REL295 - Reconciliation and Integral Mission

Instructor’s Contact Information:

Email: husbands@hope.edu (kindly use the Canvas email link below)

August 27-December 13, 2013

Course website on Canvas

"If we ignore the world, we betray the word of God which sends us out to serve the world. If we ignore the word of God, we have nothing to bring to the world."
Micah Declaration on Integral Mission.

Course Description

This course seeks to provide Emmaus students with an understanding of the context, sources, and shape of the moral life. It does so with the aim of fostering a deep commitment to integral mission. Integrating liturgy, justice, reconciliation, church history, theological anthropology and culture care, we chart the movement from learning, worship, to the pursuit of shalom. This course provides students with a compelling and coherent account of the moral order (setting, identity and vision) in which we have been called to faithful obedience and loving witness.

1. Course Objectives

We shall acquire a basic grasp of Christian Theology and Integral Mission by seeking to:
- examine the deep connections between liturgy (prayer, worship), justice, reconciliation, and the witness of the Church in the world.
- reflect upon and develop moral commitments in light of a distinctly Christian vision of life, community and mission.
- identify and assess a distinctively moral vision of reconciliation, shalom, and the work of justice. - empathize with, learn from, and love those who are marginalized and disempowered. - understand, articulate, and demonstrate the moral and theological significance of integral mission. 


II. Required Readings


Richard Bauckham, Bible and Mission: Christian Witness in a Postmodern World, (Grand Rapids: Baker Academic, 2003), ISBN 9-780801-027710

Basil of Caesarea, On Social Justice, trans. C. Paul Schroeder, (New York: St Vladimir’s Seminary Press, 2009), ISBN 978-088141-053-2

Susan R. Holman, God Knows There's Need: Christian Responses to Poverty, (New York: Oxford University Press, 2009), 978-0-19-538362-1.

Charles Marsh and John Perkins, Welcoming Justice: God's Movement Toward Beloved Community, (Downers Grove: InterVaristy Press, 2009), 978-0-8308-3453-2.

Bryant L. Meyers, "Walking With The Poor: Principles and Practics of Transformational Development*, revised and expanded edition, (New York: Orbis Books, 2011), 978-1-57075-939-0.

On our Canvas site you will find additional readings and course material beyond the assigned texts. You will need also to read this material in order to successfully pass this course.

Expectations

There are no shortcuts to learning – it takes concentration, patience, generosity, time, effort and love. Because this course touches on a number of the most important ideas that you could possibly consider, it will be demanding. Each assignment in the course must be completed for a student to receive a passing grade.

III. Assignments

As an innovative program in "lived theology" dedicated to learning about reconciliation and integral mission, the Emmaus Scholars Progam places a premium on collaborative learning/research, community development, spiritual and moral formation and servant-leadership. Given this, academic work and research undertaken in this course will often be collaborative in practice and principle. Initially, you may find it challenging to realize that "your" grade is dependent upon the work and contribution of others. The value of learning how to effectively manage projects working with others to generate a clear, coherent, meaningful, and informed response to a given problem is a highly valuable skill.

Early on in the semester we will form research groups of 3-4 people. Rather than choosing to be in a group on the based on existing friendships, you should choose a research group on the basis of scholarly/moral interest. This well help you to develop surveys, and write blog posts, research proposals, etc., that have greater depth and insight.

Research Groups will be formed around the following sets of related issues.

There will be both individual and group assignments throughout the course.

A. Reading and Participation

This is the most important assignment of all. You need to complete all of the reading prior to the class for which it has been assigned. The seminar discussion presumes that you have made a genuine effort to comprehend the assigned reading by taking notes, summarizing key material, and writing down important questions you may have about the text. I expect that you will come to class prepared to offer insights, questions, critiques, and examples. If you find you're unfamiliar with basic background information, use a reference work.

B. Academic Blogging (25% of the course grade)

Blogging is a way for you to refine, identify, and utilize your "voice" in a public forum. It is expected that you will post a blog approximately once a week. Sometimes these will be individual blogs in response to an assigned question or topic, blogs posted by your research group, an individual blog that has emerged out of your reading and reflection in MIN395, or a blog post on a topic that has emerged out of one of our site visits or experiential learning events.

Note, instead of asking you to write formal "reflection papers" for an audience of "1" (your professor), I am asking you to write a series of short blogs in which you offer to "the world" your response to a question that I have posed or an issue that has emerged out of your reading for the week.

