Tuesday, November 20, 2018

Religion Class Prepared Student for Summer Mission

Abigail McMaster, an International Business and Hospitality Management major, Spanish minor, and student in the Honors Program, discovered that a religion class proved useful in her summer of mission work. Here is her account of what happened:

Abigail (center) with EM cross-cultural interns
 in Atlanta
Comfort zones are funny. They seem so confining and terrifying; however, when you step out of them and say “yes” to what God wants to use you for it opens you up to many amazing experiences. When God opened the door for me to work as a Cross-Cultural Intern with Experience Mission (EM), I had no idea what I would be stepping into. One of the fun parts of being on EM’s summer staff is that you accept your position without knowing where you will be serving. I found out that I would be serving in Atlanta, Georgia, and Harlem in New York City. When I received the email I was excited, but at the same time absolutely terrified. I am from a small town in Ohio and have attended college at AU, so big cities were not really my cup of tea. I sent a text to a friend and mentor, “I have no idea how to live in a big city, but I guess I will figure it out.”
As I found out about the demographics of the people that I would be serving, I realized that I would actually be in the racial minority for the first time in my life. During the spring semester of 2018, I had taken a class called Religion and the Civil Rights Movement. In this class, I learned that the white Christians in the 1960s really did not stand up for African Americans in their struggle for civil rights. During this class, I came to the realization that I too had been able to ignore a lot of the modern day race relations problems. This really changed how I viewed the modern day race relations. I knew that living in Atlanta and Harlem was not going to make any major changes in these issues but I did see how God had been preparing me for this move, without me knowing it.

The knowledge I learned from this class was super helpful in Atlanta. Atlanta, Georgia is the birthplace of Reverend Doctor Martin Luther King Jr. and home of the King Center. Every Monday morning the first thing we did with our teams of high schoolers who came was to take them to the King Center. This was so that they knew more about the area that they were serving in and also more about the Civil Rights Movement. I know I appreciated these visits more because of this class. Also, the pastor of our church would often sit our teams down and talk about how to build bridges instead of walls when it came to the tough subjects of race, religion, and politics. In Harlem, one of my coworkers quickly discovered we lived across the street from the Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture. Again, we took teams there, so that they would be more educated and again, I appreciated the visit more because of this class.

I did not actually realize some of the other ways that God had prepared me to go until after I came home. I realized that God had prepared me for city street evangelism by taking me to Ashville, North Carolina on a mission trip over spring break. God prepared me for the sheer business of New York City by first letting me serve in Atlanta. I realized that my business classes could actually be helpful on the mission field as I worked on budgets. My event planning skills from working at a country club came through with the attention to detail I was able to implement into our schedules.

My summer was hard, I cried, and at times I wanted to quit. I saw things I wish I could unsee, but at the same time know that I do not want to unsee because I know it has changed me to be a better person. I know that God will use all that I experienced this summer in my future and that nothing is wasted with God. I am amazed at what God can do when we are willing to have our comfort zones shattered.

Thursday, October 25, 2018

Religion Courses - Spring 2019

REL106 Exploring the Bible - Six sections (M,W, F, 10,11; T,Th,  10:50, 3:00) and one section online- core: Religion
There is a reason it is a best seller -- take this class and find out why for yourself.

REL107 Exploring World Religions - Six sections in a classroom (M,W, F, 10, 11; T,Th, 12:15; 1:40, ) and two sections online - core: Religion

REL 220 Taking Human Life - Two Sections (M,W, F 12)- core: Humanities
Dr. Hovey says: Is it ever okay to take human life? If so, under what conditions? Many of the hardest contemporary issues in society and for religious communities are related to these questions, whether suicide, euthanasia, abortion, capital punishment, or warfare. Join us for an exciting yet also serious course examining these ethical issues from philosophical and theological perspectives.

REL234 History of Christian Worship - (T,Th, 10:50)
Dr. Slade says: Learn how church on Sunday ended up looking the way it does. From Thomas Tallis to Chris Tomlin, Gregorian Chant to Hillsong. Learn about the history of Christian worship from the New Testament church to the present day.
Fulfills the upper-level Christian History requirement for the Religion major and the Christian Thought requirement for the minor.

REL 260 Short Term Missions (T, Th 12:15) - core: CCI with Study Away
This exciting new course with Dr. Sue Dickson explores the development, theology, and practice of international short-term, mission trips. It is designed to work with any overseas missions trip taken over Spring Break or during the summer of 2019-- this year the university has groups going to South Africa and the Dominican Republic (scholarships are available to help with travel costs). This class will enhance this experience of mission and help students engage this experience on a deeper critical level. If you are not going on a STM this spring or summer, not to worry, you can still take the course!

