Religious Studies and Theology 2019-06-05T13:53:46+00:00 Catherine Caufield Open Journal Systems <p>For forty years&nbsp;<em>Religious Studies and Theology</em>&nbsp;has published thoughtful, peer-reviewed original research with significance to the inter-related disciplines of Religious Studies and Theology.</p> No Mud No Lotus 2019-06-05T13:52:20+00:00 Samiksa Love <p>"No Mud No Lotus" is a three-dimensional mixed media art piece featuring a crocheted lotus on canvas. It is inspired both by Buddhist philosophy about approaching life's experiences and challenges as fuel for consciousness evolution and awakening, and also the well-known Ho'oponopono prayer about forgiveness and reconciliation with the perceivable external world, a prayer that helps us remember that we have the power to transmute any muddy situation into the lotus. On this occasion of celebrating the life work of a dear soul, I am again reminded that no matter how much time and energy we invest in our human bodies and identities, past memories and future pursuits, diverse relationships and career adventures, all these are perceivable with the physical human senses and therefore ultimately temporary and illusory ... they are essentially dream-stuff we have dreamed up as infinite and eternal divine beings. Without exception, each and every life experience comprises the dreamy mud we grow through and eventually transcend, remembering our true selves as the eternal lotus. Yet, seemingly paradoxically, both mud and lotus exist simultaneously in the eternal now moment, so there is nothing to resist and nowhere to attempt to arrive at. We are the infinite and eternal space from which both spring forth. This piece is a visual reminder to stay lucid within the dream and at the same time to celebrate and savour every moment of life even though we know we are dreaming. The Ho'oponopono prayer helps us to both embrace and to also release each dream moment ... I'm Sorry, Please Forgive Me, Thank You, I Love You ... slowly we are remembering who we really are.</p> 2019-05-14T00:00:00+00:00 Copyright (c) 2019 Equinox Publishing Ltd. A Quilted Offering 2019-06-05T13:52:26+00:00 Ken Derry Elysia Guzik 2019-05-14T00:00:00+00:00 Copyright (c) 2019 Equinox Publishing Ltd. Balancing Dichotomies, Opening Conversations 2019-06-05T13:52:30+00:00 Philip L. Tite <p style="text-align: left; color: rgb(0, 0, 0); text-transform: none; text-indent: 0px; letter-spacing: normal; font-family: Times New Roman; font-size: 16px; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-weight: 400; text-decoration: none; word-spacing: 0px; white-space: normal; orphans: 2; -webkit-text-stroke-width: 0px;">Having known Michel since the first stages of his career, when he was engaged in the study of early Christianity, I have seen him exemplify the role of teacher-scholar for those of us who have attempted to follow in his footsteps. His approach has been to empower students by creating conversations, to balance opposing positions and to allow students to come to their own conclusions (rather than arriving at the “right answer”). This approach not only occurs in the classroom, but also within the academy. Indeed, I propose that Michel’s role as a researcher is largely an extension of his role as a teacher, or co-learner. In this paper, I explore some of the pedagogical implications and lessons that I have learned from Michel’s example as a teacher-scholar. Specifically, I discuss attachment theory, student empowerment, and collaborative pedagogy.</p> 2019-05-14T00:00:00+00:00 Copyright (c) 2019 Equinox Publishing Ltd. A Loaf for Learning 2019-06-05T13:52:35+00:00 Sarah J. King <p>Cooking and eating in the Religious Studies classroom is a challenging and valuable pedagogical practice which turns upside down students' individualist ideas of religion as belief inside people's heads, drawing them out into the complexity of lived religion, and in so doing breaks open the modernist study of religion itself. Teaching with food upsets gendered stereotypes about whose religion counts, and it brings students into direct confrontation with the boundaries, borders, taboos and pleasures that are at the heart of religions and the religious. Cooking and eating with students reminds them that religion is not actually a category separate from the other aspects of human life and culture; it's connected! With food, the classroom becomes a different place, where students move beyond religion as intellectual interiority into the complexity of everyday religion as lived.