Stanley L. Olsen
Stanley L. Olsen

Augustana College
Sioux Falls, SD

Stanley L. Olsen
Chair of Moral Values

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2002-2003 activities


Interim 2003 Theme: Reproduction and the Family

Capstone 492C: Reproduction and the Family:
Scientific, Sociological and Religious Perspectives

Never before has the human race had the power to control and assist the process of human reproduction in ways that challenge the very nature of what it means to be a human person and consequently what it means to be part of a family. These issues raised by the life sciences and the new reproductive technologies are emotionally charged and hotly debated in the public arena. The new reproductive technologies raise major issues that we will discuss in class: (1) Our social and kinship patterns, ex: what is the family?; (2) What it means to be a human person, ex: status of the embryo; (3) The limitations and opportunities of human creativity; (4) Our future as a human race. However, we find that many people are ill-equipped to make informed decisions about these issues because they are both scientifically, ethically, and religiously illiterate. The sciences of reproduction (biology, medicine, and evolutionary biology) and reproductive technologies lead us to examine how our religious and spiritual convictions inform our moral decision-making. While Christian theology will be one focus of the course given the institutional setting of Augustana College, attention will be given to other religious and spiritual traditions (especially in Judaism and Islam). The goal of the course is not to offer 'answers' to these difficult and ambiguous issues, but to open the door to continuing education and conversation so that we create informed citizens who can participate in the ongoing maze of decisions that will be made about the future of humankind. Instructors: M. Diggins, R. Hanson, A. Pederson

The themes of this course will be coordinated with programming in the Chapel of Reconciliation.

Spring 2003

Spirituality and Vocation: Religion 297

This is a one-credit course offered to students and others interested in pursuing reading and discussion about spiritual discernment and vocational identity. We will meet together once a week at a mutually agreeable time to read and learn from each other.

The time of the course is TBA. If faculty/staff/administrators are interested in joining the students for certain books, or the whole course they are most welcome. They should send an email to Ann Pederson and she'll put them on the class listserv to announce the times when we'll meet (most likely early mornings, noons, and late evenings).

Here are the books for this course.

Jean Pierre De Caussade, "The Sacrament of the Present Moment." Harper San Francisco, 1989.
Howard Thurman, "The Centering Moment." Friends United Press, 1984.
Thomas Dubay ". . . And You are Christ's." Ignatius Press, 1987.
Lee Hardy, "The Fabric of This World." Eerdmans, 1990.
Parker Palmer, "Let Your Life Speak." Jossey-Bass, 1999.
Margaret Wheatley "Turning to One Another: Simple Conversations to Restore Hope to the Future." Berrett-Koehler, 2002.
Anne Lamott, "Traveling Mercies: Some Thoughts on Faith." Anchor Books, 2000.

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