One of the important parts of Common Eating as a course, is finding ways for the students to work together. The only problem with this is that I have a natural aversion to anything that resembles a group project. This is in part because I am an introvert among introverts. I’m also very independent. On my two choice Enneagram test I scored an 88 as a number 5.
I’m adding my course outline here as well, as it’s too short for a post on it’s own. You can find it at the bottom of this post.
When it comes to an idea like a course on Common Eating, it may seem a little odd to start with laying out a marking structure before deciding on what shape I would like such a course to take. My reasoning for doing this however, is before I go about the work of course design, it seems to me that I want to know if I can come up with something that will pass academic muster as well contain useful and practical information and skills for ministerial development. As far as I’ve observed over the years, the two don’t have to exist in tandem with each other.
Going through the post again, I find that as I continue to develop my thoughts on eating together, I’m also to think better about what these assignments can accomplish. As I’ve said from the very beginning, this course is meant to be practical in terms of it’s impact on ministry. I keep trying to refine the assignments to make it so.
So what appears below is a marking scheme, combine with a little bit of explanation. The value may not add up to 100%, because I want to be able to play with the various components somewhat as I go along.
Assignment 1: Joint Cooking Assignment (10-15%). This is intended to essentially be a marking gift. If you do the assignment you will likely get full marks. There are a couple of caveats. I intend this to be a limited budget, limited ingredient assignment. No one will be marked on quality, (depending on who your classmates are you may be judged, although they should remember, judge not lest you be judged). Where you can lose marks here is by going over budget or going beyond the allowable ingredients. This assignment is about learning how to cook and eat together, there are no bonus marks for culinary skills. If there are few students, arrangements for the meals on weeks when students aren’t preparing will be made so that students don’t have to do more than one meal during the class.
I’m more convinced than ever that priests and ministers should all be able to cook at least a very simple meal. I think this is important because while sharing food together is good, so is preparing food together. Learning to work together in a kitchen is a good way to help build trust among the students, and later to help a pastor build trust with parishioners.
Also, as I’ve been reading more and more food books, the theme of cooking as an expression of love is one that comes up time and time again. Cooking for each other may help students express their love for each other.
Assignment 2: Visit to Cook for/with and Eat With Clients of a Local Community Food Program (10-15%)
This assignment would have two components to it. The actual visit, and the submission of a 3-4 page theological reflection on the visit.
This could also incorporate aspects of food justice into it. For example how healthy is the food that clients are receiving. Another area that could be expanded upon is looking at the ways in which different food programs treat their clients. Are there behavioural expectations that exist(ie, does one have to sit through a Bible Study, or even a general lecture)?
Beyond the assignment itself, it may be a good idea to have a debriefing at the beginning of the lecture following this class to allow the students to talk about the varieties of their experiences.
Assignment 3: Organizing and Leading One of The Eucharists that Are Part of the Class. (10 – 20%)
Each student would be required to organize the weekly Eucharist that is part of the class. Depending on number of students this might have to be a team assignment as well. The value of the assignment would depend mainly on the number of people preparing each week. For students whose traditions don’t allow them to conduct the whole Eucharist, arrangements will need to be made to provide an appropriate individual as necessary.
This is still the trickiest part of the whole course. Particularly for those in the Anglican tradition. One aspect of this course is that I envision myself as the professor(my academic qualifications might make that difficult), in which case there would always be a priest present.
Assignment 4 – Exegetical Exercise (20%) Students will be required to take a Biblical Passage dealing with a meal (there are more than the last supper), and present an exegetical paper on it. The paper should show interaction with the text, understanding of the cultural issues at play, understanding of the setting in relationship to the religious activities of Israel or the Church depending on where the passage is taken from. 4-6 Pages.
I may actually exclude the Last Supper from this assignment. However, I think that would mean I would need an assignment that deals strictly with the last supper. Thinking about the cultural issues at play would also help students to translate old texts into contemporary contexts.
Assignment 5 – Book Report (15%) A report on one of the books from the bibliography. Book report should contain general overview of the book, theological perspectives gained/questions raised by the book, and practical ways for implementing the ideas contained in the book. 4-6 Pages.
The books do not need to be specifically Christian in nature. In fact I’d kind of hope they weren’t. Instead I would hope students could take any food book, and interact in theological fashion with the book.
Assignment 6 – Plan a community meal working under your local church’s kitchen committee. (25%)
The assignment is what it says. The student would get together with the local church’s kitchen committee, and with them overseeing the process would plan a community dinner. The minister/priest supervising the student’s ministry will need to be in on this planning process. Where there is no kitchen committee the student would be responsible for the organization under the supervision of someone appointed by the priest/minister. Afterwards the student would be required to submit a 3-4 page theological reflection.
One thing that priests and ministers are taught very little about on their road to ordination is their relationship with various groups within a parish. Part of this lies in the fact that when it comes to learning the ins and outs of parish life, is that the previous generation seemed to be taught that the best way to learn about parish life is to let the up and coming priests and ministers make as many mistakes as possible and then laugh at them and say, that’s how I learned.
This to my mind is a stupid and unproductive approach, as it leaves the newbies with a negative experience. As a new priest/minister, you are going to make mistakes no matter how much guidance. Multiplying those mistakes does no good for anyone.
So that ended with a possible 110%. This allows for some room in the way the assignments are graded. This also calls for between 14-20 pages of written work. Again, these are just suggestions, if anyone has other ideas I’d love to hear them. As well, if there are ideas as how this could be tightened up academically, I’d love to hear them as well.
Week 1 – Introduction and Overview
Week 2 – We Are What & How We Eat
Week 3 – Common Eating in the Old Testament
Week 4 – Common Eating in the New Testament
Week 5 – The Eucharistic Meal
Week 6 – Thanksgiving in the Meal
Week 7 – Ferial Eating
Week 8 – Fasting and Feasting (Corporate Focus)
Week 9 – Food & Drink
Week 10 – Food & Hospitality
Week 11 – Taking the Invitation to the Highways and Bi-ways
Week 12 – That Pork was Lovely Mrs. Brown. OH! It was Chicken?
Week 13 – Extending the Table
So there you have them, the 13 topics that I hope this course will cover. They, like the rest of these ideas are provisional, but I think I can make a cogent case for being able to spend a 3 hour class session on each of these topics. Again, depending on class size, the material needing to be covered, we will have to work out how this all fits in a three hour time frame.
Again, I welcome any and most comments. You can comment in the comment section below or send me a tweet @anglibubs.
Please feel free to leave the suggestions in the comments section below.