christian Perspective on Teaching About Religion in American Public Schools
If instruction about religion is part of public school curriculum, such instruction must represent multiple religious viewpoints. However, research from literature-based methodology and insights from my community of practice demonstrate how problematic that representation would be. While this paper will mention several reasons for opposing teaching about religion in public schools, our focus will be the necessity of rejecting such attempts because, from a Christian feminist perspective, doing so would emphasize the concept of a male God and misogynist views of women.

Sung Hee Chang
Coming Out with Stories: Asian and Asian North American Women’s Storied Religious Identity Formation in the Public Discourse
This paper probes and describes the nature and functions of storied identity from the perspectives of philosophy, psychology, and theology based on the work of Paul Ricoeur (narrative identity), Jerome Bruner (meaning making), and Choan Seng Song (story theology), respectively. On the basis of this analysis, it draws out a relational, both/and, and multi-centered understanding of storied identity, focusing on the power of story to relate, connect, and weave the self and the world. Then it introduces Greer Anne Wenh-In Ng’s work on the practice of narrativity in Christian education.

W 3.i

Carmichael Crutchfield
Formation for Justice and Advocacy
This workshop is designed to address the following question: In what way do religious communities foster the identity formation of their children and young people with an eye on their participation in social and public spaces?

W 3.j

Barbara Javore
Dialogue for Transformation Change: An Approach for Children and Youth
A religious community is given the sacred task of forming the faith identity of its children and youth. It is not enough to facilitate faith formation if it is relegated only to the realm of the religious community. It is imperative that the process of religious education foster the creation of a dialogue between children and youth and the world. Through this dialogue, the possibility for transformational change can be facilitated, initiating agency for children and youth in the faith community.

Sunday Sessions – 8:30-9:45 a.m.

C 4.a

Leslie Long and Peter Messiah
Social Insecurity: How does the Church Recover from Communal Divestment
Historically coming out has been an analogy used when someone who has been marginalized courageously throws down the chains of bigotry, bias and intolerance, but how far “out” is the church ready to come? This highly motivational colloquium will explore church readiness to leave the shadowy abyss of the closet and take a stand on trending social issues such as addiction prevention, homelessness, LGBTQI marginalization, and bullying. It will also explore whether the door of the closet is hinged, or on a central axis – when some come out are others simultaneously revolved in?

Susanna Singer
When Two Worlds Meet: Community Organizing and Theological Education
How can seminaries educate ministers to lead congregations in public advocacy and action? What capacities are needed to do so in an interfaith, secular context? Can approaches and tools from community organizing contribute to formation for public ministry? This colloquium invites conversation on integrating community organizing into theological education. It presents the experience of a theological school attempting to do so, and discusses initial results of field research in light of the methodological frameworks of practical theology, hermeneutical theory, and transformational pedagogy.

C 4.b

Eric Kyle
‘Intelligent’ Religious Education? Possibilities for Integrating Artificial Intelligence and Other Assistive Technologies
This colloquium will explore the potential for artificial intelligence and other technologies to change religious education. These technologies, such as Intelligent Tutoring Systems, are already making major in roads into public education and may influence how we both view and approach our craft. We will therefore explore such questions as: What are some of the benefits and limits of integrating these technologies into our programs? What role might we have in the development and use of these technologies? What is the relationship between our long-standing pedagogies and these technologies?

Theresa O’Keefe
Competing Value Worlds
I propose this colloquium as a conversation around a framework (subject-object theory) of interpreting practices and actions of young adults reported by recent empirical studies. My immediate hope is for feedback on the viability of such an interpretive frame. My wider hope is to offer a means of understanding the challenges faced by young adults of navigating multiple “value worlds” in the course of their days or weeks. I am developing this material in preparation for a section of a book on ministry with youth and young adults.

C 4.c

Robert O’Gorman
Corporate Takeovers in the Ministry of U.S. Catholic Education and the Effect on Catholic Identity: Models from the 19th Century Schools and 21st Century Hospitals
There is a movement toward “corporatization” evident in Catholic hospitals, Catholic schools and Catholic social service agencies taking up management structures and other features and behaviors employed by corporations. Many see these practices as threatening the identity of the religion and its influence. The profit concerns of financial margin and efficiency begin to take center stage. The nineteenth century shift in Catholic education was none the less radical and raised no less conflicting values in identity. The story of Catholic health care’s movement over the past 30 years from direct control and administration primarily by religious orders of women to mega health systems provides an experience adjusting this Catholic ministry to the demands of the corporate world and re-expressing Catholic identity.

Matthew Riddett
A Tale of Canada’s Two Constitutions
This paper examines legal disputes arising from the unreconciled tension in the Canadian Constitution between the Constitution Act, 1867, which grants state funding for Roman Catholic separate schools in Ontario as part a ‘historic compromise’, and the values of egalitarianism and multiculturalism of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms. The status quo is uncontroversially unequal and unjust, but there is a debate about how the inequity ought to be corrected: by retracting state funding from Catholic schools, or by extending equal funding to non-Roman Catholic religious schools.

