Tuesday, November 15, 2011

If you're going to San Francisco . . .

The religion professors are heading out to San Francisco this week for the annual meetings of the American Academy of Religion (AAR) and the Society for Biblical Literature (SBL). Ashland's Religion Department is well represented:
Dr. Sue Dickson is presenting two papers. One at the AAR: Muslim–Christian Dialogue: Using Technology to Connect Students Internationally and Interreligiously; and one at the SBL: The Job Project: Interactions between the Book of Job and Displaced Communities and Their Neighbors in South America. Dr. Craig Hovey is presiding over a wild card session, The Hermeneutics of Tradition; Dr. Peter Slade's paper is, Why Should the Charismatics Have All the Good Music?: The Unintended Consequence for Evangelicals of the Rise of Contemporary Worship.
So if you are going to San Francisco why not check them out!

The Abstracts

The Job Project: Interactions between the Book of Job and Displaced Communities and Their Neighbors in South America
The Job Project in Barranquilla, Colombia ‘bridges the divide between practical/classical disciplines; embodies collaboration between biblical interpreters and pastoral theologians; exposes the multivalent tensions and possibilities in interactions between biblical and human texts;’ and is itself a ‘forum for integrating cognitive, practical and normative aspects of pastoral practice.’ The Job Project asks, ‘How will displaced persons in Colombia, South America and their neighbors interpret Job and what impact will that interpretation have on their lived experience? The paper describes the different interpretive centers and margins of three communities of faith in Barranquilla (the Camelot Refugee Community, the Corporacion Universitaria Reformada and La Iglesia Presbiteriana) which are embedded in Colombia’s post-colonial struggles and violence. The contemporary issues emerging from this multi-layered context are several: e.g. government corruption, displacement, violence, the business of illegal drugs (and all that goes with it), poverty. The paper illustrates how interpretation takes place in these three, unique and inter-related settings; explores the interactions between the biblical text, the human texts and the specific contexts; and asks practical, pastoral and missional questions of the text, the academy and the communities of faith. It documents a collaboration between ordinary biblical interpreters, pastoral theologians, biblical scholars and religion students and uses a particular interpretive frame—the lived experience of displaced persons living in Camp Camelot and their neighbors—through which to read the Book of Job.

Muslim–Christian Dialogue: Using Technology to Connect Students Internationally and Interreligiously
This presentation explores the challenges, dangers and benefits of using SKYPE (or a SKYPE equivalent technology) to connect Muslim and Christian students in a classroom context. In the fall of 2010, an interdisciplinary seminar at Ashland University connected Middle Eastern, U.S. American and European  undergraduates for weekly, group discussions online. The groups included Christians, Muslims, agnostics and atheists. The U.S. American students met weekly to process and analyze these discussions. Using this course as a springboard, the paper examines issues of cross-cultural and inter-religious communication, administrative questions, technological glitches, student preparedness, handling conflicts, how to organize, plan, and teach such a course (including potential pitfalls). It explores the risks and advantages uncovered during this particular experience of using this type of technology as a pedagogical tool. The final product of the course, a video news story developed from Al Jazeera footage by the students, generated passionate, informative, and surprising outcomes. 
The Hermeneutics of Tradition
A religious tradition’s development requires ongoing study as our appreciation for historical context and complexity increases. The hermeneutics of tradition seminar shall address the dynamics of assimilating difference through text and culture as we navigate the shifting boundaries of interpretation that capture the self-understanding of religious groups. Our particular focus is upon Christianity and its varied embodiments in the traditions of Catholic, Anglican, Orthodox, Methodist, and Lutheran polities. As a diverse ecumenical group of North American, European, and Australian scholars of Christianity, we shall increase understanding of how tradition and self-understanding intertwine in a developmental context. We thus aim to present our work in order to engage in dialogue with a wider scholarly community as we attend together to the shapes, discourse, and practices of religious traditions so that such shared insight can become a part of our collectively published research.

Why Should the Charismatics Have All the Good Music?: The Unintended Consequence for Evangelicals of the Rise of Contemporary Worship

This paper traces the development of the Contemporary Christian Worship movement from its origins in the charismatic Calvary Chapel and Vineyard to its current hegemony in non-charismatic evangelical churches. The telos of the praise and worship in its original charismatic context is, as participants understand it, to create in the worshipper an emotional openness to the Spirit which leads to charismatic manifestations (tongues, prophecy, healing etc.).The recent massive popularity of this charismatic/Pentecostal worship music in evangelical churches driven by the musical preferences of the boomer generation and its anxiety over the dwindling number of “young” people taking their places in the pews, fundamentally changes the function of the music: the telos of the music changes (the unexpected consequence of the title).The end of worship is no longer emotional openness to spirit possession, now it is simply the emotion of “worship.” This in turn fundamentally changes evangelical worship.
The Religion Department heading West.

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