Schools in a Pluralist Culture

In a pluralist culture, the goals, institutional forms, and content of education are deeply contested. How can we humbly cooperate with others to discern the common good, and advance it in ways consistent with our calling as disciples? Our contributors tackle twin tasks -- to be clear about the goals of education and to pursue them in concert with neighbors who may disagree.

Perry Glanzer notes the challenge of teaching our children to live as "resident aliens," with their citizenship in heaven, yet committed to the welfare of our communities. Melissa Browning shows how increasing diversity in classrooms "should be appreciated for its potential to cultivate peace and extend moral awareness."

Celebrating "the personal art of teaching," Stephen Webb resists the temptation to reduce it to buzzwords and rubrics. Yet the challenge of meeting the needs of diverse learners and difficult realities of school life may discourage the most dedicated teachers, Minori Nagahara admits. "Hope, grace, and hospitality are the keys to their flourishing amid the obstacles and frustrations that could breed disillusionment."

Virgil Gulker and Randy Wood describe two exciting ways for churches to support learning in public schools. Homeschoolers Charles and Edna Christian share how they maintain a relationship of mutual support with their public school system.

The study guides and lesson plans integrate Bible study, prayer, and worship to articulate the rich heritage of Christian wisdom in its theoretical and practical dimensions. The guides can be used in a series or individually. You may download and reproduce them for personal or group use.

Download the entire Schools in a Pluralist Culture issue and the set of five Study Guides. Or, download individual pieces by clicking the titles below.



Hymn and Worship Service

Inspirational Pieces

Book Reviews

  • "Teaching about Religion in Public Schools," by Todd C. Ream
    • Kent Greenawalt, Does God Belong in Public Schools?
    • Robert Kunzman, Grappling with God: Talking about Religion and Morality in Public Schools
    • Warren A. Nord and Charles C. Haynes, Taking Religion Seriously Across the Curriculum
  • "Spiritual Nourishment for Teachers," by Sheila Rogers Gloer
    • Ginger Farry, A Teacher's Prayerbook: To Know and Love Your Students
    • Michele Howe, Prayers for Homeschool Moms
    • Vicki Caruana, Before the Bell Rings: 180 Inspirations to Start a Teacher's Day
    • Susan O'Carroll Drake, Morning Meetings with Jesus: 180 Devotions for Teachers

Study Guides and Lesson Plans (Download the set of five Study Guides)