Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Religion in the Classroom

I recently read four articles about religion in the classroom that were valuable to my philosophy on the subject. I come from a background of strong Christian faith, and I very much understand and value my rights as an American citizen to practice the religion of my choice. Although I believe that the only way to God is through His Son, Jesus Christ, I would never push my opinion on anyone. I would never want someone else to force their beliefs on me, no matter how right they feel they are. If asked my beliefs I have no hesitation in explaining what and why I believe what I believe, but I respect that ultimately religion is a choice, and that by forcing beliefs and religious ideology on people will not create a true relationship with God.

In light of my own religious background, I was extremely interested in what these articles had to say about how to teach faith in the classroom. One main idea that was seen throughout the reading was the difference between teaching about religion and not teaching what to believe. That is the line that should never be crossed, even though I have strong religious faith. I also liked the idea of civic multilingualism. I think it is important that students, as citizens of our country and members of our community, are able to see how religion influences political and civic thought, as well as developing an atmosphere of respect. There is a big push for tolerance by people in our society, but the problem is that as long as there are views that completely contradict other views, there cannot be tolerance. The goal should be respect. When you are able to respect the views of another, you are able to understand why they support what they support and can more effectively communicate and find compromise. You don’t have to avoid having differing views or beliefs if both sides are respecting each other. Tolerance avoids conversation where respect welcomes it. Conversation does not always have to have negative consequences.

In my own classroom, I would love to teach the different world views and religions. I think it is important to be aware of the effect that religion plays in so many of today’s world- and nation-wide conflicts and discussions. I am not afraid of bringing up conversations about religion in my classroom, as long as I keep my own opinion out of the conversation, and present all sides in equal depth and accuracy. Students need to understand how their beliefs were shared with others in history and how they led those people to make decisions and support the causes they did. Students should not be afraid to stand up for what they believe, but they should also not be taught to be ignorant of others’ beliefs. By ignoring the topic of religion in the classroom, we are teaching students that they should ignore the topics of religion with others. We are teaching that we should hide what we believe in order to keep from having disagreements. Instead we should be teaching our students how to talk about what we believe and how to listen and understand what others believe. Students won’t need to be afraid of offending or having misconceptions about others when they have knowledge from the classroom that can help them to understand and talk through beliefs. 

My favorite quotes from How to Talk About Religion by Robert Kinzman:

"We should not accept the status quo of religious talk in the public square, which too of ten resembles a series of indignant soliloquies delivered with self-righteous certainty."

"Tolerance can be entirely ignorant - students don't have to know anything about other beliefs or ways of life to tolerate them. Respect, however, requires an appreciation for why religious adherents believe or live the way they do."

"Students need to recognize that the public square cannot simply be a mirror of their private beliefs, religious or otherwise."

"Good citizens don't need to abandon their convicitons that absolute truth exists, and they have substantial room to live their private lives in accordance with those convictions, but no one gets to fully impose his or her version of that truth in the public square."

"One thing teachers should always demonstrate passionate conviction about is that respectful conversation and reasonable disagreement are essential practices in a democracy."

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Jumbly Thoughts

I have a problem of getting stressed out and overwhelmed when lots of little things start piling on all at once. Give me a major crisis, I can handle it. But give me a series of 3 little frustrating events and I feel like everything is spiraling out of control. Sometimes life happens. 

These are the lyrics to a song called On The Radio by Regina Spektor. I really like it and it is so true!

This is how it works
You're young until you're not
You love until you don't
You try until you can't
You laugh until you cry
You cry until you laugh
And everyone must breathe
Until their dying breath

No, this is how it works
You peer inside yourself
You take the things you like
And try to love the things you took
And then you take that love you made
And stick it into some
Someone else's heart
Pumping someone else's blood
And walking arm in arm
You hope it don't get harmed
But even if it does
You'll just do it all again

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

My Irrational Fear

I am TERRIFIED of centipedes. Not the way most people say they are scared of spiders. I mean crippling fear. The other day, I was innocently sitting at my computer waiting for itunes to start up when I found myself caught in a scene from a horror movie. Out from behind my lovely painting on my wall crawled what i now know to be called (after making Courtney Google facts for me) the House Centipede. I blinked, and it was still there. It was ugly, and icky, and fast, and scary! It scampered across the wall and I pushed myself back across the room in my chair and made a sound like this:


And my eyes were THIS BIG!

