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Religion and Theology Reflection Paper

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Your task in this assignment is to observe a religious ceremony (any ritual, festival, or worship) and write a reflective paper about that experience.
You may observe a ceremony of a different denomination or sect of your religion as long as the ceremony is different in
some way from what you are used to. For instance, if you are Roman Catholic, you can observe a Pentecostal worship
service, as the liturgy is vastly different.
This assignment is about observation, not participation. You may observe a ceremony in video form, if necessary, but it is
better to witness the ceremony first hand so that you may use all of your senses to describe the event.
Reflective Writing
Reflective writing is very similar to journal writing, but there is less focus on you as the writer, and more focus on the event
and an academic reflection of that event. You are more likely to use readings from the course or other outside sources to
support your analysis of the event.
Reflective writing consists of two main parts: a description and a reflection. The writer must first describe the event or
situation that is the topic of the writing. The description should be objective—facts and detailed observations. Then the
writer reflects on the experience with personal feelings and opinions, followed by an analysis of those feelings.
What is the point of reflective writing in an academic setting? Reflective writing helps you examine why you think the way
you do and thereby provides a learning experience. By careful analysis of the facts of an event or situation, and then the
same careful analysis of your own preconceived ideas and whether they are strengthened or changed by the experience,
you will be able to gather and observe practical and personal evidence to support or challenge what might be an abstract
idea in your profession or in the area of academics being studied.
This is one of the few times in academic writing when it is appropriate to write in the first person.
Checklist for reflective writing:

 Introduction
 Detailed description of event or situation
o Use as many of the senses as appropriate in your description.
o Is there any background information known that would be relevant to share?
 Analysis of the situation and of your feelings
PHL 2350, Philosophies of World Religions 3
o What were your initial thoughts?
o Are there any connections to be made between this experience and previous experiences?
o Has this experience changed your assumptions/values/attitudes/beliefs on the subject matter?
o What do your changed feelings/understandings about the topic imply for you personally or professionally?
 Identification of future learning opportunities
o Reflect on how the insights you gained from creating this Reflection Paper might affect the way you view your
actions and thoughts in the future.
 Conclusion

It is important to understand that reflective writing is not a simple descriptive essay. It is an exercise in critical thinking and
a method for creating meaning out a seemingly abstract concept.
Your response should be at least 400 words in length and use APA format (to include a title and reference page). No
abstract is necessary. All sources used, including the textbook, must be referenced; paraphrased and quoted material
must have accompanying citations.

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