Below is a sketch of my college’s “Chapel Curriculum” for 2012-13. Leaving alone for now the question of what the chapel tradition is supposed to be — and yea, whether there should be a curriculum at all (making it thus a human, academic enterprise and not as much of a Kingdom one) — let’s have a look. This plan is conveniently, if not properly, structured in three “God” categories and one human category.
GOD THE FATHER
- Who God is
- Attributes of God
- Salvation history; relationship of old & new covenants
- humans created as sexual beings
- art/music – art
- Provision: Deus absconditus: God’s hidden work
GOD THE SON
- Teaching of Jesus: ethics; kingdom of God; imitation of Christ
- The “work” of Christ: death and all its significance for our redemption; resurrection and all its significance; soteriology
GOD THE HOLY SPIRIT
- Spirit-inspired service
- Sanctification; role of Spirit in the Christian’s maturing, growth in love
- Interpersonal relationships
- Christian Community; purpose & identity of the church
- Humanity in image of God
- The Christian and politics
- Common grace
- Civic justice
- The Christian’s vocation
- Business: work and the kingdom of God, wealth
As I read over that list, I find an attractive depth and scope. My questions, though, are many — too many, I think. Although I might have offered to contribute to the “curriculum” with a speech on one of the topics listed, I’m afraid my views in a few areas would prove too divergent. Every third item seems either miscategorized or ill-conceived or unclear. I’ll offer six representative questions, using “the number of man,” because this whole curricular list, like me and like you, is human and imperfect.
- For instance, why are discipleship and interpersonal relationships under the “God the Holy Spirit” heading and not under “God the Son” or “Anthropology”? I suppose that in a sense, we follow the essence, the indwelling part of God; but large, significant portions of NC scripture pertain to following Jesus, leading me to the conclusion that He is the crux for humans in terms of discipleship.
- What is “common grace,” and why is it under a human heading rather than a God one? (Maybe I’m just ignorant of orthodox thought.) (Don’t say anything!)
- In my particular milieu, I think any messages in the “Christian and politics” category will likely be balanced and non-partisan, but I worry in every election year that folks will assume that every right-thinking person should be engaged in the process — when such involvement must not be cajoled, since political involvement is not required in scripture.
- “Civic justice” is always safe … or is it? On one hand, I affirm a mantra that goes something like this: ”Socially/humanly liberal; morally conservative.” But, like it or not, there’s a politically liberal agenda attached to the words “civic justice” that appeals to some, but not to all.
- Why is Eschatology/Judgment/Resurrection under the Holy Spirit heading and not the Father or Son ones?
- Perhaps most significant: why, in a Christ-ian college, is the “God the Son” category so brief?
Some topical areas seem skeletal — why are there only one or two sub-topics under “church” and “creation,” for instance? And another example: I do think human sexuality deserves a solid berth in considerations of what it means to be human, but there’s much more to say about God’s human creation, isn’t there? I think I remember hearing — but don’t know for sure — that a four-year curriculum exists, designed to touch on four times this many areas during a student’s time in college. Perhaps this list is only one-fourth of the whole, designed in order to provide thoroughgoing balance over a period of years.
How about you? Care to pick an item or two and query it, or comment on it from a Christian education standpoint?