REL308 Faith and Society (T,Th 9:25)  
Dr. Hovey says: This course pushes up against the limits of ethics by looking at recent scholarship on religion, race, and violence. You will be challenged to look at concrete events in history in different lights, especially various lights of faith. Was the violent abolitionist John Brown a religious fanatic to be condemned, a freedom fighter to be celebrated, or a complicated figure whose hope and actions were at odds yet whose faith still pointed to redemption? What theological failures were involved in the conquest of the Americas and the origins of modern notions of race and racism? In this course you will wrestle with some of the richest and most timely scholarship at the intersection of politics, religion, ethics, and faith.
Image result for weird john brown
REL400  Christian Literature - (T,Th, 1:40)
Dr. Aune leads this seminar in which we read and discuss some of the classic works of Christian Literature including Augustine's Confessions, Thomas a Kempis' Imitation of Christ, Teresa of Avila's Interior Castle, John Bunyan's Pilgrim's Progress, Dietrich Bonhoeffer's Cost of Discipleship and C.S. Lewis' Screwtape Letters.
Warning: these books can change lives!
Image result for cs lewis screwtape

Monday, September 10, 2018

2018 Rinehart Lecture: Come Matter Here

Author Hannah Brencher is delivering the 2018 Rinehart Lecture in Practical Theology at Ashland University on Wednesday, November 7 at 7pm.

Hannah will be speaking on the subject of her recently published book Come Matter Here - a call for Christians to start living like they mean it here and now.

The Rinehart Lecture in Practical Theology is an annual endowed public lecture honoring the memory and continuing the work of Dr. Don Rinehart who, in his 46 years of teaching at Ashland, inspired generations of students.

Dr. Peter Slade, chair of the Religion Department explained the choice of this year’s lecturer. “We invited Hannah to speak because this idea of being a disciple right where you are is something that is important to us as a Brethren Church related school. This life of authentic witness and ministry was something that the late Don Rinehart and his wife Jan lived out right here in this school in rural Ohio for nearly half a century.”

The event is co-sponsored by the Office of Christian Ministry, Department of Religion, Student Life, and Student Leadership. The lecture is free and open to the public. For further details contact Peter Slade

Where: Miller Chapel, Ashland University
When: November 7, 2018, 7pm

Peacemaker Comes to AU

Public Lecture: “Building Societies of Peace”
Manolis Ntamparakis

Emmanouil (Manolis) Ntamparakis, Director of Social Action, NAOMI Ecumenical Workshop for Refugees, Thessaloniki, Greece

7:00-8:00 p.m., September 27
Ridenour Room, College of Business and Economics

Manolis Ntamparakis’ works to create societies of peace by providing emergency aid and integration measures to alleviate the suffering of refugees in Northern Greece. Manolis studied Physics at the University of Thessaloniki. He holds a Masters of Divinity in Theology and Pastoral Studies from Trinity Theological Seminary in Amsterdam, and a Masters of Theology in Bible Translation and Eastern Orthodox Theology from the University of Amsterdam.

For more information contact Dr. Sue Dickson 

Thursday, April 19, 2018

Religion Honors Society Inducts New Members

On April 18, Ashland's Alpha Kappa Delta chapter of Theta Alpha Kappa, the national Religion and Theology Honor Society, inducted seven new members: Chad Buckel, Lydia Heckert, Amanda Janecek, Tyler McFarland, Levi Sprowls, Will Summers, Michaela Teague.
All of the inductees had at least a 3.5 GPA in Religion and a 3.0 GPA overall.
Congratulations to the new ThAKers!

Thursday, March 29, 2018

Dr. Slade preacher at 50th anniversary of MLK's assassination (audio)

Dr. Peter Slade delivered a sermon, "Prayer and Justice", at the community chapel service in AU's Lower Chapel on April 4 to mark the 50th anniversary of Martin Luther King's assassination. 

The chapel service was one of a series of events at Ashland University marking the anniversary. 

Monday, March 12, 2018

"Last Lecture": Love Over Fear

Rev Seth Wispelwey was the guest speaker at this year's "Last Lecture" on April 18. The "Last Lecture" is an invitation for a speaker to address the graduating class of Religion majors as if it were their last time to do so.

Wispelwey is a grassroots organizer, educator, nonprofit consultant, and pastor. He works for Restoration Village Arts in Charlottesville, Va. An ordained minister with the United Church of Christ, Seth holds a Bachelor’s degree from the University of Virginia and a Master’s in Pastoral Ministry from Boston College. In July 2017, Seth was one of the organizers of Congregate C'ville, which issued a call for clergy and faith leaders to come to Charlottesville to confront the national white supremacist rally that was held in the city on August 12. Peter Slade, chair of the religion department, said, "We believe Seth will have an important message for our students and his life experience will connect with their own. His commitment to nonviolence resonates with our Brethren heritage here at Ashland University."

For more on Seth Wispelwey and the movement of clergy in Charlottesville, read this article published by the World Council of Churches.