I have done almost nothing to prepare for this class I'm teaching Tuesday night in Arizona (and am counting on nobody involved with that class stopping by this blog...)
The thing with my bereaved friends not only threw me for a loop personally, but I've also spent hours and hours with them since in happened instead of hours and hours preparing my lesson. That's the right choice, of course, but I'm hoping I'll be able to stay focused tomorrow and pull it together. I'd like to come out of the process with a two-hour lesson plan, with a lecture, some small group discussions, a handout, a PowerPoint presentation... oh yeah, and I should probably bring some books to sell and literature to distribute. Am wishing I spent a day on this a few weeks ago or got a head start on it when I was in California.
The previous lesson in this course is about the rhythms of life in a Muslim community - family, honor, hospitality, community gatherings, fasting and feasting. I've taught it several times. When we were developing the course I left my stamp more on that lesson than any other, and even wrote several of the articles (though only one bears my name).
This one, on the other hand, was shaped according to the brain waves of my coworker whose name is on the cover of the book, and I don't quite track with him here. The topic is the spiritual world of Muslims - popular or folk religion. I have story after story about jinn, amulets, magic, and all the things people all over the world look to to protect their families from harm. But since these are stories I've picked up doing sociological research they tend to be from a Muslim's point of view.
For this class I'm supposed to analyze all that stuff and provide a "biblical" perspective. I think what that really means is that I need to help the students feel the ambiguities, recognizing that there's probably a lot more going on here than some little ol' superstitions that we can just dismiss. That maybe our Muslim friends are tracking on something when they believe the world is a spiritual place, not just a rational one, and that the Bible was written to people who think that way too.
However, if I just shake people up and leave them with more questions than answers that may not be the best. I want to present the material in a coherent, thoughtful way, and that may be a little tricky.