what do you wish to explore in your essay?
Sources: Timothy Beal, Religion in America: A Very Short Introduction (2008) James Baldwin, The Fire Next Time (Penguin Random House,  1992)
Lyz Lenz, God Land: A Story of Faith, Loss, and Renewal in Middle America (2019)
Your essay should be 4-5 pages double spaced with standard margins.
Citations: You should sure to cite all quotes and paraphrases and information derived from sources. For these essays, you will be using course readings and materials (no additional research is expected or required) and you may use in text citations in the form of (Author, p. #) and then include the full bibliographic information in a “Works Cited” at the end of your essay
Your essay should have a clearly stated “agenda” – what do you wish to explore in your essay?
Your reflection will explore some aspect of the theme of “insiders and outsiders” as introduced in the course materials for weeks 4 and 5. The core readings are from Beal, Religion in America, and Lenz, God Land. To select a focus for your essay, you might refer back to the reading questions in each of the Week 4 and 5 Module Overviews. Readings have addressed the development of evangelical culture, which often asserts a claim as the core of American identity, as well as those who are often left out or unwelcome in these white, evangelical spaces. Readings have explored the merging of religious and political/national, gender/sexual, and racial/ethnic identities. Any of these could provide a starting point for your reflection.
You should choose 2-3 ideas or passages from the course materials that relate to your chosen theme. In your essay, you should explain your selection criteria, your understanding of what the source is conveying. Your essay should “connect the dots” between these sources – this is where your unique contribution comes in – how do these sources speak to each other? How do they challenge or support each other? You may also bring in your own experiences and how they have led you to agree or disagree. Does your experience offer another “data point” for the argument/idea being conveyed by the authors?