Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Student Spotlight: Amanda Sivik

"I believe there are so many benefits to studying religion at Ashland University.  Religion is a fundamental part of the lives of the majority of people in the world.  There are so many different opinions and stances on current issues that involve personal religious beliefs.  I have my set of beliefs that I began to make as a child and continue to develop as an adult.  It is a great benefit to be aware of the beliefs and opinions of people of different religions here on campus and all around the world.  Religion was a fundamental part of the founding of my country and being educated about it is crucial for understanding and appreciation."

-Amanda Sivik, May 2016

Saturday, November 23, 2013

Minor in Religion

Whatever your major, a minor in Religion goes well with everything (like ketchup!).

Why is everyone talking about studying Religion?

  • You get a Religion minor in only 12 credit hours! 
  • You have probably already completed one Religion class as part of the Core 
  • Courses for the Religion minor may also meet Core requirements (See below) 
  • Of course...There's also the Religion major.

Many of our Religion Courses Fulfill the Humanities Core Requirement

REL 220 Taking Human Life
REL 240 Jewish Religious Traditions
REL 250 Understanding Islam in Today's World
REL 308 Political Theology
REL 340 Religion & the Civil Rights Movement in America

World Religion Classes, many of which fulfill Border Crossing Requirement

REL 107 Exploring World Religions
REL 250 Understanding Islam in Today's World
REL 341 World Christianity, Culture & Mission
REL 307 World Religions East & West

Many Religion Courses Fulfill the Historical Reasoning Core

REL 230 Hist. of Early Christianity
REL 231 Hist. Medieval & Reformation Christianity
REL 232 Hist. of Modern Christianity
REL 233 Hist. Religions in America

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

What I learned from Stanley Hauerwas

It’s a great privilege to know and be known by Stanley Hauerwas, the pre-eminent American theologian of our time. On the occasion of his retirement, I joined a terrific group of his students, former students, and fellow-theologians for a celebration of his life and work at an event called “The Difference Christ Makes.”
That celebration made me want to reflect on everything I’ve learned from Stanley Hauerwas. There’s too many to name, but here are six of them:
1. The smallest moral unit is the community, not the individual.
Hauerwas has been a relentless critic of what Notre Dame philosopher Alasdair MacIntyre calls “the Enlightenment Project” which, in our day, is the common heritage of various forms of political liberalism (on both the left and the right). The Enlightenment taught us that morality comes down to individual decisions and the actions of an individual conscience. The picture is of rootless, tradition-less autonomy (literally a “law unto oneself”); who we are is who we have made ourselves to be when we neutrally stood before a range of moral options. I first learned the flaws of this picture from Hauerwas. Our characters are formed through numerous sources, many of which are beyond our control. We recognize human contingency in our dependence on others.

Thursday, October 24, 2013

Upper Level Religion Courses for Spring 2014

On the edge of a new semester!
REL 214  Christian Formation  
(1:40-2:55 TTh)    
Dr. Sue Dickson
It’s not your grandma’s Sunday school anymore! What does it look like to love God with all your heart, and soul, and mind, and strength? How can we do that and help others to do it? What does it mean to become Christian? We’ll ponder these questions in REL214 Christian Formation. Through site visits, hands-on projects, music, art, film and more traditional methods, we’ll be discussing how to become and help others become more faithful Christians in the contemporary world. This course is in the practical theology (Christian Ministry) concentration for Religion majors/minors and an elective for others. There are no prerequisites, however basic knowledge of the Bible and Christian theology is expected.

REL 234  History of Christian Worship 
(10:50-12:05 TTh)   
Dr. Peter Slade
Learn about the history of Christian worship from the New Testament church to the present day.   Drawing upon research from his recent study leave, Dr. Slade will guide you through the actual experience of worship for regular churchgoers, paying attention to the culture, art and music as well as the various contexts in which Christian worship developed. This course is in the Christian history concentration for Religion majors and an elective for others.  No prerequisites.

