March Madness’14: Religious Concerns Bracket

He, Qi. Dream of the Magi, from Art in the Christian Tradition, a project of the Vanderbilt Divinity Library, Nashville, TN. http://diglib.library.vanderbilt.edu/act-imagelink.pl?RC=46121 [retrieved January 5, 2014]. Original source: heqigallery.com. 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.

Religious Concerns

2) Integrating faith and field [through our understanding of faith, reason, authority]

– Common grace in the academic enterprises of the sciences and humanities – Abraham Kuyper (http://thegospelcoalition.org/themelios/review/wisdom_and_wonder_common_grace_in_science_and_art
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….”

– Reverence: a comprehensive vision of Christian engagement of the university – Nicholas Wolterstorff (http://www.calvin.edu/125th/wolterst/w_bio.pdf). Wolterstorff speaks of “reverence” on p.1, and then p.4-5, i.e., reverence for wood, for machinery, for family, for the life of the mind, et al. Near the bottom of p.4, he 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.” Editor’s note: Does this fall under 5) Finding and Keeping Vocation OR truly deserve its own category?

– The relationship of academic disciplines and faith. For instance, Eastern Univ. is starting up a graduate program in Christian anthropology. This is not merely anthropology that addresses Christian themes, but an anthropology grounded on Christian ontological and epistemological principles. Is such a move possible in other disciplines, and if so, how would it affect those disciplines?

– How can Christian scientists practice excellent science while avoiding “scientism” or materialism? How can we create what C. S. Lewis called “regenerate science?” Editor’s note: I confess that this involves more of the concerns in 12) Theology and nature (and probably other categories). I kept 12 unique due to the pressing nature of the issues found in it.

– 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.

15) Scripture in academia

– I always come back to the authority of Scripture: how should we understand its authority, can we trust it, and how do we justify our obedience to Scripture to our colleagues and friends?

– How can I draw the best from Biblical scholarship (such as literary analysis) when I disagree with the assumptions of the scholar in question, and/or when there is no real theological content to the academic analysis involved? On the one hand, I can get caught up in arcane pathways that lead in circles, but on the other I can gain insights from the academics.

7) Meaning and purpose of life

– Meaning. What is the meaning and purpose of life?

– Destiny. What happens when I die? Is there hope beyond death?

10) Church and academia

– Does my work matter to God and to the Church?

– 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.

– Concomitantly [to 14) Realizing justice in action], the defensiveness and posturing must stop, as well as attendant debates about theological nuances, denominational differences etc. I think that non-Christians often mistake us for narrow-minded (fundamentalist) hypocrites who can’t even get along among ourselves… As for the hypocritical part – many Christians I know spend way too much time defending, dismissing or avoiding addressing their failings and/or sources of contention in their Churches. I think we would totally blow non-Christians away if we actually admitted to some of our failings and engaged in discussion about controversial and contentious topics in a loving and open-minded way…

– [T]here is a neglected aspect to this discussion [see 8) Academic freedom] – what about academic freedom and my church community. While I would guess that many our local congregations have little knowledge about our publishing, are there circumstances in which our publishing can potentially damage our standing in our local church or denomination?

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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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