Tensegrities

17 March 2009

Working on a theme…

Some of you may know that at my last guild meeting (the Religious Education Association), I was elected vice-president. That means that I will be in charge of the program for our 2010 annual meeting (and then will become president). I’ve been hard at work trying to think about a good theme for the meeting, as the theme will drive not only the call for papers, but also the various forums and plenary sessions.

Obviously this is a process that at least in some ways has to be internal to the organization, but now that I have a draft of a theme I’m hoping to solicit more feedback and ideas from a broader array of people who are interested in questions of religious identity and religious education. I’d really like to work on ways to invite participation in this meeting that go way beyond the typical. I’m certainly going to work on digital avenues of participation, but I hope some folk might be inspired to show up with papers, too.

Anyway, here’s what I’ve been working on so far as a draft theme. I”d LOVE to hear your ideas about it!

In the Flow: Learning religion and religiously learning in the midst of global cultural flows

What does religious education look like – and what could it look like – in a world of global cultural flows? What is “religious identity” when hybridization and bricolage are powerfully descriptive terms?

What do understandings of culture that emerge from cultural studies contribute to how we support learning about religion, and religiously learning (that is, sacred study, faith-ful engagement, spiritual attentiveness, etc.)? What do new understandings of media cultures contribute to such learning?

In a world in which political processes and media processes can seem to have more explanatory and persuasive power than religious processes, what does it mean to educate for faith and in faith? What kind of religious identity ought we be striving for in a world in which some forms of religious identity produce more, and more painfully stark, conflict? How do we understand religious traditions in the midst of global political shifts?

What does it mean to be religious in a world in which our prior assumptions may no longer work? What is the mission of religious education in faith communities that seem to be falling apart? What is trying to be birthed in our midst?

What kinds of learning community are needed for a mission of providing room and voice for spirit in a world of globalization?

How is religious education an umbrella for the variety of things going on? What is the academic trajectory of our field today?

Possible papers and workshops might focus on media culture and religious education, on digital communication and religious community, on cultural studies critiques of religious education, on new missiologies and religious education, on intercultural communication and religious education, on globalization and religious identity, on religious identity as a source of conflict and/or social cohesion, on religious education in public schools in a pluralist world, on religious teaching/learning and transformation, etc. etc.

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