I have 20 years of teaching experience with undergraduates and other adult learners and I have taught in a wide variety of settings including: a small private college, a seminary, two public universities, a military base, and several community and church venues. Below are two examples of classes I have recently created and taught:
GLOBAL CHALLENGES TO DEMOCRATIC AND PLURALISTIC SOCIETIES (Temple University Osher Life-Long Learning Institute)
Many democratic societies are facing the rise of popular movements that are drawn to political leaders who eschew democratic norms and foster mistrust in the value of pluralism. Why does religion so often a play a role in defining and debating notions of national identity and belonging? What are the factors that give rise to authoritarian politics? This six-week course will trace the rise of Christian nationalism in the U.S. and other religious nationalisms around the world and explore pathways to foster the health of diverse democracies.
Religion in Philadelphia (Temple University)
The argument is sometimes made that religion in dense urban spaces is characteristically very different from religion as it appears elsewhere. A study of religion in Philadelphia provides numerous ways to explore that idea, especially since the city encompasses a variety of ethnic and immigrant groups, encouraging the generation of new and hybrid forms of religious life that are less possible in smaller populations. Learn how ideas of toleration and freedom, the urban environment, and immigration helped to define the role of religion in the life of this city. Study various religious traditions as they are manifested in the greater Philadelphia area and look at the influences that religion has had on the fabric of Philadelphia’s history and cultural life including politics, art, education, journalism, and popular culture. You will visit and write about various religious sites and institutions.
Honors Seminar: Religion in American Culture (Honors College: Rutgers University-Camden)
This discussion-based seminar explores the various ways that religion has shaped and been shaped by American experiences from the pre-contact and colonial periods to the present. Using a variety of interdisciplinary sources, the course will interrogate the relationship between religion and several dimensions of culture in the United States, including economics (i.e. social and prosperity gospels), race (i.e. slavery and civil rights), politics (i.e. civil religion and the Constitution ), sexuality (i.e. marriage definitions and gender norms), U.S. foreign relations (i.e. missionary movements and military interventions), science (i.e. Creationism and technology), and violence (i.e. nativist riots and criminal justice system). The methodology of this course considers religion in both popular and institutional forms, tracing their beliefs, practices, rituals, embodiments and demarcations of sacred space and time. Students will read several articles and books, write a series of short papers, and deliver an in-class presentation.
- Baker, Kelly J. The Zombies are Coming! The Realities of the Zombie Apocalypse in American Culture. Bondfire Books, 2013.
- Blum, Edward J. and Paul Harvey. The Color of Christ: The Son of God and the Saga of Race in America. University of North Carolina Press, 2012.
- Selections from: Catherine A. Brekus, ed. The Religious History of American Women: Reimaging the Past. University of North Carolina Press, 2007.
- Krueger, David. A Holy Mission to Minnesota: Viking Martyrs, Civil Religion and the Birthplace of America. [Manuscript draft.]
- Moreton, Bethany. To Serve God and Wal-Mart: The Making of Christian Free-Enterprise. Harvard University Press, 2010.
- Selections from: Pahl, Jon. Empire of Sacrifice: The Religious Origins of American Violence. New York University Press, 2010.
- Weiner, Isaac. Religion Out Loud: Religious Sound, Public Space and American Pluralism. New York University Press, 2013.
World Religions in Philadelphia (Palmer Theological Seminary)
A familiarity with non-Christian religions is critically important for those engaged in Christian ministry. This course will introduce students to the historical origins, social structures, beliefs, practices, and cultural developments of Islam, Buddhism, Judaism and Afro-Caribbean religions. The course will focus attention on the self-understanding of the various religious communities as expressed in their sacred texts, worldviews, and their ritual and ethical practices. The course pays particular attention to how world religious traditions have adapted to the American, and specifically, Philadelphian, cultural context. Toward this end, students will participate in field trips to select religious sites in the city. Although the course is primarily descriptive in its approach to non-Christian traditions, students will develop a theological framework to engage with religious diversity. They will also gain practical skills to relate to persons of differing faiths and collaborate with them on community projects.