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ERIC Number: EJ938431
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2004
Pages: 4
Abstractor: ERIC
Reference Count: 10
ISSN: ISSN-1360-3124
Critique as Homiletics: A Response to Alan Block
Mayes, Clifford; Mayes, Pamela Blackwell; Williams, Ellen
International Journal of Leadership in Education, v7 n3 p293-296 2004
Alan Block's (2004) major criticism of the authors' study revolves around the notion that they have attempted to quantify their students' sense of calling in an existentially inauthentic, spiritually delimiting way. For, as he puts it, "identifications of presence are impossible." The authors cannot accept this pronouncement if only for the simple reason that doing so would probably bring to a screeching halt every creative activity from artistic production to phenomenological inquiry, all of which more or less aim at not only "identifying" presence but actually "enabling and embodying" it--and doing so in a way that might help others engage in similar projects. Indeed, the entire phenomenological turn in educational research rests upon just these assumptions and hopes--assumptions and hopes that inform their own work. The authors contend that Block seems to object to their study because he sees embedded in it an affront to the specific historico-theological framework that matters so deeply to him. His evidence of this is that their work is putatively riddled with a New Ageism that he has uncovered in their simple reporting of the fact that, for some of the participants in their study, figures of Christ as well as mythic figures and some characters from popular culture seem to have spiritual significance. As an exposition of his "particular" interpretation of a "particular" faith, Professor Block's pointed pronouncements make for interesting homiletics. Unfortunately, they have, in the authors' view, very little, if anything, to do with "their actual study"--one that has, happily for Block, provided him an occasion to expound on the deeper mysteries and finer points of faith and salvation. Certainly, Block has the right to offer such views--yet, a response to an exploratory bit of educational research is hardly the most fortuitous or appropriate format in which to do so. His "response" is simply all out of proportion to the matter at hand. The authors' study was simply an attempt to look at how some of the deeper commitments of a few members a specific faith community might come to bear on each participant's reflectivity and practice, and whether any patterns seemed to naturally emerge in this phenomenological analysis. To do this, the authors used a concrete too--one that was both literally and methodologically "grounded"--to allow those commitments to emerge in as authentic a way as possible--and one that they hoped would encourage other researchers to inquire into the important synergy of faith-commitments and educational practice in their "own" local contexts and specific communities of discourse.
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Opinion Papers
Education Level: Higher Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A