At Emerging Scholars Network, we love to crowdsource ideas for following Christ faithfully and serving others well in the academic life. In the 2018/2019 academic year, we’ve been sharing brief insights on how to grow spiritually in the academic life. Read the series to dateÂ for more thoughts on spiritual growth from our writers. Brenda previously shared a version of these thoughts here, and you can read her other writing for ESNÂ here.Â
The deeper one gets involved in oneâ€™s academic discipline, the more one is shaped by that discipline and discipled into a certain way of being and thinking. These ways of being and thinking affect oneâ€™s relationship with others and God, which brings both challenges and blessings.
Scientists, who areÂ taught to question everythingÂ and accept as true only things that can be proven, often question the validity of their faith and Christian beliefsâ€“because how can one prove that it is true? Musicians (and artists), who are taught the validity of each personâ€™s experience, question the validity of their faith but for a very different reason: how can we accept that Christian beliefs are more true than someone elseâ€™s faith or beliefs? For people in professional grad programs, oneâ€™s questions about faith and beliefs are often very practical: what does faith and belief look like in the presence of suffering and death and the ugly side of human beings? Instead of berating ourselves (or others) for the faith questions that are almost an inevitable part of growing in our discipline, we can see these as opportunities to grow in our understanding of God and the world, especially as we learn from other Christians in our discipline who have also struggled with these questions.
We should also look for opportunities about how growing to love our discipline helps us grow to love God more. Many doctors and veterinarians delight in how the discoveries of medical science allow them to help others. Many scientists appreciate God better because of the wonders they discover in creation. Many musicians become closer to God through music. Many academics understand their own assumptions about the world, God, and others through being forced to identify the assumptions that those in their own discipline make about the same things.
WithÂ Written on Their Hearts: Writing, Worship, and Spiritual Formation in the Life of the Mind, Dr. Royce Francis began a new series on writing with a new format for the ESN blog, i.e., Masterclass. Like a Masterclass in music or performance, it provides the opportunity to learn skills from an expert, as well as exercises designed by that expert to help you deepen those skills in your own academic life. In this series, which will run for the length of the spring semester, Royce will weave together theological reflection and practical suggestions on becoming a skilled writer in general and within your field. He will also provide exercises each week to give readers a way to put the ideas in the series into practice. Join ESN for aÂ Masterclass in writing. Questions and conversation are welcomeâ€”feel free to use the Comments section to express them, or email them toÂ http://www.intervarsity.org/contact/emerging-scholars-network. [Read more…] about Discipline Produces Freedom (Masterclass in Writing, Part 4)
One of the biggest challenges I face as a journalism professor is just getting students to read the news. Even those majoring in journalism often spend little time staying abreast of current events. [Read more…] about Journalism Notes: Spiritual Growth Through Reading and Writing News