R 4.e

Claire Bischoff
Using Hybridity to Create Space for Coming Out Religiously: A Case Study
In introductory theology courses–where a plurality of religious perspectives increasingly is the norm–how do we to introduce students to the religious traditions while also creating space for them to come out religiously and continue their spiritual journeys? The notion of hybridity, particularly in relation to course approach and learning environment, is a crucial concept for forming learning communities that meet students where they are, assist them in constructing religious subjectivity, and promote appreciative, critical, and transformative dialogue across religious difference.

John P. Falcone
Goodbye to Gadamer? Classical Pragmatist Resources for the Philosophy of Religious Education in a Pluralist Age
The philosophy that grounds Don Browning’s “Fundamental Practical Theology” makes religious education more difficult — not easier — to understand. Shifting from Continental categories to classical American Pragmatism can help catechists to educate Christians for a pluralist, late-modern society. Instead of fostering conversations with a coherent “Tradition,” Pragmatist-oriented catechists will focus on training believers to improvise responsibly with their traditions, in order to forge healthy, hospitable Christian communities.

R/C 4.f

Matthew Geiger
Person to Person: Ethnography, Personalism, and Religious Education in Schools
Much popular and scholarly literature that advocates for religious education in schools from a civic or secular perspective, while making a valuable contribution to good citizenship, frequently fails to consider the perspective one of RE’s most important advocates: the students. Based in an ethnographic research project involving several dozen students and three high schools, the essay appropriates personalist philosophies of Zizioulas, Levinas, and C. Smith, and explores the intersection of relational pedagogy, emergent personhood, and the exigencies of critical ethnography and personal being.

Elizabeth Caldwell
Reading the Bible with Youth: Getting It Right the First Time
How do we help children read, engage and interpret biblical stories that are foundational for their religious formation? How do we make biblical tools available to them and at what age? How do we introduce them to biblical narrative so texts grow with them and don’t have to be unlearned later? If we retold biblical texts in new forms for children and youth, what would they look like? What is the role of the church and the home in supporting their growth in biblical literacy so that they are able to participate as informed persons of faith within a multi-faith and multi-cultural public sphere.

R 4.g

Nathan Kollar
How God Becomes god in the U.S. Public Schools: A Short History of Legal Interpretation
Religions, not religion, enter into the public square. They do so in a cacophony of voices — each desiring that their religion be recognized by the school. This presentation provides a description of how the laws in the United States were interpreted to provide a semblance of order among those voices pleading for their religion’s place in the public schools. The presentation describes the paradigm shifts in the U.S. Supreme Court’s expansive view of god and religion in the schools.

David Lankshear
The Contribution of the Anglican Church to the State Maintained System of Education in England and Wales:  A Reflection on the Work of the National Society
National debates about the role of religion in the public sphere of education tend to focus on the attitude and role of the state and to assume that the state is able to make any change necessary or appropriate to its understanding of the needs of the present. In reflecting on the work undertaken by or with the support of the National Society in England and Wales since its foundation in 1811, this paper will seek to explore how the a nation’s history in the field impacts on the way decisions can be made in the present and for the future and will seek to explore how such an understanding could influence the focus of the debates in the future.

R 4.h

Cynthia Cameron
Becoming Young Women of Faith and Purpose: Catholic Schools for Girls and Educating for Civic Engagement
Catholic schools for girls are not anachronistic models of schooling; rather they have the potential to educate new generations of engaged and committed women. All-girls’ Catholic schools take what is advantageous about Catholic schooling and single-sex schooling and educate girls for leadership in democratic society. Spiritual practices that engage them in the world, a faculty committed to their success as leaders, and a culture of support in a church that excludes them, Catholic schools for girls educate young women for civic engagement better than other kinds of schools can.

Toke Elshof
Catholic Schools and the Catholic Social Teaching: A Contribution to Social Life in the Netherlands
Main points: 1) to argue that Catholic Social Teaching plays a huge role in several dimensions of school life. This Teaching however, is not so much important for religious education lessons. The meaning lies in Catholic school life as a whole, since the main themes of this Teaching are put into practice in every day school life; 2) to clarify that in this embodied way, catholic schools and religious education offer a comprehensive contribution to social life. It concludes that Catholic education as such delivers an argument for governments to stimulate Religious Education.

W 4.i

Thomas Groome
Teaching to “Learn From” Religious Traditions
Much religious education takes place in contexts where encouraging a particular religious tradition is inappropriate or even forbidden. This is most obvious in government-sponsored schools that have a religion curriculum — as in most Western democracies. It is an issue as well for religiously affiliated schools that have a diverse student population and for the general course in “world religions” anywhere. Between “learning about” and “learning to become” there is a middle ground — “learning from” other traditions for one’s own faith. This workshop will make a proposal.

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