Writing a Theological Reflection Paper
SMC1314/Theological Reflection Paper #1: What do we imagine “God” to be?/Dr. Ball This project of writing theological reflection papers on God culminates in the third section of the semester, “God and the human person―Biblical insights,” but begins now in the first section. The purpose of the project is to invite you to think seriously about what we mean (i.e., what you mean and what our culture means) by "God" and the implications for human living that might flow from that. A personal belief in God is not necessary for the project, but you should draw on your experience of faith if you do, in fact, believe in God.The project has two parts, the first being due this month (this Paper #1) and the second later on (Paper #2). Specifically, Paper #1 will respond to this question: In your view, what does the word "God" signify? What is your "image" of God? In other words, what do you assume or suspect God to be like? What characteristics or qualities do you "give" God or assume God to have? Put differently, what is it about God that you believe? And finally, what, if anything, does Godwant? (Note, then, that "image" of God is not limited to a physical image, though it could include that.)
You will return to this question in Paper #2, the details of which will be forthcoming. For now, your response in this Paper #1 represents your own, honest first "take" on this issue, even as it will be considered, thoughtful and well written.
Some further guidelines/criteria for Paper #1:
· Due date: Consult the Course Calendar; 10% of semester grade
· Length: 2 pages, double spaced and stapled; Essay format
· 11 or 12 point character size (even though this instruction sheet is size 8); New Times Roman or Calibri font; 1 inch margins on all sides; indicate what section (letter) of SMC1314 you are in.
· Give a mature, reasoned, cogent account of what you think and feel about the issue raised in this Paper #1 assignment.
· Do not feel that you must have perfect clarity or certitude on your own image of God in order to write the essay, and there is no single, predetermined "answer" to which your essay must conform.
· This is not a research paper. Do not consult outside sources or even texts from SMC1314. The point is to articulate your view, to the best you can discern it, of who or what God is (upon your entering SMC1314). Even people who don’t believe in God have an image of God in their heads―what the notion of God conjures up. (Paper #2 in October will call for the use of SMC1314 texts.)
· Consult Dr. Ball’s ‘A’ Paper sheet for clues to what Dr. Ball thinks an excellent paper looks like.
· Learning Assistance Center/Writing Assistance Center bonus points are available. See the syllabus. Note that the LAC only has a limited number of tutors and time slots, so sign up fast if you intend to use the LAC.
· Well written. Good writing involves more than proper grammar and syntax, but it necessarily includes these things.
· Plagiarism or other forms of academic dishonesty result in a zero for the paper and dismissal from the course. See the syllabus for details on academic honesty and sanctions.
· You are invited―not mandated―to use gender inclusive language, the standard for academic papers in the U.S. (E.g., (1) “humankind” for “mankind” or “man,” (2) “the human person” for “a man”). In other words, when speaking about everybody, seek to avoid defaulting into using a masculine noun or pronoun.
· Note: these instructions are subject to revision
Dr. James Ball
My Image of God
Right from childhood, I have heard God’s name and I have been taught that everything has been
created by Him. As I started to enter my teens, I began to realize that God has become a part of
my life. It is not only about reciting His name or praying to Him, but it is also about loving Him
and seeking His guidance. God has a very significant position in my life. For me God means
love, respect, honesty, humanity, security, peace, mercy, compassion, helper, friend, and the
Holiest one. He also means the savior, the omniscient, the omnipresent and the omnipotent. He is
the owner of everything and He is also the guide to show the right path towards Him and all the
goodness of the world.