REL 301 Topics in Religion: Political Theology 
(9:25-10:40 TTh) 
Dr. Craig Hovey
Ever wondered what role Christianity plays beyond one's individual faith? How does the church engage with powers, rulers, and ideas? What is religion like in a secular society? What is the political significance of the church by its mere existence? If you find these questions stimulating, then this course in Christian political theology is for you. Political theology is an exciting field of study. This course is in the Theology and Ethics concentration of the Religion major and has recently been approved for the Humanities Core.  No prerequisites.

REL 304 Advanced Old Testament 
(1:00-1:50 MWF)  
Dr. Sue Dickson
Why do bad things happen to good people? What is the meaning of life? Who is God? Where do we find morality? Who are we, anyway? Come explore the wisdom texts of the Hebrew Scriptures (including Proverbs, Ecclesiastes, Job, Song of Songs, and some Psalms) and find out what the Bible says. This course is in the Biblical Studies concentration for religion majors/minors and an elective for others. REL106 is a prerequisite.

REL 3SGK Paul in the Greco-Roman World 
(3:00-4:15 TTh)  
Dr. David Aune
Follow the footsteps of St. Paul and experience the culture of both ancient and modern Greece by studying Biblical and classical texts and then traveling throughout Greece during Spring Break. We focus on Paul’s second missionary journey in Greece as well as the social, cultural and theological issues associated with Paul’s written correspondences to the Thessalonians, Philippians and Corinthians.  Cost of $3,475 includes travel, lodging, taxes and most of your meals.  Fulfills Core Humanities and Course with Study Away for GPS.  No prerequisites.

REL 404  Seminar in Christian Theology 
(12:15-1:30 TTh)  
Dr. Craig Hovey
This semester's theme is the Doctrine of the Atonement: the meaning of the death of Christ. Does an innocent man's death appease an angry God? In what sense should Christ's death be considered a sacrifice? Is it a ransom? To whom? We will go in-depth into these and related debates in contemporary theological scholarship. Not to be missed!  This is one of the required theology seminars for Religion majors and both REL 106 and REL 208 are prerequisites.

Thursday, October 17, 2013

Dr. Craig Hovey discusses What Makes Us Moral

Sue Dickson asked Craig Hovey some questions about his recent book on science and morality after a book launch at Ashland University.

One of your main points is that while science, especially biology, can help explain human behavior, it doesn’t help us know what we should do. Yet we make value judgments all the time. Where do those come from?

They come from a lot of sources, some of which may be closely tied to tendencies that come to us through our biology. But they cannot simply be read off of our biology. As a theologian, I’m ready to identify where Christian morality—such as loving one’s enemy—asks us to do things that seem to be at odds with what comes naturally.

At the same time, it is Christian belief that such things make us more “Christlike”—and here’s the trick: becoming more Christlike actually makes us more human, not less. After all, from its earliest centuries, Christians have talked about the full divinity and full humanity of Christ. He is actually more human than we are; he is the model human. Sin makes us, in a sense, less than human by withering our humanity.

So at a deeper level, we may find another convergence between biology and theology in what the tradition calls natural law. At exactly the points where it seems we are most noticeably departing from what comes to us “naturally,” we actually discover that we had misunderstood our nature. But this is part of the repair Christians believe the redemption of humanity to be.

Thursday, October 3, 2013

Prof publishes book on John Perkins

This fall, religion professor Peter Slade travelled to New Orleans and Mississippi as part of the book launch of Mobilizing for the Common Good: The Lived Theology of John M. Perkins.  Dr. Slade co-edited the book with Charles Marsh (UVa) and Peter Heltzel (New York Theological Seminary).
Born into a sharecropping family in New Hebron, Mississippi, in 1930, and receiving only a third-grade education, John M. Perkins has been a pioneering prophetic African American voice for reconciliation and social justice to America's white evangelical churches. Often an unwelcome voice and always a passionate, provocative clarion, Perkins persisted for forty years in bringing about the formation of the Christian Community Development Association—a large network of evangelical churches and community organizations working in America's poorest communities—and inspired the emerging generation of young evangelicals concerned with releasing the church from its cultural captivity and oppressive materialism. (Taken from University Press of Mississippi's description)
(L. to R.) Peter Slade, John Perkins, Vera Mae Perkins, William Winter
Dr. Slade travelled to New Orleans to attend the CCDA annual conference where he, along with five of the contributors, gave a public presentation and officially launched the book.

