There will be three breakout sessions at the meeting this year: Sunday, Monday Morning, and Monday Afternoon. Please register for one Colloquium, RIG, or Workshop during each session. Note that each RIG requires that you read two papers ahead of the meeting. The Colloquia are a chance for informal discussion about emerging topics. The Workshops provide an opportunity for hands-on development.
Sunday Breakout Sessions
Daniella Zsupan-JeromeInformation Technology to Formation Technology: Effecting Conversion Through the Digital Media Seeking to connect the potential of the Internet with the process of religious education, this presentation explores how information technology can become formation technology, in not only leading people toward new understanding, but also effecting the conversion of mind and heart, as is central to religious education. Tracing the process of conversion from 1) first hearing the word to 2) professing faith and 3) continued growth in one’s faith commitment, this presentation highlights the concrete role of religious education in each of these stages, and the specific ways religious education facilitates these. Next, the presentation brings this in dialogue with Internet-mediated communication theory, especially the ways Internet users take part in and contribute to the Internet’s emerging participatory culture. The goal of this presentation is to explore how participatory engagement with the Internet and its specific expressions can serve religious education in facilitating the stages of conversion.
Jana StrukovaCatechesis for a Liquid World: Youth and the Body of Christ in the Age of Technology and Consumerism This paper examines the concept of liquid church that offers fresh possibilities for catechesis in the liquid world of the 21st century. The metaphor of liquid world refers to a paradigmatic shift from modernity to postmodernity and the mindset postmodernity generates. In the liquid world people explore width instead of exploring depth; hence, the dominant mode of functioning is based in technological communication and the creation of social networks. People value interconnectivity and exchange of personal experiences, ideas, or stimuli. The concept of liquid church re-envisions the structure of church as a network that is guided by the principles of technological communication. The kind of catechesis this paper proposes builds upon the communicative aspect of liquid church that renders teaching of faith the act of personalized witness. Catechesis begins as a way of life in the Christian faith that is taught, preserved, and reenacted through religious practices.
Jessicah Krey DuckworthInteracting with the Cultural Flows: Reassessing Newcomer Assimilation in Congregations After Empire Evangelism literature on newcomers has described assimilation as a linear process moving the newcomer from the periphery of a congregation’s practices to the core. These practical how-to books of newcomer assimilation in congregations assume a modern approach to culture. A similar assumption is found among citizens of the United States who are concerned about immigrant assimilation. Assimiliationists expect immigrants to adopt the language and practices of “mainstream” American culture as if the language and practices of the “mainstream” are internally consistent and easily transmitted to every member. On the contrary, postmodern cultural studies assumes that identity formation is an interactive process in which meaning is constantly negotiated. This project will address the glaring gaps in the evangelism literature and in congregational practice by providing congregations with the language to encourage the dynamic formation of religious identity and the learning that occurs as newcomers interact with already established groups.
Hongmei WangEngaged Buddhism and Intercultural Communication in Religious Education in Urban Chinese Communities: A Case Study of X Educational Foundation The paper discusses how intercultural communication and engaged Buddhism influence ethical and spiritual education. The research is based on four years’ participation with an Educational Foundation in a city in China. As an NPO for ethical and spiritual education in the public, the Foundation follows engaged Buddhism and adopts intercultural communication as introducing foreigners, i.e., Western college students, to local Chinese in ways as homestay, language exchange and volunteering. Engaged Buddhism together with intercultural communication has a beneficial impact on the participants.
Research Interest Group
Eric KyleBeing Mindful of Mindlessness: An Overview of Contemplative Education Programs for Secular Settings This literature-based research project on Contemplative Education Programs provides a broad overview of this emerging field, which seeks to emphasize religious ways of learning in secular and pluralistic environments. The literature is found to define what “contemplative” programs are generally, offer insights into both the teacher as a contemplative practitioner and students as contemplative learners, and clarify what it means to cultivate a contemplative classroom. While these programs offer a well-rounded introduction to contemplative/mindful ways of life, however, they also neglect some of the potential dangers of attempting to transfer such approaches from religious to secular settings. This paper is therefore an attempt to offer Religious Educators with an overview to these kinds of programs so that they may better understand some of the ways that religious approaches to learning are being transferred into secular and public schools in our increasingly global and pluralistic world.