  • You are expected to accomplish the following:
  • Post a 400 word blog post.
  • I have set Canvas up to require "peer reviews" of blog posts. The software automatically assigns students posts to respond to. Note, your posts are "public" rather than "private". The goal of responding is to strengthen the work of your fellow student and help her/him to better understand the course content. It is also a good idea to include an online research link in your "peer review". This link should lead them to material that could be used to revise and improve their post. Note, the link could be a piece of online research or a key quote or two from the assigned reading.
  • It would be good for you to review the following pieces prior to writing your first blog: 8 Tips on How to Write an Effective Blog, and Joe Essid's "Effective Academic Blogging".

Your blog posts will be evaluated in terms of the following criteria:

academic blog

C. Audit / Reflection (5% of the course grade)

The audit is an exercise in “paying attention to things you did not first notice". It offers you the chance to identify trends and preoccupations in your own writing.

Begin by printing and reading all of your posts and comments. As you reread them, take notes, critically reading your entries as if they were written by somebody else (or at the very least, recognizing that they were written by a different you at a different time). You are not grading your own work so much as commenting on it and noticing what you notice week to week.

Compose a short analysis and reflection of your posts. This reflection is open-ended and the exact content is up to you, although it should be thoughtful and directed. Feel free to quote briefly from your own posts or to refer to specific ideas from the readings we’ve studied so far.

Some questions to consider:

  • What do you usually write about in your posts?
  • Are there broad themes or specific concerns that reoccur in your writing?
  • Has the nature of your posts changed in the past seven weeks?
  • What changes do you notice, and how might you account for those changes?
  • What surprised you as you reread your work?
  • What ideas or threads in your posts do you see as worth revisiting?
  • What else do you notice?
  • What aspects of the weekly reading posts do you value most, and how does it show up in your posts?
Post your "Audit/Reflection" online prior to Dec 6 at 11pm.

Your Audit/Reflection will be evaluated in terms of the following rubric. Carefully review the rubric prior to submitting your posts. I will use the rubric evaluation and corresponding numerical grade rather than offering you written comments on your work.

Audit Rubric

D. Digital Humanities - Omeka (35% of course grade)

1. Biographical Exhibits (10%)

As a research group identify one individual who has played an instrumental role in the field of integral mission. Research, write and submit on your biographical exhibit on Canvas. I will then post the material on our Emmaus Scholars Omeka site. Professor Natalie Dykstra taught an upper level English course at Hope called "Lives in Focus: Biographies". You should regard the work of her students as a good model for your own submission. You can review their work HERE.

Your research group should complete and submit your biographical exhibit is due on October 18 at 11:00pm.

Your biographical exhibits will be evaluated in terms of the following rubric:

bio exhibit

2. Annotated Bibliographies (10%)

As a research group, select 10 of the most significant, helpful, clear, and informative sources of information for understanding how integral mission can be undertaken within the subject field of your research. Keep in mind that your annotated bibliographies will be posted on our Omeka Digital Humanities site making it available to other researchers in the field of social justice, mission, and community development. Here is a good site that shows what an Annotated Bibliography is. An excellent and much more in-depth account of what is needed as you write your annotated bibliography can be found HERE.

Your annotated bibliographies will be assessed in terms of the following rubric:

bibliography

3. Subject Essays (15%)

As a research group you will write two 500-750 word essays on a topic within your research area. The essay is to be written for a general audience to inform and educate people on the public significance and prominence of justice work and integral mission. Ideally (but not necessarily), your subject essays will bear a close relationship to the figures identified in the "biographical exhibit" and "annotated bibliographies".

Submit both essays as one document.

Your essays will be evaluated in terms of the following rubric:

subject essays

These two subject essays are due on November 4 at 11:00pm.

E. Research (35% of course grade)

Introduction

As participant in the Emmaus Scholars Program you have the opportunity to produce a significant piece of research in the area of integral mission. All of the assignments have been designed with the intention of building connections and deepening your understanding of integral mission. In the same way that the Omeka Digitial Humanities work is "public theology" conduct your individual research with a vision towards "publication" and "display". To this end, their will be an opportunity to present both your joint and individual research in a public forum towards the very end of your involvement in the Emmaus Scholars Program. In order to help you best prepare for that final submission of your research, the project has been broken up into smaller pieces. The initial work is to be completed this semester and is comprised of a research proposal, two short (pilot) essays, and an annotated prospectus.

