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Jessica Fortner
ENGL 1102
Reflection Paper
May 6, 2014
My Feedback
The first feedback I chose was my response to Saras Project Proposal. I thought Sara had
a really good handle on what she was talking about so my suggestions would not change
her paper drastically.

The next feedback I chose was the feedback to Jennas bibliography. Jenna struggled a bit
and we all really tried to help her out. Once she figured out what she was researching, she
got a good handle on it.

This final feedback is my response to Yasuarys weebly page. She is a super sweet girl and
the website really reflected it. I wanted to make sure she knew she did a great job!

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Received Feedback

I REALLY struggled with this paper. I gladly took whatever advice I was given. The Girls
in the Back did an awesome job helping me. This feedback was from my topic proposal. I
had a hard time settling on a specific topic. This is when my topic still included Catholicism
as category by itself.

I chose Saras feedback to my Evaluative Bibliography. She has helped me out so much,
not just in this class, and she gives me honest feedback and helps me develop as a writer.

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In-Class Writings

Inquiry: Working knowledge to focused knowledge

My inquiry project originally was just the difference in the cultures of Germany and
America. It has evolved into the religious differences in these countries, specifically
Christianity and Catholicism. So far I have learned that America is much for religious that
Germany. However, even America is starting to lose church members. The decline in
involvement in the church is a topic of discussion throughout both religions. I dont know
that there are specific misconceptions about my topic but maybe more of a lack of
knowledge. My question is important to me because I am a Christian and I find religion as a
whole fascinating. Also, the more aware people are of the decline in faith the more likely a
solution will come. I have discovered that church tax has a lot to do with the decline of
religion abroad. Having to pay for something that they arent very involved in in the first
place is a major turn off for the incredibly frugal Germans. Another thing that is pushing
Germans away from faith is the recent child molestation charges against priests. They want
to stray from a religion that is gaining such a bad reputation. I am studying abroad next
semester so learning about how I will be able to practice my religion is incredibly
important. I am seeing a lot of the same information said in different ways the more I

Developing a focused knowledge from a working knowledge (and actually realizing it was
happening) was an awesome experience. I figured out that I knew more about my topic
than I thought I did. I was able to give facts and talk about how I felt about them.
Originally having to talk a whole minute seemed like such a daunting task but in the end
choosing specific things to talk about for 5 minutes was a hard decision.

Writing in the Middle

Every time I write a paper my process is different. For the most part I gather information and
write the paper right there on the spot and usually go back later to revise. I procrastinate so a lot
of my work is last minute. My process is fairly similar to Tims. I rarely actually sit down, read
everything in my articles, process the information and write my paper. I know I should but I
dont know if its just the fact I dont know how to work like that or just simply that I dont want
Whether people want to admit it or not, everyone judges other peoples appearance. This statistic
doesnt really surprise me because we live in a very shallow, superficial society. In my opinion,
this is pathetic. Judging someone solely on looks is ridiculous. Not allowing their personality to
be a factor limits what you can learn about them. Women are especially catty and probably judge
peoples looks more than men.
Women pick people a part. I dont think men do it to the extent that women do. I am a little
surprised. Maybe this means that women also took personality, job and other factors into
account. Men just look and appearance and move on. This could mean that men are more
superficial while women delve deeper and discover more things that make more men
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Communication is everything in relationships. It is the way we tell others how we feel and they
tell us how they feel. Interpretation is a major issue when it comes to communication. What one
person intends to be a helpful comment another might see as a hateful remark. This kind of thing
can cause major issues and in most cases neither party understands where things went wrong.

It really surprised me that women actually took something other than looks into account.
From my experience, it almost feels like girls dress up to impress other girls because boys
dont notice the little details. This helped me notice when I start to judge people based on
appearance and then I remember Im only getting a small portion of who they are. Im now
making a conscious effort to be better about that and not jump to any conclusions.


1. I never feel like I spend enough doing any assignment so I wish I had spent more
time researching and reading.
2. I am pretty satisfied with my articles. I think they give a wide array of information
for my research. They allowed me to come from multiple angles rather just one.
3. I used the citation option on the librarys website
4. I feel like I could have given better responses. I have a hard time summarizing things
so the summaries arent so great. I feel that my responses were decent because they
were my opinions so there were no right or wrong answers. I think all my sources
were credible so I didnt really write a lot about it. I stated that I got them from the
library and JStor so they are more than likely credible.
5. I think that I need to do a lot more research in order to write my paper. There is so
much more to discover before I can write the paper.

