Education for Continuity and Change by Mary Elizabeth Moore
The history of religious education has been marked by shifts in emphasis between the historical tradition and contemporary experience. The emphasis on historical tradition has been paired with concern for continuity, and the emphasis on contemporary experience, with concern for change. The purpose of this study is two-fold: (1)to call attention to the need for education which creates openings to past, present, and future and which maximizes the integration of these, and (2)to offer a reformulation of Christian religious education theory and practice--a foundation for a new kind of educational ministry in the Christian community. The dissertation is an attempt at model-building. It is a three-part study addressing: (1)the tension between continuity and change which has dominated education; (2)the foundations for a new model of Christian religious education; and (3)the proposed traditioning model with its theory and practices. In Part I, particular attention is given to the issues and potential solutions in the movements within twentieth century religious education. In Part II, attention is focused on the nature of the traditioning community in which theologizing is done and the nature of human persons who are the participants in the educational process. In Part III, the traditioning model is introduced and elaborated in terms of its aims, contexts, and teaching methods, and in terms of its curriculum. The traditioning model of education which is proposed here is one in which the central task is to involve persons in the living Christian tradition. Implicit in this is the idea that traditioning is an active process of passing down and reforming the historical tradition. This takes place in a community which has responsibility for bearing the tradition and living toward the future. The traditioning task in educational ministry has two dimensions--hermeneutics, or interpretation, and transformation. These two dimensions are interrelated, and each is made possible by the other. In the hermeneutical task the educator is engaged in creating openings--that is, in interpreting and enabling others to interpret the historical Christian tradition, the contemporary experience of the faith community and the world, and Christian hope. Hermeneutics provides bridges which link past, present, and future in the total life of the Christian community. Transformation is a changing of persons and culture--a conversion. It is based on what is already present, but it moves beyond that to a new creation. It is a reforming of the world, which derives from the interactions among people and with God and with the world of past, present, and future. The task of Christian religious education is to promote those kinds of interactions that make transformations possible. The task is to facilitate the mating of the old with the new and the hoped for. The hope implicit in the traditioning model is that the movement of the Christian community toward the future will be deeply informed by the past and present, and tht the members of the community will be open to God's transforming power and to their own power as agents of transformation.