Last call for nominations . . . let the madness begin ;)

Which topics must Christians be prepared to engage in today’s higher education?

What topics deserve attention not just during ESN’s March Madness, but throughout the coming months/years?

Please help us extend sixteen “tickets to the Dance” by sharing nominations. AND by passing along the invitation to all your friends, colleagues, and acquaintances so they too can join in March Madness ESN style 🙂

The only pre-tournament analysis I have to offer is that it’s so hard to create short “team names” to fill in the brackets that I’ll work on including in the initial post descriptions of the teams based on the superb nominations which we have been receiving. AND the topics are so important, that we’re going double elimination style 🙂 Although I had already been considering double elimination, the mention of it by one of my Mathematics Faculty friends — based upon March Madness ’13 — confirmed this leaning 🙂 Note: If the numbers of March Madness ’13 are of interest, I encourage you to review Andy Walsh’s The Best Christian Book of All Time: By the Numbers.

As for brackets at present I’m considering

1) Higher Ed

2) Religious Concerns

3) Christ and Culture

4) Faith vs. Academia.

BONUS: Part of an InterVarsity fellowship group (undergrad, grad, faculty, focused ministry)? Please encourage their participation. How do we get this idea “into the paint”? If your fellowship “takes it to the hole” with 10 or more topics gathered through the collaboration of at least three members of your fellowship by Wednesday, February 26, midnight (ET) your “team” will be entered for a prize of $100 of InterVarsity Press publications. ESN will randomly select three winners from the teams who “bring their game to the court”. As no-one has entered, this might be worth a quick try . . .

How do you submit as a team?  Include your fellowship group’s name and collaborators (first names) with the nominations AND email your fellowship’s name/contact information to ESN. Whether or not your team “hits the shot from downtown” with regard to the nominations prize drawing, you’ll be a part of the conversation which extends sixteen “tickets to the Dance”. AND maybe one or more of your nominations will be announced on the February 28 Selection Show 🙂 Now that would we be fun, wouldn’t it? Let’s get our game on! To God be the glory!

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

Tom Grosh IV

Tom enjoys daily conversations regarding living out the Biblical Story with his wife Theresa and their four girls, around the block, at Elizabethtown Brethren in Christ Church (where he teaches adult electives and co-leads a small group), among healthcare professionals as the South Central PA Area Director for the Christian Medical & Dental Associations (CMDA), and in higher ed as a volunteer with the Emerging Scholars Network (ESN). The Christian Medical Society / CMDA at Penn State College of Medicine is the hub of his ministry with CMDA. Note: Tom served with InterVarsity Christian Fellowship / USA for 20+ years, including 6+ years as the Associate Director of ESN. He has written for the ESN blog from its launch in August 2008. He has studied Biology (B.S.), Higher Education (M.A.), Spiritual Direction (Certificate), Spiritual Formation (M.A.R.), Ministry to Emerging Generations (D.Min.). To God be the glory!

More Posts - Website


    mikstelltheolog commented on February 26, 2014 Reply

    I know that many have talked about the faith and science idea, but I think behind that is the question of faith and reason as a larger issue. The larger issue behind that is the question of authority as was mentioned already. So it is not just about the issue of finding a balance point between faith and science (or metaphysics and physics) and even discovering a way that they won’t end up battling with each other, it is what is the relationship between faith and reason as a larger question and the larger question is the nature of authority. Authority from the human level – does the scientist have authority beyond their own scientific conclusions – as well as questions of the nature of revelation as authority.

    I also think the question of vocation is an important topic which undergrads want to know – does my work matter to God and to the Church?

    Finally, since I am a theologian, I think in general the nature of the Church is one that evangelicalism needs to wrestle with. Is the Church necessary to my life or is it just an add-on which I can take or leave? In my mind, it is the coming crisis in evangelicalism.

    John Mulholland commented on February 26, 2014 Reply

    Please forgive me if I make too many nominations. However, each of these is worthy of consideration, I do believe. Though I have “found” each of these in the writings of others, I have sought for ideas like these because of the realities I have encountered both in academic work I have done at The University of Chicago, and academic work I have observed while working here.