On September 17, Slade gave a lecture for the Mississippi Department of History and Archives on the life and legacy of John M. Perkins. The event was in the House Chamber of the Old State Capitol in Jackson, Mississippi. "It was a significant event and I was pretty nervous," reports Slade. He was introduced by William Winter, a former governor of Mississippi, and John Perkins attended. Slade said, "It is an unnerving experience for a historian to talk about the significance of a person's life with them sitting in the front row." 

Friday, September 20, 2013

Travel to Greece!

Would you like to travel to Greece and follow in the footsteps of the apostle Paul?  Next semester, Dr. Aune is offering a course, REL 3SGK “Paul in the Greco-Roman World” that includes a study abroad experience in Greece during Spring Break.  The course, which fulfills both a Humanities Core requirement and a GPS Study Away requirement, is scheduled to meet TTh from 3:05-4:20 throughout January and February in preparation for the Feb 28-March 9 Study Tour.  Students will learn about Paul’s second missionary journey, focusing on the cities that Paul visited (Thessalonica, Philippi, Berea, Athens and Corinth).   

We also learn about Greek culture and the role of the church in society in preparation for our travels.  While in Greece, we visit these cities and investigate historical and archeological evidence for the development of early Christianity.   The tour also includes other important experiences such as a hike on Mount Olympus, a tour of the famous monasteries in the region of Meteora and a one day Greek island cruise.  The program cost (which includes travel, lodging and most of the meals) of $3475 will be billed to your AU account and, depending on your situation, most of the cost could be covered by financial aid or other grants and scholarships.  

Students and community members may participate in the study tour without taking REL 3SGK but you must participate in the study tour to get credit for the course.

      Please join us for one of the information meetings about this study abroad experience:  5PM on Tues Sept 24 or 5PM on Wed Sept 25 in the Rinehart Center Room 18.  

You can also contact Dr. Aune directly (daune@ashland.edu) for more information.

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

2013 International Peacemaker

Rev. Wilfred ORR
Monday, Oct. 7, 12:15-1:15
The Eagle’s Nest
Come, learn more, find out how you can help.

Rev. Orr has been a leading figure in the Ballynafeigh Clergy Fellowship and has worked tirelessly to promote both stronger ties between churches of all traditions in the district and between those from different cultural, social and political backgrounds.

Contact sdickso2@ashland.edu, Ashland Religion Department, for more information.

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

One Class Can Change Your Life

Graduating religion senior Hali Brook is leaving Ashland and going to Thailand to train with the organization Remember Nhu. After six months in Thailand she will start work with the charity in Bolivia caring for children at risk of human trafficking.

Hali first developed an interest in Remember Nhu when Carl Ralston, the founder of the Akron-based charity, came and spoke in Dr. Dickson's class, REL214 Christian Formation.

Hali explains what she is doing and why in this video: 

You will be able to follow Hali's work through her blog.

Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Senior Wisdom

Religion Department seniors offer these words of wisdom to ‘those left behind.’

Joe Antus
Joe Antus: "Take the time to invest in people. even if it’s just sitting and listening to them for a while."

Hali Brook
Hali Brook: "Stop thinking about your classes, homework, and papers as assignments and tasks to check off on your to-do list. Instead, start thinking about them as tools and knowledge to help you understand the world, others, and yourself."

Jacob Ewing
Jacob Ewing: "Read more books. Even if you think you don't have enough time, try to fill the short 10-minute breaks in your day with good literature. There are a lot of things worthy of reading that don't require a ton of time. See Brian Doyle, for example."

