Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Defining and mapping words

To over-simplify, seminary education is really about two things: defining vocabulary and mapping the connections between the word/concepts. Theology, in the above diagram, for instance, sits "atop" many related areas of inquiry.
How we understand God (theology) affects how we understand human beings and cultures (anthropology). It affects how we understand the church (ecclesiology), christology, eschatology, etc.
"Theology" could also be divided into different sorts/branches/approaches: systematic, contextual, and biblical . . . It is important to understand the distinctions, the similarities, and how they relate to each other.

Every seminary academic discipline is chock-full of words and concepts to be defined and mapped: biblical studies, pastoral care, missiology, church history, christian formation, etc.
Your reading, writing, listening and speaking is constantly helping you to define, create and refine your "maps." The more sophisticated your maps become, the smoother your "navigation." Bon voyage!

Monday, August 26, 2013

What is a good title for this photo???

a. Along for the ride
b. This is the life!
c. I wish they would let me think outside the box
d. other

Welcome to the Fall Semester! I invite you to check out the resources on this blog: posts, links, books, etc. All the best, Kris

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Open-ended Writing Assignments

Some seminary writing assignments are extremely specific. They clearly describe the content and structure of the piece, like this:

"I believe in God, the Father Almighty, Maker of heaven and earth." (BCP) Write 750 words, discussing  the significance of each key word in the above statement (the first article of the Apostle's Creed). Use your textbook and class lectures as resources.

Other assignments give you the freedom (and the burden) of creating your own structure and argument. For instance:

Write 750 words, answering the following question: "Why Justice?"
This is a big question . . . it is important that your answer reflect the class content AND that it make a clear and logical case. You must do several things in order to fulfill the task at hand.
  • Try to ascertain the professor's intent, in light of course reading, lectures and discussion.
  • Create a structure that makes an argument, perhaps first defining justice, and then giving reasons for its practice.
  • Rank your reasons from weakest to strongest, being sure to weed those that are unnecessary. Start with the weakest warrant (reason), and build to the strongest.
  • Consider whether there might be arguments against the case you are making.
  • If so, fairly describe those positions, and dispute them in a reasonable way.