    Learning a voice, Earning a hearing – Nicholas Wolterstorff
    – “I was a participant in a shared **human** enterprise, rather than a combatant against the enterprise. That was crucial.”

    Shalom/ human flourishing as the goal of academic work – Nicholas Wolterstorff
    – “…It eventually became clear to me that there is a biblical category of flourishing, of shalom. [It is] “peace” in the New Testament, but ‘eirene’ in Greek is a pretty weak translation of what the Old Testament means by shalom. It means flourishing.
    That’s what a Christian college [Christian scholarship] should be about. Not just planting thoughts in people’s heads and getting them into professional positions – but flourishing, in all its dimensions….”

    Common grace in the academic enterprises of the sciences and humanities – Abraham Kuyper
    Abraham Kuyper. Wisdom & Wonder: Common Grace in Science & Art.
    – “…precipitating thinkers like Thomas Kuhn, Kuyper speaks of the critical role of communities in these fields, arguing that the social structures that create such communities of learners are, in fact, a divine gift. Clearly, Kuyper provides a compelling theological account for not only gifted individuals, such as the Steve Jobs and Francis Alÿs’s of this world, but also the social and cultural structures that make the blessings that come to us through the sciences and arts possible….”

    Diversity of perspectives/ no single Christian worldview – Vinoth Ramachandra
    – “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.”

    Reverence – a comprehensive vision of Christian engagement of the university – Nicholas Wolterstorff
    – NW speaks of “reverence” on p.1, and then p.4-5 – reverence for wood, for machinery, for family, for the life of the mind, et al.
    Near the bottom of p.4, NW writes, “In the tenth book of his Confessions, Augustine imagines the things of the world speaking, saying to him:
    ‘Do not attend to us, turn away, attend to God.’
    I was taught instead to hear the things of the world saying:
    **Reverence us**; for God made us as a gift for you. Accept us in gratitude.”

    Disciples/ Apprentices of Jesus on university campuses – Dallas Willard
    – “..Thirdly, make a point of specifically treating our subject matter in relation to God. I suggest that at least one whole lecture in each course in a Christian university should be devoted to the relationship of the subject matter to God. One whole hour, specifically devoted to a consideration of how the specialized knowledge of the academic discipline being studied in that class fits into the comprehensive whole of the reality of our knowledge of God…. [a very good friend in a secular university does this, speaking of ultimate issues in the field]
    “Fourth, devote one week of research each year to exploring the connection of my subject matter to fundamental Christian doctrine—”mere Christianity.” After a few years you might not need this and that’s good, you can go fishing or whatever you like to do. But keep at it until it’s done,… until it’s done…..”

    • Tom Grosh IV commented on February 27, 2014 Reply

      Thank-you John!

      Your “three-pointer” got in right before the buzzer. A winner!

      The material you provided to flesh out your nominations will serve us well as we dig deeper into conversation spurred by the tournament. As time permits, I will draw together some form of glossary to assist those participating.

      With the focus of the actual tourney voting being, “What is the most pressing issue for the Christian to engage when journeying in higher ed?” — I will ask people to share “Why?” they voted for particular topics/issues, thereby providing more opportunity to uncover the richness of all the “teams” (topics/issues) on the court. Lord willing, this will spur additional (even other) streams of pertinent conversation. Yes, I will encourage the creation of physical hubs of conversation 🙂

      Note: In a tournament related post I will offer a list of all the nominated topics so that they can be explored further in the future across a variety of platforms. Maybe we can even create some posts which are more like “hubs of conversation” to generate thought and leads on particular issues that require more focused attention in the future, e.g., my request on The Charles Malik Society for Redeeming Reason ( for recommendations of “The Best 2-3 resources on faith and science . . . 1-2 www’s and 1-2 books. Nothing one sided, too academic, or too facile.” I will use this material not only as a recommendation to a fellow staff, but as material to assist in updating This is a glimpse of an older page which can be adapted to come under the rubric of “A Theology of Higher Ed” and “Serving students in higher ed”.

      Once again “Thank-you John!” Please stay tuned and actively sharing your insights. To God be the glory!

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.