Mary Johnson
Mary Johnson: "Use this time to grow spiritually as well as academically."

Annie Kathleen Miller
Annie Kathleen Miller: "Pray more, complain less, remember God and seek truth."

James Robinson
James Robinson: "Study read and listen with an open mind! Be open!"

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Majors Present Papers at CAS Symposium

Mackenzie Lake at the podium
Religion Majors Mackenzie Lake and James Robinson both presented papers at the Undergraduate Research and Creativity Activity Symposium at Ashland University on April 10.

Mackenzie Lake’s paper “The Protestant Church Under a Socialist Regime,”  came from research conducted in Germany as part of a study abroad program. James Robinson conducted his research a little closer to home for his paper “The Role of the Church in a Segregated Society: A Case Study of Shelby, Ohio.” 

Both Mackenzie and James's research was for their major theses.

James Robinson with his thesis advisor Dr. Slade 

Monday, April 1, 2013

Fall 2013 - Religion Classes

Choosing courses in Religion for you minor, major, or general improvement and education?

Check out what's on offer in the Fall:

REL 208 Exploring Christian Theology (10:50-12:05 TTh) Dr. Hovey
An introduction to central doctrines of the Christian faith that is both respectful of classic
theological traditions and open to the new voices and emphases of recent theologies. A required course for religion majors and one of the best ways for religion minors to fulfill their Christian thought requirement.

REL 230 History of Early Christianity (11-11:50 MWF) Dr. Aune
Focuses on selected literature and historical events in the development of Christianity from the 2nd to the 5th century. One central question will guide our inquiry: how did orthodox Christianity overcome various challenges to become the dominant religious tradition in the West? Meets Core credit for Historical Reasoning.

REL 301A Foundations for Biblical Study: NT Greek (1:40TTh) Dr. Walther
In this course you will be provided with an exposure to New Testament Greek so as understand and apply basic translation skills with the help of dictionaries and other lexical aids. Highly recommended for those in the pre-seminary program but valuable for anyone wanting to do serious Biblical studies in the original language.

REL 307 World Religious Traditions East and West (3:05-4:20 TTh Dr. Aune)
An advanced inquiry into selected topics within Judaism, Islam, Hinduism and Buddhism with a special focus on primary texts such as the Mishnah, Qur’an, Bhagavad Gita, Ramayana and selected Buddhist Scriptures. The theme for this fall will be peace and justice issues.

REL 311 Youth Ministry (12:15-1:30 TTh) Dr. Swope
A study of contemporary U.S. American youth and youth culture as they relate to the church and to para-church organizations. Students will be exposed to youth programs, leadership styles and organizational designs. Emphasis is on the practical aspects of planning, administration and implementing of youth ministries within and related to the church.

REL 341 World Christianity, Culture and Mission (3:00-4:15 MW) Dr. Dickson
Explore the emerging field of World Christianity through the lens of Christian mission and culture theory. How do Christians in the two-thirds world understand and contextualize their faith? How has traditional western mission shaped them? How have post-colonial contexts challenged them? Experience cross-cultural phenomena. This is a GPS course.

Thursday, March 7, 2013

From Jim Crow to Black Power

Rev Harold Walker, a retired Presbyterian minister,  shared stories and insights from his life in ministry with students in REL 340 Religion and Civil Rights.

Dr. Slade conducted an oral history with Walker as part of the class. "Rev Walker has such a wealth experience and wisdom," Slade said. "He shared with us stories that shone a light on what it meant to grow up in the South before the civil rights movement and desegregation. He also experienced the racism and injustice in the urban North and had remarkable tales of working with violent gangs in Chicago."

Born in Birmingham, AL, in 1929, Walker served as an assistant minister in Starkville MS from 1949-51. He then moved to Chicago where he worked as a campus minister at the University of Chicago and at First Presbyterian Church where he was involved in the founding of The Woodlawn Organization .

Students taking REL340 conduct their own oral history interviews as part of the class.