March Madness’14: Christ & Culture Bracket

Culture Making: Recovering Our Creative Calling by Andy Crouch (InterVarsity Press, 2008) is one of many books which first come to mind. What are the most helpful resource on a “popular”, “academic”, and “disciplinary level”? Please let me know if you’d like to join the team by writing a book review or a piece on higher ed in general for the blog :)

 

Page in dynamic development as we explore the most pressing issues for the Christian to engage when journeying in higher ed during March Madness ’14 and in months/years to come. . . . To God be the glory!

Voting is at ESN March Madness ’14.

Christ and culture

3) U.S. culture and Christianity

– The difference between American culture and Christianity.

– Diversity: As the nation is becoming more diverse (ethnically, religiously, including bi-cultural families), how do we as a church and society deal with the differences What is unalterable, what is negotiable, and why? Do we understand, let alone appreciate, the opinions and perspective of the newcomers? Should they adapt and adopt white American traditions, should they maintain their own separate communities, or is there a third way?

– Diversity of perspectives/ no single Christian worldview – Vinoth Ramachandra (http://vinothramachandra.wordpress.com/2014/02/16/beyond-worldviews/): “Clearly Christians whose “worldview” has been shaped by one context will have a somewhat different operational map of reality from Christians whose worldview has been shaped within another. There is no one single Christian worldview …. Hence the need to converse across our differences and divisions.”

14) Realizing justice in action

– Morality: How should I live?

– Do “positive rights” exist? “Negative rights” include the right to not be put in jail without a fair trial by jury, the freedom of the press (the right to not be censored by the government), the right to not be kidnapped or murdered, the right to not have one’s property stolen, etc. So-called “positive rights” include the right to free education, free healthcare, free food, free unemployment benefits, etc. However, presumably someone has to pay for these items. Is it possible to provide positive rights without infringing on negative rights?

– What is the best way to care for the poor and marginalized in our society? Is it by giving them money (e.g. welfare, food stamps,etc), no questions asked? One hundred fifty years ago, slaves in the USA were considered sub-human property and could be mistreated without consequences. Today, we consider that barbaric. Seventy years ago, Jews in Germany were considered sub-human and could be mistreated without consequences. Today we call that genocide and consider it barbaric. Today, millions of unborn children per year worldwide are being killed, with no legal consequences. Is it possible that this will be seen as immoral from the vantagepoint of future, more enlightened generations? If not, why not? If so, what can we do to change things, to make our society a more just, humane, wise, and moral society?

– As I reflected on this project, I heard a very lively version of Isaiah 58 resounding in my head: “Day after day they seek me… *as if* they were a nation that does what is right ( God’s voice dripping with irony)…. ‘Why have we fasted,’ they say, ‘and you have not seen? Why have we humbled ourselves, and you have not noticed?’ (hear whine whine whine)… Is this a day acceptable to the Lord?“ (hear God roaring after reprimanding his people about self-centeredness and quarreling, performance and posturing…) ;-)

Basically, I think that if Christians want to be taken seriously in the academia, we have to stop talking and posturing and arguing about theology and/or denomination… And instead, incorporate the “walk” in the talk… In other words, I think Christians should lead the way in God’s way of “fasting”: “to loose the chains of injustice and untie the cords of the yoke, to set the oppressed free and break every yoke”…

So first and foremost, I think Christians should model and engage with social justice in academia; investigating how to conjoin caring and intellectualism; ethics and critical thought; activism and theology etc. Those are discussions I would like to hear more about, and are also discussions that I feel would really engage non-Christians.

– I would the echo the concerns about justice at many levels in our world.

I would also suggest that issues of access to education are significant; as are issues of cultural and ethnic diversity-both at the systemic and individual levels-further dividing into the micro and macro aggression levels.

These are all happening, and the complexities are overwhelming and divisive at the both secular and faith based institutions.

6) Secularism

Secularism as a cultural construct. Most cultures are not secular, so what makes secularism the “preferred” worldview for academics?

11) Defining relativism

– Is all morality relative? and, Does ‘being tolerant’ of another person’s beliefs mean that you must affirm their beliefs as equally true or valid?

– The complexities of relativism–too often relativism is reduced to a grade school “the neighbor kid gets to stay up late why can’t I” sort of discussion, but that is not what relativism is.

– Morals: Where do they come from, and are they absolute or relative? In our increasingly pluralistic society, how can we decide on one set of morals and laws to guide the nation? How much power should the federal or state government have to enforce the opinion of the majority, or of a powerful minority, on localities, religious groups or individuals that may not agree?

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Tom Grosh IV

Enjoys daily conversations regarding living out the Biblical Story with his wife Theresa, four girls, around the block, at Elizabethtown Brethren in Christ Church (where he hosts the Christian Scholar Series), on campus as part of InterVarsity Graduate & Faculty Ministry (serving fellowships such as the Christian Medical Society/CMDA at Penn State College of Medicine), online as the Associate Director of the Emerging Scholars Network, in the culture at large, and in God's creation.

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