VRI paper

The VRI (visit to a religious institution) requirements for the course now has a few options. The main aim of the VRI paper is for you to report on your engagement with a religious institution (Buddhist, Muslim, Jewish, Christian, or Hindu) and dialogue with an insider and show how this has impacted your thinking. Here are two options for how you can engage an insider view:
A. In-person dialogue: Safely visit with a member of another religious institution outdoors and stay six feet apart while wearing a mask. You are to ask them very broad questions such as “Share with you what it means to them to be a Hindu, or Christian, or Muslim. What is most important to being Hindu or Christian or Muslim in your view? What do they wish others new about their religion?” Make sure to take notes. Preference should be given to local religious institutions in your area but it is not required that it be local. If you can’t find a local institution feel free to use the REL 223 religious institution list and make contact with them as well as set a date for your appointment. All institutions on this list have already been contacted by representatives of the Saint Leo University Center for Catholic-Jewish Studies’ Interreligious Study and Dialogue project so they should be aware that Saint Leo students might be calling them. NOTE: If you have difficulty for some reason you may interview a friend who is a member of one of the religions studied in class. The religion you engage must not be at all affiliated with a religious tradition that you are personally are already religiously affiliated with. If you are a Christian do not engage another Christian denomination. You must engage another religion entirely. Focus on what their religion means to them. Then talk about whether their view of their religion helped you to see any gaps in your understanding of that religion, and whether this impacts your understanding of your own tradition.
B. Dialogue by phone or video conference: Instead of dialoguing with them in person, please set up a dialogue with them by phone or video conference. You are to ask them very broad questions such as “Share with you what it means to them to be a Hindu, or Christian, or Muslim. What is most important to being Hindu or Christian or Muslim in your view? What do they wish others new about their religion?” Make sure to take notes. Preference should be given to local religious institutions in your area but it is not required that it be local. If you can’t find a local institution feel free to use the REL 223 religious institution list and make contact with them as well as set a date for your appointment. All institutions on this list have already been contacted by representatives of the Saint Leo University Center for Catholic-Jewish Studies’ Interreligious Study and Dialogue project so they should be aware that Saint Leo students might be calling them. NOTE: If you have difficulty for some reason you may interview a friend who is a member of one of the religions studied in class. The religion you engage must not be at all affiliated with a religious tradition that you are personally are already religiously affiliated with. If you are a Christian do not engage another Christian denomination. You must engage another religion entirely. Focus on what their religion means to them. Then talk about whether their view of their religion helped you to see any gaps in your understanding of that religion, and whether this impacts your understanding of your own tradition.
C. Insider Chapters of World Religions in Dialogue textbook: If you still have difficulty finding a insider to interview in person, or via phone or video conference, then you can choose to write a paper on one of the insider chapters from the course textbook. The paper should report on what that insider says are the key themes of their religion from their perspective (not yours). Focus on what their religion means to them. Then talk about whether their view of their religion helped you to see any gaps in your understanding of that religion, or of your own tradition.