Special Issue "Reenvisioning Religious Education"

A special issue of Religions (ISSN 2077-1444).

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (15 October 2018)

Special Issue Editor

Guest Editor
Prof. Almeda Wright

Yale Divinity School, 409 Prospect Street, New Haven, CT 06511, USA
Website | E-Mail
Interests: African American religion; adolescent spirituality; religion and education in public life

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

Religious education, as a field and practice, has a long and complex history. For many, religious education conjures up an array of images and questions, often stemming from personal experiences in educational settings, a longing for genuine learning communities, an exploration of religious traditions, and at times anxieties about the future and purpose of religion or religious education for generations to come. In this special edition on Reenvisioning Religious Education, we invite papers that help us wrestle with these ever-changing images and questions.

For example, some areas that papers might explore include:

  • Purpose of religious education scholarship and praxis
  • Challenges facing eeligious education, generally or within a particular context
  • Critical approaches to religious education, such as feminist, womanist, liberation, etc.
  • Interfaith/interreligious religious education
  • Teaching religious practices
  • Religious education and social change, historical and contemporary movements
  • Exemplars of religious education, such as teachers or activists as religious educators
  • Emerging spaces and genres of religious education (Where is religious education thriving? How does technology intersect with religious education? Is informal religious education taking place in new/interesting places?)

The hope is that this conversation will help us envision anew what religious education means for this current generation of practitioners and scholars. In particular, this issue invites the research and perspectives of senior and emerging religious education scholars; reflections from scholar-practioners; and collaborative research projects.

Prof. Almeda Wright
Guest Editor

Manuscript Submission Information

Manuscripts should be submitted online at www.mdpi.com by registering and logging in to this website. Once you are registered, click here to go to the submission form. Manuscripts can be submitted until the deadline. All papers will be peer-reviewed. Accepted papers will be published continuously in the journal (as soon as accepted) and will be listed together on the special issue website. Research articles, review articles as well as short communications are invited. For planned papers, a title and short abstract (about 100 words) can be sent to the Editorial Office for announcement on this website.

Submitted manuscripts should not have been published previously, nor be under consideration for publication elsewhere (except conference proceedings papers). All manuscripts are thoroughly refereed through a double-blind peer-review process. A guide for authors and other relevant information for submission of manuscripts is available on the Instructions for Authors page. Religions is an international peer-reviewed open access monthly journal published by MDPI.

Please visit the Instructions for Authors page before submitting a manuscript. Submitted papers should be well formatted and use good English. Authors may use MDPI's English editing service prior to publication or during author revisions.

Keywords

  • religious education
  • social change
  • interreligious education

Published Papers (10 papers)

