Spirituality in the classroom sparks open discussion

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As a private Christian university, California Baptist University allows students and professors to have the freedom to openly discuss their faith and in turn how that faith influences academics.

While preparing students to be successful in their careers, CBU also incorporates the Core Four in all classes, one of which is that all students are biblically rooted.

Multiple areas of learning are affected when the gospel is incorporated into the lectures given by teachers.

Some may say the faith aspect of CBU casts a bias on each topic, while others are grateful to be educated through the lens of Christianity.

“I love knowing that I could easily talk to any of my teachers about any hardship I am going through and they would respond with love and support,” said Jacqui Kosher, freshman pre-nursing major. “I think it’s something that should not be taken for granted because it’s a privilege not a lot of people have.”

However, Elaina Thompson, freshman undeclared major, said she feels that sometimes the Bible is incorporated into lessons that do not necessarily have anything to do with faith.

“I think there should be a balance between trying to make everything about Christ and teaching students about secular things. Not all subjects have to involve the word of God, so at times it can come across as trying too hard,” Thompson said. “However, it’s really nice to feel comfortable talking to your professors about what you value most.”

There is clearly a drastic contrast between Christian and secular universities. As someone who teaches at CBU and Riverside Community College, Darlene Vennemann, adjunct professor of communications, has developed an appreciation for the ability to express her faith in the classroom.

“Not having to walk on eggshells when it comes to talking about faith has proved to be a huge blessing. I get the chance to pray for my students and try to take the pressure to be perfect off of their shoulders,” Vennemann said.

Dr. Erin Smith, assistant professor of psychology, said she always takes her faith into consideration when teaching.

“I always try to ask myself three main questions: How does (psychology) impact what I believe as a Christian? This is what I understand about faith and religion. How does this tie into psychology? How can Christianity enrich the concepts that psychology has proven to be the case?” Smith said.

Smith said these questions help guide her lectures and force her students to think critically.

“This helps me be intentional with what I say about religion in this field and to not overshare my faith. At the end of the day, I do not really care whether or not my students agree with me. I just want them to think deeply and search for truth,” Smith said.

About Amber Jackson

Asst. Lifestyle Editor

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