Theology unit…

As many of you know I’m soon leaving for Baltimore, MD to student teach at Baltimore Lutheran School. At this point it looks like I will be teaching World History, American Law, and senior religion (possibly freshman religion… I’ll find out when I get there).

As part of my student teaching 1 experience we are required to write a theology unit plan. I really put this off because I wanted to base it on what I would be teaching in Baltimore… however… it has come to the point where I must just go ahead and do it… whether or not it applies to ST II. Here is the plan. I’m writing the unit for a comparative religion course. Ideally, the course would spend one week on another religion, the next week on another Christian denomination, then another religion, and repeat. I’m the kind of person that enjoys structure. I’ve also noticed that without structure a theology class can get… well… spastic. I struggled with how to make a comparative religion course structured, thoughtful, and relevant. Here is what I’ve come up with. I will give credit where credit is due. I found this at Beggers All. Basically the idea of the Gottesdienst program is using the liturgy for the basis of instruction. For example, the first lesson discusses who God is based on the opening words of the liturgy, “In the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost.”

My plan for my comparative religion course is to use the liturgy and the small catechism to serve as the basis of discussing other religions and Christian denominations. For example, in the lesson plans, confession and absolution in the liturgy could be used to discuss another religion or denomination’s view on sin, forgiveness, and even clergy/religious leaders. Another example, would be using the Apostle’s or Nicene Creed to discuss another group’s use of the Creeds or the religion’s doctrinal statement. In the same way Luther’s Small Catechism could be used as a basis for instruction. When the Lord’s Prayer comes up in a lesson that could be the stepping point for a discussion on how do they view prayer, God’s response to his people, etc. When Holy Baptism comes up this could be the starting point for discussing salvation, the means of grace, and specifically if there are sacraments observed.

I see many benefits in a program centered around the liturgy or the small catechism. For one, both would keep the students constantly in the Word because both are based completely on Holy Scripture. Another is that it serves as a further use of the liturgy and the Catechism in the lives of young people. They will see it not something that is just “done” in church on Sunday or memorized, but things that can be wonderful and useful parts of their lives. Finally, both the liturgy and the Catechism constantly point to Jesus. Without that structure, it is far to easy to lose focus. Any discussion of theology, especially discussing differences in religion and denominations has to have Jesus at the center.

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