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Open AccessArticle The Three Hebrew Boys Revisited: Exploring Border Crossing “Brotha”-Ship in the Journeys of Three Tenured Black Male Seventh-Day Adventist Professors
Religions 2019, 10(3), 142; https://doi.org/10.3390/rel10030142
Received: 23 October 2018 / Revised: 30 January 2019 / Accepted: 18 February 2019 / Published: 26 February 2019
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Abstract
This paper explores the educational journeys of three tenured, Seventh-day Adventist (SDA) professors who serve at public research-intensive universities as professors of education. We discuss how our journeys in and through Adventist education impact our pedagogy and offer insights that can be helpful [...] Read more.
This paper explores the educational journeys of three tenured, Seventh-day Adventist (SDA) professors who serve at public research-intensive universities as professors of education. We discuss how our journeys in and through Adventist education impact our pedagogy and offer insights that can be helpful to other Christian educators, students, and parents who would like to learn how to navigate a path to a career in higher education. The three of us could be described as somewhat of an anomaly in terms of our identities and positionalities as Black male Seventh-day Adventist (SDA) professors in public universities—yet we know that there are many other people from the neighborhoods and churches where we grew up who could be doing similar work but for various reasons did not get access to this opportunity. The goal of this critical trio-ethnographic paper is to offer a counter-narrative on Black male SDA education and possibilities, through our personal reflections and analyses of our educational experiences in SDA education that inform the way we engage our students now as SDA and culturally relevant teachers in public universities. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Reenvisioning Religious Education)
Open AccessArticle Reimagining Religious Education for Young, Black, Christian Women: Womanist Resistance in the Form of Hip-Hop
Religions 2018, 9(12), 409; https://doi.org/10.3390/rel9120409
Received: 26 October 2018 / Revised: 4 December 2018 / Accepted: 7 December 2018 / Published: 11 December 2018
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Abstract
How might the black church and womanist scholarship begin to re-imagine religious education in ways that attends more deliberately to the unique concerns and interests of younger black, Christian women? Throughout the history of the black church, despite being marginalized or silenced within [...] Read more.
How might the black church and womanist scholarship begin to re-imagine religious education in ways that attends more deliberately to the unique concerns and interests of younger black, Christian women? Throughout the history of the black church, despite being marginalized or silenced within their varied denominations, black women have been key components for providing the religious education within their churches. However, today, in many church communities, we are seeing a new, emerging trend whereby young, black, Christian women are opting out of traditional approaches to religious education. They view contemporary church education as insufficient to address their contrasting range of real-life difficulties and obstacles. Instead, these young women have been turning to the work of contemporary black female hip-hop artists as a resource for religious and theological reflection. Drawing from focus groups conducted with young black female seminarians and explored through the lens of womanist theory, I argue this trend is forming a new, legitimate type of religious education where the work of artists such as Beyoncé and Solange are framing an unrecognized womanist, spirituality of resistance for young black women. Both religious educators and womanist scholars need to pay attention to this overlooked, emerging trend. Respectively, I suggest religious education and womanist scholarship would benefit by considering new resources for religious, theological, and pedagogical reflection, one that is emerging out of young black women’s engagement with the art and music of specific black female artists within hip-hop. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Reenvisioning Religious Education)
Open AccessArticle Remembering for our Future: Affirming the Religious Education Tradition as a Guide for the Religious Education Movement
Religions 2018, 9(12), 407; https://doi.org/10.3390/rel9120407
Received: 29 November 2018 / Revised: 29 November 2018 / Accepted: 5 December 2018 / Published: 10 December 2018
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Abstract
This article addresses doubts about the viability, and hence future, of religious education. The researcher utilized structural analysis based on the questions: What central concepts and commitments have provided structure for the field of religious education as it has developed over time? How [...] Read more.
This article addresses doubts about the viability, and hence future, of religious education. The researcher utilized structural analysis based on the questions: What central concepts and commitments have provided structure for the field of religious education as it has developed over time? How have social and cultural factors and changes in social and cultural context shaped the ways the structuring concepts and commitments of religious education have been embraced? To what extent can an understanding of the structuring concepts and commitments of the field enable us to make sense of the contemporary doubts about religious education? Additionally, the methodology of field mapping was used to map the models and approaches to religious education that have developed over time. The researcher found, and these findings are presented in this article, that structural analysis informed by field mapping can enable us to understand both the strengths and limitations of contemporary religious education. The researcher concluded that, based on a structural analysis of the field, religious educators can and should respond to the present crisis in religious education by defining the purpose and scope of religious education more clearly. The analysis in the final section of this article is based on that conclusion. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Reenvisioning Religious Education)
Open AccessArticle Authentic Religious Education: A Question of Language?
