Category Archives: For Religious Educators

For religious educators interested in different people’s religious educational experiences and in teaching religion with an evolutionary worldview.

How to Teach Religion Today – With Purim as an Example

photo of poster called Spring Rules!Matt, the Jewish father in an interfaith family with two young girls, shared with me this story:
His mother, the girls’ Jewish grandmother, asked if he would raise the girls Jewish. “Yes,” he said, “but it won’t look like the Jewish I was raised with, or the Jewish you, Mom, were raised with. It will look like the Jewish they will be raised with.”

Now more than ever we need models for teaching religion to today’s youth in ways that lay the foundation for a new form of religious identity in a safe, loving, and just world. And I mean World. Education is no longer a singular ethnic communal concern. Today we must consider how we fit with others on our shared planet. How are we —the grown ups in the room— supposed to do that?

Religious and secular educators need good examples of lessons that work. Continue reading How to Teach Religion Today – With Purim as an Example

World AIDS Day: In My Brother’s Name

December 1st is World AIDS Day. 

This year, Michigan-Unified/HARC sponsored an outstanding musical-theatrical program, thanks to Rev. Joe Summers for organizing and Rev. Deborah Dean-Ware for hosting. It included performances by Gospel Against AIDS, Threshold Choir, The Corner Health Center Theater Troupe, Rev. Roland Stringfellow, and more. I was honored to speak at this event.

In my talk, I remember my brother.

Continue reading World AIDS Day: In My Brother’s Name

photo of Diane with her poster at the REA conference 2016

Seriously — Imaginary Sorrow (Obama) and Real Hope (REA)

What would Obama say as Americans vote today? Watch this! You may find yourself, like me, playing it over and over. The words and their sorrow may be imaginary but they point us towards real hope. More than a captivating and inspiring song, this lamentation challenges our soul as a nation. When the election is over, may we all rise higher.

But how did we sink so low?

To answer that question, let me share a few notes from attending the REA Conference in Pittsburgh where I met Religion Educators from around the world including Belgium, Germany, Austria, England, Spain, Turkey, Nigeria, Canada, Israel, Australia, and the United States. Continue reading Seriously — Imaginary Sorrow (Obama) and Real Hope (REA)

Global Citizenship

I am a world citizen logoA BBC 2016 poll found that more people identify as “global” rather than “national” citizens. I believe this phenomena is  evolutionarily appropriate for our times.

What does it mean to identify with 7.4 billion people on the planet? World citizenship is growing, although it is less common in industrialized nations. I could speculate as to why, but I want to focus on the meaning of identifying as a global citizen.

Who is a global citizen?

Continue reading Global Citizenship

If You Meet a Religious Leader on the Road…

bicycle riders over a bridgeIf you meet a religious leader on the road… and they tell you their congregation is shrinking… and youth enrollment is down… and you suggest they include an interfaith perspective in their religious school program, that leader will probably dismiss your suggestion without another thought. At least, this has been my experience. Why do so many clergy resist teaching interfaith perspectives to youth at a time when church/synagogue attendance is at an all-time low with nearly one in three Americans under age 35 identifying as spiritual but not religious? The clergy I have encountered typically give one or all of the following reasons:
Continue reading If You Meet a Religious Leader on the Road…

New Buzzwords Changing Religion: #3 EVOLUTIONARY 

A figure jumps in the air from one wall to another suggesting an evolutionary leap.Evolutionary is the last buzzword in this blog series on concepts with the potential to change how we view and teach religion. In previous posts, we looked at buzzword #1, integral, and buzzword #2, interspiritual. 

Introducing Buzzword #3: Evolutionary

Evolutionary has multiple meanings — it can be understood as an adjective AND as a  noun. It is sometimes used interchangeably with integral and interspiritual.

As an adjective, evolutionary describes our process of development — and I mean not just biologically, but also culturally. Unlike a Darwinian view of evolution that describes biology as being random accidents, I wish to talk about the view that evolution actually has an unmistakeable direction and purpose. In this view of evolution, we are not just becoming a different species. We are becoming a better species. Planetary goodwill is on the rise. And it is not accidental. As a noun, Evolutionary refers to one who actively and consciously participates in the evolution of our consciousness and ultimately, our culture. Continue reading New Buzzwords Changing Religion: #3 EVOLUTIONARY