I'm back teaching--the never-ending cycle of the school year:). This time it's the required and general theology and culture class, exploring the intersections between various elements of culture and theology. Yesterday we broached the topic of theology and where we all 'speak from.' All of the 21 students in the class declared that they came from some kind of conservative church background whether it was pentecostal holiness or fundamentalist or something else. I realized as we were talking that there was a huge chasm between where they are even now and where I am. Even though some of them are definitely in process and re-thinking their theological perspectives, they are not even close to thinking about things in the way I have been the past few years--back to the drawing board I think, I'm going to need to fill in some gaps, not to get them to think like me, but so that they can understand more clearly the trajectory I am sketching out with regard to the dynamic between theology and culture.
I assigned a Mark C Taylor book for a theology read, About Religion: Economies of Faith in Virtual Culture, it's a tough book, as much of his work is, but I have a feeling that this will leave them little more than confused--'this Derrida guy is interesting...' was about the most positive comment I got yesterday. That's not to say that the class feels contentious or even resistant, just that there is so much material that I have digested that I doubt has even been on their horizons, reference points and conceptual ideas that don't even register, and this makes it necessary to re-think how I am going to teach this one. I don't want to dumb things down, but I need to figure out an accessible way of speaking about all this stuff.
It made me a little unsettled inside I must admit, having nothing to do with any of the students or their positions, but a reminder that I am just not living in this particular world and I wonder if I have the energy to keep on engaging, I don't particularly want to argue about stuff--I don't mean that therefore everyone should just think what I think, it's more about the environment itself--whether it is the best fit for me at this stage in my life. Of course the tyranny of the paycheck is a factor and I freely admit that, but it's not worth it if, in the long run, I am engaging in conversations that frustrate me.
What am I saying? Essentially I am saying that I feel that I don't fit in any of the religious situations I find myself in at present and am wondering what to do about that because in the long run it is not healthy for me--you'd think I would have this shit worked out by now...apparently not.