Baseball as a Road to God: This NYU Class Isn’t as Crazy as It Sounds

What do Joe DiMaggio, Lord Krishna, Ernest Hemingway, and a sacred tree in South America have in common? No, the answer is not a bad joke like your dad might tell. Instead, these four things are all part of the subject material for a course that is currently being taught at New York University called “Baseball as a Road to God.”

Dr. John Sexton is teaching this class to 18 undergraduates at NYU. Some of them are serious baseball fans, while others don’t really know or care what Babe Ruth’s curse is. However, they all are in process of “touching the ineffable,” as Sexton describes what students are learning in the course.

“The real idea of the course,” Sexton said, is to develop heightened sensitivity and a noticing capacity. So baseball’s not ‘the’ road to God. For most of us, it isn’t ‘a’ road to God. But it’s a way to notice, to cause us to live more slowly and to watch more keenly and thereby to discover the specialness of our life and our being, and for some of us, something more than our being.” Read the rest of this entry »

Notre Dame Distances Self from Bishop Jenky’s Slanderous Remarks About the President

Catholic Bishop Daniel Jenky might be regretting a comment he made recently about President Obama. During a sermon, Bishop Jenky said that Obama’s political policies were on a “similar path” to those of Hilter and Stalin.

“Hilter and Stalin, at their better moments, would just barely tolerate some churches remaining open, but would not tolerate any competition with the state in education, social services, and health care,” Jenky said in his sermon. “In clear violation of our First Amendment rights, Barack Obama – with his radical, pro-abortion and extreme secularist agenda – now seems intent on following a similar path.”

In addition to being a Catholic Bishop, Jenky is also a member of the Board of Fellows at the University of Notre Dame. In response to the Bishop’s sermon, members of the faculty at Notre Dame have created and signed a petition that asks Bishop Jenky to either “renounce loudly and publicly this destructive analogy” or resign from the Board of Fellows.

Some are arguing that Bishop Jenky’s quote is being taken out of context, but that he was just stating his political and religious belief that Obama should not be re-elected and that Catholics should not vote for him. Read the rest of this entry »

Arizona Students Might Be Taking Bible Classes if New Bill Passes

Lately, the state of Arizona has been coming out with some pretty conservative laws, such as its immigration laws and definition of when life begins. Now, the state is taking moves that might spread its conservation reach into education.

That state’s Senate approved House Bill 2563 on April 12, 2012. This bill will create a new high school class in public and charter schools where students read and learn about the Bible and the role it has played in Western culture. House Bill 2563 passed in February of this year and is now sitting on Governor Jan Brewer’s desk, where it will either be signed into effect or thrown out.

So will this class just be a lot of Bible-thumping? Not exactly. If the bill passes, the state’s Board of Education must create an elective class that will be offered for high school students called “The Bible and its influence on Western Culture.” Students who choose to take the class would learn the impact the Old and New Testaments have had on history, literature, government, and other aspects of Western society throughout the ages.

According to Republic state Rep. Terri Proud, the teachers who teach this class will only be able to use the Bible “in a very restricted way.” Read the rest of this entry »

The Supreme Court Bans Worship in NYC Public School Buildings

hands in prayer and bibleFor the past 17 years, the Bronx Household of Faith has been pressing its case for allowing religious worship services to be held at public schools. On December 5, 2011, the Supreme Court rejected the small church’s plea yet again. In its ruling, the Supreme Court also left in place a ruling with allows public schools to offer prayer and religious instruction but bans worship services.

“We’re very disappointed,” said Pastor Robert Hall. “We think this is a dangerous precedent that allows the state to make a distinction between various types of religious activity.”

For the past several years, many religious groups in New York have been conducting their worship services in public buildings, including Public School 15, where the Bronx Household of Faith has been worshiping since 2002. However, according to the new action passed by the Supreme Court, this will not be allowed after February 12, 2012.

“We view this as a victory for the city’s schoolchildren and their families,” said Jane Gordon, a senior counsel for the city of New York City. “The department was quite properly concerned about having any school in this diverse city identified with one particular religious belief or practice.”

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Esteem Program Helps Students Stay Religious During College

For many college students, it can be very difficult to maintain their faith. However, Marysa Leya, a recent Yale University graduate, challenged this typical view that college students will stray from their religious practices until they finish college and hopefully return to their religion. When Marysa graduated from high school, her biology teacher gave her a hand-painted crucifix for her dorm room. On the back, he wrote her a message that said: “Be sure to stay as grounded and awesome as you are now.” Her grandmother also encouraged to not “lose [her] faith out there on that liberal East Coast.”

