Link to What's New This Week Theology, Evolving through the Centuries

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Shared Reading: Christian Theology

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California State University, Dominguez Hills
University of Wisconsin, Parkside
Created: July 18, 2004
Reviewed:
Latest Update: July 18, 2004

E-Mail Icon jeannecurran@habermas.org
takata@uwp.edu

Index of Topics on Site Theology, Evolving through the Centuries

  1. Introduction Why I chose to share this reading.
  2. Focus: Main point of this reading.
  3. Reading Full identification of source for reading AND excerpt.
  4. Concepts: Concepts and Key Words.
  5. Discussion Discussion questions.
  6. Conceptual Linking to Substantive Courses What this has to do with our class.

* * *

Introduction:

  • I wanted to share this reading with you because it brought home to me the differences in our belief systems right here in our own backyard, in the US, in Christian-Hebraic roots. There are no answers here. Each writer, each group is doing his/her best to live in harmony with the God they see and understand. And some of those God-images are very different from one another. This reading is not meant to give a complete overview of Christianity or its relative, Hebraic theology. It is meant to make you aware of the huge range of differences and issues.

Focus:

  • I would like you to come away from this reading with a genuine respect for all humans as struggling to cope with mysteries as yet beyond our understanding. Faith and belief and direct revelation from God always come to us through our own senses, soul, context, or our acceptance of another's interpretation, and that other has the same limitations. There is no human proof for whether we have rightly interpreted the mystery of God or Not-God. But through our respect for one another's great struggle with this issue of mortality and our relation to the Beyond, we might achieve illocutionary understanding of each other and make this world we live in more hospitable, more generous to all, and realize its full potential.

    And if it's this complicated with Christian-Hebraic theology in the US, just imagine the complications when we deal with all the world's theologies and beliefs.

Concepts and Key Words:

Reading:

  • Leo Buscaglia's Living, Loving, and Learning. A Christian turns his love towards special-education children, and with them, all of us. See also Wewbsite on Leo Buscaglia's Work.

  • An Ecofeminist Approach to Criminology and Theology - Historical Background. Rosemary Ruether provides bakcground knowledge, as a Professor of Theology, of how the Christian doctrine relates to the ecology, Gaia, Mother Earth, and to the role of wmen in this universe.

  • "Inspired Merit": Shakespeare's Theology of Grace in All's Well That Ends Well Journal article by David N. Beauregard; Renascence: Essays on Values in Literature, Vol. 51, 1999. In the Questia Online Library. Not free.

  • M. Scott Peck: Wrestling with God "Life Is Difficult," Wrote M. Scott Peck, M.D., in the Road Less Traveled in 1978-A Life-Changing Work and One of the Best-Selling Books of All Time. Here, He Discusses His Spirituality and Attempts to Reconcile It with His Un-Godly Behavior and Faith-Free Profession Magazine article by Robert Epstein; Psychology Today, Vol. 35, November-December 2002. In the Questia Online Library. Not free.

  • http://www.rapidnet.com/~jbeard/bdm/exposes/peck/general.htm">M. Scott Peck The Road Broadly Traveled Review of Peck The Road Less Traveled.
    • Meet the Editor: Rick Miesel It is his research that goes into Biblical Discernment Ministries Remember to trace the URL back to determine the authority and how you should cite it.
    • Thoughts on the President’s Faith-Based Initiatives Program "Faith-based fascism, dubbed by President Bush as “Faith-based and Community Initiatives,” is but the latest example of this religio-political partnership." Wow, I wasn't ready for that! This editor is a Born-Again serious and thoughful Christian. But, as I read the text, he is critical of charity when it is taken from people through government to be distributed to those in need of a safety net. He sees whatever Christian's possesss as their possessions, not to be taxed from them for the sake of the poor and hungry. That goes along with believing that charity should be willingly proffered by Christians as part of their love of God. These are not trivial issues. You must think on them. What about redistribution of wealth?
    • Dobson Dead Wrong about Self-Esteem
      "Linguistically, agapao is other-directed throughout Scripture, never self-directed. The concept of self-love is not the subject of the Great Commandment. It is only a qualifier. When Jesus commands us to love God with 'all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind, and with all thy strength' (Mark 12:30), He is emphasizing the all-encompassing nature of this agapao love (an action-love that is beyond the possibility of the natural man, and only possible through divine grace). If He had used the same words for loving neighbor, He would have encouraged idolatry. However, for the next degree of intensity he used the words, 'as thyself.' " From How Do I Love Me? about halfway down the file.

      I think it's important that you note here the difference between the concept that humans can be saved through good works and moral behavior and the concept that nothing humans do can earn grace, it must be freely given by God. This is a fundmental moral philosophical issue that divides many religious people, including Christians.

    Discussion Questions:

    1. How?

      Things to be considered in answer.

    2. Why?

      Things to be considered in answer.

    3. Do you think?

    Conceptual Linking to Substantive Courses:

    • Agencies:
      Sample linking: Ways in which underlying assumptions of assimilation affect services offered and clients' ability to access and use those services. How does this reading illustrate the need for social agencies, for more generalized agencies, for what Bolman and Deal would call "leadership" AND "management"? How does this reading suggest ways in which we could be more effective in rendering help, and what is the reading's relationship to a "safety net" for those who need help?

    • Criminal Justice:
      Sample linking: Ways in which some groups are underrepresented in the unstated assumptions of our theories. How does this reading serve to illustrate adversarialism, mutuality, retribution, revenge, illocutionary understanding, the definition and operation of the criminal justice system?

    • Law:
      Sample linking: Extent to which laws are made on the assumption that we are all essentially assimilated to the dominant culture. How does this reading help us see the need for contextual readings in law? How does it relate to our natural instincts to seek some kind of natural law? What facts and principles does the reading offer for discourse that could clarify for Others validity claims presented by an Obscure Other?

    • Moot Court:
      Sample linking: Ways in which to make validty claims of harm understood by those who have never experienced many of the world's different perspectives. How can this reading enlighten our praxis in terms of different kinds of discourse, like instrumental, illocutionary, governance?

    • Women in Poverty:
      Sample linking: The culture of poverty and assimilation. How does the reading deal with our underlying assumptions about poverty, especially poverty of the exploited, the NOT- male? What does the reading suggest of the interrelationship between our society and its children, generally cared for by women, often poor?

    • Race, Gender, Class:
      Sample linking: The extent to which silence has been imposed by these affiliations so that domination and discrimination have entered our unstated assumptions in interpersonal relations and the structural context arising from them. What does the reading tell us about exploitation and alternative ways to deal with one another? What does it tell us about institutionalized -isms and our denial of complicity? What does it tell us about our common humanity?

    • Religion:
      Sample linking: The spiritual component. Humans are spiritual creatures, creatures that recognize moments that go beyond ourselves to God, Allah, Isis, Gaia, the Universe, or a deep sense of responsibility to create our own meanng. How does the reading fit into our ability, our need to create such meaning in life?

    • Love !A:
      Sample linking: What's the aesthetic link in this reading? How does it bring us closer to one another as humans? What does it tell us about our need for love, unconditional love, not rewards for doing well or being well, but caring and acceptance for being who we are?



Site Copyright: Jeanne Curran and Susan R. Takata and Individual Authors, June 2004.
"Fair use" encouraged.

Discussion Questions:

  1. How?

    Things to be considered in answer.

  2. Why?

    Things to be considered in answer.

  3. Do you think?

Conceptual Linking to Substantive Courses:



Site Copyright: Jeanne Curran and Susan R. Takata and Individual Authors, June 2004.
"Fair use" encouraged.