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a journal of analysis and comment advancing public understanding of religion and education
(more on the Journal)

Spring 2002, Vol. 29 No. 1

Editor's Preface

Interactivity characterizes much of this issue. We invited Wheaton College to respond to the fall 2001 article describing ‘A Perfect Standard?’ woven through that college’s ethos. Provost Stanton Jones responds by articulating the college’s distinctive view of the self that goes toward explaining their organizational culture. Alan Phillips takes selected fellow Evangelicals to task for misrepresenting John Dewey in their critiques of educational reform; Pat Robertson and Charles Colson respond and Phillips offers a rejoinder. Editorial board member Ben Webb interviews Bill McKibben on spirituality, religion, and the environment. Paul Geisert critiques Warren Nord’s use of the conceptual net metaphor in science teaching; Warren Nord answers followed by a rejoinder from Geisert. The articles by Robert Nash and Rick Jarow focus on a special interactivity in two quite different college course experiences: Nash’s course on religious pluralism, spirituality, and education into which 9/11 intruded, and Jarow’s pedagogical challenge in an introductory Buddhism course. And Jeong-Kyu Lee’s article addresses the result of the interactions of Confucianism, Buddhism, and Christianity in shaping the character of Korean higher education.

The cover art is a still frame from a video/sound composition that runs continually in a five-minute loop. It was part of the Question of Faith exhibit at the University of Northern Iowa Gallery of Art in October 2001. Artist Michael Lasater (see Contributors note, page 98) offers the following statement about Passing Figure (1999):

The figure of a woman in forward motion emerges from black. Again and again she appears in numerous planes and aspects. New images of her materialize briefly where these planes and aspects coincide, artifacts of her ceaseless forward movement. A woman is always in motion, never finished, never completely defined, always becoming. A voice whispers texts from various Buddhist sources over synthesized and sampled sound.

I produced Passing Figure in consideration of the Buddhist idea of human beings always becoming; we are always in process, always in motion, never static. No single image of the passing woman can be accurately described as her. I was also working on this piece during the months that my mother was dying. Attending her in hospital, I was struck at how her memory became scrambled, like a deck of cards reshuffled. Events of just five minutes past might, in her perception, somehow become predictive of events decades before. So Passing Figure is to a certain degree also about memory, perception, hypotheses of causation...all the cognitive processes that work to produce our "sense of self" in time.

Michael D. Waggoner, Editor
Religion and Education
May 2002