August 24, 2008


Class Calendar - Please check each week; subject to change.

August 27 - Week 1 - Introduction -- view and discuss The Still Small Voice. What is “spirituality"? Class expectations, ground rules, etc.

Sep 3 - Week 2 - Martin Buber I and Thou intro, pp. 20-48 (optional, but helpful) and Web assignment (required). Read ahead a bit in the Buber text if you can!

Sep 10 - Week 3 - I and Thou, pp. 49-122.

Sep 17 - Week 4 - I and Thou, pp. 123-182.

Sep 24 - Week 5 - Read through chapter 4 (p. 66) of The Sacred Pipe; Web assignment.

Oct 1 - Week 6 - Complete The Sacred Pipe.

Oct 8 - Week 7 - handouts/Web assignments on psychological theories and models related to mysticism (William James, C. G. Jung, Marion Woodman, others).

Oct 15 - Week 8 - Being Peace, through chapter 3. Also “I Do Not Rehearse My Anger: The Teachings of Sister Chan Khong", from The Bond Between Women, by China Galland. Begin reading spiritual classic. Turn in journal pages Week 8 through this reading.

Oct 22 - Week 9 - Being Peace, to end of book. Continue reading spiritual classic. Comparison of approaches of Thich Nhat Hanh and Sister Chan Khong. Meditation experience in class. Check in with group for spiritual classic project.

Oct 29 - Week 10 - Continue reading spiritual classic. Also excerpts from Religious Experience and Journal of Mrs. Jarena Lee, an African-American preacher in the early 19th Century. Paper #1 (Spiritual Autobiography) due. Choose books for Paper #2.

Nov 5 - Week 11 - Finish reading spiritual classic by beginning of class; prepare for group presentations in class. Discussion of Christian spirituality in early centuries of the Christian era. Video: Sr. Wendy interview with Bill Moyers.

Nov 12 - Week 12 - DO GROUP PRESENTATIONS IN CLASS. Begin reading for Paper #2; preview Sallie McFague’s book.

Nov 19 - Week 13 - McFague Chapters Intro through chapter 3 (read these chapters completely using reading notes supplied on Web)

Nov 26 – THANKSGIVING - use the break to read McFague and your selection for the final project.

Dec 3 – Week 14 - McFague to end of book (selected sections). Hand in completed reading journal – include reflection on McFague and spiritual classic.

Dec 10 - Week 15 - Paper presentations due in class; E-mail instructor 1-page summary/review of book for class distribution via Web site prior to class time; Hand in printed copy of Paper #2 in class.

Weekly Reading Journal Assignment

The Spiritual Journey – Reading/Discussion Journal Assignment

The purpose of keeping a journal is to help you reflect personally on the concepts and issues we will be reading about and discussing in class. It will require between 30-60 minutes each week. I will collect your journal pages twice as indicated on the syllabus; the second time, hand in the entire journal. Full credit (100 points possible) will be given for journals where you have clearly done the required amount of time writing each week and have responded thoughtfully to the questions; partial credit will be awarded where you have skipped weeks or have clearly failed to spend enough time writing, or have failed to respond thoughtfully to the questions. There are no "right" or "wrong" answers - just answers that show engagement with the reading or lack of engagement with the reading.

Here are some quotes to help you envision what the journal is all about:
• "A. . . journal can be a documentary of. . . . academic. . . . growth, a record of evolving insight as well as a tool used to gain insight."
• ". . . . journals exist somewhere on a continuum between diaries and class notebooks: whereas diaries are records of personal thought and experience, class notebooks are records of other people's facts and ideas. Like a diary, the journal is written in the first person (that is "I. . . ."); like the class notebook, the journal focuses on academic subjects the writer would like to learn more about." Fulwiler's Journals Across the Disciplines

Keeping a journal is intended to help you:
- reflect on, clarify, question, and respond to class readings and discussions
- understand these concepts and issues in light of your own life experience
- raise general questions about spirituality which might add to our classroom discussion.

How to Begin

1. Get a notebook, preferably a three-ring binder. I prefer loose leaf paper or typewritten pages, as it makes handing in your pages easier (and you keep the notebook for further writing). You can also use the binder to organize your class materials. This way, you can also remove or clip together pages that you don't choose to share with me. Please date your entries. Typewritten journals are fine, but the journal can be handwritten too. But please leave ample space in the margins for my comments, as I see the journal as a dialogue between you and me.

2. At least twice each week, spend at least 15 minutes writing in your journal (so, 30-60 minutes per week total). You may write about your reactions to concepts and issues we discussed in class, to the videotapes presented in class, or to class readings or assignments, but don’t use the journal as a place to do reading notes or respond to reading/study questions. (You may want to keep a separate place in your notebook for reading notes.) For the journal assignment, you should put aside the texts and write your personal response to the reading. You may also wish to reflect on events happening in your life or in the public realm that connect to class discussion and readings. However, this is not a diary about your personal life as such.

3. Your comments can be connected to your own experience, but they should relate to things we are working on in the class. The primary focus should be on the course reading, and responding to the reading response questions.

4. Please write legibly and clearly. I won't be evaluating your mechanics of your writing in the journal (though these will be more important in your final project), but clear writing does communicate your thoughts better than garbled or "stream of consciousness" writing.

5. Please conform to the rules governing good usage of quoted material. Don't write down information from a text without using quotes and giving a page number. If you are paraphrasing ideas from the text, you need to mention this informally (as in, "Buber describes. . . . , Black Elk suggests that. . . .), rather than having it be ambiguous as to whether this is your thought or a thought from the reading. (In a more formal paper, you would need to add a footnote for paraphrases as well.) Even though this is not formal research paper writing, please note that if any of the language, even partial sentences, come directly from a text or internet site, this language must be in quotations and cited appropriately. Be sure that you give yourself enough time to do the reading journal, so that you are not tempted to cut corners with your writing. Again, 30-60 minutes of writing each week should be sufficient to do well with this assignment.

If you are struggling with how to do this sort of writing, I encourage you to visit the Metro Writing Center:

Class Groundrules

The Spiritual Journey
Suggested Ground Rules for Discussion

(Ground Rules suggested by prior students in Religious Studies classes)

• Respect others' opinions; exercise toleration.

• No anger or malice if disagreeing.

• Learn peoples' names.

• Use non-judgmental language.

• Don't take things personally.

• Respond and let them know if someone unintentionally offends you.

• Choose humor when possible (laugh with each other, not at anyone).

• Use memories as well as intellect.

• Don’t proselytize.

• Make sure you leave space in the discussion for everyone to contribute.

(Instructor-Generated Ground Rules)

• Attend class and participate if at all possible -- contact instructor promptly when absent, and review missed lecture information with a fellow student.

• Be prepared (with reading completed, journal up to date, discussion prepared for).

• Use active listening skills (be receptive and open, rather than thinking of response when listening.

• Respect differences.

• Ground our positions in "I" statements.

• Respect everyone's need for confidentiality.