During her four years of college, Marysa attended every single Sunday Mass and also discussed scripture on a weekly basis. She was also very active in secular activities on campus, such as drawing cartoons for the school’s newspaper, captaining the tennis team, and earning a 3.78 GPA.

“I can’t imagine shirking my faith,” Marysa said. “But how do you keep it important around all the chaos of med school? How do I become a meaningful member of a new parish? How do I allow the kind of experiences I’ve had here to continue?”

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Students’ Faith Often Tested During College

sunsetGoing off to college means a lot of changes. Entering adulthood and striking out on your own for the first time turns your world upside down. Many parents hope their new college students will remember to take their faith with them to college, but somewhere along the way, students end up forgetting about their faith.

One of the top reasons students give up their faith in college is temptation. In college, the rules you have to follow are your own, and that freedom can feel pretty sweet. You decide when you come and go, whether you attend class, who you date and interact with and where you spend your time. Having so much freedom all at one time with no fear of being reprimanded for things you otherwise weren’t allowed to do can be overwhelming. From alcohol to sex, there is an abundance of temptation, and many students that were brought up to follow a set of strict religious values find themselves suddenly able to do what they want. Some students are so enticed by they simply make the decision do what they want and abandon their faith. Read the rest of this entry »

Common Religion College Majors for Students

BibleThere are several major fields of study available to college students. The more popular areas of study include criminal justice, business administration, accounting, nursing, and computer information systems and typically these types of majors are offered at most colleges across the country. Some of the more diverse degrees out there, however, shouldn’t be over looked, especially if it can lead a fulfilling life after your schooling is complete.

One area of study that students may not normally consider is a religious major, but if you are a religious or spiritual student, you can focus your education on your beliefs. There are several religious majors that students can choose from and contrary to what you might think, choosing a major in religion doesn’t mean you are restricted to being a minister or doing missionary work for your entire career. Some religious majors are for working in a church capacity, but not all. Religion major students can have a career in law, consulting, politics, writing and teaching, and a whole host of  other career paths. Read the rest of this entry »

Best Colleges for Faithful Students

religion christian crossThere are several lists that can tell a college student what schools are the best for a particular major field of study. No matter what your major, you can typically find a top ten list of colleges to offer you a prestigious degree in that particular field of study, but what about those who want to find a college that meets their social needs?

There are some lists for the top ten party schools or the top schools for high grade point averages. When you get into more specialized needs and what colleges can meet those needs, it gets a little more difficult to pinpoint a school. Read the rest of this entry »

How College Students Can Keep the Faith

Joseph Gustav is a guest blogger for My Dog Ate My Blog and a writer on online schools for Guide to Online Schools.

College is an exciting time of one’s life. It is often a student’s first time away from family and friends, living on your own, surrounded by intellectually motivated, curious, and exceptional individuals. However, the same things that make it exciting can be daunting and even detrimental. People with ideas other than your own may not be receptive to hearing yours or seeing your view point, and this can be especially true for religious college students. Temptation is out there, including parties and a freedom previously not afforded while living at home, and oftentimes other students, professors, and class curriculum are not religion friendly.students pray

That said, it is very possible to keep your faith while at school and to have good relationships with others who do not share your beliefs. It is entirely a matter of respect and understanding. Though you stand by your beliefs and see the good behind them, a good others should share, there is no need to preach or force your beliefs on others. In fact, do not make it an issue if it does not need to be. Respect the beliefs of others. That said, do not stand for anyone disrespecting your beliefs. Take the high road and let them know that you found their remark or whatever they did hurtful and disrespectful. Read the rest of this entry »

Safety or Freedom: Face Coverings at a Massachusetts College

niquabWearing a face covering is an integral part of the Muslim religion for women. It is a sign of respect for religion and culture, and many Muslim women are not comfortable going into public without their niqab, or face veils.

According to CNN, one Massachusetts college banned the wearing of any head coverings that obscured a student’s face last week. The Massachusetts College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences banned face coverings so that students would be identifiable “for reasons of safety and security.” However, the ban was met with such outcry from Muslim students that the school changed the policy to allow for exceptions concerning medical and religious reasons.

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