Developing a Christian Mind (DCM)
Developing a Christian Mind (DCM) is a first-year core course that introduces students to the central intellectual project of Calvin College, the development of a Christian worldview, and a faith-based engagement with culture. All DCM sections include common readings and plenary lectures, which sketch out the broad contours. Each section then works out the implications of a Christian frame of reference in relation to an issue of contemporary relevance. Student evaluation is based on classroom participation, quizzes on the readings and lectures, writing assignments or presentations, and a final exam.
150 01 DCM: Justice and Reconciliation in South Africa. In this course, students work out the implications of a Christian World view for issues of justice and reconciliation in South Africa. They explore the birth of a plural society: the post-apartheid South Africa. Using literature and cinema, students first gain an appreciation for the politics of recognition, the contentious issues of cultural and political identity that are the sources of the ideologies, injustice, and cultural and political conflict which led to apartheid as a political system. In addition, students gain a fundamental understanding of the role of the protest and witness of many Christian groups and organizations that were instrumental in the miraculous nonviolent change and transformation that took place in South Africa during the nineties. In particular, the roles of the Konionia Declaration, the Kairos Document, Africa Enterprise, PACLA, SACLA , the Belhar Confession and other witnesses against apartheid and for justice will be examined. Students are evaluated on the basis of class participation and presentations, quizzes on readings and class lectures, a research paper and final exam. E. Botha. 2:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m.
150 02 DCM: Biomedical Ethics at the Begninning of Life. Many of the continuing vexing dilemmas in medicine—contraception, assisted reproductive technologies, embryonic stem cells, abortion, prenatal genetic testing, sex selection, fetal tissue transplantation, cloning--involve the beginning of life. What is the moral status of the unborn? What ethical theories and principles might be of assistance as Christians grapple with these issues for themselves and seek to develop a public policy. This course explores these questions and consists of readings, lectures, daily quizzes, discussions, videos, and a short paper. Prerequisite: pursuing Biology major or pre-medical program of study. H. Bouma. 2:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m.
150 03 DCM: Human Nature. Does the Bible or religion have anything to say to Psychological Science? This course suggests that psychological issues have been contemplated throughout history. Issues such as mind and body, emotional disorders, child development, and social interactions have been addressed by many religious traditions. Students will review some of the basic topics of current psychological science. Each area will be followed by an exploration of what people – particularly as found in the Bible - have historically understood about these issues. Discussions will focus on the contrasts and similarities between each perspective. Considerable weight will be given to appropriate ways to understand biblical passages, theological interpretations and modern psychological theories. Discussions will also focus on ways to develop a coherent approach to resolve apparent conflicts or to benefit from each perspective. Students will lead many of the discussions and there will be several small group presentations and discussion sessions. S. da Silva. 8:30 a.m. to noon.
150 04 DCM: Worldviews and Natural Environments. Environmental issues generate much debate in the public media, among policy-makers and on a personal level. What shapes our view of the natural environment and how do these views affect our response to environmental issues? The course examines how different worldviews play out in human interaction with the created world. In particular students study modernist , post-modern , and some explicitly Christian worldviews with respect to our relationship to the natural world. This course seeks to cultivate a mature Christian response to the environmental issues, drawing on Biblical themes of creation, fallenness, and redemption and their implications for environmental action, as well as develop a mode of being in this world that is consistently inspired by a Christian worldview and a Christian mind. D. McCarthy. 8:30 a.m. to noon.
CANCELED 150 04 DCM: Education in the Movies. This course will explore how the world of the education has been portrayed in the movies. By offering descriptions of the current condition in the classroom or exhibiting positive and negative models of teachers, movies portray particular perspectives that may offer valuable lessons for those interested in teaching. Building on that data and the student’s own school experiences several kinds of questions will be considered in the light of a biblical framework. What is the purpose of education? How do schools embody a worldview? What is the nature of effective instruction? What is the role of the teacher? What should be taught? How can schools be structured to enable rather than control students? Answers to these questions will be analyzed by using a variety of sources, such as the Bible and educational thinkers like Nicholas P. Wolterstorff, Parker Palmer, and Nel Noddings. Students will take quizzes on the readings, journal their analysis of movies, and participate in a group project. The course is intended for students who are interested in exploring the profession of teaching and developing a beginning perspective of what it means to teach. R. Buursma. 2:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m.