I never realized what a difference stepping back and giving a self-assessment makes. I was
able to pin point what I needed to work on and the progress that I had been making. I have
a hard time actually taking the time to do the little things. Im such a big picture person
that I find things like this tedious, thus the reason I have never done them. Now that I have
done it, I may never stop. I was able to track how far I have come and I think that is great!

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First Intro
Religion has been a part of my life since day one. I was born on a Tuesday and was in
church the next Sunday. I went to 3 years of Christian preschool and then to Christian
Kindergarten. I was saved and baptized at the age of 5. For the first sixteen years of my life all I
knew was Christianity in America and now I am interested in other religions at home and around
the world. I am studying abroad next semester in Mannheim, Germany and plan to practice my
religion while there so I thought this would be a great topic to investigate. It accomplishes
learning about a new religion and what to expect in Germany in August.

Second Intro
Passion is something that comes from within and determines how you live your life.
People are passionate about many different things. I am passionate about my relationship with
the Lord. By no means am I perfect nor do I try to be. Christianity is all about the journey to a
wonderful destination. I will be living abroad next semester so it is important to me to know
everything I can about the cultural differences, especially ones that are so close to my heart. I am
going to learn how religion, specifically Christianity and Catholicism, differ in Germany and
America. The inquiry into this topic will help me better adjust to my new home and leave less
room for surprises.
Third Intro
As time progresses, we are straying from the traditional way of life. Today traditional
gender roles are being blurred and religion is becoming less of a part of everyday life. As a
Christian and a future resident of Germany, I am curious to see how this affects Christianity and
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Catholicism in Germany and America. Learning how religion is a part of a culture is an
important part of learning about the culture as a whole. In doing this I will be able to have a head
start on the changes I will encounter while I am abroad.
I tried really hard to make all three intros very different. That was kind of a difficult task
because I needed three completely different things to say essentially the same thing.
Looking back at anything I have done I always think that I could have done so much better
and this is no exception. I think that I did what the assignment asked me to do but there is
always room for improvement. My classmates all gave good feedback and the majority
agreed that my second intro was my best so thats the one I chose for the final paper.

