Breakout Sessions

There will be four breakout sessions at the meeting this year: Friday 3:30pm, Saturday 1:45pm, Saturday 3:30pm, and Sunday 9:30am. Please register for one Colloquium, RIG, Roundtable, or Workshop during each session. Note that each RIG and Roundtable requires that you read the paper ahead of the meeting. The Colloquia are a chance for informal discussion about emerging topics. The Workshops provide an opportunity for hands-on development. This year Colloquia and Workshops also have information linked to the abstract that describes the presentations. You are encouraged to look at those beforehand also!

REA 2014 Proceedings

Breakout Session #1

R 1.1

Friday 3:30pm Research Interest Group

Barbara Javore (Garrett-Evangelical Theological Seminary)

Out of the Depths: Aesthetic Opposition at the Gateway to Auschwitz. Terezin, the gateway to Auschwitz, was a town commandeered by the Nazis to serve as a “model” relocation camp to demonstrate the Third Reich’s generosity and kindness toward the Jews. It was an elaborate hoax. In this environment, where truth was twisted beyond recognition, artists, writers, actors and musicians used their work to revive the spirits of the condemned. They left a legacy of truth in the face of an insidious lie. The arts became the foundation for a “curriculum” that shaped the lives of the inmates surviving in hell.

Christopher Welch (Boston College)

Boston Strong: The Need for a Prophetic Vision in Commemorating Tragic Violence. The way we respond to violence both expresses and shapes our social imagination. In an era of what Charles Taylor calls “flatness,” the response to and commemoration of the Boston Marathon bombings evinced a real need for transcendence and a desire for solidarity. At the same time, our tendency to fall back on comfort or vengeance can short-circuit these desires, leaving our energies easily diffused. By consciously and intentionally commemorating such events, religious persons and organizations can offer voices of prophetic critique and support practices of prophetic hope.

R 1.2

Friday 3:30pm Research Interest Group

Kathy Winings (Unification Theological Seminary)
Chris Antal (Unification Theological Seminary)

Moral Injury, Soul Repair and Creating a Space for Grace. Large numbers of returning veterans from Iraq and Afghanistan need to reintegrate into society. New research allows us to understand the nature and depth of the trauma they are experiencing – a condition identified as moral injury. This paper, written from the experiences of religious education and military chaplaincy, outlines the impact and dimensions of moral injury on veterans while also providing ways religious education can create a space for grace for veterans and their families and support repair of their soul to help them, their families and our communities unlearn violence and find peace.

Scott Stephens (Logsdon Seminary)

(Un)Teaching Violence: Virtue Ethics and Community Moral (Re)Formation. The unteaching of violence in our faith communities must begin with some kind of system of education and moral formation. Humans are not naturally peaceful people and any attempt to teach peaceableness would have to be a process of growth and formation. While there are many ways to teach peace and unteach violence, from within Christianity one encounters the virtues as a cornerstone of personal and communal moral formation. With this in mind, a method of unteaching violence can be developed for our communities by drawing from Groome’s model of Shared Praxis and MacIntyre’s work with the virtues.

R 1.3

Friday 3:30pm Research Interest Group

Siebren Miedema (VU University Amsterdam)

How to Prevent the Danger of Double Violence: Religion in Education? Derrida’s notion of “transcendental violence” is a wakeup call for educators and religious educators that their practice is by definition loaded with violence. From a ‘deconstruction as justice’ stance practices should consist of both intervention and invention. The space that opens itself lies precisely in between the will to govern and a complete lack of interest. Not as a kind of compromise, nor just a bit of both; it exists precisely as undecidability, as aporia. Filling in this space is not something that we can organize or arrange in advance, because we do not know how and when the invention will happen, who it will be, and how the o/Other will speak and act. It is rather about creating opportunities for students to respond, to take stances, positively or negatively, towards religiously loaded practices and rites, doctrines and narratives, traditions and visions.

Richardson Addai-Mununkum (University of Wisconsin - Madison)

(Mis)representation of Religions in Religious Education, and the "Making" of Religious Violence. Little research has been done to examine how religious education curricula represent religions and the effects of such representations on students’ behavior. This paper examines religious education curricula of Ghanaian schools and reveals that whilst Christianity is presented as the standard religion, Indigenous Religion and Islam are misrepresented as inferior, yet, worth tolerating. Given that the flourishing of religious misrepresentations can lead to the suppression of minority views and incitement to hatred, I examine the connection of such misrepresentations to the “making” of religious violence.

R 1.4

Friday 3:30pm Research Interest Group

Natascha Bettin (University of Dortmund - Germany)

Attitudinal Change Through Religious Education? Empirical Findings of a Research Project on Interreligious Learning in Germany. The pedagogies of interreligious learning aim at challenging pupils to deal with the otherness of the religious other, e.g. by creating contact zones to un-learn stereotype-thinking as a form of prevention of violence in the context of religious diversity. This empirical PhD-project focuses on effects of changing attitudes through the encounter with a Jewish person in his sacred space, the synagogue. This paper will present the results of a survey completed in November 2014 and is an intivitation to discuss new ideas regarding these empirical results for formulating a “didactics of otherness.”

Charlotte Heeg (Garrett-Evangelical Theological Seminary)

Violence Among Jews and Gentiles: The Consequences of Failed Christian Biblical Education. Because leaders in the institutional church have not insisted upon a post-Shoah theology that would challenge the historicity of the Gospel narratives and relocate Jesus and Paul in their 1st century Jewish contexts, explicit and implicit supersessionism continues to license Christian violence toward Jews. Christian leadership is culpable, not only in their failure to correct for the effects of 1st century Gospel polemics, but also in their failure to help Christian lay people study and interpret biblical texts so as to enable them to live faithfully among other faith communities.

