A Note on Course Readings
CCS Program Staff David Lappano and Janet Ross offer some strategies for making sense of assigned readings.
A Note on the Readings
from the CCS Student Kit:
Each learning circle will include approximately 600-700 pages of assigned reading, available through the moodle for a given circle. Readings may include a chapter from a book, a journal article, a webpage or blog post, a video, a podcast, or, in some cases, a whole text. Readings are chosen by Program Staff to provide useful information related to a theme and/or to inspire further thinking and conversation.
Within each set of readings you will come across experiences, stories, ideas, and arguments that are fun, liberating, enlightening, maybe even world changing. But you will also likely come across stories and ideas that are conceptually challenging, that are emotionally painful (potentially triggering*), and which utilize language or concepts that may seem antiquated. Perhaps you will even disagree outright with certain arguments some authors present.
We want to be clear that assigning a reading for study does not mean automatically that we (as instructors or as a school) endorse all the ideas or language expressed therein. That is why we ask students to read the materials with openness and with a critical hermeneutic. We suggest you have the Critical Thinking Cheat Sheet near you as you read.
It should also be said that staff choose readings conscientiously. We believe each of these texts will enrich your understanding of and experience of theology, ministry, and society – even more so when these texts are discussed within a community of intentional learners.
Here are some of the criteria Program Staff use when choosing a set of texts (in no particular order):
- Are they current, relevant, and related to the module theme?
- Do they, or did they, reflect an ethos and theology of prophetic justice in their context?
- Are they scholarly?
- Do they offer wisdom and analysis that students can integrate into their ministry practice or their spiritual formation?
- Do they offer robust and informed explanations, defenses, and critiques of doctrine, culture, and worldviews?
Not every reading will match all of these criteria. Some will be more or less current. Some will be more or less academic. Some will be more or less practically applicable. Etc.
CCS also fully expects and encourages students to offer suggestions and resources for future sessions as part of their own responsibility to share their wisdom and experience with the learning community.
* If you are concerned about potentially triggering content, you may contact CCS program staff for further information.