Preparing for Denver

As we get ready to journey out to Denver, here’s a wonderful set of short digital stories that people involved with the Center for Digital Storytelling have created. They’re a great way to help us to contextualize where we’ll be.

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Trying to build an online bookstore

Given how difficult it is to get publishers to our meeting, we have tried to do onsite bookstores in the past. Even that is challenging, so this year we’re trying something different. We’ve asked publishers to send us one copy of each book written by our members, and we will have them up as a display. At the same time, we are in the process of building an online bookstore where only members can list their books for sale (done through This way the electronic bookstore will be right there, next to the displays, and people can order books and have them sent home.

Check out the bookstore, and let us know if your books aren’t there yet — we’ll add them! — or if you have other things we could do with it.

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Reserve your room for REA!

The deadline for reserving your room at the Renaissance Denver at the REA conference rate of $119 per night is October 14th. Just two more days to get the conference rate. Please check our accommodations page for details.

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Surveys of religious knowledge

Like just about any multiple choice “standards” test, the Pew Survey of religious knowledge was much less newsworthy to me than many of our news media seemed to think it should be. But here is a collection of scholarly opinions/explorations concerning it which I find at least a little bit interesting. As I wrote in my facebook stream, while I personally had no trouble with the Pew survey, it was the Nicholas Kristof survey that I missed answers on, and that’s the one which has information in it that I wish more of us could integrate into our lives!

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Leadership in the face of religious bigotry

The Interfaith Youth Core has just published a really useful guide to “leadership in the face of religious bigotry” that draws together a timeline of the public events leading up to the debate over an Islamic Cultural Center in NYC, a series of op-ed pieces that Eboo Patel has written, and a lovely collection of facilitator tools on issues of engaged dialogue. I highly recommend this resource, and think it will be useful far beyond the campus context for which it was written.

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AAR Montreal videos available

For anyone who couldn’t get to the American Academy of Religion (AAR) meeting last year (or who was there, but didn’t attend the plenary sessions), the AAR has kindly put up video from the sessions on the web.

We’ve done some filming of our last REA meeting, as well, and hope to get our own videos up soon, too!

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Online registration now open!

You can now register for our annual meeting here, utilizing PayPal for payment (which allows you to use a variety of credit cards as well as a checking account).

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Kudos to the journal Religious Education

I’m so excited about the upcoming annual meeting of the REA/APPRRE, not least because the latest issue of our journal just came out and I think it’s a wonderful, microcosmic example of what our field is about. Just look at the titles (and this issue should be available online through most libraries):

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Religious identity: Who decides?

Sightings, a University of Chicago/Martin Marty Center publication, writes of the thorny dilemma currently being lived through in England around admissions to Jewish schools. Who gets to decide, when the competition is steep, who is Jewish? Is the test for that decision a practice-oriented test or a test of belief or a test of matrilineal heritage? And what happens when a country’s legal system is entangled in the decision-making? I do not know anything about English jurisprudence, but it strikes me that this question becomes most pressing when tangible, material benefits authorized (and in some cases provided) by the state are involved. I actually think that the current debates raging in the US around marriage for same sex partners have a lot of analogous dilemmas, since marriage is a state? a practice? that civil law uses to authorize certain benefits to some people.

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Pressing challenges panel

I’m very excited to announce that on Tuesday morning, November 9th, the REA Forum on Religious Education in Academic Disciplines and Institutions will host a plenary panel discussion (and then mini-plenaries, with one speaker per room) on emerging questions and pressing challenges in the field of religious education. We have a wonderful line-up of presenters for this panel, and I hope that you’ll make sure your travel plans allow you to stay for that session. The speakers will be:

  • Rabbi Justus Baird
    Center for Multifaith Education
    Auburn Theological Center
    New York, NY
  • Elizabeth Conde-Frazier
    Academic Dean
    Esperanza College
    Philadelphia, PA
  • Faustino Cruz, S.M.
    Academic Dean and Executive Vice President
    Franciscan School of Theology
    Berkeley, CA
  • Patricia O’Connell Killen
    Academic Vice President
    Gonzaga University
    Spokane, WA
  • Mualla Selcuk
    Professor of Religious Education
    Ankara University
    Ankara, Turkey
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