R 1.5

Friday 3:30pm Research Interest Group

Dennis Gunn (Iona College)

Sharing the Language of Peace and the Rhetoric of Violence: William Rainey Harper’s Founding Vision for the REA And the Rhetoric of American Imperialism. This research engages the question: In what ways was William Rainey Harper’s founding vision for the REA shaped by and a shaper of the rhetoric of early 20th century American imperialism? It will explore how Harper’s vision for the REA grew out of his conviction that the U.S., critically informed and democratically inspired by the Bible, could be “the messianic deliverer of the world” as the prophet of democracy (Wind 1987, 7). It will analyze how Harper’s vision tacitly supported the ideological framework of American imperialism and its legitimation of violence, yet also offered a vision of peace.

Barbara Morgan (Brigham Young University)

From Martyrdom to Internationalization—Overcoming and Becoming Through Religious Education. On June 27, 1844, the Mormon prophet, Joseph Smith Jr. along with his brother Hyrum, were martyred in the Carthage Jail in Illinois, outside Chicago. Although there still exists some threats and violent acts towards members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, the Church has come a long way in overcoming these difficulties. . This paper will look at not only the history and administration of The LDS Church Educational System, but how the Church Educational System has been a catalyst to overcoming violence and hatred directed at its members throughout the world.

C 1.6

Friday 3:30pm Colloquium

Joshua Lunde-Whitler (Boston College)
Lakisha Lockhart (Boston College)

"Brathood," Violence, and Discipleship: Seeking Insights for U.S. Religious Education by Exploring Stories of Unwrapping the Flag from the Cross. This colloquium is for religious educators who are interested in exploring the formative power of cultural narratives of state-sanctioned violence, and the relationship of these stories to the stories of faith, with particular focus on the United States context. The goal is to conduct a series of generative dialogues about the role of religious education as educating for peace within a society that reveres the military, beginning with the stories of “military brats.” The colloquium, following a “shared praxis” approach, will seek to generate future directions for research and practice.

Denise Janssen, Roberta Young-Jackson, Belinda Dailey, Cheryl Easter, and Alexandria Hawkins (Samuel DeWitt Proctor School of Theology, Virginia Union University)

Community and Violence: Empowering Others into Self-Possession. Working with students, I propose a colloquy of art/creativity evoking generative dialogue on the role of religious education in un-making violence in communities through the lens of Maria Harris’ ideas of self-possession & religious imagination, and Paulo Freire’s vision of communities participating in the pedagogy of their own liberation. Based in a Black Church context, we hope this conversation will lead to deeper understandings of the practices/language in religious communities that anesthetize toward violence, and an exploration of religious imagination as a liberative tool toward self-possession.

C 1.7 (R 3.1)

Friday 3:30pm Colloquium

Courtney Goto (Boston University School of Theology)

Troubling Cross-Cultural Analysis in Healing the Effects of Racism. This presentation takes a cross-cultural approach to the question of how a liturgical art installation helps Christians in a Japanese American church in Sacramento, California grapple with current and past experiences of violence and marginalization by evoking memory, creativity, and imagination. In order to illumine this question, a second case that shares some resemblances will provide a basis for making comparisons, while recognizing the limitations of cross-cultural analysis. The church’s observance of All Saints’ Day through liturgical art will be compared to Lithuanian cemetery practices of All Saints’ Day. Because both communities have experienced the trauma of “social death” during World War II, inferences can be made about similarities and differences between the cases so as to reveal more clearly how aesthetic teaching is working for liberation and healing in the Japanese American church case.

Jonathan LeMaster-Smith (Garrett-Evangelical Theological Seminary)

Sabbath as Post-Christian Education: The (De)valuing of Rural Working-Class Persons as Liberation from Socio-Economic Disposability. Giorgio Agamben’s post-Christian concept of Sabbath, rendering inoperative the everyday practices of production and consumption, can potentially liberate rural working-class persons from the violence of socio-economically prescribed value. Just as Paulo Freire’s “pedagogy of the oppressed” involves a transformation of how the oppressed view themselves and the world, the educational practice of Sabbath is disruptive to the oppressive violence of the commodification and oppression of persons. A post-Christian application of Sabbath holds the potential for alternative existence within an oppressive system.

C 1.8

Friday 3:30pm Colloquium

Emily Kahm (Iliff School of Theology, University of Denver)

"I'm Going to do Things Differently": The Impact of Religious Sexuality Education on Future Church Leaders. This qualitative study asked professional women in the religious sphere about their experiences of sexuality education in the Christian contexts of their youth, and how they believe those teachings about sexuality affect their lives today. Participant narratives referenced the spiritual and emotional violence they felt had been inflicted upon them by religious communities, and they connected their sexuality education to later issues in romantic relationships. However, participants noted the idea of “sex being sacred” as a value they wish to carry forward as professionals in the religious world.

Aldona Lingertat (St. John's Seminary)

Education Through Encounter: Insights for Ministry from Survivors of Child Abuse. As Religious Educators we are members of institutions that were at times complicit in failing to prevent the sexual abuse of children. This paper reflects on the impact of an annual workshop for graduate students in ministry who met with survivors of clergy sexual abuse to listen to their stories. Professional staff who later debriefed with students are also interviewed. This paper seeks insights for ministerial formation that resulted in this encounter including not only recognition of abuse and reporting protocol, but also the complexity of emotions for survivors, ministers, and the congregation.

