No higher vocation
Teaching a life-giving theology
Theology is vital for our faith, but it is often seen to have little relevance for everyday life. Thomas Groome is Professor of Theology and Religious Education at Boston College. His most recent book is Educating for Life. Here he suggests how teaching theology might be more effective if it moved from a 'lecture delivering by experts' paradigm to 'an inclusive community of conversation'.
Good nuns laughing
'And you shall teach them to your children...'
Rabbi Sybil Sheridan
'Teaching is not to be left to the experts but is an obligation on every person' writes Sybil Sheridan, Rabbi of the Thames Valley Progressive Jewish Community, a writer and lecturer at the Leo Baeck College, London. Here she describes the central role teaching and learning have always had in Judaism.
Jesus as teacher
John O'Neill, emeritus professor of New Testament at Edinburgh University and a Church of Scotland minister, examines the way Jesus taught and takes a controversial view on whether Jesus taught anything new. 'Jesus as teacher can help us to be better teachers of course; but mainly to be better disciples.'
The joy of study
Margaret Atkins, columnist for the Independent, and lecturer in theology at Trinity and All Saints College, Leeds, takes a critical look at our education policy. She argues for an approach to teaching which is based on the intrinsic joy of study and not on 'competitive, and sometimes punitive, strategies of funding and control'.
The philosophy the Pope teaches
Fergus Kerr OP
What is the relationship between faith and reason? Fergus Kerr, Regent at Blackfriars, Oxford, and author of Theology after Wittgenstein, shows how the Pope answers this question in his recent encyclical Fides et ratio. He notes the importance which is given to the teaching of philosophy. It is 'fundamental and indispensable to the structure of theological studies and to the formation of candidates for the priesthood'.
How can we hand on the faith?
We need help to share our faith with others. The Church has given us such help in the inspiring General Directory for Catechesis. Anne White is secretary to the Committee for Catechesis and Adult Christian Education of the Bishops' Conference of England and Wales. She draws on her experience of working with the Directory and especially on how people are responding to it to guide us through it. She begins by reflecting on its place among other recent church documents.
The 'wisdom' of Catholic education
Mary Jo Martin RSHM
Mary Jo Martin is Director of Religious Education at St Mary's Strawberry Hill College, Twickenham. Here she investigates what is the distinctive quality of Catholic religious education: 'this wisdom that we wish to share with our children and young people when we choose to educate them in a Catholic school'.
Towards a more humane education
Maru Vigo is the US Chairman for 'Alternativapara la liberacion animal', a Spanish based animal rights group. Born in Peru, she teachers modern languages in Tucson, Arizona. Here she shows that the recent spate of 'schoolyard killings' in the USA is linked to a background of abusing animals, and that the education system, far from providing the antidote, actually encourages a culture of violence.
Preaching and teaching the Word
Fr Peter Cornwell, formerly chaplain at Prior Park College, Bath, offers some reflections on the lectionary readings for the Sundays of September and October.
Organising Taizé evening prayer
Judy Gibbons leads the music and the choir in the parish of St John Vianney, Wantage, in the diocese of Portsmouth. Here she offers suggestions, based on her experience, for holding evening prayer in the style of Taizé, the ecumenical monastic centre in south-west France which attracts thousands of young pilgrims each year.
Postscript:People need priests
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