Here are some tips on choosing a good research topic:

  1. The topic should be really interesting to you and you should believe it to have public relevance;
  2. Your topic must have a narrow focus and address a specific question;
  3. You need to make sure that both primary and secondary resources are available to you through our library system (and MelCat).

1. Proposal (7.5%)

In two pages, submit a research proposal that constitutes a response to the following questions:

  • What specific research question are you seeking to address in this paper?
  • Why is this an interesting / significant question?
  • Why is it problematic?
  • Who thinks so?
  • How far along are you in your research and thinking?
  • What do you hope to discover by doing this research?

Rubric:

image

2. Prospectus and Annotated Bibliography (7.5%)

Use this opportunity to get a jump-start on the analysis of research material by showing three things:

  • Who are the “players” when it comes to your specific research question?
  • What are the most interesting questions emerging out of this academic “conversation”?
  • Where do the fault lines of scholarly difference lie when it comes to your research question?
  • What are the really important and contested issues here?
  • Hypothesize what specific ideas might be central to your argument.
Prospectus (3.5%)

After your research topic has been defined and before you begin serious reading, you should first prepare a "Working Bibliography" of primary and secondary sources.

The prospectus should aim to accomplish the following: 1. Offer a clear and precise thesis statement. 2. Identify the single most important moral/theological question to be answered in your research. 3. Indicate why this topic is significant.

Submit your prospectus online on November 6.

Rubric:

img

The Annotated Bibliography (4%)
  1. Organize your Bibliography by dividing it into primary and secondary sources.
  2. As you compose your bibliography follow the instructions and example HERE.
  3. A minimum of ten (10) items is required, three of which must be primary sources.

Submit your annotated bibliography online on November 15.

Rubric:

img

3. Short (pilot) essays (20%)

You are being asked to write 2 short (1,000) word essays in which you consider two different (and hopefully key) elements of integral mission in the area that you wish to conduct more extensive research in the second term. These essays can be experimental - that is, you may find that you have each of these essays will, in time, become two key elements of your larger paper. Alternatively, you may find that only portions of them can be profitably mined for further use.

The first research essay is due on November 27.

The second research essay is due on December 11.

They will be assessed in terms of the following rubric:

img

III. General Guidelines for The Submission of Written Work

A. Your work should demonstrate the Following Characteristics

  1. Grammar and Writing Is the text clean of spelling mistakes? Is the text punctuated correctly? Does the sentence structure consistently adhere to basic rules of good grammar? Have you used inclusive language?

  2. Accuracy /Fairness! Have you properly understood the text in question? Is the evidence marshaled to support the argument used judiciously? Have you provided a fair, generous and careful consideration of competing or divergent views/arguments on the issues?

  3. Analysis – Critical Thinking – Force of Argument Does your paper have a clear, straightforward account of the central point in question? Does the work in question provide a coherent and convincing case? Have you provided evidence of theological reflection on the subject matter?

  4. Organization and Coherence of Ideas Have you formulated your response to the work in question in a clear and thoughtful manner? Is there a clear progression and development of ideas throughout your paper? Is there a clear point to your paper? Is this stated in the introduction and conclusion of your analysis?

  5. Clarity and Style of Presentation

Students often need both encouragement and incentive to work hard at writing. If you are still bewildered or perhaps worried about writing well, please carefully read Jack Lynch’s (Rutgers University – Newark) webguide to writing called “Getting an A on an English Paper”.

Professor Lynch and I employ roughly the same set of standards and expectations. It would be to your advantage to read through his webguide and approach me with any of your questions.

B. Plagiarism and Honesty

You are obliged to pay careful attention to matters of intellectual property, honesty and integrity. Plagiarism is to be avoided at all costs and will not be tolerated in any form. Cheating is using someone else’s work and passing it off as your own. Plagiarism will result in an automatic “F” for the course. HERE is a good source for learning more about Hope College’s institutional policy regarding plagiarism.

Review Diana Hacker’s account of how to use and document your sources in A Writer’s Reference, 6th edition, p. 463.

C. Late Assignments

Assignments for this course must be submitted to the Canvas site before each assignment closes.

D. The use of Inclusive Language

I expect you to resist using language that might exclude others from the Gospel promise. The question of gender-inclusive language is a matter of the public integrity and aims to express the dignity of human persons. This requirement is in place in order to help students to avoid inadvertently placing barriers between people and the Gospel.

