religion; Christianity, Judaism, Islam, Hinduism, Buddhism

For this assignment you are expected to interview a member of a religion other than your own and report on this encounter. This means that if you are a member of one of the broad religious categories in the textbook you should learn about the religion of another religion entirely. For example, if you are Catholic or Protestant, you should encounter a religion other than another kind of Christianity. The same goes for Judaism, Islam, Hinduism, Buddhism, and so on. This may involve some effort ahead of time to meet someone of another faith. Learn what you can about the other religion: what people do, how it is represented, what significance their actions take. If you conduct an interview, ask the other person what they believe and how they live out their faith. Ask specific questions. You must also present some documentary evidence of your encounter. For an interview, a name and contact email or phone number would suffice. The Interview Paper This assignment involves writing up your experience in a paper. This report should be 6-8 pages in length (typed, double-spaced, using 12-point Times New Roman font or equivalent). This report should very briefly describe the religion in question before describing your experience. It should include the major features mentioned above, but also mention passages in the textbook that present or explain these observations about the other religion. For example, you might observe a group of Buddhists meditating. You would note this distinctive feature of the group and say something like: The textbook says that when a Buddhist is meditating he or she focuses on “a physical object or even a blank wall, but usually the focal point is the breath” (176). I later asked one of the members how they meditation and they explained that they pay attention to their breathing. When I grade I will be looking for clarity, detail, organization, and thoughtfulness in your essays. It helps to proofread what you have written before you submit it. You may wish to ask someone to read over your essay before submitting it to spot any areas that might need revision. As always, what you write needs to be in your own words, supplemented by references to the textbook. Copying and/or pasting from other sources without citing them properly is plagiarism and will result in failing. To summarize: Your Field Report should contain the following elements: An introduction identifying the encounter. This provides a context for the essay. Identify your interviewee, his or her religion, the time and place of the interview, and any other relevant details to help us understand the context of the interview. A brief summary describing the religion you encountered, quoting the textbook as necessary. Avoid using internet sources, though it is acceptable to sparingly quote from an official source affiliated with the religion, provided you cite it clearly. Organize your essay around four main features that you learned from this interview. For each feature, describe what you observe or learned. Correlate this with what you have read (see the example above). You can describe more than four features, of course, but at least four should be clearly defined in some detail. Conclude the essay with some thoughts or observations you may have about your experience. References for citations made. This may be just the textbook, but be sure to cite any other sources used. Submit some documentary evidence. For an interview, provide the date and location of the interview as well as the interviewee’s name and contact information (phone number or email will suffice). Finally, please remember that all written material should be in your own words. Copying and pasting from online sources in place of your own work is plagiarism and will result in a zero. These essays will be reviewed by Turnitin software to check for potential instances of plagiarism. Hospital Chaplain Interview Option: Since I have quite a few students who are planning on a career in Nursing and other health-related fields, I will make available the option to interview a hospital chaplain for this assignment. If you choose this option, you will need to ask your subject about what he or she does as a professional, how he or she manages to counsel people of different faiths, how he or she was trained, and perhaps what memorable experience he or she has had as a chaplain. This is different because you will not focus on his or her religious beliefs so much as youwill focus on his or her professional commitments as a spiritual counselor. Also, note that the textbook does not present any information on counseling. Since part of the assignment is to correlate what you learn with what you read, you should browse two or more of the following websites. These are the websites of professional organizations that train and accredit chaplains. You should also cite this in your essay in place of citing the textbook. Websites to visit: American Association of Pastoral Counselors ( Association for Clinical Pastoral Education ( Healthcare Chaplains Ministry Association ( Association of Professional Chaplains ( College of Pastoral Supervision and Psychotherapy ( As always, if you have questions, please ask me. Advice for Interviewing: As with the other project, it is often easiest to approach someone you know. Be respectful and ask politely if you can interview them. Set up a time when you can meet and focus on the interview. If you meet someone you don’t know well, make sure you meet in a public place, such as a coffee shop. Come prepared. Make sure you have read the textbook chapter on their religion – it shows you are interested and invested. Also, come up with some questions ahead of time. A good strategy might be to start with some basic questions about their beliefs from the textbook, then move to more open-ended questions. For example, if you were interviewing a Hindu you might ask about his or her belief in karma – “Do all Hindus believe in karma?” or maybe “I’ve learned that there are a lot of gods in Hinduism… Is that true?” But also prepare questions that ask about how they live their religion – “What are your favorite holidays?” “Were you raised in your religion? What family figure shaped your beliefs?” for some examples. The best interview is the one where the subject being interviewed gets talking, telling stories, genuinely wanting to share. One more thing. This report should be an essay, not just a transcript of your interview. Use the interview as data, as examples for the points in your essay. Your essay is about what you learned about how people live in this religion, based on your interview – but also cross-checked with the textbook

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