This is your final assignment for the course. It is an integrative paper that seeks to bring together the various threads of this course into a final expression of your learning across the past several weeks. Its aim is to answer the questions: What does the Bible say about suffering and/or disability and what does this mean to me? As you have learned in this class, the answer to this question is complex. You should formulate your own particular answer to this question that genuinely reflects your learning and interrelates it with your own life and future goals.
This paper will address the following topics:
1. The language and paradigms (medical, social, cultural) that we rely on when speaking about disability and/or suffering.
2. The nature of the Bible and basic practices of biblical interpretation.
3. The contributions of the seven biblical perspectives that we have covered in class (Genesis & Creation, Old Testament Narrative & Law, Lament in the Bible, The Old Testament Prophets, Jesus & the Gospels, The Letters of Paul, and Revelation & The End). Plan to emphasize these in the paper and to support your points with biblical citations and explanatory comments.
4. How our theological perspectives shape our understanding of scripture and the experience of suffering and/or disability. In this class, we have given special treatment to the issue of theodicy (or, why does God allow suffering) and the development of character modeled after Christ.
5. Respectful attentiveness to the experience of those facing suffering and/or disability as a real dialogue partner in our process of understanding and applying Scripture.
Upon successful completion of this assignment, you will be able to:
This assignment will ask you to do two important tasks: integrate and reflect. Sometimes we throw those words around like we all know what they mean and entail. That often leads to misunderstandings and shallow thinking, so let us look at each task in a bit of depth.
When we “integrate,” we mean to bring various parts together in a coherent whole. That sounds easy enough, but there are a number of ways to go about this task. Let’s talk through a few.
Think of these as various strategies that you can draw on in your integration. You will do well to use a variety of them as they fit the various things that you find in Scripture.
Reflection is can also seem deceptively familiar and simple, but profound reflection has four elements:
Thus, reflection is a way of taking stock of how God has been at work in your life through the Bible with the guidance of the Holy Spirit. We pray that you have sensed some of those moments of movement and even transformation in this course, so this is an opportunity to recognize them and unpack what has happened in your life
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