Christianity and Catholicism in Germany and America
Religion has been a part of my life since day one. I was born on a Tuesday and was in
church the next Sunday. I went to 3 years of Christian preschool and then to Christian
Kindergarten. I was saved and baptized at the age of 5. For the first sixteen years of my life all I
knew was Christianity in America and now I am interested in other religions at home and around
the world. I am studying abroad next semester in Mannheim, Germany and plan to practice my
religion while there so I thought this would be a great topic to investigate. It accomplishes
learning about a new religion and what to expect in Germany in August.
As a whole, America is much more religious than Germany. This country was built on
religious freedom while Germany has had established religions for centuries. In most of Europe,
a church tax is still required. Many church leaders in Germany, of both Christianity and
Catholicism, wonder why more and more people appear to be leaving the church. This is because
in order to avoid this tax, many people are renouncing their faith. Another reason Germans are
leaving specifically the Catholic Church is because the recent stories about priests molesting
children. To avoid being categorized with pedophiles, more Germans are leaving the church.
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Luckily in America we have the freedom to choose who or what we wish to worship so it would
make sense that this is the more religious country.
One of my articles that I found to be extremely fascinating was about the psychology
behind religion. It talks about how introverts tend to be more religious than extroverts. Introverts
are concerned with their inner self and spend more time thinking and meditating on things while
extroverts are more interested in the social aspect of life. An extrovert might go out while an
introvert stays home and works on their relationship with the god they choose worship. This goes
hand in hand with the differences in Germany and America. Germans are very blunt, factual
people. They have a hard time with the idea of eternal life because it is not something they can
see or prove. Americans tend to put faith in things fairly easily, or at least easier than Germans,
so it is easier for us to believe that if we give our lives to God and live for Him we will live an
everlasting life with Him in the Kingdom of Heaven. Another way the article looks at the
psychology of religion is the ages when people are most religious. The younger a person is the
more likely they are to believe in something they cant prove. As children, they havent seen the
bad things that happen in life that someone in their thirties has so they are usually more willing
to put all their faith in God. This study has been replicated in the United Kingdom, United States,
Canada, Australia, Ireland, and France and the results of each individual study coincide with
results from the others.
Another aspect I find entirely fascinating is the idea of the effect World War 2 had on
religion, specifically in Germany, but also some religions in America. Last year Holocaust
survivor, Dr. Susan Cernyak-Spatz, came to speak at my school. I went to a private Christian
school so I knew religion was going to come up in the question and answer segment of her visit.
She was asked if after all that she has been through if she still believed in God. She answered in
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a gruff, matter of fact tone and almost angry tone that there was no way there was a God,
because if He existed He would not have allowed the suffering endured by those in the
concentration and death camps. He would not have allowed her to be separated from every
member in her family and He would not have allowed her mother to be killed right in front of
her. Although this saddened me, I could understand why she felt that way. Many people step
away from religion in times of tragedy. I have always been taught that God will not give us more
than we can handle but in some cases people feel that they have been given too much to handle,
like in cases of the Holocaust. This causes them to become angry and step away. While
discovering how history has an effect on religion today, I stumbled across an article about
teenagers in the 1990s in Germany that began taking on the personas of Nazis. Known as the
Skin-head teens this group of teenagers felt oppressed by the religion and lifestyle they were
being forced to take on so they began rebelling the only way they knew how. Not only does this
go with how World War 2 effected religion but also the psychology behind it. These teens were
angry and knew their ancestors had felt that way too and solved their problem with hate. A closer
look showed that these skinhead teens were just regular kids with something to prove. They
did normal things of the nineties teen but with a twist. They rebelled against organized religion
and politics. This just proves how history repeats itself and something that happens today can
have major effects 100 years from now.
It is hard to believe that religion can have an effect on gender roles but according to a
study done by Professor Lee Ann Banasak from Pennsylvania State University, the more
religious a person is the more traditional views they hold. Someone who considers themselves to
be a member of a specific church tend to follow biblical example that a wife should be
submissive and keep the home while the man goes out to work and provides monetarily for the
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family. The more progressive people come the more we stray from what we have been taught
and we figure things out for ourselves. A modern person in todays society is less likely to take
part in organized religion and more likely to entertain an egalitarian view. Banasak discusses in
her article that East Germany has more control over what citizens believe in and what kinds of
jobs are available to women. This is in order to maintain control over a traditional society. West
Germans have the option to practice what they please and women have the opportunity to work
outside the home. People who share the egalitarian view tend to lean to the Left and have smaller
families while those holding the traditional views are more conservative and have larger families.
The older the person the more likely they are to agree with the traditional lifestyle. The gender
roles are very different in East and West Germany. The lines are very clear in the East while they
are blurred in the West. While Christianity promotes a traditional lifestyle Catholicism almost
requires it. This is also proving to be a turnoff. The idea of a modern woman is one who works
outside the home during the day and comes home to take care of her family at night. This goes
against the practice of Biblical times. The majority of women in the Bible were submissive
servants to their husbands and took care of the children and home. While todays woman might
find this practice to be oppressive, its just the way it was. I am a conservative Christian so I tend
to lean toward the more traditional gender roles. However, growing up my family was the
farthest from traditional. I hope to raise my family in a more traditional way than I was raised.
Finding out even the small amount that I have so far is proving to be incredibly
interesting and appropriate for me. I am learning so much not only about my religion in my
culture but also my religion in another. I am really interested in history, specifically the World
War 2 era; so learning about how this point in time has affected a specific thing now is
fascinating. This point in history changed the way the world viewed women and it is interesting
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to see how things are continuing to either progress or go back to the way things were before
women had to take control. I had no idea psychology had such a major effect on religion. It
makes sense now that it would but just looking at it from the outside I would have never guessed
that. Also, how a person is raised affects every part of their being, religion included. So whether
someone is an introvert or an extrovert, liberal or conservative, determines how he or she sees
God. Looking back I now understand the reasons I feel the way I do about things. I have grown
up in a very conservative, traditional wannabe, Christian environment. So it would make sense
that that is how I want to raise my family. I am also an extreme introvert so when I would rather
sit alone and digest something new than go out and be around a ton of people is clear to me. I
know we are not supposed to judge or compare ourselves, but when looking at my relationship
with God and my understanding of His word compared to my extroverted friends and family, it
makes sense that mine appears to be stronger. I am not perfect by any means, but I really enjoy
taking something and meditating on it for a while. I find that this helps me better understand
things. I hope to continue to learn more about my topic not only while I continue to write but in
my everyday life from here on out. Religion is not a destination it is a journey. It is a journey
with a pretty spectacular destination but what matters is what you do along the way. I look
forward to comparing what I have learned in my research with real life experiences next fall in
Mannheim, Germany.
At this point in the project I was ridiculously frustrated. When I get frustrated I tend to
just give up so there is a lot more I could have done with this it at this point. No matter how
hard I tried, I just could not get the hang of the format of this paper. It has been beaten
into my head to leave person bias and experience out of a research paper. I realize that this
is not a research paper, but an inquiry paper. However, I am very stubborn and set in my
ways and in trying to change my process I learned that Im not always that way by choice!
I still dont know if I accomplished what I set out to but I got a lot of person growth and
understanding in the process.

