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Teaching Justice Theology

Education is the process of learning and knowledge, a company that is not limited to our schools, curricula and textbooks. Rather, it is a holistic process that continues throughout our lives. Even everyday, regular events and events around us are instructive in one way or another. It would not be an exaggeration to say that our lives would stagnate without education, even hollow. There would be no change, no milestones would be reached. We would float in the same place without meaning. In this way, we organize the dissemination of knowledge not only to give meaning to others, but to ourselves. If we raise a person, we can change a world; Raising a person passes on the meaning from one person to the next; Raising a person changes the world.

Teachers have such power. We teachers and professors should find immense importance in our work – especially if the role has recently been reconstructed into something radically new. We have to challenge ourselves to find inspiration again at a time when teaching and education have been fully digitized in subdued chat rooms and emails, forcing the traditional to become innovative and the personal to be impersonal. At this moment when the comfort and familiarity of normal life has been interrupted and slowly resumed, we are considering how we can take advantage of the sudden changes that were brought about during the pandemic.

The fierce discussions about races in America remain at the forefront of our concerns. It is time that attention to the racial and economic divide during the crisis turned this ubiquitous national problem into an urgent and revolutionary world protest as Covid 19 cases and deaths targeted black and brown communities. It reminds the professors that we cannot forget to tackle basic struggles and to inform others that there is such a struggle at all. We need to teach our students to be actively anti-racist and also to understand how racism overlaps with other forms of prejudice to create stronger forms of discrimination. Whether gender, body type, economic status or sexual orientation, we have to remind ourselves and our students that no topic stands alone, but converges with others.

Susan Shaw and I wrote a book together Intersectional theology The point here is that there are no problems with one axis, but problems with several axes. Our identities are not dimensional, but multidimensional; We understand each other through the very personal experience of our gender, our sexuality, ethnicity, our ability, our class etc. The identity of a person is the convergence of multi-axis identities. These identities shape us all and define who we are. But these identities are also points of justice, since racism, patriarchy and homophobia are embedded in the structure of our society. In intersectional theology, we recognize that social justice must be created.

We also want our teaching to be meaningful, to address social problems and to promote justice. How can we do that?

The books we have to work for so that students can read must be racial and gender specific. They have to be written by a variety of writers and cover a variety of perspectives and topics. The history of theology is mainly written by men. It is crucial that we listen to voices other than white men in order to gain a deeper and broader theological understanding. For educational reasons, we therefore urgently need to ask students not to read white books[1]. We can strategically include them in our curriculum, involve authors of colors whose work touches justice, and also select them for their tasks. Projects in and out of class can also include elements of social justice. I know that service learning is part of the curriculum in some seminars and universities. In these schools, part of the judicial work is included in the courses throughout the course. At the beginning of our school days we have to volunteer or take part in service learning. However, this idea of ​​judicial work should also be supported by professors in later training in order to adapt the work for students who are studying for their bachelor, master or higher. Whoever the student or professor, regardless of format, environment or institution, informs and encourages students to promote justice should be identified as one of the highest priorities in our teaching.

In the future, we can use social media as an important tool for the exchange of information and ideas. We can encourage students to blog (for their seminary, church, or denominational blog page), share, or write posts about social justice. Social activism on the Internet can be a strong source of information exchange, encouragement and engagement. Political petitions are shared online, protests are shared, and organizations that do the work can also be shared. These elements can be integrated into the course content and tasks.

Another powerful tool is the media: movies, videos, music, etc., used in class can lead to more poignant, dynamic tactics to promote social justice. I have used films like “Sophie’s Choice”, “God on Trial” and “The Mission” to draw attention to social injustices such as anti-Semitism, slavery and colonialism and to make progress.

As we continue to teach during a pandemic, we can use all of the tools available online to express our plight, our activism and our hopes for the uncertain future. We can be motivated by the challenges of virtual learning and develop new ways to promote community engagement remotely. Community building and church building can be done online as COVID-19 continues to expand and grow in the United States. The professor has essential power not only in the classroom, but also for the next generation. If the professor can also illustrate what he teaches in his own life, this will have a greater impact on teaching. Practicing what you preach can also be used to practice what you teach. Lessons should be meaningful and substantive – but above all, they should be transformative. Leave yourself open to the calm and great changes in everyday life. those who change your consciousness and provide an experience from which you can learn and share. In this way, as professors and learners, we can continuously provide wisdom to promote justice and call for change.

[1]Some examples of books you should read and include in your curriculum:

De La Torre, Miguel, White privilege buried, (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 2018)

Kegel, James, The cross and the lynch tree, (Maryknoll: Orbis Books, 2011)

Kim, Grace Ji-Sun, Hug the other (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 2015)

Cities, Emilie, Troubling in my soul, (Maryknoll, Orbis Books, 2015)

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