</p> 2019-05-14T00:00:00+00:00 Copyright (c) 2019 Equinox Publishing Ltd. Thinking About Transformative Aspects of Gnostic Writing Pedagogy 2019-06-05T13:52:39+00:00 Michael Kaler <p>This article discusses some of the ways in which our understanding of gnosticism could be expanded if we looked at gnostic texts as means to create new selves for their readers, rather than imparting doctrinal knowledge or giving evidence regarding the power struggles and self-definitions at play in early Christian communities. Drawing on both the work of Pierre Hadot and modern understandings of writing pedagogy, the article argues that it would be useful to be able to read these texts as means by which the reader could create a gnostic sense of self, with specific content seen as a means to that end. This need not be the only perspective taken on gnosticism; rather, it is presented as a useful tool to add to our interpretive toolkit.</p> 2019-05-14T00:00:00+00:00 Copyright (c) 2019 Equinox Publishing Ltd. “The Study of Religion” and “Religious Studies” 2019-06-05T13:52:42+00:00 Aldea Mulhern <p>Here I offer thoughts on what the recent history of the academic study of religion might reveal about its current state, and why we need to continually renew attention to our collective, and ideally, contested, vision for the academy. I frame this reflection in relation to two scholars of religion, Donald Wiebe and Michel Desjardins, who in the late twentieth and early twenty-first centuries shaped the Canadian and American academic conversation about this field of study. I approach their work in this area not as discrete faits accompli, but as examples of iterative self-construction in the history of the field. Attention should continually be paid to what kind of religious studies we do, and what we study when we study religion; part of that account is of the we, specifically of our relationality, in our entitlements and obligations.1 I am increasingly persuaded that the key nexus of focus for our attention is not (or is no longer) primarily in the question of the humanistic versus the social-scientific study of religion. Thinking through what we do over against what we think we ought to be doing will involve a less oppositional, more relational accounting of and accounting for who we think we are and what we think we owe one another.</p> 2019-05-14T00:00:00+00:00 Copyright (c) 2019 Equinox Publishing Ltd. Drawing on the Board 2019-06-05T13:52:46+00:00 Michael Ostling <p>Students and teachers alike tend to think of drawing on the board as an old-fashioned teaching technology, and to prefer electronically mediated pedagogies even in the face-to-face classroom. In this article, I celebrate the chalkboard and whiteboard as potential sites of collaborative and open-ended teaching and learning. Arguing that technological choices are always also political choices, I suggest that the problematizing, slow-paced, and inconclusive teaching style encouraged by board-work is a style worth fighting for - especially in the Religious Studies classroom.<!--[endif] --></p> 2019-05-14T00:00:00+00:00 Copyright (c) 2019 Equinox Publishing Ltd. Learning and Teaching as Emergent, Standardized, and Radical Concepts 2019-06-05T13:52:49+00:00 Joanne Benham Rennick <p>Using a brief etymological and comparative linguistic analysis, this paper traces the progression of meaning behind the words "learning" and "teaching" and compares these terms with current usage and context. The goal is to show how both learning and teaching can hold different meanings imbued with disparate potential for the learner and the learning environment, despite the changing nature of education and the increasing corporatization of the university. This analysis highlights the importance of Professor Desjardins' contributions to the project of education and learning.</p> 2019-05-14T00:00:00+00:00 Copyright (c) 2019 Equinox Publishing Ltd. Gnostic Imagery in Disney’s <i>Pinocchio</i> 2019-06-05T13:52:52+00:00 Tony Burke <p>The right film can work wonders for helping students understand difficult concepts in religion. Disney’s <em>Pinocchio</em> at once provides a visual metaphor for the gnostic version of the creation of humanity and conveys the anxiety that must have been felt by prospective Gnostics as they came to the realization that their well-known and beloved traditions could yield such disconcerting interpretations. But to what extent are the apparent gnostic elements in the film intended? And do they naturally emerge from the sources (Carlo Collodi’s 1881–1883 series of short stories) used to make the film? The same questions can be applied to the sources of gnostic texts and thus open up avenues of discussion about the creation, transmission, and interpretation of ancient Christian literature.