Attend to the following guidelines:

When you speak and/or write of humanity in general, refrain from using the term ‘man’. It is perfectly acceptable to employ the generic pronoun ‘she’ rather than ‘he’. Your prose must reflect the fact that humanity is comprised of males and females. When referring to the first person of the trinity, you may wish to employ the locution ‘Godself’ rather than ‘He’. The use of the term ‘Father’, however, is proper given the fact that the biblical usage of the term is one that identifies the first person of the trinity as the father of Jesus. Christ invites us to join with him in the prayer, “Our Father…”.

Should you desire further clarification on why the use of inclusive language is required in my classes, please consult my brief article on inclusive language that appeared in the 2005 Spring B. Quad Library newsletter of Wheaton College. HERE is a copy of an article on inclusive language and a response by a close friend and former colleague, Dr. Josh Hochschild.

E. Submission of Written Work

Students are required to retain a copy of all assignments (hard copy or electronic version). Written work is to be uploaded to the Canvas site in either Word or RTF formats.

IV. Grading and Standards of Evaluation

A. Criteria for the Evaluation of Written Work

  1. Grammar and Writing Is the text clean of spelling mistakes? Is the text punctuated correctly? Does the sentence structure consistently adhere to basic rules of good grammar? Have you used inclusive language?

  2. Accuracy /Fairness! Have you properly understood the text in question? Is the evidence marshaled to support the argument used judiciously? Have you provided a fair, generous and careful consideration of competing or divergent views/arguments on the issues?

  3. Analysis – Critical Thinking – Force of Argument Does your paper have a clear, straightforward account of the central point in question? Does the work in question provide a coherent and convincing case? Have you provided evidence of theological reflection on the subject matter?

  4. Organization and Coherence of Ideas Have you formulated your response to the work in question in a clear and thoughtful manner? Is there a clear progression and development of ideas throughout your paper? Is there a clear point to your paper? Is this stated in the introduction and conclusion of your analysis?

B. Summary of Assignments and Grading

Evaluation is based upon the completion of the following assignments:

course weight

Grades will be assessed using the following percentages and scale:

Grading Weight

What Grades Mean

Grading schemes vary from one institution (and on occasion, discipline, department, or professor) to the next. The grading scheme employed in this course reflects the standards sketched below. The following material gives you a sense of what standard letter grades may be taken to mean regarding your work. I have adapted this material from remarks made by Professor Alasdair MacIntyre while visiting Yale University during the 1990s.

  • Beyond mastery of the material and a standard argument, an essay within the ‘A’ range demonstrates originality, nuance and mature judgment.
    • A ‘B+’ essay shows promise in extending beyond mastery, solid research and documentation of sources.
    • A solid ‘B’ essay is well organized and documented and gives the reader enough information to get from sympathetic skepticism to interested respect. It shows a mastery of both matter and the progress of an argument.
    • A “B-” essay exhibits sufficient reading and has shown strides towards providing the essentials of an argument.
    • Essays whose grade falls within the ‘C’ range lack essential material and show insufficient reading and effort to be acceptable, perhaps, even to the point of showing obvious misunderstanding Essays which receive an ‘F’ manifest scarcely any evidence of either reading or understanding; it fails to meet the basic expectations of the assignment.

Class Schedule

August 28 - Introduction

Read: Course Syllabus

August 30 - Integral Mission

  • Read: TBA

September 2 - Marsh and Perkins, Welcoming Justice

  • Read: Chapter 1 "The Unfinished Business of the Civil Rights Movement" and
    Chapter 2 "The Cultural Captivity of the Church"

September 4 - Marsh and Perkins, Welcoming Justice

  • Read: Chapter 3 "The Power of True Conversion" and
    Chapter 4 "The Next Great Awakening"

September 6 - Biblical and Theological Reflection

  • Read: TBA

September 9 - Marsh and Perkins, Welcoming Justice

  • Read: Chapter 5 "God's Movement in the Twenty-First Century" and
    Chapter 6 "A Time for Rebuilding"

September 11 - Biblical and Theological Reflection

  • Read: TBA
  • RWP: Academic Blog, Welcoming Justice

September 13- Biblical and Theological Reflection

  • Read: TBA

September 16 - Bauckham, Bible & Mission

  • Read: Chapter 1. "A Hermeneutic for the Kingdom of God"