W 1.9

Friday 3:30pm Workshop

Luke Bobo (Lindenwood University)
Barbara A. Fears (Garrett-Evangelical Theological Seminary)

Black Spirituals and Hip-Hop/Rap Musical Genres: A Pathway to Explore Daily Assaults on the Personhood of African-Americans. Music, particularly the Negro Spirituals and Hip Hop/Rap, unmasks the institutionalized violence against Blacks by providing socio-political commentary/theological insight, affirming black life and giving voice to an otherwise powerless demographic. This workshop will use these contextual artifacts of the African-American community to explore the character and contours of the violence suffered by African-Americans and the function of cultural and religious imagination in its unmaking. After exploring “violence” as expressed in these musical genres, we share steps forward to usher in redemption.

W 1.10

Friday 3:30pm Workshop

Matthias Scharer (Universität Innsbruck)

Disturbances and Passionate Involvement Take Precendence: Experiences in Conflictive Interreligous Groupwork based on Theme-Centered-Interaction. The purpose of this conference workshop is to present and discuss the essentials of Theme Centered Interaction (TCI) in respect to the area of conflict and share experiences on interreligious group work with youngsters and adults. In interreligious groups of students or at grassroots level, it is fundamental to raise awareness of those conflicts that are mainly swept under the carpet. The “Disturbance-Postulate” in Ruth C. Cohn’s concept of TCI provides a useful theoretical and practical instrument to thematicize interreligious conflict in different cultural contexts and consequently address them.

Breakout Session #2

T 2.1

Saturday 1:45pm Roundtable

Note: this roundtable will go until 4:45pm

Amy Jacober (Sonoran Theological Group)

Church and the Unmaking of Violence in the Experiences of Those with Disability. Violence comes in many forms for people with disabilities. It arrives in unwelcomed looks, unsolicited touches and unwanted taunts, name calling, and discrimination. The church has a role to unmake the violent climate surrounding all created in the image of God, in particular, those with disabilities. This paper will address the role of the church in the violent worlds of those with disabilities from the perspectives of practical theology and Anabaptism. It is a task to be carried out from the pulpit, Sunday school classes, small groups, and community involvement.

Sang-il Kim (Boston University School of Theology)

Re-membering the Body of Christ; Dis-membering the Pornographic Body: A Ritualistic Approach to Religious Education for Empathy Through the Body of Christ in Contrast to the Pornographic Body. This paper approaches pornography and the Eucharist from the perspective of ritual studies. Following Susan Griffin and others, the paper argues that pornography is a ritual that tends to reduce empathy toward other bodies, whereas the Eucharist is another ritual that would increase its participants’ empathy toward one another’s bodies and the human body in general. Building on this contrastive framework between pornography and the Eucharist, I explore in this paper how the Eucharist as a ritual of re-membering the body of Christ could accomplish the teaching and learning of empathy in RE.

Andrew Wymer (Garrett-Evangelical Theological Seminary)

The Liturgical Intersection of Harm and Healing: The Problems of Necessary and Unnecessary Liturgical Violence and Their Unmaking Through Liturgical Healing. Sources from philosophy of religion, ritual theory, and liturgical theology illustrate that liturgical ritual can express and enact violence, and this reality must be held in tension with the healing and reconciling potentials of Christian liturgical ritual. This paper will suggest that at the intersection of liturgical violence with liturgical healing and reconciliation, the latter can function as a pedagogical and formative means to simultaneously undermine unnecessary and unjust liturgical violence while being held in healthy and dynamic tension with inevitable and necessary liturgical violence.

Fred Edie (Duke Divinity School)

Worship and Embodied Peace. Christians who resist violence are seeking to obey a non-violent God. Non-violent Christians also promote peace as a primary sign of the redemption offered by this God. Peace is many things–an idea, a telos–yet it is also a disposition and a quality of relationship serving to promote communal flourishing. In other words, peace consists of more than what we think or say about it. This essay argues for the need to form persons into “embodied peace” and suggests how worship as an embodied practice configuring bodies in redemptive relation to one another may assist religious educators toward that goal.

T 2.2

Saturday 1:45pm Roundtable

Note: this roundtable will go until 4:45pm

Birgit Pfeifer (Windesheim University)

Which Existential Concerns Are Found in Autobiographical Expressions of School Shooters Prior to Their Crime? One of the few recurring characteristics in school shooters’ stories is their expression of existential concerns and questions. Many discuss their hatred of the world and existential loneliness in their manifestos, suicide letters, diary entries or social media updates. These expressions – called leaking – are made during the planning period preceding their deed. They are not only important in terms of prevention, but also help us understand strong layers of meaning in this seemingly irrational and psychopathological behaviour. This study involves a narrative analysis of the existential issues in personal expressions of school shooters to shed more light on the existential dimension of their motive. We select six cases from known school shootings based on available material and variation in educational context, perpetrator characteristics, and impact.

Patrick Reyes (Northeastern University)

Harrowing of Hell: A Decolonial Interreligious Pedagogy in Response to Gang Violence. When shots ring out in the darkness is the Sacred present? If interreligious educators are going to respond to gang violence in a transformative way, the conversation needs to be reframed about how community members, theologians and most importantly the individuals themselves, speak/listen about the tragic events that occur in our neighborhoods. This paper examines gang violence with special attention to the practices of a particular local community and provides a decolonial interreligious pedagogy, as a model for working alongside gang affiliated youth who have experienced overwhelming traumas.

Susan Reynolds (Boston College)

"Mourn First": Interrupting and Unlearning Violence through Community Practices of Lament. This paper examines the theological and pedagogical significance of aesthetic, communal practices of lament that emerge from communities wounded by ongoing violence. I elaborate on the dynamics of a “practice of lament,” through which communities move from plea to praise to praxis. Utilizing as a case study the Good Friday Neighborhood Way of the Cross at St. Mary of the Angels Parish in Roxbury, MA, I examine the ways in which practices of lament educate for nonviolence, as persons and communities on the margins become agents in mourning, naming, and ultimately transforming violent realities.

