It's 70 degrees and sunny in Chattanooga. Is it really December?
Today, I gave the final exam for my course on "Contemporary Religious Issues." This was a great class, composed of only seventeen students. Throughout the semester we discussed religious issues pertaining to the Bible, evangelicalism vs. fundamentalism, gay rights, gender, eschatology, politics, race, and science. Some of the most heated discussions were on the topic of abortion. Surprisingly, no one wanted to talk about gay rights.
We watched the movies, Inherit the Wind, A Thief in the Night, and Frisbee in addition to some clips from the People of Faith. Although disturbed by the scenes of Lonnie Frisbee's deteriorating health in the film, students raved about Frisbee. A few girls in my class attend a local Calvary Chapel and so were surprised to hear that Lonnie Frisbee was instrumental in the success of this church movement as well as the Vineyard.
Several people commented how much they enjoyed reading Barry Hankins's books, American Evangelicals: A Contemporary History of a Mainstream Movement and especially his Evangelicalism and Fundamentalism: A Documentary Reader. As much as I also benefited from reading and discussing Hankins's books, I have to say, that I am sick of talking about Fundamentalism.
If I teach this course again, I may include a section on religion and the environment. Roger Gottlieb's A Greener Faith: Religious Environmentalism and Our Planet's Future looks like an interesting text to use in a course like this.
All that stands between me and a month break is a final in "Religion in American Life" on Wednesday.