Who Is Sunday School For? or Is It Time To Bury Sunday School pt. 8

The divine Ms. M strikes again. 🙂 In a very short comment on my last post, the divine said:

 I’ve always wondered why UU adults don’t need to learn anything but newcomer stuff, or things offered at the local community college (film studies, yoga, knitting…)

I’ve wondered that too. So here’s the real question…is religious education only for children/youth? If not, why don’t we put the time/effort/resources into making young adult/adult religious education as big a priority?

Don’t get me wrong…I think there is a place for the community college stuff in church life. It’s called small group ministry. However friends that is NOT…I repeat NOT…religious education. How can one build one’s own theology if all you are ever exposed to is the community college stuff? How can you know where you agree/disagree with the greatest religious minds unless you are exposed to them for a period of time?

This is why worship cannot be the primary place for religious education. The exposure that one gets to some things is too limited to help one develop in certain ways spiritually.

What is the role/place of the community in the development/growth of an adult’s religious exploration?

…more later.

2 thoughts on “Who Is Sunday School For? or Is It Time To Bury Sunday School pt. 8

  1. I saw the post on OWL at UUpdates.net, which led me then to this post. I’m going to have to disagree with you fundamentally here.

    I think you are defining religious education too narrowly. When you say that small group ministry is *not* religious education, I think, “well, sometimes it is and sometimes it isn’t.”

    Education isn’t just the process of acquiring information. Education, even with a more “traditional” definition, is coming to *know,* and is thus inherently a transformational process. There are different aspects and stages of that.

    That’s why folks in college often come out and differentiate between the “book learning” they’ve been doing and then the way they are brought from having that information in their heads into a true knowing once they get into an internship or job (or as students often put it, “real life learning”). We have to process and integrate information.

    Any education, religious or otherwise, that stops short of this is incomplete. In some cases, small group ministry may be one way that information can be further explored and integrated in the context of a person’s actual life. It can be part of a larger “individualized education plan” or “faith formation plan” for an adult (or a child or youth).

    I’ve been a religious educator for about a decade now, and in that time, I have come to understand religious education in much broader ways. With that has come a more effective ability to educate. I look back at the start of my vocation and think, “I was not truly an educator yet.”

    Here is a blog that has been looking at all this as well, from a district program consultant, credentialed religious educator, and seminarian: http://tandik.wordpress.com/.

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