Haley Jones (Boston University School of Theology)

Community Organizing and Trauma Healing: The Power of Storytelling and Social Action. Telling one’s own personal narrative can be a liberative experience that shapes one’s future encounter with the world and with others. Traumatic experiences, however, cause the body to react in a way that minimalizes the formulation and expression of narrative, ultimately affecting the traumatized individuals ability to make the experience a part of their story. Because learning to story tell and participation in social action are recognized as aspects of trauma healing, this paper suggests that participation in community organizing initiatives provides an outlet for the healing of trauma.

R 2.3

Saturday 1:45pm Research Interest Group

Joyce Ann Mercer (Virginia Theological Seminary)

"We Teach Our Children to See a Human Being There": Women's Formal and Informal Religious Education Work in Transforming Religious Conflict in Indonesia. Indonesia is the site of violent conflicts between Christians and Muslims. Women, though largely absent from official peace proceedings, play a key role in efforts to transform violence, through their everyday work as both formal and informal educators teaching their communities and the next generation how to regard and interact with those who became enemies during the conflict. This paper draws upon ethnographic research with women peacebuilders in post-conflict communities in Indonesia, exploring intersections of gender with practices of religious education that contribute to conflict transformation.

HyeRan Kim-Cragg (St. Andrew's College)

A Theology of Resistance in Unmasking and Unmaking Violence. This paper proposes a theology of resistance to unmask and unmake violence, particularly violence committed against indigenous people in Guatemala. Guatemala’s living conditions and colonial legacies are unknown to most North Americans. From the fact finding exposure trip to Guatemala, the author proposes three intersecting ways of articulating a theology of resistance as remembrance, relationship building, and reclaiming space. Each theological theme is interwoven with an educational thread for the sake of nurturing life and transforming communities.

R 2.4

Saturday 1:45pm Research Interest Group

Sr. Cyndi Nienhaus (Marian University)

The Ustaŝa Genocide and Religious Education Today. MOVED TO SUNDAY MORNING

This study aims to explore modern Korea and her structural violence with the historical approach and then to suggest the transformative perspective of religious education as the unmaking function of violence. The Koreans started their modernity, resisting the violent occupation of the Japanese ruling (1910-1945). We explore her structural violence from the Japanese occupation in three historical memories: the terrible assassination of Empress Myeongseong (1851-1895) who was the last queen of Korea, the March Independence Movement of 1919, and the comfort women who were Japan’s wartime sex slavery.

R 2.5

Saturday 1:45pm Research Interest Group

Narola Ao McFayden (Union Presbyterian Seminary)

Reclaiming Sobaliba: The Vital Role of Culturally Relevant Moral Education to Counter Increasing Patterns of Violence Against Women. This paper advocates for reclaiming the Naga indigenous moral code Sobaliba in order to provide culturally relevant moral education to address patterns of violence against women. A society that practiced Sobaliba valued, respected, and cared for fellow human beings. Christianity labeled beliefs, practices, and institutions associated with the indigenous culture as heathen. Bible stories replaced the teachings of Sobaliba. The loss of Sobaliba has led to many social evils, one of which is sexual violence against women, a reality the church has neglected and must address.

Nindyo Sasongko (Seattle University)

The (Un)Holy Transvestite Body: Or, What would Hadewijch of Antwerp Say about the Muslim Waria Boarding School in Yogyakarta, Indonesia. This paper is about doing theology in the search for equality by the people in the margins of power, comparing the thoughts and practices of the waria boarding school in Yogyakarta, Indonesia with the mystical teaching of Hadewijch. (1) I shall briefly highlight Islamic teaching on waria and its reception among modern Indonesian Muslims. (2) I shall describe the founding of the school in the city of Yogyakarta. (3) I shall outline the mysticism of Hadewijch. Lastly, I shall compare the thoughts of Hadewijch and the waria school to show that in each is found a struggle for justice and equality.

R 2.6

Saturday 1:45pm Research Interest Group

Lakisha Lockhart (Boston College)

Theological Edu-PLAY-tion: InterPlay as a Pedagogical Tool for the "Un-making" of Violence. Play has educative potential in the fight against violence in theological education. This paper places the embodied pedagogical method of bell hooks, the psychological approach to violence and aggression of Maite Garaigordobil, Richard Mizen and Mark Morris and the InterPlay movement of Phil Porter and Cynthia Winton-Henry into conversation. This conversation shows that theology from and through the body addresses aggression and “un-makes” violence in the theological educational classroom. In this context, play becomes a prophetic practice that can remake classrooms and institutions.

Mary Hess (Luther Seminary)

Finding Peace on the Road to Emmaus: Religious Education in the Aftermath of Ferguson, MO.  Public discourse in the US following the death of unarmed teenager Michael Brown at the hands of police in Ferguson, MO in the summer of 2014 makes clear the deep abyss which exists between many people carrying white skin privilege and those who do not. This divide must be confronted and transformed within Christian communities who seek to embody God’s love and calling to justice. White religious educators can look to the Lukan text of the Emmaus story for hopeful sustenance in engaging systemic racism, and in doing so lean into transformative forms of religious education.

C 2.7 & 2.8

Saturday 1:45pm Colloquium

Wing Yu Alice Chan (McGill University)

Can Religious Literacy Deter Religious Bullying? Reports on public school religious bullying trickle into mass media and research. Despite this reality, my prior research revealed that Greater Toronto Area teachers were aware of the bullying but were unprepared to address it. In response to this, my emerging research studies the mandatory religious literacy programs in Modesto, CA and Montreal, QC, Canada to seek teaching practices to share and to explore religious literacy in relation to religious bullying. The role of dialogue will be discussed and specific approaches will be offered. Briefly, a religious (il)literacy cycle will be considered.