&nbsp;</p> 2019-05-14T00:00:00+00:00 Copyright (c) 2019 Equinox Publishing Ltd. Changing the World without Doing Harm 2019-06-05T13:52:56+00:00 Mark Chapman <p>Some parts of Canada may be moving towards an "open secularism" where matters of faith are less likely to be excluded from public discourse. In such a context, students may become more open about their own faith commitments, more willing to speak out against religious actions they disagree with, and more likely to attempt to change their own traditions. In a confessional context where students are often both leaders and researchers in their own communities it is tempting to use field research as a tool to accomplish pre-defined agendas. Using Paulo Freire's Critical Pedagogy and its application in Participatory Action Research this paper explores how field research can be taught to activist-oriented insider student researchers in a way that contributes to social change and avoids making research only a platform for their personal agendas.</p> 2019-05-14T00:00:00+00:00 Copyright (c) 2019 Equinox Publishing Ltd. Space 2019-06-05T13:52:59+00:00 Jennifer Davis <p>Who we are is impacted by how we live. Who we become depends on how we interact with our given situation. This paper explores our evolving presence amidst the environmental, social and inter-relational aspects of life.</p> 2019-05-14T00:00:00+00:00 Copyright (c) 2019 Equinox Publishing Ltd. The Reflective Practice Writing Bicycle 2019-06-05T13:53:02+00:00 Edmund Pries <p>Traditional university education has focused on academic learning, which is followed by a graduate's attempts to apply this learning to various career-related pursuits. Experiential learning turns this focus on its head - at least partially. Instead of learning preceding praxis, learning now follows praxis. In this latter model, much of the post-praxis learning is focused and achieved via reflective analysis of experience - also called reflective practice - through written reflection. Reflective Practice Writing (RPW), also called Reflective Practice Journaling, is much more than traditional journaling. For reflective practice to effectively facilitate the learning process for students, RPW requires students to deeply probe and explore their experience to realize maximum learning. A guide or a "tool" to assist this process is useful and, I argue, required but, in too many cases, is either inadequate or not provided at all. This paper provides and describes such a reflective practice writing tool, which has been imagined as a bicycle - with a "front wheel" and a "back wheel" of spokes or questions. A reflective practice writing tool cannot, however, simply be developed on its own; it must be tied to a teaching and learning philosophy which has student learning integration and, ultimately, student transformation as its goal. <strong><em>The</em> <em>Reflective Practice Writing Bicycle</em></strong> is based precisely on such a teaching/learning philosophy, which is integrated into <strong><em>The RPW Bicycle</em></strong> tool itself.&nbsp;</p> 2019-05-14T00:00:00+00:00 Copyright (c) 2019 Equinox Publishing Ltd. Messing Around with Introductory Religion Courses in Canada 2019-06-05T13:53:07+00:00 Ken Derry <p>This is a story about the challenges and virtues of messiness for scholarship and teaching in academia generally, and Religious Studies in particular. It begins when I was first hired to teach Introduction to the Study of Religion at the University of Toronto Mississauga. It continues with a discussion of research into how introductory religion courses are taught in Canada, and reflection on that research – which includes examples of student learning from a world religions summer course I have taught in Hong Kong since 2012. It ends with a consideration of the ways in which messiness has been a key component of Michel Desjardins’ own scholarship and teaching.</p> 2019-05-14T00:00:00+00:00 Copyright (c) 2019 Equinox Publishing Ltd. An Academic for All Seasons and Every Occasion 2019-06-05T13:53:10+00:00 Harold Remus <p>This paper recounts the author's work and friendship with Michel, including collaborations in writing and active involvement in professional associations, and reflections on Michel's scholarship, teaching, and positive impact on students and colleagues.</p> 2019-05-14T00:00:00+00:00 Copyright (c) 2019 Equinox Publishing Ltd. Reflections on Learning with Michel Desjardins 2019-06-05T13:53:12+00:00 Meena Sharify-Funk Elysia Guzik <p>This paper highlights Michel Desjardins' creative and critical approach to teaching religion and culture (often through experiments and experiences of travel, gardening, and food) through former students' reflections on learning with Michel. By organizing a collection of former students' insights into Michel's persona, pedagogy, and influence, this paper celebrates his career as a professor who enriched the lives of many students, and inspires readers to think deeply about how they teach and learn about religion and culture.