Faith Integration Project: Week 1

I’m planning to write a memoir about this upcoming school year and my struggles and successes in integrating faith into my teaching and scholarship.


For this past week, I’ve kept an audio diary on the way to and from school which has only been practically good in helping me remember what went on this week but also conceptually good in that I’ve discovered insights as I’ve talked through what I’ve done and what I’ve thought about that day.

My overall action-steps as I work toward this goal include:

1. Daily note taking on that day’s audio diary. I had three hours of audio from this week. I can’t listen to all of that in one shot, especially if I then want to…

2. Write a weekly essay (due Friday or Saturday) that attempts to sum up what I’ve read and learned that week

In the absence of a coherent essay, I’m going to hand out my faith-integration superlatives after the jump…

Most Beneficial Resource That Has Nothing to Do With Faith-Integration on the Surface: 

A conversation between Jon Stewart and Chris Wallace

Stewart tries to clarify the fact that he’s a comedian FIRST whose comedy is informed by his ideology rather than being an ACTIVIST whose comedy is primarily in the service of his ideology. A provocative case study in what we might call political integration, no?

Most Beneficial Resource That Actually Dealt with Faith Integration:

Two Susan Felch essays from Calvin College

Felch is able to articulate clearly and concisely how faith can influence scholarship (particularly in our approach to language) and teaching (particularly in the way we nurture the faith of our students).

Three Most Compelling New Practices I’ll Try to Implement For Myself This Semester:

A. Ten minutes of private prayer/meditation in my office before class starts

This comes from the personal experience this summer of really praying and seeking God before I go to lunch or have a conversation with someone. It changes my entire attitude before I even show up.

B. Slideshows as primers in the moments between when I arrive in the classroom and when class actually starts

This came from the MAC lessons we had this week as part of the new technology task force.

C. The use of my daily recitation as a better “hook” for students

The book Teach Like a Champion by Doug Lemov says that hooks should feature stories, analogies, media, status, and challenges. I like starting off my class with us reading together, but I need to do a better job of having that first quotation hook my students on the rest of the day’s lesson

Three Most Compelling Memories I Had This Week:

A. My effort during my first semester to write my own response to every essay prompt

B. My teaching-related dreams from this summer

C. My freshman year as an English major and hearing a Christian student I knew recite EE Cummings’s “I Sing of Olaf” that features some salty language and his attempt to explain that by using Paul’s reference to dung in Philippians 3.

Three Biggest Theoretical Issues Surrounding Faith-Integration That I Thought About:

A. What are the pitfalls of trying to integrate faith and literature? This line of thought was occasioned by my reading about the Derridean supplement which I talk more about here.

B. Is there a difference between the kind of teaching I do in Sunday School and the kind of teaching I do at CSU? The obvious answer is yes, but should the foundation be the same or different?

C. In what ways can the new technology I’ve acquired help me to love God and others more effectively (which is based on my other question: is there a basic set of philosophical commitments I should have regarding technology)?

Faith Integration Project: Week 1

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