Andrea Haith (Canterbury Christ Church University)

An Exploration of Religious Education Teachers' Understandings of Religiously Inspired Violence and the Worldviews of Children in the Classroom. I am a religious education teacher. The impetus for this project has come from my own interpretation of the way that religiously inspired violence is portrayed in the media and how the subject of RIV can be taught effectively in schools. Within the current climate, globally and nationally, the subject of religiously inspired violence is really important. I am aware that it is a contentious and complex area but it is important if we are to empower students to live successfully in a diverse society. This research will explore what Religious Education teachers understand by the concept of “religiously inspired violence.” It will examine how these understandings are translated into teaching practice in the classroom and more importantly, how these understandings relate/resonate with the worldviews of students within the classroom.

Carol Kuzmochka (Saint Paul University - Ottawa)

Educating Mature Believers with the Capacity to (Un)make Violence: An Essential Responsibility of Adult Catechetical Education. WITHDRAWN

Akif Akto (Mardin Artuklu Universitesi Edebiyat Fakultesi)/

Religious Attitudes in Socio-Cultural Value-Sharing Spaces: Experiences of Muslims and Christians in Mardin.  WITHDRAWN

C 2.9

Saturday 1:45pm Colloquium

Muriel Schmid (Christian Peacemaker Teams)

Who Wears the Stole in the Family? Women Ordination and Cultural Violence. The 2006 U.N. report on violence against women sees religion as one of the main factors that contribute to it. Following Galtung’s distinction between three levels of violence (direct, structural, and cultural) while placing patriarchy under the category of cultural violence, my research illuminates the relationship between religion and all forms of violence perpetrated against women. Based on the example of the struggle for women’s ordination in the Catholic and LDS Churches, this paper discusses the correlation between patriarchy, violence, religious representations, and ethical responsibility.

Boyung Lee (Pacific School of Religion)
Laurie Garrett-Cobbina (Graduate Theological Union)
Elizabeth Ingenthron (Graduate Theological Union)
Reem Javed (Graduate Theological Union)

(Un)Making Violence Against Racialized Women through Critical Religious Pedagogies: Christian, Muslim and Jewish Feminist Perspectives. This colloquium presents a panel discussion to explore a potential of critical religious pedagogy to undo violence against racialized women. As (religious) education often mirrors and thus perpetuates various discriminatory ideologies and practices of a society, the panelists argue that critical feminist pedagogy for emancipation is not a choice but a necessity in religious education. Specifically, we will present four different cases proving the necessity of critical pedagogy from our Asian Christian feminist, Christian womanist, Jewish feminist and Muslim perspectives and contexts.

C 2.10

Saturday 1:45pm Colloquium

Carmichael Crutchfield (Memphis Theolgical Seminary)

Critical Pedagogy and the Politics of Disposability. As one who has never pulled a trigger on a gun I am strongly opposed to gun violence and I am a proponent for strict gun controls. However, I have also long known that gun control is not the solution for (un)making violence in the United States of America. In this paper I will use primarily literature research and my own context of experience to argue that what Henry A. Giroux calls the politics of disposability is a major contributor to the violence we experience in the United States. Furthermore, I will argue that critical pedagogy is an educational and religious asset that can make a difference in the (un)making of violence in the United States.

Sinai Chung (Trinity Christian College)

Educational Ministry with the Immigrant Wives in Korea: Practice of Love and Acceptance. This research gives special attention to the existence of immigrant wives in the Korean society, many of whom have been victimized under various forms of domestic violence. This aims to give a thick description of the lives of immigrant wives in Korean society, including their experiences under domestic violence. In this study, their experiences will be analyzed explaining causes and effects of domestic violence against them. On the basis of their experiences and the analysis of those, this research will explore a ministerial practice for helping them to overcome their agonizing experiences of victimization under various types of violence in their marriage lives and then to actualize their full potential as global, multicultural resources. For this, the study will suggest the “practice of love and acceptance.”

W 2.11

Saturday 1:45pm Workshop

Vickie Dieth (Christ Presbyterian Church)

Conscious Disciples. The use of social and emotional education by churches in their educational ministries can aid in the unmaking of violence in the communities they serve. Originally intended for use by teachers and parents of young children, the curriculum of Conscious Discipline® calls on current brain research to teach the skills and powers necessary for healthy social-emotional regulation. When paired with religious education, this model gives clear instructions for accessing the executive centers of the brain, establishing safety, connection, and problem-solving with others in order to treat others as God does.

W 2.12

Saturday 1:45pm Workshop

Richard Rymarz (St. Joseph's College, University of Alberta) -- (moved from Breakout Session #4)

Religious Education in Violent Places: Telling Stories to Unlearn Violence. Religious education takes places in a range of contexts both explicit and implicit. This workshop will explore the role of the religious educator and religious education in places with a long history of violence. One such place is Ukraine which within living memory has experienced major inter-ethnic conflict, the horrors of the Holocaust, decades of oppressive totalitarian rule and now serious political instability. One way of doing religious education in this context is to use story and narrative to open up discussion, dialogue and mutual reflectivity.

