Final Essay Assignment Description: “The Culture of God”
From the syllabus:
4) “The Culture of God:”
This essay offers students the opportunity to demonstrate what they have learned about “the
way of Jesus and everyday life,” and draw comparisons to their own experience, context, beliefs
and interests. This essay will integrate course content and include reflection on the student’s
primary source reading.
The final essay is an opportunity to demonstrate your comprehensive learning over the course
of the semester in relationship to these learning outcomes:
1. Identify and evaluate key characteristics of North American cultural trends, texts, and
practices that constitute everyday experience (PLO 2, 3);
2. Articulate and apply key insights from Christian theology and spirituality explored in the
class, in dialogue with everyday experience (PLO 1, 2).
3. Propose practical ways of bringing congruence between Christian faith and action in a
particular context (PLO 4).
4. Relate models of Christian spirituality to your own religious, philosophical, or cultural
assumptions (PLO 5).
A strong final essay not only shows effective integration of content, but effective use of the method
introduced through our study:
Content and Rubric:
Your essay will be evaluated according to the rubric that follows. I will not expect you to integrate all of
the course content provided as examples, but I do expect that you will effectively integrate relevant
course content under each heading. Your paper should be informed by our readings and discussion
through the course of the semester.
Rubric Checklist Comments
Overall Points: XX/40
❏ An “A” essay analyzes and integrates course content and
independent research. The essay demonstrates attention
to method, cultural analysis, and practical theology. It is
well written and conforms to academic standards for style
❏ A “B” essay shows a proficient understanding of course
content, and demonstrates independent research and
effective communication. It evidences use of practical
theological method. It is well written and uses consistent
❏ A “C” essay shows a basic understanding of all required
content, and demonstrates average effort in
communication and/or integration of course content. It
may represent a lack of attention to method or consistent
errors in style.
❏ A “D” essay shows an undeveloped understanding of
course content, may lack specific elements of the
assignment description, or may demonstrate consistent
errors in articulating course content or communicating
❏ Identify a question about North American Culture
relevant to everyday life (praxis) as you experience
❏ Describes a cultural attitude, practice, or text with
reference to cultural characteristics encountered in
❏ Offers (compelling) rationale for exploring this topic
❏ Everyday life: Provide a cultural description of this
issue/event/individual/attitude, employing your
learning about macro-level patterns and micro-level
practices in American culture.
❏ Macro: Cultural horizon, the good life, and cultural
❏ Modernity (cultural horizon)
❏ Bellah and individualism (cultural
❏ Weber’s value spheres (cultural horizon)
❏ Micro: Scott on the study of everyday life (identifying
❏ Christianity and cultural religion in the U.S. (religious
❏ The Way of Jesus: Use course content about
Christian spirituality to offer a theological
evaluation of your subject. Insights employed
should show relevance to your question, and clearly
integrate your learning from this course about the
way of Jesus as micro-level practices and macrolevel patterns. Include a description of your primary
source as a source in this discussion.
❏ A framework for the Christian cultural vision,
including one of the following:
❏ the “cultural horizon” revealed in God’s
saving acts, and/or
❏ the “cultural values” (good life) of the
Kingdom of God, and/or
❏ the “cultural identity” of discipleship.
❏ An articulation of your approach to the relationship of
Christianity and culture, drawing on Crouch.
❏ A characteristic of Christian spirituality from Hartin’s
❏ Spirituality of Matthew’s Gospel
❏ Spirituality of Mark’s Gospel
❏ Spirituality of Luke’s Gospel
❏ Spirituality of John’s Gospel
❏ Insights from your individual primary source
❏ Use of one additional primary source author beyond
your individual primary source assignment
❏ Dorothy Day
❏ Theological Reflection: Place your cultural and
theological insights in dialogue,
❏ Demonstrates theological understanding of focus,
❏ Comparison or contrast between American
and Kingdom cultural visions, or
❏ Theological critique of focus, or
❏ Constructive theology/spirituality of focus
❏ The Way of Jesus and Everyday Life (praxis):
Propose a Christian approach to everyday life in
relationship to your question, as it might be
implemented by yourself or others who share your
❏ Concrete: Describes implications for everyday life in
terms of roles, responsibilities, routines, relationships.
How is this proposal lived?
❏ Integrative: Recognizes relationship of proposed
practice in macro/micro terms for American culture
and/or Culture of God. Why is this proposal relevant?
❏ Contextual: Identifies implications of behavior in
relationship to cultural characteristics (e.g. rulebreaking consequences). What is the cost of this
proposal for participants?
❏ Constructive: Provides critical assessment of this
proposal from author’s (student’s) perspective. Do you
believe your proposal to be realistic and/or beneficial?
❏ Essay meets assignment description for quality and
content of academic writing
❏ include two sources beyond assigned readings and
primary sources, (including one reference article), and
❏ meet academic standards of quality, format, and style.
❏ Essays should conform to the Turabian style guide
(notes and bibliography).
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