To “Know Thyself” You Must “Know Thine History”

Many people today are invoking history—sometimes erroneously, sometimes prophetically—in arguments about our future. Historic elections, historic unrest, calls to honor this history or rewrite that one. We are reminded daily that we are literally making history every day. Perhaps more than ever fostering our students’ understanding of themselves as a part of history is crucial to our efforts to prepare them to pursue a fulfilled life.

When I ask my students to write a religious autobiography, contextualizing their personal story in US religious history, they struggle to recognize a context beyond their immediate family because they have not been taught to think of themselves as embedded in history. If students do not learn to understand themselves as not only a product of history, but potential makers of history, we have neither prepared them to fully understand who they are nor to authentically understand or make for themselves a place in this world.

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Vocation 101 video resource

In leading faculty and staff workshops on vocation at the NetVUE campuses of Illinois College and Carthage College, I have used this short video to spark conversation. Although the video definitely broadens the scope of vocation beyond specifically theological callings, it does make explicit references to God and to Jesus (it was produced by the Fund for Theological Education). This is always a delicate balance. Continue reading