Breakout Session #3

R 3.1

Saturday 3:30pm Research Interest Group

Timothy Martin (Loyola Academy)
Trevor Clark (Loyola Academy)

The Anti-Violent Religious Education of Service Learning: Encountering the Homeless in Uptown Chicago. WITHDRAWN

Jonathan LeMaster-Smith (Garrett-Evangelical Theological Seminary)

Sabbath as Post-Christian Education: The (De)valuing of Rural Working-Class Persons as Liberation from Socio-Economic Disposability. MOVED TO FRIDAY AFTERNOON SESSION C 1.7

R 3.2

Saturday 3:30pm Research Interest Group

Kimberly Humphrey (Boston College)

Learning the Limits of Salvation: Young Women, Hookup Culture, and the Failure of Catholic Colleges. Colleges promise young women a brand of salvation–that education guarantees their success. Catholic colleges couple this promise with the message of Christian salvation, raising the stakes for these young women. Unfortunately, many women face a loss of confidence amidst the violence of the contemporary hookup culture. A feminist articulation of salvation serves as a much needed corrective–that Catholic colleges are called to educate students in a faith that empowers them to unmake violence.

Cynthia Cameron (Boston College)

Redemption Without Mutilation: Girls, Cutting, and the Proclamation of Salvation. Thought by medical professionals to be an attempt to assert control in an out-of-control life or to express complicated and confusing emotions, self-mutilation is a growing phenomenon among adolescent girls. Theological reflection on this trend reveals connections with the historical practice of penitential self-harm and a cultural context that places overwhelming demands on young women. Nevertheless, churches and schools have theological resources for hearing the messages that girls are literally writing on their own bodies and for helping them find healthier ways to grow into adulthood.

R 3.3

Saturday 3:30pm Research Interest Group

Amanda Pittman (Duke Divinity School)

Stories of Faith in the Unmaking of Violence: Religious Narratives and Violent Cultural Stories. In this paper, I claim that attention to the formative power of narratives is central to the unmaking of violence, and that biblical stories encountered in faith communities are exemplary in this regard. The story of Paul’s shipwreck in Acts 27, a richly descriptive and often deeply inter-textual narrative, provides one window in this possibility. Drawing on this text, and in conversation with literature on the formative capacities of narrative and practices, I will suggest that stories of faith and practices of hope suggest necessary resources for communities of faith to counter cultural stories or glorified or redemptive violence.

Russell Dalton (Brite Divinity School, Texas Christian University)

Manichaeism, Redemptive Violence and Hollywood Films: (Un)Making Violence through Media Literacy and Theological Reflection. This paper identifies the Manichean worldview and redemptive violence prevalent in American films and explores some reasons these stories are told. Filmmaker interviews and commentaries reveal ways in which many American filmmakers often feel compelled by film’s a) time-limited b) character-driven c) visual and d) affective natures to change their source materials in order to tell stories of redemptive violence. In the process, this paper models a method for leading groups in media literacy exercises and theological reflection that educators can use with all ages.

R 3.4

Saturday 3:30pm Research Interest Group

Patrick Manning (Boston College)

Sexting, Symbols, and Sanctification: The Role of Religious Education in the Making and Un-making of Violent Imaginations. Though indispensible to meaningful living, the imagination is also the gateway through which violence enters the world. This paper explores this ambivalence as it relates to the potential of religious education to both stem and exacerbate the violence originating in the imagination. Drawing upon research in moral formation, cognitional theory, and transformative learning theory, the author examines a recent high school “sexting” scandal, analyzes what led to this incident, and draws implications for how religious education can deter rather than perpetuate such instances of violence.

Elizabeth Corrie (Emory University)

Youth Ministry as Conflict Transformation in the War on Kids. The war on kids is a conflict between adults and youth, in which adult institutions ghettoize, objectify and abuse youth, to which youth respond with withdrawal, resistance or even violence, visited upon each other, adults or themselves. Such a conflict, once named and understood, can be transformed through the way we as adults interact with youth. I will trace the historic, economic, political and cultural factors shaping this conflict, examine a specific practice of ministry that contributes to unlearning this violent dynamic of adult-adolescent relationships, and suggest implications for RE.

R 3.5

Saturday 3:30pm Research Interest Group

Melanie Brooks (University of Idaho)

School Principalship in Southern Thailand: Exploring School-Community Trust in a Context of Muslim Insurgent Violence. WITHDRAWN

Cok Bakker (Utrecht University)
Ina ter Avest (VU University Amsterdam)

Religious Education - Violation of University Teachers' Comfort Zone? In the Netherlands most of the academic curricula of teacher training for religious education (TT-RE) focus on shortfalls of students, like a lack of knowledge of the plurality in interpretations in their own Christian tradition. In our research project the focus is on university professors and lecturers of the subject of “religious education.” The main aim of the project is to gain a better insight in the complexity of academics’ own positionality in the plurality of the Roman Catholic tradition they adhere to. For this investigation we made use of a research instrument based on the Dialogical Self Theory and its Self Confrontation Method for Teams (Ter Avest 2014). In our presentation we focus on the intervention with this research instrument and present preliminary results. We reflect upon the results and formulate recommendations for further research.

C 3.6

Saturday 3:30pm Colloquium

David Lankshear (University of Warwick)

Telling Stories - Creating Attitudes. This paper takes the form of a reflection on experience and is designed to stimulate or renew discussion amongst those working with children between the ages of 5 and 11 years about the role of story, storytelling, and reflections on story as ways of contributing positively to the creation of attitudes towards other people, the environment and violent behaviour in all its forms. In considering the choice of story, the selection of presentational methods and the way in which reflection is stimulated, the paper will seek to contribute to the way in which practitioners understand their task.

Leslie Long (Oklahoma City University)

When Curriculum is Oppressive: Working with the Methodist Church in Bolivia to Write Culturally Appropriate Curriculum for Children Ages 4-15. Examining a cooperative project between the Bolivian Methodist Church and the Oklahoma Conference of the UMC the presenter will share personal experiences gained from two curriculum workshops. Each workshop culminated in the preparation of three sets of curriculum for children between the ages of 4 and 15. The unique aspect of this project is how it brings together indigenous individuals from across the country of Bolivia for a week of curriculum writing and preparation. Because of this unique writing event the curriculum meets the needs of those it will serve.

