Wednesday, 8 February 2012

A Great Day of Teaching

I had a lot of fun teaching today. In my 9am class on "Religion in Southern Culture," four students gave presentations on a supplemental book that they read for the course. I was caught off guard when one student presented Darren Dochuk's From Bible Belt to Sunbelt. Out of a list of over one hundred and fifty titles, she chose this book. After the presentation, I had the chance to reiterate the importance of Dochuk's thesis as well as the thoroughness of the book. When the student mentioned Bill Bright and Campus Crusade in her presentation, I noticed several people perk up and ask questions about the book, presumably because they were members of "Cru" and wanted to purchase the text, or perhaps check it out at the library.

In my 11am course, "Religion in the Age of Wesley, Whitefield, and Edwards," the sixteen of us debated which excerpts from Jonathan Edwards's A Faithful Narrative of the Surprising Work of God (1737) to include in my forthcoming reader. We are only spending one week on Edwards's Narrative, and so we had to move through it very quickly. I instructed the students to pick out roughly fifteen pages of text that they felt future students should read. Several people commented that pages 3-14 were essential in that they provided an overview of the revivals at Northampton in a narrative format. About four or five people countered by saying that this information could be quickly condensed and explained in the introductory paragraphs to the excerpt, and that the best material came from pages 30-45 in which Edwards analyzes the nature of the conversions at Northampton. Finally, two or three people were adamant that the case study on Phebe Bartlet (pages 109-121) should be included. I appreciated everyone's input, despite the fact that we did not reach a consensus. Edwards's book is so interesting, and has so many different parts, that it is indeed difficult to pick out only a few pages.

Jonathan Yeager

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