K.H. (Ina) ter Avest[withdrawn]
Research Interest Group
David M. Csinos“Maîtres Chez Nous”: The Religious and Spiritual Lives of Roman Catholic Emerging Adults in Québec In the last decade, scholars have come to recognize and affirm a new and distinct period of life known as emerging adulthood. Emerging adults are young people roughly between the ages of 18 and 29 who make use of this time to engage in self-reflection and identity exploration in order to better understand themselves and eventually become self-sufficient adults. While most of the research on emerging adulthood, especially as it relates to religion and spirituality, is based in the United States, little formal attention has been given to the religious and spiritual lives of emerging adults in Canada. This paper utilizes research on religion and emerging adults within the United States in order to begin exploring and to raise questions and issues about the religious and spiritual lives in one particular Canadian context: the over 80% of people in Québec that identify as Roman Catholic.
Dawn AlitzA Little Child Shall Lead Them: The Advent and Event of Parenting as Spiritual Journey This paper explores the theological implications of becoming a parent by listening to the faith expressions and desires of adults who are experiencing this life stage. The study is looking at expectant and/or new parents in six different Evangelical Lutheran Church of America (ELCA) congregations to explore how they experience parenthood in terms of religious experience, and if they perceive the congregation to have a role in this experience. The research has been conducted using a qualitative interview approach. The paper will focus on the language used to describe parenting, as well as how parents see themselves fitting into the life of their congregations. Knowledge gained from this research will assist congregational leaders in learning if and how adults experience the transition to parenthood and how, in response, congregations may pilgrimage with parents during this time.
Research Interest Group
Timothy HanchinAthens with the Heart of Jerusalem: Bernard Lonergan, the Spiritual Exercises of St. Ignatius of Loyola, and the Modern University What is the relationship between praying and studying, feeding the poor and researching, taking exams and loving God? As Catholic universities grapple with an increasingly diverse community of teachers, learners, and administrators, clarity of vision is much needed. It seems as if Catholic universities today counter a groping for identity with more and more programming, a panoply of offerings for academic and spiritual development. But how do the parts relate to each other and to the whole? How does the whole relate to the parts? What is the whole? This essay explores the stunning synthesis of faith and reason in the work of Bernard Lonergan in order to contribute to an integral vision of the university today. Specifically, the author examines Lonergan's two ways of human development (from below upwards and above downwards) through the practice of the Spiritual Exercises of St. Ignatius of Loyola in order to gesture towards the university as Athens with the Heart of Jerusalem.
Valerie TorresIn the Flow and How Things Really Go Religious educators have access to stories of biblical events and sayings by Jesus that are both challenging and transformational. With training and experience they have not just a plan for teaching but also a plan for going with the flow, that is, adapting to their students’ needs, talents, and personalities. Technology is a powerful partner in the process of educating religiously. This paper employs the wisdom of theologians and religious educators as well as those with whom we have lived and worked as partners so we might engage in conversation to discern what works best for the life and spirit of those seeking to teach religion to students from variety of cultures and backgrounds.
Dori Baker and Stephen LewisComing Full Circle Young people who may be called to vocations of ministry and service live in anxious times. Visionaries glimpse a church-that-is-becoming, but must live out their calling in the church-that-is, where hierarchies of age, wealth, and status often remain firmly entrenched. When is the “shy soul” given space to emerge? Where is the bold young leader held in mindful attentiveness? Hospitable space in which to explore vocational questions through practices of discernment is a rarity, even (and maybe especially) in local congregations. But congregations soaked in a culture that rewards the fast-paced drive toward material success are awakening to an ache and a longing to be something more. This workshop investigates the intersections between the work of Parker Palmer and two initiatives that engage congregations in the call to nurture vocation, particularly as it emerges within the next generation of leaders for the global church. The workshop will explore multiple settings in which Quaker practices of clearness committees and circles of trust provide significant resources to local congregations who wish to engage in practices of vocation-care with youth and young adults.
Michael ShireA Jewish Theology of Childhood This workshop reviews the research pertaining to the spirituality of children, religious development and theologies of childhood seeking to draw upon this research to explore the following questions: How can the spirituality of children be characterised and expressed in Jewish terms? What tools can be used to best understand the nature of the spiritual child? How can faith be formed in children by means of a Jewish religious education and what educational implications are there for nurturing the spiritual in the context of a Jewish childhood? The main findings in each category of research are identified and their significance discussed for Jewish education. Finally questions for further study are identified in order to enable Jewish educators to more fully incorporate religious development, the child as spiritual being and Jewish theologies of childhood into their practice.