W 3.7

Saturday 3:30pm Workshop

Craig Gould (Garrett-Evangelical Theological Seminary)

Peacebuilders Initiative: Systematic Curriculum for Adolescent Peacebuilding. The Peacebuilders Initiative is a high school theology program that engages adolescents in leadership development using a curriculum of academic engagement, service learning, liturgical prayer, theological reflection, and community of praxis. Students are educated in the religious foundations of peace and develop skills to address particular needs in their own context. This systematic curriculum employs ministerial professionals who mentor youth to become leaders for peace in the church and society.

W 3.8

Saturday 3:30pm Workshop

Dan Harper (Unitarian Universalist Church of Palo Alto)

"Peace Experiments": One Approach to Congregational Peacemaking. The local faith community can embody peacemaking in ways that can be directly experienced, particularly in educational programs. Thus, in a culture permeated by violence, a local faith community can offer a counter-cultural educational experience of a community in which people live together peacefully rather than violently. In this hands-on workshop, I will introduce participants to the “Peace Experiments” program implemented by the congregation I serve. Participants will discuss goals, philosophy, and implementation of this program, and whether it would be suitable for their own congregation.

W 3.9

Saturday 3:30pm Workshop

Cynthia Stewart (Garrett-Evangelical Theological Seminary)

On the Streets of Chicago: African American Youth in the Midst of Violence - To Live or Die, That is the Question! Minorities living in urban communities throughout Chicago are plagued with various social systems, which work against them and not for them. Public school education is considered to rank the lowest in the United States. Unemployment is prevalent in many minority communities. Gangs, drugs, and prostitution are rampart in some urban neighborhoods. Incarceration of juveniles and adults is prevalent as well in urban community. The most current destroyer of the urban community is gun violence, taking the lives of innocent youth and adults leaving parents burying their children, which is an anomaly.

Breakout Session #4

R 4.1

Sunday 9:30am Research Interest Group

Judith Johnson-Siebold (United Methodist Church)

Teaching Non-Literal Biblical Interpretation As Foundational For Christians Unlearning Violence. Using literature-based methodology and insights from my community of practice, this paper explores how, based on the Biblical narrative, many Christians have been taught about a God whose violent acts stretched from drowning humankind in a flood, to killing His (sic) own Son. One person has identified 317 violent verses in the Bible, 154 of them in the New Testament. However, just as specific pedagogical interpretations of Scripture have contributed to a culture of violence, so other interpretations can help Christians unlearn violence. Some examples will be provided.

Sr. Cyndi Nienhaus (Marian University - Wisconsin)

The Ustaŝa Genocide and Religious Education Today. The involvement of Pope Pius XII with Anté Pavelić, a Catholic Croatian fascist leader, in the Ustaŝa genocide (1941-1945) is a little known and a little explored fact of church and world history. Through a religious educational lens, this paper explores their attempts to create a pure Catholic Croatia. Survivor testimonies give credence to the Catholic Church’s complicity to annihilate and remove any Jews, Roma, and Orthodox Christian Serbs from Croatia. The paper further explores how religious educators must help their learners be morally good religious people who accept the inherent dignity of all.

R 4.2

Sunday 9:30am Research Interest Group

Graham McDonough (University of Victoria)

Catholic Schooling for Tomorrow's Adult Laity: Projecting the Status Quo or Planning for Change? North American Catholicism currently experiences disagreement among Catholics on issues of ordination and sexual morality, a numerical decline and aging of clergy and religious, and the theoretical question concerning lay participation in Church governance. How might a Catholic school respond to these phenomena? This study uses interview data from students in a diocesan Catholic high school to illustrate how the address of these issues presents a choice between practices that reflect aims to teach descriptively about a Church that is not changing, or prescriptively about one that is.

Amy Lindeman Allen (Vanderbilt University)

Plagues and Possibilities. In light of correspondence between the enculturation of children and the cycle of violence, I consider the impact of religious education on the cultivation of moral courage in young children. I explore two programs-traditional and Montessori. First, I compare the scope and sequence of each, considering the influences of the texts presented. Second, I compare the influence of the respective pedagogies. Based on these comparisons and studies done on the benefits of the Montessori environment for peace education, I suggest the latter program as tool to interrupt the cycle of violence.

R 4.3

Sunday 9:30am Research Interest Group

Ilsup Ahn (North Park University)

Deconstructing Eschatological Violence Against Ecology: Planting Imageries of Ecological Justice through Religious Education of the Green Apocalypse. This paper explores the relation between ecology and eschatology focusing on how religious education can construct what Catherine Keller calls “the green apocalypse.” This paper first investigates the discontinuity between ecology and eschatology, and then moves to the Christian church’s silence towards various forms of ecological violence against our natural environment. In this paper, I attempt to deconstruct this ideological discontinuity by attempting to develop a religious educational model to bridge between ecology and eschatology.

Frank Burton (University of Minnesota and The Circle of Reason)

Plurationalism and the Unmaking of Violence. Fundamentalist religious education (RE) inculcates generalizable emotionalism and willful irrationalism that may predispose trainees to impulsivity and unquestioning prejudice, evoking violence. A universal solution to unmaking violence hence may be to propagate in RE the social meme of public commitment to more consistently use everyday reasoning regardless of our worldviews — also known as pluralistic rationalism (plurationalism). Historical, neuroscience and sociological, and community-practices research confirms this methodological practice reduces emotive attacks and prejudice underlying violence.

