Living Theology Log

Westmont students maintain a careful dichotomy between school and life. This is because they are human.

This exercise is meant to break down that dichotomy. Besides, as John Dewey put it, "We don't learn by experience. We learn by reflecting on experience."

In your workbooks, I want you to keep a running log where you reflect on instances where the course concepts and materials relate to other classes outside religious studies and to aspects of your life outside school.

Before you begin, review my workbook tips. Create the file in which all of your work will go. Then, in that file, begin a log in which you record the following kinds of observations:

In a paragraph, how has something in another course, elsewhere in college, or in your broader life concretely


something you have learned in Doctrine, so as to genuinely improve your understanding of one or the other? Explain, appealing of course to the course concepts and materials in question.

Do not just process or reflect on something we've covered in class. Don't just "journal" your thoughts on something from class. Instead, make connections between the course material and something other than the course material — preferably from another course in another discipline.

Over the course of the semester, keep adding dated entries to this exercise, even as you add additional workbook exercises below it in your workbook.

Strive to complete eight or so entries over the course of the semester. These are not meant just to record your reactions to events! They are for training you to process what you are learning by developing and analyzing connections.

Near the end of the semester, conclude your log with this assessment:

a. Are these connections generally constructive, mutually reinforcing and enriching in a way that suggests that "Christian liberal arts" might be a coherent and helpful category after all? Or are they destructive, qualifying or even contradicting the claims we make about our curriculum and campus life?
b. How has this course (or, if it is not your first RS GE course, your RS GE courses in general) been informing your overall Westmont curriculum? Where are strengths and/or weaknesses emerging?

Remember, a number of our readings are deeply interested in these kinds of connections. You may look to them for guidance and inspiration. You can read a sample of the way I myself have approached matters at the intersection of theology and life in my book on the Lord's Prayer.

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