When I realized that what I most wanted to do was to teach people about God, I knew that I needed to know a lot more about Him. Knowing enough to practice my faith is important, but teaching requires a much greater depth and breadth of knowledge no matter what topic you're teaching.
That’s when I decided that I needed to get a master’s degree in theology so that I would know have more knowledge and become a better teacher. I moved down from Massachusetts to Virginia and worked in a parish running the religious education program while I finished my MA in Theology at Christendom College. After I graduated, I knew I wanted to continue to study more about Him, so I attended the Dominican House of Studies in Washington, DC. I received an STB* first, and now I’m working on my dissertation so I can finish my STL. * And then… I’m done! At least I’ll be done with pursuing degrees but since teaching always requires a lot of preparation, I get to learn about new topics or delve deeper into topics that I’m interested in or to answer questions from students or create new classes. (*The STB (Baccalaureate of Sacred Theology) and STL (Licentiate in Sacred Theology) are degrees conferred by the Holy See. For more information, please see the descriptions on this website: https://dhs.edu/academics/degree-programs/ )
When I teach classes or give talks, people always want to know how they can learn even more about God.
I always gave them recommendations of books and other resources, but I wanted to be able to do more for them than that. This is why I started teaching online courses, where I can delve deeper into the topics that I love and the share that with others who want to learn. When I teach them in classes or give talks to groups in person, I can only go to so many places at once. What I didn't like was that it put a big limitation in how many other people I’m able to share what I’ve learned.
This is why I started creating courses online. It takes a while to create a course, so in the meantime, I write blog posts.
I called the blog,
Faith, Reason, and Fiction
I thought that summed up the approach I was taking in teaching people about God pretty well.
I love my Faith; it is the lens through which I view everything. To be able to understand it requires the use of reason, which is why I was willing to suffer through the philosophy classes to hone my use of reason :). I had wonderful professors, but philosophy is always challenging because it's the pursuit of the truth and requires us to make distinctions between what is true, and where that truth is sometimes mixed in with error.
Why Fiction? Because I love stories! Fiction has always been my favorite art form.
The way I look at stories now is through the lens of faith with the use of reason to discover the deeper meanings in stories. My interest in discovering the Christianity hidden in fiction began with Harry Potter. As a Christian, I was very concerned about J.K. Rowling's use of magic in the stories. It was in struggling with that issue that my eyes were opened to an entirely new world (and a VERY big thanks to John Granger's blog and books on the subject)! I had never learned about the way that authors used Christianity in stories, unless they were blatantly works of Christian fiction that were written by Christians for Christians and written in a way that it was obviously a Christian story.
Learning how authors have been including Christian symbolism in their stories for centuries was like entering an entirely new world: I now understood what C.S. Lewis said about baptizing the imagination because my imagination had finally been baptized!
That's what I want to help others to have a chance to experience.
This is why teach all three topics; sometimes individually to focus in on certain aspects, and sometimes together to show the unity of all three.
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