A friend of mine was dismayed when
Sunday school teachers at her church proposed a new Sunday school
schedule for fall: classes held weekly except for the third Sunday of
each month, when there would be no structured Sunday school classes.
The teachers and their kids would take a break from the 9 o’clock hour
Sunday school responsibilities and the Sun.
In the fall of 1998 Candler School of Theology made a serious wager concerning its future: it launched a comprehensive new program in contextual education. The faculty hopes this program can provide the means of integrating theological learning and practice—something every seminary teacher knows is largely lacking.
"I want my seminary experience to form me as a person of prayer.” We had never heard a student state this desire so eloquently and succinctly. We sensed in this comment something much more than a first-year student’s desire for greater piety in the school environment. This student had done extremely well at a college with a strong undergraduate program.
For much of this century, the waning influence of religion in American colleges and universities was viewed as a natural concomitant of modernization, and it was generally seen as a necessary or even a good thing.
It’s official: our entire household is obsessed with outer space. Our children have a solar system hanging over their beds, our upstairs hallway is graced by images of the Milky Way, and when nighttime falls, glow-in-the-dark planets sing an eventide song of praise to the God who made them all and yet is mindful of one little family staring up in wonder.
Fresh out of graduate school, in my first faculty appointment as a professor of English, I was invited to teach an undergraduate course on “The Bible as Literature.” I’ve never stopped teaching it. For over three decades I have had the privilege of guiding students in the encounter of the biblical texts.