September 18 - Bauckham, Bible & Mission

  • Read: Chapter 2. "From the One to the Many"
  • RWP: Research Group Blog 1

September 20 - Bauckham, Bible & Mission

  • Read: Chapter 3. "Geography — Sacred and Symbolic

September 23 - Bauckham, Bible & Mission

  • Read: Chapter 4. Witness to the Truth in a Postmodern and Globalized World

September 25 - Basil of Caesarea, On Social Justice

  • Read: "To the Rich" and
    "I Will Tear Down my Barns"
  • RWP: Academic Blog, Bible and Mission

September 27 - Basil of Caesarea, On Social Justice

  • Read: "In the Time of Famine and Drought" and
    "Against Those Who Lend at Interest"

September 30 - Basil of Caesarea, On Social Justice

  • Read: Discussion and Review
  • RWP: Research Group - Subject Essay 1

October 2 - Holman God Knows There's Need

  • Read: Chapter 1. "God Knows: Empathetic Remembering"
  • RWP: Submit your Academic Blog on Basil, On Social Justice on October 4.

October 4 No Class

  • RWP: Submit your Academic Blog on Basil, On Social Justice on October 4.

October 7 - Holman God Knows There's Need

  • Read: Chapter 2. "Remembering as Personal Story"
  • RWP: Research Group Blog 2.

October 9 - Holman God Knows There's Need

  • Read: Chapter 3. "Engaging Paradigms: The Shape of Early Christian Need"

October 11 - Biblical and Theological Reflection

  • Read: TBA

October 16 - Holman God Knows There's Need

  • Read: Chapter 4. "From Text to Life: Crossing the Gap"

October 18 - Holman God Knows There's Need

  • Read: Chapter 5. "Poverty and the Gendering of Empathy"
  • RWP: Biographical Exhibits (Research Group)

October 21 - Holman God Knows There's Need

  • Read: Chapter 6. "Maria's Choice"

October 23 - Holman God Knows There's Need

  • Read: Chapter 7. "Living Crunchy and Doing Right(s)
  • RWP: Annotated Bibliographies (Research Group)

October 25 - Holman God Knows There's Need

  • Read: Chapter 8. "Embodying Sacred Kingdom"

October 28 - Holman God Knows There's Need

  • Read: Discussion and Review -RWP: Academic Blog, God Knows There's Need

October 30 - Orlando Costas, Outside the Gate

  • Read: Chapter 2, "Sin and Salvation in and Oppressed Continent"

November 1 - Orlando Costas, Outside the Gate

  • Read: Chapter 10, "The Whole World for the Whole Gospel: Recovering a Holistic Legacy for the 1980s" and
    "Epilogue: Outside the Gate"
  • RWP: Research Proposal

November 4 - Bryant Myers, Walking with the Poor

  • Read: Chapter 1. "Charting the Course"
  • RWP: Research Group Subject Essay 2

November 6 - Bryant Myers, Walking with the Poor

  • Read: Chapter 2. "Development — the Orgins of an Idea"
  • RWP: Research Prospectus

November 8 - Biblical and Theological Reflection

  • Read: Chapter 3. "Theology, Poverty, and Development"

November 11 - Bryant Myers, Walking with the Poor

  • Read: Chapter 4. "Poverty and the Poor"

November 13 - Bryant Myers, Walking with the Poor

  • Read: Chapter 5. "Perspectives on Development"

November 15 - Biblical and Theological Reflection

  • Read: TBA
  • RWP: Annotated Bibliography

November 18 - Bryant Myers, Walking with the Poor

  • Read: Chapter 6. "Toward a Christian Understanding of Transformational Development"
  • RWP: Research Group Blog 3.

November 20 - Bryant Myers, Walking with the Poor

  • Read: Chapter 7. "Development Practice: Principles and Practitioners"

November 22 - Biblical and Theological Reflection

  • Read: TBA
  • RWP: Academic Blog: Walking with the Poor

November 25 - Bryant Myers, Walking with the Poor

  • Read: Chapter 8. "Designing Programs for Transformation"

November 27 - Bryant Myers, Walking with the Poor

  • Read: Chapter 9. "Learning toward Transformation"
  • RWP: Short Essay 1.

December 2 - Bryant Myers, Walking with the Poor

  • Read: Chapter 10. "Christian Witness and Transformational Development"

December 4 - Bryant Myers, Walking with the Poor

  • Review and Discussion
  • Research Group Blog 4.

December 6 - Conclusion

  • Review and Discussion
  • RWP: Blog Audit and Reflection

December 9-13 - Exam Week

  • RWP: December 11 - Short Essay 2