Monday Morning Breakout Sessions
Miriam K MartinThe Cry of Earth and the Clashing of Cultures: A Christian Religious Educators Perspective A basic understanding of culture describes the ways by which the values and human traditions are developed, safeguarded, and celebrated with the next generation. The deepest understandings of what it means to be human are shaped by cultural practices so speaking of a religious culture is normative. What can be said about a Canadian Catholic Christian culture as it responds to the global environmental crisis? Thomas Berry suggests that a shift needs to be made in our starting points for religious reflection. Does Earth hold within itself meta-narratives, whose integrity is in conflict with aspects of Christian culture? This colloquium is intended to explore the connections between aspects of Christian culture and The New Earth Story for coherence and dissonance with the hope of engaging in critical reflection on aspects of Christian religious education and developing praxis.
Ryan S. GardnerTeacher Reflection That Encourages Transformative Teaching and Learning The central problem for this study is that there is a lack of description, understanding, interpretation, or explicitly articulated theory of teacher reflection as an integrated function of professional development for religious educators that accounts for the special professional nuances within that group (Groome, 1980). Teacher reflection has been a key aspect of professional development in other educational fields, but it has not been a primary focus of professional development among religious educators. This dissertation study of professional secondary level religious educators within a private religious education system seeks to describe current reflective practices of a sample of teachers, interpret those practices through the theoretical framework of teacher reflection put forth by Hatton and Smith (1995) and develop a “grounded theory” that describes the present state of teacher reflection as a function of professional development for that group. This will hopefully encourage further research and improved practice regarding this critical aspect of sustained professional development for professional religious educators.
Barbara Anne KeelyWhat Is Meant by “Spiritual Formation” in the Shaping of Religious Leaders? The colloquium will explore the initial outcomes of a consultation held in June 2010, exploring how 12 UCC, UMC and PC (USA) seminaries understand “spiritual formation” and how the formation of students is being incorporated into Master of Divinity programs. Areas to be explored include the explicit goals for spiritual formation within the degree, courses being taught and explicit spiritual formation experiences offered. In addition, how spiritual formation is incorporated into the academic courses and community life of the Master of Divinity program as a whole will be explored. From the material presented, the REA participants will be invited to consider their own contexts and how the work of religious education can benefit the development of learning and teaching in this area of the curriculum.
Mari-Anna Frangén StålnackeFlowing Faith - Equipping Saints at the Crossroads of Creative Psychology and Spiritual Theology Through my study of creative psychology and spiritual theology, I found that the concept of flow explains very well what Christian spirituality is at its best. On the other hand, the concept of tacit knowledge explains why so many people today do not find faith relevant in their lives. These are both overlooked concepts in religious education. This interdisciplinary research suggests that combining the knowledge gained through studying these concepts with spiritual theology would open up new approaches to spiritual faith formation.
Research Interest Group
Mai-Anh L. Tran'Hic sunt dracones': Global Cartography, Transnational Pedagogy, Religious Formation and Learning Religious learning within the currents of global cultural flows suggests risky movements into terra incognita—be they unknown internal landscapes of the mind and heart in religious knowing, or external territories of culture, ideology, and the politics of identification. Drawing upon insights gained from three seminary-sponsored “travel study seminars” to Western and American Samoa, Malaysia and Vietnam, and India, this paper explores epistemological dispositions and pedagogical practices which seem generative for the work of global/transnational truth-seeking and troth-building (a la Parker Palmer). The reflections will engage James Loder’s logic of transformative imagination, Mikhail Bakhtin’s heteroglossia, and the wisdom of apophatic knowing, which suggests that sometimes it is in a convictional second-naïveté of “not knowing” that one may “go with the flow,” or, if necessary, go against it.
John M. Crawford, F.S.C.Sharing Our Bread and Ourselves Globalization affords an opportunity to extend the meaning of twinning between schools in the first and third worlds among institutions associated with the Lasallian network of schools worldwide. By employing modern technology, such as Skype, it is possible to envision ongoing dialogue by students and teachers worldwide. The possibilities for religious education, global understanding, and international friendship are intriguing.