I didn't know what to do. Because in my world, the next worse thing to a live centipede in your room is a dead centipede in your room. But I had to kill it. Courtney was across campus and thus could offer no help at the time and it had conveniently crawled between myself and the door. I was trapped. I thew a shoe. Then three more shoes. It was sneaky and could dodge well. After an intense stare down session, I threw one of Courtney's rainbows (with slightly too much force) at the awful creature and literally conquered my fear. But not figuratively. I was left with literally shaky hands and did not dare go clean up the guts or corpse. 

P.S. I may have written this dramatic and satirical, but in reality the feelings I have expressed were real.

Monday, September 12, 2011

I almost forgot what it was like...

Well hello there my 9 friends who follow my blog and random people who find this on the internet. Contrary to popular belief, I have neither died, lost creative inspiration or given up on my blog. However, I do find myself in a very different place than where I was at this time last year, and even since my last post. Allow me to list a few for you (chronologically for your convenience):
  1. I have a wonderful boyfriend. His name is Sam Smith and I kinda like him a lot. Okay, maybe a little more than that :) We have been dating for 5 months now.
  2. My beautiful friend Jessica Perry is now Mrs. Jessica Ellis! And Trey and Kelsey are engaged!! (so are Aaron and Laura, Jordan and Rebecca, Nathan and Hannah, and Annie and Zach!) SO MUCH MARRIAGE!!
  3. I worked all summer at New Life Camp as a counselor (and even did a week of service staff) for the third year in a row. There were a lot of changes that happened there, too many to list out in a post. It was a good summer overall I would say, and the theme Life's Not Fair was extremely relevant and much needed.
  4. My parents are separated. My mom moved into an apartment in the beginning of August.
  5. I am back at Appalachian State University as a Sophomore taking 17 hours
  6. I now live in Mountaineer Hall (the new dorm on campus) and it is about a BILLION times better than living in Eggers! The only downside is my ongoing battle with the AppalCart.
So there you have it. I am sure as soon as I post this I will think of other things to update you on but that will just have to wait for a later time because I'm feeling a little hungery mungery...

Sunday, May 8, 2011

A Song That I Know All the Words To

Well honestly I know the words to about 95% of the songs on my ipod. But this song is special because my best friend when I was little used to sing this song every time it came on the radio and I was always so jealous that she new the words. I promised myself that one day I would be able to sing this song and I now (kinda) proudly say I can!


Also, this video is CRAZZZYYYYYY!! Seriously I have no idea how it fits with the song.

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

A Song That Reminds Me Of A Certain Event

My first year on staff as a counselor at New Life Camp there was a girl in my cabin who I led to Christ on the porch after campfire on Thursday night. One of the songs that we sung for worship that summer was Jesus Paid It All. As I was explaining the gospel to her, I mentioned how Jesus' death on the cross paid for our sin and now it is as if we never sinned in God's eyes. In response to this she said "It's just like the song! Sin left a crimson stain, He washed it white as snow!" And that was exactly right.


Tuesday, May 3, 2011

A Song That Remids Me of Somewhere

I really didn't listen to Christian music until I was in Middle School, so during my Elementary School years I was obsessed with the Spice Girls, Brittany Spears, Backstreet Boys, and NSYNC. Whenever I hear songs from these bands I remember dancing to them with my best friend Marlee in my bubblegum pink bedroom at my house on Capers Ct where I lived from kindergarten to third grade. Good times :)