Faith Thinking Foundations: Online Religious (Meta)Literacy Education Within a Congregational Context06/05/2015
Online religious literacy education framed within metaliteracy in a congregational context is a little-researched topic. Congregational religious educators tend to focus more on in-person educational opportunities regarding static content and facts about religion or devotional materials and methods than providing members with the educational processes, tools, and framework needed to explore their faith questions and other theological and religious topics for lifelong learning from an integrative critical-devotional perspective. Available literature within the subject area of online religious and theological education generally focuses on the educational endeavors of seminarians, clergy, and students within K-12 educational institutions, thus leaving unaddressed the unique concerns and potentials of serious online religious and theological education for congregational members. The current study addresses this omission via qualitative and quantitative evaluation of an online religious literacy course, Faith Thinking Foundations, at Liberation Christian Church in St. Louis, MO, through narrative research, interviews, and surveying congregational members in their use of and attitudes regarding the course. The author examines available literature for online education within the areas of religious and theological studies, including that regarding evaluation and assessment of online courses, religious, and theological curricula. The author proposes that serious online religious and theological education is worthwhile for laypeople as well as seminarians, clergy, and other religious scholars. In conclusion, this project, by examining the role that the Faith Thinking Foundations online course has on congregational members, offers new insight on the potential of online religious learning for all of God’s people.
Faith Thinking Foundations, metaliteracy, information literacy, online education, religious literacy, theological literacy, religious education, Christian education