Religious education for adolescents in our part of the world tends to respond to "life's big questions" in two opposite ways: Either by avoidance or apologetics. On one hand, many avoid teaching or discussing difficult questions altogether for fear of offending those of different faiths. The result is that religion and spirituality become subjects of fear not to be discussed in polite company. On the other hand, many others seize onto these questions with an apologetic agenda to prove their religious answers are right, while all other contenders are wrong. The result is that there is no conversation about religion, only attempts at conversion.
Is there another way to approach these "big questions" with teens that avoids the pitfalls of avoidance and apologetics? Is there a way to respect and honor the diversity of religious paths, and the distinctness of their ideas about Ultimate Reality, while also affirming what is life-giving and hope-creating? Is there a way to invite adolescents into the study of world religions which is more like a pilgrimage, rather than a cul-de-sac or a one-way street?
About the Instructor: Fr. Nate Bostian has served as head chaplain at TMI - The Episcopal School of Texas since 2010. Prior to that, he was Episcopal Chaplain at Southern Methodist University and director of young adult ministry at Saint Michael and All Angels in Dallas. He's a veteran of a decade of parish ministry with families, youth, and young adults, as well as nearly seven years as a Social Worker, ministering primarily to runaway and abused children. He received his Master's of Divinity from Perkins School of Theology in 2008, and his Bachelor's degree in history from Texas A&M in 1996. Nate enjoys hiking, lifting weights, good coffee, science fiction, and Monty Python. He resides in San Antonio with his wife Kim, and three children: Elise, Taggart, and Vera.