ARSC3480-001 (Dr. Denny) Reflections on Readings
Please prepare a typed essay, 1-2 double spaced pages, for each reflection on the readings. List your name, the reading assignment, the thought question you are answering, and the date. For each reading assignment discuss one of the thought questions listed below. Your reflection should start with a brief summary of the readings but consist primarily of more extensive reflections on how the reading relates to community service, the issues listed on the syllabus, and your particular experiences. It should be a cohesive essay, not just answers to specific questions. If the questions listed do not suit you, you may add your own reflective question, but make sure you state it in your paper. Turn in one essay approximately every other each week, before the reading is discussed in class. You should read and reflect on each article even if you are not writing on it.
Chapter 1: Personal Roots and Visions
Who am I?
"We Talk about Money, Our Culture" From Tuesdays with Morrie, Mitch Albom
When you life is complete, what do you want to be able to say about what you've done with your life?
How does the distinction between wants and needs relate to your own life?
React to this quote:
"The little things, I can obey. But the big things--how we think, what we value--those you must choose yourself. You can't let anyone--or any society--determine those for you."
"The Sources of Happiness," From The art of happiness, The Dalai Lama
What are the roles of perception, inner contentment, and inner worth in achieving happiness?
How can you apply the distinction between happiness and pleasure to your own life?
"Three Wondrous Answers," Thich Nhat Hanh
What are the implications of the "Three Wondrous Answers" (e.g., mindfulness, living in the present moment) for community service learning and for finding happiness?
Is there a conflict between Thich Nhat Hanhs "practicing mindfulness" and "living in the present moment," and Morrie's advice for living a meaningful life? Why or why not?
Making Our Lives Count
"The Unknown Citizen, " W. H. Auden, p. 27
"Was he free? Was he happy? The question is absurd." Comment.
"Making Our Lives Count, " From The Soul of a Citizen. Paul Loeb, p. 30
Comment on "making your life count" in terms of individual actions vs. social actions? What are the challenges and rewards of each? Which suits you and why? Why not the other?
"We need to take that all-important step of bringing our private convictions into the larger public arena." Comment
Who am I?
Hazards of Helping
"The Helpinest Woman," From Farewell, I'm Bound to Leave You, Fred Chappell, p. 41
Why do you suppose Angela was the "helpinest woman?" What might have been
the roots and motive of her behavior?
What does the story tell you about excessive helping? When does helping
Is there ever selfless giving? Why or why not? Relate your answer to the story.
"The Lovers of the Poor," Gwendolyn Brooks, p. 53
What is the difference between the "worthy poor" (or the "beautiful poor") and
the rest of the poor (the "unworthy" or "ugly")?
What could have prepared the ladies for loving the poor?
What does it take to love the poor? How does one do it?
Is it better to give offensively or not give at all?
Chapter 2: Foundations for Service
American Individualism & Community
"Self-Reliance," Ralph Waldo Emerson, p. 59
Comment on the following quote. Relate it to the reading and community service.
"The strongest man in the world is he who stands most alone." Ibsen, An Enemy of the People.
Is there a conflict between service to the community and self-reliance? Why or why not?
"The True Meaning of Community" From The Different Drum, M. Scott Peck, p. 67
What is the "true meaning of community?" What are the key ingredients? What is community beyond just neighborhood?
"The Lottery," Shirley Jackson, p. 77
Discuss your general reactions to this story. Relate it to community service.
What has been your personal experience with "communities"? What are some of
the strengths and cruelties you have experienced that are similar or different from the above readings?
From Democracy in America, Alexis de Tocqueville, p. 83
"Aristocracy links everybody from peasant to King, in one long chain. Democracy breaks the chain and frees each link." Discuss this quote and its implication for American individualism and democracy.
Relate this quote to experiences in mill towns of the South, such as McAdenville or Kannapolis, or earlier plantation living. Describe personal experiences you and your family had related to this type of situation.
How are "public associations" connected to American individualism? Why are such associations particularly American?
What are examples from today of the public associations that de Tocqueville observed in the 1830s?
"If men are to remain civilized or to become more so, the art of associating together must grow and improve in the same ratio in which the equality of conditions increases." Comment.
Role of the Church
"On Being a Good Neighbor," Martin Luther King, Jr., p. 87
Who is your neighbor? How should you respond? Why
What are different types of altruism? Relate these to the life of Christ.
"Righteousness, Not Charity," Jacob Neusner, p. 93
According to Judaism, why, how does one do charity?
How does Judaism compare with other religious traditions?
"Love and Justice," June Bingham, p. 97
According to Neibuhr's Christianity, what is the relationship between God's Grace and our service to other people?
Discuss agape and its relationship to service and justice.
"The Transformation," Eknath Easwaran, p. 105
Describe someone you know personally who exemplifies Gandhi style selflessness or stage 5 and 6 "principled" behavior.
Chapter 3: Varieties of Service
Acts of Caring
Service & Systemic Change
Chapter 3" From Pedagogy of the Oppressed, Paulo Freire, p. 117
"It is not our role to speak to the people about our own view of the world, nor attempt to impose that view on them but rather to dialog with the people about their views and ours." Comment and reflect. OR
What are the roles of love, humility, faith, mutual trust, hope, and critical thinking in dialog and service?
Letter from Birmingham Jail," Martin Luther King, Jr., p 123
"One has not only a legal but a moral responsibility to disobey unjust laws." Comment, reflect. OR
The moderate clergy of Birmingham were a prime target of Dr. King's letter. Were his criticisms not targeted on his "friends?" Comment, reflect. OR
"Freedom is never given voluntarily by the oppressor; it must be demanded by the oppressed". Comment, reflect.
Simplicity & Service
"Learning, Focus, Peace," From When true simplicity is gained, Marty & Micah Martin, pp. 133, 134, 135
"The voice of true simplicity prompts us to discern the foolishness of looking out only for ourselves and thus overlooking both the common good and our own human limits." Comment, reflect.
Comment on "Live simply so others can simply live." What does it mean to live simply?
How will your "living simply" serve/affect others? What are some concrete ways you could simplify your life- materially, emotionally, or with regard to time management?
The Global Community
Chapter 4: Discernment
Taking Initiative, Assuming Leadership
"Put Yourself in the Picture," Promoting Community Change, H. S. Homan, p. 139
What is involved in providing initiative and assuming leadership for promoting change? Is this for you ? Why or why not?
What Do I Do with My Life