|"Lehre Hoffnung" is German for "Teach Hope"|
In a time of turmoil, in a world of permanent change - for the better and for the worse - the temptation is great and understandable to loose faith in humanity. At the same time however, future generations are asking us to confirm them in their hope aspirations for a better world. According to the French philosopher Gabriel Marcel in his metaphysics of hope as adults we should "introduce the element of patience into non-acceptance" of hopeless situations (Homo Viator, Chicago, 1951, p. 39). That is quite an educational job!
How to create patience in the mindset of a young person desperately longing for change? Well, says Marcel, "a simple expression borrowed from everyday language is a help here: to take one's time. (...) "Take your time", an examiner would say, for example, to a flurried candidate. That means, do not force the personal rhythm, the proper cadence of your reflection, or even of your memory, for if you do you will spoil your chances, you will be likely to say at random the first words which come into your head. (...) From this point of view, hope means first accepting the trial as an integral part of the self, but while so doing it considers it as destined to be absorbed and transmuted by the inner workings of a certain creative process" (p. 39).
It is my honor and my pleasure to be the program chair of the Religious Education Association for our upcoming meeting in Pittsburgh on the 4-6 November, and to lead participants in ways of reflection and action as "hope generators" in religious education worldwide. We will hear from a number of outstanding scholars and speakers, as well as collaborate together in sessions that are structured to support collegial engagement. Among our speakers will be:
* Elizabeth Conde-Frazier (USA) and Reginald Nel (RSA) on “teaching and globalization”
* David Hansen (USA) and Aaron Ghiloni (AUS) on “the teacher and the world”
* Bernard Grümme (D), Daniel Moulin (SP), Mualla Selçuk (TR) and Sarah Tauber (USA) on “biographical perspectives”