#4: Important social issues: How is the Christian church is handling them?

Caroline Kimble

6 Responses to “#4: Important social issues: How is the Christian church is handling them?

  • Lillian Reeves
    7 years ago

    Hi Caroline,
    First, I appreciate your response to my comment from last week. Like you, I think college and high school classes give us a chance to think deeply and critically about topics or issues that may make us somewhat uncomfortable. I think the discomfort topics — like social issues and the church — cause can be a real opportunity to motivate us to do some research about what really gets us fired up and why. This can lead us to even deeper thinking and questioning, and may give us a chance to dialog with others about how to address the issue that we are concerned about. I especially loved that Return to Sender shows kids being activists for each other and for themselves.

    I’m so glad also to hear that you love Julia Alvarez and I’m even more excited that you are reading In the Time of the Butterflies in Spanish! Even slowly that is incredibly awesome. I love that your reading of Alvarez’s work ignited your interest in immigrants in VT — and beyond. She certainly has the ability to set fires in our hearts and to provoke us to take action!

    Your mind map intrigues me for a number of reasons. First, I really like that the images/shapes in the mind map are soft and inviting even though this is a somewhat controversial topic. The largest shapes seem like big rain drops or flower petals or bubbles and definitely invites dialog. The smaller squiggly shapes around some of the words seem to indicate some conflict but again, the tone of your image (can images have tone?) remains even and inviting.

    I really like that you place religion and social issues at the center of the mind map. I also really like that you have an area for The Church and an area for my church. This brings up a lot of questions. From the image, it seems like your church is small and welcoming and a place that practices religion that is open and accepting? I was thinking from some of your earlier posts that your church may not have been as open? But from your image, it looks like your church is open and accepting, the way I understand that you’d like church experiences to be, but that The Church, kind of this overall image of Christian religious practices in the US, are more conservative (either in appearance or in practice)? Do I understand correctly?

    And then the additional features of the map are big issues that your little church and The Church may deal with differently?

    Is there any one of those issues that you’d particularly like to focus on? It looks like the LGBTQ is the largest of all the terms on the mind map though your environment term had the most smaller terms around it.

    I’m trying to think about how you might be able to collect local data — within your church and out of it — about how different denominations and faiths are talking about these big issues? I’m a researcher, a social scientist, so when I want to study a phenomenon or something that is happening in schools or communities, I generally start by identifying who I want to hear from and then I might send out some surveys or try to gather survey data so I can see how how the groups respond to my questions. And then if I see something really excites me or puzzles me, I choose that group to interview and collect more information on.

    Have you thought about how you might gather your information about these complex and generative topics you’ve identified? I’m so excited just thinking about what you might discover.

    • caroline
      7 years ago

      Hi Lillian,
      I’m so sorry, I left a really long reply but for some reason I can’t seem to find it any more…Did you receive it or did I somehow not send it? If you didn’t get it here are the main points I highlighted:

      You interpreted my map correctly, I feel like my church is handling social rights issues in different ways than other more conservative christians
      I’m actually pursuing a different topic because I have a very strong opinion on this topic (I believe it’s a church’s job to love people above other things) and I know I wouldn’t be able to fairly represent the churches I disagree (I don’t want to demonize anyone because even if I don’t believe the same things they do, I know that belief is important and private and I feel like I would betray their trust by portraying their opinions in light of my own beliefs)
      I found a topic just as interesting and important, which you will read about when you have the chance to look at my next post
      I’m super excited you’re a social scientist because your opinion and methods of going about research will be super valuable in the upcoming year!
      Thank you for your helpful response, and I look forward to hearing your thoughtful opinion on my next post!!!

  • Love all the continued thinking you are doing within this graphic. I really didn’t want to respond with words, but with flags; so I googled images of the rainbow flag, the Black Lives Matter flag, a photo containing a minister in front of his church covered with banners and flags representing and welcoming unity and diversity, as well as flags that bear images of our one earth.

    I don’t think comment boxes accept images, at least I couldn’t figure that out, but if you could picture them in your mind, picture them waving at your church, at all the churches and temples and synagogues and every place of worship, how might that influence what was shouted out from the pulpit, within the aisles, during the service? What change might that awareness enact?

  • Hi Caroline,
    You had a very thoughtful mind map, from what I can see of it, so it would be great if you posted the whole map, if this is not it. I wondered what you meant by the central idea, and how you connected them as the same topic. That might have made more sense if you had created more connections, especially in between topics. Anyway, I like how you had lots of descriptions of each of the separate topics. It would be great if you could explain your map a little more.
    Thanks a lot!

    • caroline
      7 years ago

      If you get this my comments aren’t going through- do you have an email address I can send to? If you don’t get this I’ll go talk to Mr. O’Leary

  • Hi Caroline,
    I’m glad your going with the church/religion topic. You’ve got some really great ideas! You stated a lot about the issues, but what are your beliefs? What do you think should change and how do you think you are going to accomplish that? Just some ideas to keep in mind as we continue the process. You might even have answered them in the next blog post and I just haven’t gotten there yet!

    Keep up the good work,

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