Lanney Mayer, associate professor of education, presented “Integrating Faith with Learning in a Postmodern Age” to a group of about 20 faculty members and students as part of the faculty lecture series Monday in the President’s Dining Room.
College students are forced to make a choice between their decisions on faith and academia while in school, Mayer said.
“This whole idea is very central to the whole La Verne Experience,” Mayer said.
There has to be a two-way conversation about this in order for students to make progress, Mayer said.
Mayer is the regional director of the teacher-education program at the University of La Verne’s Newhall campus.
His educational background is in both education and biblical studies. He has taught in Bible colleges, youth camps and juvenile facilities.
Mayer has also published many articles on student culture.
When Mayer talked about faith, he clarified that what he meant by that is in the sense of trust.
“There’s no place for the in- between,” Mayer said.
He showed models of what he thought were flaws of different types of religious thinking.
He began by talking about the Lutheran faith.
Lutheranism is a major part of Western Christianity and was founded by Martin Luther in the 16th century.
Mayer described them as being closer to Catholicism in beliefs.
“(Lutherans) simply want a conversation to take place between the paradoxes of life,” Mayer said.
Mayer said that the danger in this is that they can have multiple paradoxes.
Mayer continued by talking about the Mennonites and Roman Catholics, particularly the ways their traditional beliefs intersect with the modern world.
“We need to bring back pre-modern awe,” Mayer said.
Mayer said that historians of today are now open to the new, and that truth that involves ethical disposition.
“Ethics is at the center of knowing,” Mayer said.
Mayer ended by encouraging the audience to be aware of scientific development, but to not get caught up in futurism.
“The La Verne Experience is an opportunity for students to not only learn all the academic knowledge that is here, but to integrate it with one’s own values and own reasons,” said Zandra Wagoner, university chaplain.
Al Clark, associate vice president of academic affairs who coordinates the faculty lecture series, said he believes that the word faith is often used too loosely.
“The words that we choose to describe this…makes it a little uncomfortable,” Clark said.
“Even the students are saying, ‘We don’t want to use the word interfaith,’” Wagoner said.
Mayer responded by saying that we need to find common grounds and words for how uncomfortable the terms involved with religion can make us.
The next faculty lecture will take place at noon Monday in the President’s Dining Room and will feature “Technology Use in Higher Education” presented by Director of Assessment and Accreditation Sammy Elzarka.
Ingrid Rodriguez can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.