Research Interest Group
Siebren MiedemaMaximal Interreligious Citizenship Education Religious education and citizenship education should be linked by strengthening the view that every child’s and youngster’s personal religious identity in every school should flourish. Religious identity is seen then as an integral part of the concept ‘personal identity development’. A full concept ‘citizenship education’ may imply that religious education and development is part and parcel of citizenship education and should form a structural and necessary element of all citizenship education in schools. This is combinable with McLaughlin’s plea for a maximal interpretation of citizenship education characterized by an emphasis on active learning and inclusion, interactivity, that is values-based and process led, and allowing students to develop and articulate their own views and to engage in debate. That view is fully compatible with inter-religious education too when the aim no longer will be an education into a religion, but rather combining educating about religions with educating from religions, enabling pupils to develop their own point of view on matters of religion/worldview in the context of plurality via encounter and dialogue.
Carolyn JohnsonA Breath of Fresh Air: Creating Space for the Emerging Roles of Women in the Catholic Church Despite the Second Vatican Council’s professed intentions, despite recently exposed scandals concerning abuse of power, and despite the preponderance of women in the Roman Catholic Church (R.C.C.), the male hierarchical structure of the R.C.C. continues to limit women’s leadership roles and voice in the Church. Despite these continuing restrictions, some strong women leaders continue to arise and flourish in the Roman Catholic Church. What enables them to do so? My research indicates it is women’s way of proceeding in their spiritual practices and their entire lives, their focus on the post-conventional style of human being, relationship, and leadership that Jesus modeled.
Research Interest Group
Tim O'MalleyLiturgical Catechesis for a Secular Age: Appropriating Worshipful Dispositions Religious educators have presumed that liturgy is a privileged media for initiation and formation into a faith community. In this essay, I offer an alternative account of liturgical catechesis through a review of literature in ritual studies and anthropology. I conclude from this review that liturgical prayer, in order to function fruitfully for a community, requires a series of cognitive and motivating dispositions and structures. Ritual action, and the knowledge resulting from this action, influences a person’s identity insofar as they become capable of employing these worshipful dispositions in the practice of ritualization. Therefore, a contemporary approach to liturgical catechesis must dedicate itself to the intentional fostering of these worshipful dispositions.
Robert T. O'GormanRecovering the Sacraments as Everyday Spirituality This paper supports a transformation of perception and participation in sacraments from passive, ethereal events reserved only for formal liturgy to daily experiences connecting the mind, body and spirit to provide vital support and guidance in following God’s ways daily through the human journey. This work conceives of a developmental structure of the sacraments activated by energy located in seven physical places in the body with a flow of energy to the brain, setting the stage for ascending and transcending levels of mind-body consciousness connections. While there are the large communal celebrations of the sacraments in formal Roman Catholic liturgy – in many access is limited (Baptism & Confirmation-one time; Marriage-not available to celibates, gays; Holy Orders-restricted to men). This paper proposes a daily celebration of each sacrament – as the most authentic expressions of our human development and spirituality.
Research Interest Group
Kieran ScottSwimming Against the Flow: Language and Political Design in Lay Ecclesial Ministry This paper explores the interlocking relationship between our patterned speech, our social forms of life and the political design of institutions. Specifically, it takes as a case study the emergence of the language of "lay ecclesial ministry" in the US Roman Catholic Church. The language has become fashionable and institutionalized to identify some 30,000 professional non-ordained ministers. The paper seeks to expose the controlling assumptions in the use of the term, namely, a dualistic cast system and a premodern pattern of institutional polity. An alternative language form is proposed to correlate with the emergence of these new and vital ministerial forms in the Roman Catholic Church.
Lisa Kimball and Patricia L. LyonsBaptizing the Imagination: Religious Education that Engages the Imagination in Faith Formation This workshop explores the role of the imagination as a source and lever of identity formation, belief construction, and dynamic faith formation. It presents methods of leadership, teaching and mentoring that form the religious imagination. “Religious education” is often understood and practiced in only two dimensions – intellectual and behavioral – thus presenting faith in nouns and verbs as a grammar of ascent. This stifles the animating role of the imagination in faith formation, reduces Jesus to an historical figure and minimizes the message of the New Testament into a science of the licit and illicit. Religious education aimed at the religious imagination produces people who learn to experience a living God in the stories and sacraments of faith. People who learn to imagine and know a living God in the teaching of their traditions will no doubt find the living God in their daily lives.