Religions 2018, 9(12), 403; https://doi.org/10.3390/rel9120403
Received: 12 October 2018 / Revised: 13 November 2018 / Accepted: 5 December 2018 / Published: 6 December 2018
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Abstract
There is much emphasis today on inclusion and diversity in educational systems. As the place of religious belief remains a significant factor in such debates, there is a need for shared understanding of the language and purpose of Religious Education in schools. Given [...] Read more.
There is much emphasis today on inclusion and diversity in educational systems. As the place of religious belief remains a significant factor in such debates, there is a need for shared understanding of the language and purpose of Religious Education in schools. Given the substantial international footprint of Catholic schools, the conceptual framework of Religious Education in Catholic schools merits serious scrutiny. The Catholic Church’s written teaching on education has a strong focus on the contemporary school as a site of intercultural dialogue. The related teaching on Religious Education in schools, however, remains underdeveloped, with strong voices debating the desirability, or otherwise, of a strong focus on ‘faith formation and practice’ as an outcome of Religious Education. Problematically, terms like ‘Religious Education’ have inconsistent translations in the official documents of the Catholic Church, leading to a plurality of understandings internationally of the ultimate aim of the subject. A presentation of the linguistic inconsistency between English and Italian translations of documents of the Holy See reveals the scale of the challenge. This unsatisfactory arrangement needs reform. Rooted in a close critical study of Catholic teaching on education, the article presents two arguments designed to initiate the reform process: (a) the Catholic Church’s settled teaching on Religious Education must develop greater internal cohesion before it can make a meaningful contribution to intercultural dialogue, and (b) an International Directory of Religious Education, written collegially by qualified lay people and clergy, will build stronger foundations for shared understanding of the aims and scope of Religious Education among key stakeholders in Catholic schools. This shift in direction will harmonise Religious Education expectations in Catholic schools, and offer firmer ground for dialogue with those who manage and teach Religious Education in so-called ‘non-denominational’ schools. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Reenvisioning Religious Education)
Open AccessArticle New Representations of Religion and Belief in Schools
Religions 2018, 9(11), 364; https://doi.org/10.3390/rel9110364
Received: 14 October 2018 / Revised: 6 November 2018 / Accepted: 13 November 2018 / Published: 16 November 2018
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Abstract
Discussions around the future of Religious Education (RE) in England have focused on the need to address the diversity of religion and belief in contemporary society. Issues of the representation of religion and belief in Religious Education are central to the future of [...] Read more.
Discussions around the future of Religious Education (RE) in England have focused on the need to address the diversity of religion and belief in contemporary society. Issues of the representation of religion and belief in Religious Education are central to the future of the subject. This article draws on research into key stakeholders’ views and aspirations for RE to map an alternative representation of religion and belief to that found in existing approaches that universalise, sanitise and privatise religion. The data reveal a thirst for the study of a broader range and a more nuanced understanding of religion and belief. This incorporates a focus on religion and belief as identity as well as tradition, the study of the role of religion in global affairs as well as the controversies and challenges it can pose for individuals and the exploration of religion and belief as fluid and contested categories. What may be described as a contemporaneous and sociological turn, moves beyond the existing binaries of religious/secular, public/private, good/bad, fluid/static that shape much existing representation, towards a representation of the ‘real religion and belief landscape’ in all its complexity. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Reenvisioning Religious Education)
Open AccessArticle Bad Religion as False Religion: An Empirical Study of UK Religious Education Teachers’ Essentialist Religious Discourse
Religions 2018, 9(11), 361; https://doi.org/10.3390/rel9110361
Received: 15 October 2018 / Revised: 12 November 2018 / Accepted: 13 November 2018 / Published: 15 November 2018
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Abstract
We argue that there is a well-intentioned—yet mistaken—definitional turn within contemporary cultural discourse in which ‘true’ religion, being essentially loving and peaceful, is distinguished from ‘false’ religion. Concerned with the possibility that this discourse might be prevalent in school Religious Education (RE), we [...] Read more.
We argue that there is a well-intentioned—yet mistaken—definitional turn within contemporary cultural discourse in which ‘true’ religion, being essentially loving and peaceful, is distinguished from ‘false’ religion. Concerned with the possibility that this discourse might be prevalent in school Religious Education (RE), we surveyed practicing RE teachers within the United Kingdom (UK) on their beliefs about religion. We wanted to see how far the surveyed teachers evidenced a strand of contemporary cultural discourse which, we argue, conceptualizes bad religion as false religion. Responses from 465 teachers to our online survey indicate that many RE teachers understand religion(s) as essentially benign or pro-social—and present it/them as such in the classroom. We argue that RE can only foster religious literacy if religions are presented as multifarious, complex, social phenomena. This cannot be predicated upon an essentialist conceptualization of harmful religion as false religion, which is inimical to understanding religion in the world today—as in times past. We conclude that this conceptualization is a barrier to UK RE meeting both its extrinsic purpose to educate, and one of its intrinsic purposes to foster tolerance and pro-social attitudes. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Reenvisioning Religious Education)
