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By Rev. Katie Solter, Religion Faculty and Associate Chaplain
Becoming Dr. King’s “Beloved Community”
Religious scholar Karen Armstrong writes: “Religions have functioned throughout human history to inspire and justify actions that range from heinous crimes against humanity to nearly unfathomable acts of compassion, courage, and generosity.” In my role as a religion teacher and chaplain at St. Mark’s, dedicated to the work of building an anti-racist school, I strive to provide a balanced representation of religions. We must understand religion’s complicity in the “heinous crimes” committed often in the name of religion’s presumed superiority of the dominant group throughout history, while exploring the important role religion plays in fighting oppression and promoting the values of non-violence, social justice, and equality as part of the “unfathomable acts of compassion, courage and generosity” religion inspires.
The Role of Religion on January 6, 2021
The events of January 6, 2021 serve as a poignant example of these contrasting ideas. That morning we woke up to the news of Jon Ossoff’s and Raphael Warnock’s historic victories in Georgia’s run-off Senate elections, with Ossoff becoming the first Jewish Senator and Warnock, the first African-American Senator elected in the state of Georgia. In St. Mark’s required religion class, Judaism, Christianity, and Islam (JCI), we discussed the rise in anti-Semitism this year and Jon Ossoff’s run for senate told a familiar story of how Ossoff’s opponents deployed anti-Semitic tropes and stereotypes to undermine his candidacy. An infamous campaign advertisement, uncovered by the Jewish newspaper The Forward, exaggerated his features to make him look more stereotypically Jewish. Yet, on this occasion, these age-old tactics failed as Ossoff achieved his improbable victory in a traditionally conservative state.
At the same time, Rev. Rapheal Warnock’s election highlights the role the Black church continues to play in the political arena given the record turnout in Georgia for Black voters. As Rev. Dr. Cynthia Hale writes: “Since the end of the Civil War, the Black church has been a critical institution within the pro-democracy movement. Collectively serving as a general for justice, the Black church continues to be a refuge for the oppressed and a force with which to be reckoned on the issue of racial and economic equality through the power of the ballot.” Senator Warnock is senior pastor at Ebenezer Baptist church in Atlanta, where Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. once served and his election represents a victory for the work Dr. King and the Black church have played in promoting the spiritual and social justice principles of Christian belief.
The election of these two candidates alone–as examples of the important role religious understanding plays in the current political landscape– provided pertinent discussion topics in a JCI class at St. Mark’s. As we all know, later that afternoon, this day of historic victory for Jews and Black Christians in Georgia, quickly turned to a day of infamy. The attacks on the Capitol building highlighted the role religion can play in perpetuating hatred and White supremacist ideology, with Christian flags and banners waving side by side with anti-semitic and racist ones. In just a few short hours, we have two milestone events in our political history that illustrate the sometimes divergent, even contradictory roles religion can play. My job as a teacher of religion in an historical and educational moment that calls upon us to create an anti-racist school is to finds ways to place these moments in a broader intellectual context so my students can have a more balanced and nuanced understanding of religion’s complex legacy.(more…)
By Waverly Shi, Celine Ma, Hudson Ramirez, Alex Chen, Emma Simon, JB Clarance, Tommy Flathers, Duncan McCarthy, Holden Leblanc, Elon Stefan, Trevor Neff, Peter Nelson
To view slideshow of student images and skill employed, CLICK HERE!!
Fundamentals of Photography: Syllabus
A. Making Great Pictures
- what makes a great picture
- understanding your camera
- selecting the right lens for your photo
- using shutter speed purposefully
- photo shoot – front circle: take a series of photos of something that’s moving and show how different shutter speeds produce different results
B. Aperture and Depth of Field
- understand the inverse relationship between aperture and depth of field
- sharing and critique of photos from previous week
- photo shoot – cemetery: use aperture to create depth of field
- found or ambient light
- introduced light and flash
- the color of light
- sharing and critique of photos from previous week
- photoshoot – reservoir trail:use lighting creatively
By Dr. Colleen Worrell, Director of The Center for Innovation in Teaching and Learning
Deep Work in Practice at St. Mark’s (Part 3)
Deep Work is a skill that the Center is hoping to build into each student’s “learning playbook.” The first two LEO articles (Make Deep Work Your Super Powerand Productivity, Neuroscience, & Deliberate Practice) aimed to introduce the term and core concepts to the St. Mark’s community. This third article focuses on deep work from the perspective of two St. Markers, 6th Former Sophie Haugen, and Classics teacher, Dr. Harwood. Each of them responded to the following questions:
- What are some ways that you deliberately practice deep work at (or beyond) St. Mark’s?
- What is the value of deep work?
- What recommendations do you have for St. Marker’s who’d like get started with deep work?
Sophie Haugen, 6th Former:
I am not an expert on “doing” deep work, but I do try to practice it and I have learned about its importance, especially as a student at St. Mark’s where our schedules and lives are extremely packed and do not easily enable us to practice deep work all the time. Last year, I fell into a multi-month-long rut of frustration and lack of satisfaction from everything I was doing in my academic courses. I was putting in excessive time and what I perceived to be effort and hardwork but was not seeing the results in my grades or my actual understanding/engagement with the material. (more…)