</p> 2019-05-14T00:00:00+00:00 Copyright (c) 2019 Equinox Publishing Ltd. Forgetting the Content and Other Michelisms 2019-06-05T13:53:14+00:00 Brent Hagerman <p>In this reflective essay, I revisit some experiences of being taught and mentored by Michel Desjardins in the interest of highlighting his pedagogical methods that impacted me as a student, scholar, and teacher. These “Michelisms,” as I have called them, include respect for all the voices in the room, the willingness for improvisation, process over product, self-interrogation, and extending teaching moments beyond the classroom walls. These Michelism have helped his students, and now mine, cross the threshold from content-memorizing undergrads to critical thinkers.</p> 2019-05-14T00:00:00+00:00 Copyright (c) 2019 Equinox Publishing Ltd. Michel Desjardins 2019-06-05T13:53:16+00:00 Erica Hurwitz Andrus <p>This essay reflects on the personal experiences of the author as a student in the M.A. in Religion and Culture program at Wilfrid Laurier University in the 1990s. Erica Hurwitz Andrus remembers how Michel's classes became an important part of her intellectual growth as a scholar and ultimately a teacher. He demonstrated the use of theory to critique past scholarship in Religious Studies, the ways that popular culture can engage with religion and how that engagement provides a critique for the secularization theory of the day, and finally how established scholars can be mentors and partners to students and junior colleagues. All of these lessons continue to inform her work writing and teaching in the Religion Department at the University of Vermont.</p> 2019-05-14T00:00:00+00:00 Copyright (c) 2019 Equinox Publishing Ltd. Listening with Respect 2019-06-05T13:53:19+00:00 Suzanne Armstrong <p>In a personal reflection, the author considers the discipline of listening required to effectively and respectfully strive to understand other people, cultures, and religions in field research. Possible future directions for Religious Studies scholarship as a contribution to the broader field of agriculture are discussed. The importance of greater public engagement with Religious Studies scholarship is also raised.</p> 2019-05-14T00:00:00+00:00 Copyright (c) 2019 Equinox Publishing Ltd. Michel Desjardins 2019-06-05T13:53:21+00:00 Husein Khimjee <p><span style="font-family: Verdana; font-size: medium;">This paper attempts to show how Michel Desjardins’ teaching methods helped his students to become interested in the courses that he taught, including translating the Gospel of John from Greek to English. Michel’s online course on Religion and Food will continue to enrich many students in their quest to learn about how food is so much a part of religious traditions.</span></p> 2019-05-14T00:00:00+00:00 Copyright (c) 2019 Equinox Publishing Ltd. I Have No Eyes Yet I Can See 2019-06-05T13:53:23+00:00 Marie Bilodeau Kerri Elizabeth Gerow elfpony@yahoo.caszszom <p>We were thrilled to be given the opportunity to provide something for this project honouring Michel. He has been an excellent teacher, mentor, and friend to countless Religion &amp; Culture students, and we were no exception, as Michel continued to offer advice and friendship after our time at Wilfrid Laurier University had ended. In developing this story, we reminisced about the classes we took with Michel at WLU, thinking about what he had taught us, his love for pop culture integration in religious studies, and the studies on apocalypticism and Gnosticism that we had the pleasure of undertaking with him. This story about the end of the world (but not the end of humanity or its relationship with the divine) was born of those reminiscences.</p> 2019-05-14T00:00:00+00:00 Copyright (c) 2019 Equinox Publishing Ltd. Three Teaching Strategies 2019-06-05T13:53:26+00:00 Tony Michael <p>These are three teaching strategies that have worked for me; maybe they will work for others.</p> 2019-05-14T00:00:00+00:00 Copyright (c) 2019 Equinox Publishing Ltd. Changing Food Rules in Kitchener-Waterloo 2019-06-05T13:53:27+00:00 Joe Mancini <p>In North American society, culture is following dead end paths by embracing individualism and a work culture that is focused on money rather than meaning. Michel Desjardins and The Working Centre both identified this malaise. Over the years they traveled a similar pedagogical journey, re-enlivening an understanding of food, education and community. Michel gave his students opportunities to move beyond their formed cultural perspectives to see a wider world with brighter colours. He asked them to consider why North American culture is restrictive when it comes to sharing food compared to other cultures. How can new teaching forms generate alternative perspectives for students? This essay shows how the joint Wilfrid Laurier University-Working Centre Community Engagement Option dovetailed as pedagogy to mix experience with analysis. The results show the potential of using education for meaningful cultural change.