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Open AccessArticle Transformative Pedagogy, Black Theology and Participative forms of Praxis
Religions 2018, 9(10), 317; https://doi.org/10.3390/rel9100317
Received: 13 September 2018 / Revised: 7 October 2018 / Accepted: 16 October 2018 / Published: 18 October 2018
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Abstract
This paper outlines the development of a form of scholarship that seeks to bring together transformative modes of pedagogy that have become commonplace in Christian religious education alongside the liberative themes to be found in Black theology. The paper summarises the significant contributions [...] Read more.
This paper outlines the development of a form of scholarship that seeks to bring together transformative modes of pedagogy that have become commonplace in Christian religious education alongside the liberative themes to be found in Black theology. The paper summarises the significant contributions of Paulo Freire to transformative pedagogy and conscientization as the first stage in this developing work. This formative analysis is then followed by reflections on the significant developments in religious education by and for Black people, principally in the US. In the final part of the paper, I describe my own participative approaches to Black theology by means of transformative pedagogy, which utilises interactive exercises as a means of combining the insights of the aforementioned ideas and themes into a transformative mode of teaching and learning. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Reenvisioning Religious Education)
Open AccessArticle Boundary-Breaking Disposition against Post-Truth: Five Big Questions for Religious Education
Religions 2018, 9(10), 316; https://doi.org/10.3390/rel9100316
Received: 15 September 2018 / Revised: 5 October 2018 / Accepted: 16 October 2018 / Published: 17 October 2018
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Abstract
This paper articulates how religious education can broaden our perspective on post-truth from simply an issue of critical reading to a philosophical challenge involving larger issues such as our sense of self, perception of others, and grounding of justice. Pointing out that the [...] Read more.
This paper articulates how religious education can broaden our perspective on post-truth from simply an issue of critical reading to a philosophical challenge involving larger issues such as our sense of self, perception of others, and grounding of justice. Pointing out that the root cause of post-truth is our parochial, defensive sense of self and community, which premises a boundary-drawing/building mindset, the author suggests the feeling of transcendence as an intellectual, psychological, and spiritual ground to cultivate a counterforce, which is the boundary-breaking disposition. This rationale is developed particularly by the discussion of the Five Big Questions that the author has been using for his Introduction to Religion course: Ultimate Meaning, Transcendence, Personal Identity, Vocation, and Service. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Reenvisioning Religious Education)
Open AccessArticle The Ideal of a Radical Christian Intellectual
Religions 2018, 9(9), 277; https://doi.org/10.3390/rel9090277
Received: 14 July 2018 / Revised: 9 September 2018 / Accepted: 12 September 2018 / Published: 14 September 2018
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Abstract
The life and work of Ignacio Ellacuría, S.J. is of radical vision and revolutionary change. His dynamic life and works accompanied El Salvador and the Universidad Centroamericana through perhaps the most tumultuous years of the country’s history, yet there has been limited work [...] Read more.
The life and work of Ignacio Ellacuría, S.J. is of radical vision and revolutionary change. His dynamic life and works accompanied El Salvador and the Universidad Centroamericana through perhaps the most tumultuous years of the country’s history, yet there has been limited work done to examine his contributions. This paper shows how Ellacuría viewed the role of a Christian intellectual and Christian university within his philosophical and theological framework. I argue that Ignacio Ellacuría held, similarly to his soteriological views, that the intellectual must also be willing to sacrifice all for the sake of her/his work in a pattern of discipleship/martyrdom that is prefigured by his exemplars Christ and Socrates. It was this dedication to praxis and theory that western theology and philosophy had respectfully lost since their foundations, which he sought to restore to a central role. In conclusion, the Christian intellectual and institution, according to Ellacuría, must use its voice and life in service of the people even to the point of martyrdom; he would argue, the implicit reason for Christian martyrdom and the crucifixion of Christ himself. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Reenvisioning Religious Education)

Other

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Open AccessEssay Religious Education beyond Congregational Settings
Religions 2018, 9(11), 348; https://doi.org/10.3390/rel9110348
Received: 16 October 2018 / Revised: 30 October 2018 / Accepted: 3 November 2018 / Published: 7 November 2018
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Abstract
Religious educational literature in the United States often presumes the congregation as the primary context for the work of faith formation. Given the reduction of institutional affiliation and participation in Christian congregations, this assumption makes approaches to religious education requiring an identity-bearing community [...] Read more.
Religious educational literature in the United States often presumes the congregation as the primary context for the work of faith formation. Given the reduction of institutional affiliation and participation in Christian congregations, this assumption makes approaches to religious education requiring an identity-bearing community of affiliation less relevant. Several emerging models of religious education eschew the community provided by formal religious institutions for more provisional, radically contextualized communal approaches to religious education. These approaches spark a different and important imagination for religious education beyond congregations, embedded in provisional communities of solidarity and engagement. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Reenvisioning Religious Education)
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