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My Statement:
"The Protestant state church is fairly dead. The percent of committed Christians in Germany is
maybe at 3 or 4 percent."
This statement is part of a common theme in my research. Germany is having a religious crisis
and leaders in the Christian and Catholic communities are trying to find ways to solve this
problem. Germans are still being charged reglious taxes and some feel that this might be part of
the problem. Also, as more stories come out that priests are abusing children, the further people
want to get from the church.
Original passage:
"The Protestant state church is fairly dead. The percent of committed Christians in Germany is
maybe at 3 or 4 percent. Eighty percent belong to a church nominally, Protestant or Catholic. A
mere 0.5 percent belong to a free evangelical church. The percent of people believing in life after
death is fewer than 50 percent. It's what a German philosopher, Ruediger Safranski, calls "cold
religion," very left-brained, very cognitive, focused on rituals and membership but not on
personal commitment. Sometimes the mainline bishops say we need to be more mission minded.
But they don't put any money into it."
My paraphrase:
Germans tend to be more logical, factual people. They are less likely to believe in eternal life vs.
an American that have faith in what they cant see. German philosopher, Ruediger Safranski calls
this misbelief of eternal life and that which they cant see "cold religion". They have a harsh view
on the world which can be seen as cold. Germans are ritualistic and will follow traditions but
they are less likely to make the personal commitment to their faith. Some church leaders feel that
getting involved in missions will be the solution while members dont want to spend the money.

The assignment was to choose a passage from one of your sources and paraphrase what it
says. My original idea of paraphrasing was taking the passage and changing like 5
words. When I learned that that was not the right way to do it I was shocked. This way is
definitely a lot more work! I was able to gain a better understanding of what the passage
was saying and I could talk to someone about it without just regurgitating information. I
think I got the gist of what the passage was saying so I am pretty pleased with this
homework assignment.

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Inquiry Project

Other Ways to Find a Topic pgs. 28-29
I had an idea of what I wanted to do for my project but I didnt exactly know how to
go about finding the specific thing I was going to research. After much trial and
error I decided on a topic. The information on these pages helped make my topic
practical and relate back to me.

Developing a Working Knowledge pg. 34
When researching I know I gain a little bit more knowledge with each step. With
this outline I figured out exactly what I knew. I could organize my thoughts and
information and it was nice and made sense. After this I was able to talk to other
people about how my knowledge was developing.

Getting Into a Conversation with a Fact pgs. 102-103
I never really knew that I wasnt fully understanding what I was reading. I would
just regurgitate the information and that was that. In doing this exercise with the
attractiveness of men and women I got to really delve into why I felt the way I did.

The biggest thing for me in this class was developing a working and eventually a focused
knowledge. I would definitely emphasize this if I taught the class. I think it is a fascinating
concept and I will always carry that with me. Originally I couldnt even imagine talking for
a whole minute and now I could go on and on! It was pretty awesome to watch that
knowledge develop.


I really like the layout of my portfolio. Purple is my favorite color so a lot of things are
purple. I think you can find things fairly easily and its not overloaded with unnecessary
information, less is more in my opinion. I added in some pictures to give it a more personal
feel. I think this project was pretty straight forward so it leaves little room for error. That
is the perfect thing for me! I can follow directions!
My classmates really only suggested that I add pictures and like I previously said, I did
make that change.
I used an online portfolio last semester but much to my dismay, technology has surpassed
me. I struggled with things that should be so easy! I think it turned out just fine but its not
what I originally had in mind.

Looking Back and Thinking Ahead

Writing this paper has made me wonder is there a way to phrase things to get the best results?
Yes, you can phrase things a thousand different ways but there is definitely a way to best
word them. I struggled with this while writing my paper and would phrase and rephrase
until it felt right.

How can I develop my writing skills to become a better writer?
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Practice and feedback. I think my writing skills developed a lot in this class. Having to
write the same thing over and over again seemed tedious at the time but now I look back
and see how much I have changed.

Is it always wrong to use third person?
YES. In this paper especially. I dont think I will ever be okay with putting myself into a
paper. Never. This took my completely out of my comfort zone and I did not like it.
Reading my paper and talking about it makes me realize that this was actually an awesome
way to write. I got to really look at why something is important to me and figure out how to
make people take notice too.

1. Will I ever be able to stray from the writing rules I learned in 8
2. Do professional writers struggle with the same things I struggle with?