R 4.4

Sunday 9:30am Research Interest Group

Mary Elizabeth Moore (Boston University)

Building a Non-Violent Organization. Leadership literature asks how to build healthy organizations; conflict literature asks how to make global peace. Both ask how people are shaped by leaders, but connections between organizational and peace theories are minimal, as are connections between peace in local and global contexts. The purpose of this study is to demonstrate the role of leaders in building non-violent organizations and the role of organizations in cultivating habits of peace, thereby preparing people as peacemakers. The education of leaders and leaders’ education of organization have power to foster peace in the larger world.

Sungjin Yang (Claremont School of Theology)

Cultivating Compassionate Living in the Violent World. The core concern addressed by this article is that people are suffering in their personal and communal lives. In particular, they suffer due to disconnection from the sacred, including God, self, and others. Assuming compassion enables people to become free from suffering and to flourish in their lives, this paper explores definitions, approaches, and issues of compassion through the lenses of Buddhism and some Christian compassion resources. In addition, it describes spiritual practices and important principles from which these sources assert to cultivate compassion.

R 4.5

Sunday 9:30am Research Interest Group

Mary Carter-Waren (St. Thomas University)

Creating Safe Nonviolent Space in the Classroom: Contemporary Challenges and Responses. This paper will explore how we might create, as religious educators, safe space in our classrooms where creative and imaginative responses to our world might be generated. Students at every level need to experience nonviolence and safety in our classrooms, both in process and content, if they are to explore content that may nudge them out of their personal safety zones. How do we deal with the issues of difference and diversity in ways that all participants feel safe (but not necessarily always comfortable)? Where is safe space found for the educator him/herself? Case study/narratives will be used.

Elena Soto (Fordham Preparatory High School)

Parker J. Palmer on Healing the Heart of Democracy. The paper which I am proposing centers on the theories of Parker J. Palmer, who is an independent contemporary writer, master teacher and activist. In 2011, the REA honored Palmer for his significant contributions to the field of Religious Education. His interests lie in issues concerning education, community, leadership, spirituality and non-violent social change. Having completed a dissertation about his life and work entitled, “Journey Toward an Undivided Life: The Life and Work of Parker J. Palmer,” my paper will focus on his theories of non-violence.

C 4.6

Sunday 9:30am Colloquium

Mualla Selçuk (Ankara University)
John Valk (University of New Brunswick)

Journeying into a Peaceful Islam: A Worldview Framework Approach. In the minds of many in Europe and North America, the words Islam and violence often go hand in hand. Islam is readily associated with 9/11, Afghanistan, Osama Bin Laden, car bombings, the oppression of women, the persecution of Christians, and more. But what if Islam really does not fit this caricature? Like Christianity, it is all too often simplified, vilified and grossly misunderstood. This colloquium will present a pedagogical model that engages Muslims and non-Muslims alike in discovering a comprehensive Islam for themselves as a journey into its two most central tenets (belief in God and being a good person) and how to live those out peacefully in the context in which they find themselves. This model is grounded in a worldview framework that is transdisciplinary and comprehensive and seeks to present an Islam that is open, dynamic and peace-loving – not prescriptive, static or violent.

Miriam Martin (Saint Paul University - Ottawa)

Ecology, Peacemaking and Christian Discipleship: Exploring the Role of Religious Education. There are links being made between our modern human disconnect from the rest of the natural world and the ecological devastation of the planet. Connections have also been made between the poor and the degradation of Earth. Dialogue is developing among those who teach for ecological integrity and those who work for peacemaking. These conversations have implications for mature Christian discipleship today. This colloquium asks what is the place of religious education in this context. Do we unwittingly contribute to the problems identified? How do we use our expertise for developing solutions?

C 4.7

Sunday 9:30am Colloquium

Anne Clarke (Graduate Theological Union)

Confronting Privilege in Congregational Service and Outreach. Service projects are often at the heart of a religious organization’s engagement with their community, and their particular forms lead to different results in the unmaking of violence. Activities like food pantries, mission trips, or community organizing each teach participants different understandings of race, class, and social dynamics. An examination of congregational service in conversation with critical race theory reveals ways in which these projects succeed and fail in creating spaces for liberative education about systemic violence in our society, and it makes constructive pedagogical proposals.

Thomas Leuze (Chapman Seminary, Oakland City University)

Unlearning Violence with Contemporized Texts. Differences of race, gender, etc. have been heightened and justified by the establishment’s reading of the biblical text lessening the presence of the “other” in the text. Texts reinforce existing power structures rather than challenging the dominant perspective. Contemporized texts present a reading of the biblical narrative that results in a confrontation between the reader and the text. Familiar, comfortable stories become disquieting encounters with perspectives which have been excluded from consideration. Selected texts will be examined through Anglo-American postmodernity and Continental philosophies.

C 4.8

Sunday 9:30am Colloquium

Tammy Wiens (Garrett-Evangelical Theological Seminary)

Pedagogies of Nonviolent Communication in the Online Classroom. As higher education is delivered increasingly through computer-mediated instruction, we need awareness of pedagogies that nurture nonviolent interactions among students. There are times when students underestimate the violence conveyed in their written critiques or expressions of disagreement, and this can cause a breakdown in the online course so that it ceases to function effectively. The goal of this research is to offer a rubric to guide pedagogies of nonviolent communication in online forums. This will also enhance relationships among participants and increase the richness of the online community.

Daniella Zsupan-Jerome (Loyola University New Orleans)

Violent Words: Educating for Healing in Digital Discourses. This presentation explores verbal violence in digital communication on public forums of comment feeds, reviews and social media pages. Digital communication often yields violent verbal exchanges less likely in a similar context face-to-face. The recent case of the National Catholic Reporter turning off its commenting feature because of verbal violence is one such example. Faced with the violent word online, faith communities have a prophetic role. This talk turns to theologies of communication as a source for religious education to serve as agent of transformation of the violent word in our digital culture.