</p> 2019-05-14T00:00:00+00:00 Copyright (c) 2019 Equinox Publishing Ltd. Seeking Understanding 2019-06-05T13:53:30+00:00 Amir Hussain <p>Very few of us, in our doctoral training, were taught how to write for a scholarly audience. In my five years of editing the <em>Journal of the American Academy of Religion</em> (<em>JAAR</em>), I learned more about scholarly writing (and publishing) than I learned in the previous 15 years as a university professor. This short article discusses scholarly writing, going over the basics of how scholarly journals in religion “work” at each step along the way after you submit a manuscript to them. It then provides information about what editors are looking for in successful submissions, and how writers should shape their manuscripts accordingly. My focus in the article is the training of graduate students to learn how to write for the “profession.”</p> 2019-05-14T00:00:00+00:00 Copyright (c) 2019 Equinox Publishing Ltd. When David Met Michel 2019-06-05T13:53:33+00:00 David Burke Griffiths <p>I entered the Department of Religious Studies in Vancouver in the Fall of 1974. Michel was a year or two advanced and the first person to befriend me and "show me the robes." He is a unique individual with generosity of Geist or empathy, and deep analytical skills, wide interests, lucid thinking. His books and many students are evidence of this. It has been a deep joy to be his friend through the years. He has always helped me with intellectual projects and been attentive to personal issues, and all this without a touch of pedantry or arrogance. In addition to his deep learning in Religious Studies and related topics, he has a gift for empathic listening, and a singular capacity to think on his feet and lecture with amazing lucidity.</p> 2019-05-14T00:00:00+00:00 Copyright (c) 2019 Equinox Publishing Ltd. Changing the Lonely Halls of Academia 2019-06-05T13:53:36+00:00 Mercedes Rowinsky-Geurts <p>As academics, we gather experiences throughout our scholarly journeys. Some are disappointing and frustrating, while others are memorable and long-lasting. This reflection showcases some of the pivotal moments in my professional path. It demonstrates the power of a colleague who, by his actions, impacts the lives of others in a powerful manner. The imprints left on the lives of others who have received the blessing of sharing time with Michel Desjardins are everlasting.</p> 2019-05-14T00:00:00+00:00 Copyright (c) 2019 Equinox Publishing Ltd. The Historical, Rhetorical Jesus 2019-06-05T13:53:38+00:00 John Mitrosky <p>This paper shares with readers a brief conversational moment in time approximately two years ago. Michel and I constantly imagine ever-changing theories, ideas and opinions regarding possible psychological aspects of an unknown "Historical Jesus." There is such a vast array of theories about the actual man in the first-century sandals, as there are theories about the reality, meaning and origin of the phrase "the Son of man," that both quests get lost and confused into an unknown abyss. What is historically true? What is imaginatively rhetorical? Who was Jesus? In spite of the historical unknowns, Einstein was right to say, "Imagination is more important than knowledge." And so, those of us who find these topics interesting press on imaginatively. As Michel taught me, "Imagination is the beginning of learning." Jesus was, at least in my humble opinion, a radical, young, wild man of his time and place, a healer and a teacher, whom we can't actually know personally. By contrast, Michel is a moral and ethical teacher of his time and place, of our time and place - the very best teacher I have had the pleasure to get to know personally. This is because Michel is such a patient and profound, insightful, and above all else, an honest man.</p> 2019-05-14T00:00:00+00:00 Copyright (c) 2019 Equinox Publishing Ltd. Remarks given on the Occasion of the Celebration for Michel Desjardins Steckle Heritage Farm, Kitchener, Ontario June 21, 2017 2019-06-05T13:53:41+00:00 Edmund Pries Joanne Benham Rennick Bob Sharpe Meena Sharify-Funk Patrice Brodeur <p>The remarks below were compiled from speakers who attended the June 21, 2017 celebration at Steckle Heritage Farm on the occasion of Michel Desjardins' retirement.</p> 2019-05-14T00:00:00+00:00 Copyright (c) 2019 Equinox Publishing Ltd. <i>Transition to Common Work: Building Community at The Working Centre</i>, by Joseph and Stephanie Mancini 2019-06-05T13:53:46+00:00 Michel Desjardins <p><em>Transition to Common Work: Building Community at The Working Centre</em>, by Joseph and Stephanie Mancini. Wilfrid Laurier University Press, 2015. xix + 212. Pb., $17.66 ISBN 978-1-77112-160-6</p> 2019-05-14T00:00:00+00:00 Copyright (c) 2019 Equinox Publishing Ltd.