Kathy AdamThree Faiths, Two Countries, One Peace View the three Abrahamic faith traditions in the flow of religious education as profiled in the context of a small group journey to Palestine/Israel. This group set out to talk to people in the Holy Land about their hopes for peace. In the process they listened to Christians, Muslims and Jews in the region talk about their faith beliefs, hopes and dreams for peace. Coincidentally, the group's scheduled departure from the US coincided with the beginning of the Gaza war. The group's journey was recorded and includes pre and post journey interviews to show each individual's personal experience in response to this real life learning opportunity. The resulting DVD documents the change in the participants' views and attitudes about the people, religions, and prospects for peace in the region. The DVD is a very effective educational tool to facilitate expansion of knowledge about faith, peace, and hope.
Monday Afternoon Breakout Sessions
Janneke Westerink and Elsbeth Visser-VogelReligious Identity Development of Orthodox Christian and Muslim Adolescents There is minimal research about the religious identity of orthodox religious adolescents. Theories of religious development are related to one religion, Christianity or Islam, and are in most cases not focused on the orthodox religious adolescents. We discuss different theories of religious identity development. We want to investigate which theories are useful and in what way we can use these theories to describe the religious identity development of orthodox religious Muslim and Christian adolescents. To what extent are present theories on religious identity development appropriate for describing and analyzing the religious identity development of orthodox Muslim and Christian adolescents in modernized societies such as The Netherlands, and what consequences does this evaluation have for further research on religious identity development? We also discuss the definition of religion used in theories of religious identity development. We compare this definition with the seven dimensions of religion described by Smart (1998). We explain how we integrate the definition of Smart (1998) in theories of identity development and note the consequences for research.
Jon HootenInterreligious Education in American Theological Schools Religious diversity is affecting American theological schools in significant ways. As theological schools recruit and accept students from beyond the Christian traditions, they grapple with the implications of religious diversity on their organizational, educational and religious cultures. In probing these issues, I am conducting a qualitative examination of three theological schools with sizable numbers of students who are not Christian. Of particular interest are the experiences of religious minorities in these institutions, and what the implicit curricula of these schools are teaching students in the religious majority. This colloquium will discuss preliminary findings and engage participants in conversation about practical implications for the educational and religious life of institutions seeking to diversify their student populations.
HyeRan Kim-Cragg and Joanne DoiIntercultural Threads of Hybridity and Theological/Pedagogical Implications This collaborative paper seeks to explore the complex issues of hybridity as something to be recognized, celebrated, and further engaged in public theological discourses and pedagogical practices. A collaboration between two different theological educators (Korean-Canadian and Japanese-American), with autobiographical reflections we hope to subvert the hegemony of purity and homogeneity that often leads to racial, religious and cultural stereotyping which prevents us from forming just and diverse communities. We seek to embrace the changing and fluid contexts of today’s world where people all over the world move, migrate, cross their geographical, cultural and national boundaries, hybridizing in creative ways along the way. This uneasy road is the Way of Jesus Christ and is articulated as well in various religious traditions, the hybrid nature of Yin and Yang in Daoism or Ardhanarishvana, one of the Hindu Gods. We will propose four visions of enlivening intercultural and hybrid theology and religious education.
Jeremy PosadasRe-conceiving Religious Identity in the Era of Biopower Though little-known in religious education, the concept of biopower is important for RE to consider because it theorizes the relationship between identity and power differently from most models of identity with which RE has worked. To create wide conversation, the paper will (1) describe how biopower creates and sustains identities; (2) propose a re-conceptualization of religious identity under the conditions of biopower; and (3) suggest how religious education participates in Christian identity under biopower, and how it can engender practices for the resistance and disruption of biopower.
Research Interest Group
Kevin SandbergA Curriculum Ideology of Cultural Redemption: What Labor Relations Has to do with Religious Education This paper explores the ideological presuppositions and educational implications when the entirety of culture is conceived as the curriculum of religious education. By examining the underlying theological notions (biblical canonicity, cultural mandate, sphere sovereignty, and proximate justice) that form a basis for Christian interaction with culture, the paper explicates a neo-Calvinist theory of religious education, as embodied in textual materials, that aims at the “restoration” of culture. The paper identifies this as an ideology of “cultural redemption.” It concludes that such a public theology falls short of the critical approach that is vital to education. This conclusion seems warranted especially when culture is increasingly the product of the economic rationalization that can equally influence a religious worldview. In light of this, the paper advocates that not just culture, but the church as well, needs redemption, renewal and restoration.
Research Interest Group
Mark Chung HearnTurkeybowl, ESPN, and Spirituality: Korean American Masculinity and Spirituality through Contemporary Sports A critical analysis of contemporary sports reveals a multiplicity of meaning. On the one hand, they are simple activities of exercise and recreational pleasure. On the other, they are sites of commodification, socialization through media, spiritual formation and identity shaping. This research will study the effect sports have in engendering masculinities and other social dynamics, particularly as they are expressed by males in Korean American churches in the greater Los Angeles area. It will first examine how contemporary sports socially construct views of masculinity. Second, it will observe how these views shape the spiritual formation of Korean American males while also studying the inverse, how Korean American spiritual formation reinforces masculine views held in contemporary sports. The author’s overarching methodology consists of an ethnographic study of Korean American church sports tournaments and churches. In particular, the author will use participant-observation, participant-interviews, and pertinent interdisciplinary literature including the sociology of sports, spirituality and gender studies to inform the research.
Mark HayseReligious Architecture in Video Games: A Curricular Proposal for Religious Education The ubiquity and popularity of video games suggest a new medium for religious education. However, the capitalistic and militaristic architecture of many evangelical Christian video games undermines their potential for faithful religious education. Thus, these video games ironically propagate a curriculum of redemptive violence. Video games with religious educational aspirations call for a distinctively religious architecture that intertwines aspects of myth, identity, contemplation, discernment, revelation, transcendence, mutuality, and creativity.
Research Interest Group
Harold D. HorellChristian Moral Education in a Globalized, Postmodern Age This article provides a conceptual and experiential framework for contemporary Christian moral education. Building upon the four-component model of moral experience developed by James Rest, the author argues that Christian religious educators can help people avoid being led into moral doubt and uncertainty within our global, religiously diverse, complex and often morally ambiguous postmodern age by guiding them to analyze contemporary moral experience in terms of moral awareness, moral reflection, moral commitment, and sustained moral action. For instance, differences in moral awareness (that is, how people look at morally charged life situations) can sometimes lead people to doubt whether there is such a thing as a moral point of view. Yet, people can begin to make sense of and evaluate differences in moral awareness once they learn to 1) recognize the factors that lead to differences in moral outlooks, and 2) distinguish these from the factors that cause distortions in moral awareness.
Jennie Knight"Reacculturation” through Community-Based Religious Education In this paper, I argue that reflective engagement in community partnerships holds tremendous potential for guiding members of faith communities through the process of “reacculturation.” Surprisingly little has been written about “service-learning” as religious education in congregations, particularly for adults. In most churches, religious education and “missions” remain remarkably separate. Therefore, in this paper, I draw upon significant research about “best practices” of community engaged learning for undergraduates. One of these best practices is “reacculturation”—an ongoing process of critical reflection about one’s own cultural formation and the cultural realities of the people one encounters. Only through this kind of honest critical reflection can people of faith become open to relationships of true mutuality and reciprocity in “service” contexts. I argue for engaging in Bible study, ethical and theological reflection, and historical and cultural studies around ethnicity, gender, class, and religious diversity in relation to participation in reciprocal community partnerships.
Research Interest Group
Peta GoldburgSeeing with New Eyes: Teaching Scripture Using the Critically Engaging Creative Arts (CECA) Approach The CECA Approach to teaching religion, unlike other approaches, is not specifically related to content but rather to the way students are invited to take part in the process of learning through critical engagement with the arts. The proposed CECA Approach comprises three movements, an Inquiry movement, an Investigation movement, and an Appraisal and Demonstration movement. It begins with naming and examining artistic and filmic retellings of biblical stories using a critical literacy approach and then applies a similar process to the biblical text. The paper will provide a theoretical framework for the approach and then engage participants in the practical application of the approach using a selection of artistic retellings and biblical texts.
Therese L. RatliffCommunal Identity in a Pluralistic World: Resourcing Organizational Learning for Religious Education In today’s culture, defined by plurality, interconnectedness, and a globalization that pervade almost every area of life, identity is no longer an isolated, individualized concept. Modernity’s “turn to the self,” is now experienced as a “turn to the other,” and human identity itself is grounded in a self-in-relation-to-others: human personhood is firmly rooted within a web of relationships found in an ever-expanding community. In this context, religious education is an event of communal learning. This paper examines two social theories of “organizational learning” for insights relevant to religious education, as it seeks to addresses the question, “How might religious education, once seen as an individual’s personal ‘faith-acquisition,’ be re-imagined as the opportunity to form a community’s ‘faith-identity’ in a pluralistic world?"