150 05 DCM: High School in the Movies. This course will explore how the world of the education has been portrayed in the movies. By offering descriptions of the current condition in the classroom or exhibiting positive and negative models of teachers, movies portray particular perspectives that may offer valuable lessons for those interested in teaching. Building on that data and the student’s own school experiences several kinds of questions will be considered in the light of a biblical framework. What is the purpose of education? How do schools embody a worldview? What is the nature of effective instruction? What is the role of the teacher? What should be taught? How can schools be structured to enable rather than control students? Answers to these questions will be analyzed by using a variety of sources, such as the Bible and educational thinkers like Parker Palmer and Nel Noddings. The course is intended for students who are interested in exploring the profession of teaching and developing a beginning perspective of what it means to teach. A. Boerema. 8:30 a.m. to noon.
150 06 DCM: Global Climate Change. Global climate change is a widely discussed topic today: in the media, among politicians, among scientists. Yet the various summaries offered often seem mutually exclusive. Have we ruined our environment beyond repair? Or is it simply not possible for humans to have a significant impact at all? In this course students will practice reasoning skills needed to sift through competing claims, and to define which issues, if any, are pressing. Further, students will consider moral questions are raised by the scientific results, such as stewardship of a common earth or justice when the actions of one group affect the environment of another. Finally, students will consider how environmental policies must balance environmental, moral, and economic factors. L. Molnar. 2:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m.
150 07 DCM: Global Climate Change. Global climate change is a widely discussed topic today: in the media, among politicians, among scientists. Yet the various summaries offered often seem mutually exclusive. Have we ruined our environment beyond repair? Or is it simply not possible for humans to have a significant impact at all? In this course students will practice reasoning skills needed to sift through competing claims and to define which issues, if any, are pressing. Further, students will consider moral questions are raised by the scientific results, such as stewardship of a common earth and justice when the actions of one group affect the environment of another. Finally, students will consider how environmental policies must balance environmental, moral, and economic factors. M. Huen. 2:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m.
150 08 DCM: Art as a Reflection of Culture. This interim course will attempt to demonstrate the correlation between the cultural shifts, the spirit of our age and how presuppositions imbued within the thought life of artists found expression within their works of art. The course will begin by examining how the worldview of the Enlightenment and the Age of Reason set the stage that inevitably led to consequences from which society derives its aesthetic sensibilities today. The course will examine the forces of Modernity and trace how these gave rise to Modern and Post Modern art. It will also examine how Christian artists might respond facing similar contextual pressures today. What does it mean to trust in Christ in a time such as our own? And how can our humanness and our artist gifts be used effectively in today’s context? Most examples will come from paintings. F. Speyers. 8:30 a.m. to noon.
CANCELED 150 08 DCM: Global Sustainability Issues: How Shall We Then Live? In this course, we will identify and compare primary sustainability issues of developed and developing societies, considering and relating the specific areas of human population, nutrition and hunger, energy requirements, land use and environmental quality. Students will identify root causes of world hunger issues, relating current issues with biblical concepts of Christian stewardship and justice at personal and corporate levels. Students will be encouraged to consider “how they might then live” as agents of renewal within our global society by understanding the impacts of local decisions on global consequences. D. Dornbos. 8:30 a.m. to noon.
150 09 DCM: Palestine-Israel Conflcit. This course will examine the complex and strategic conflict in Israel/Palestine. This interim’s primary readings will be from Gary M. Burge’s Whose Land? Whose Promise? What Christians Are Not Being Told About Israel and the Palestinians. Questions we will explore include: Is this conflict inevitable, eternal? How does one understand the conflict from a Reformed worldview? What role has eschatology played in the conflict and in Christians’ view of the conflict? What should the church’s response be to the conflict? What should our relationship be to various actors in the region - particularly the Palestinian Christian minorities? This course includes films, lectures, discussions, and student presentations. K. Hekman. 8:30 a.m. to noon.
150 10 DCM: Israeli-Palestinian Conflict. The Israeli-Palestinian conflict has been a worldwide topic of discussion for over the past fifty years. The battle over a small piece of real estate on the Mediterranean Sea often elicits heated opinions among Christians and non-Christians alike. Some Christians militantly side with the Israelis, and their biblical right to the land, while others strongly defend the Palestinians’ right to there, often by referencing biblical concepts of justice. Who is right? Who is Wrong? Can there ever be peace over there? This course attempts to understand and evaluate the complicated Israeli-Palestinian conflict from a Reformed Christian perspective. Using readings, lectures, discussion, and guest speakers, students will be engaged to think critically about the complexities within the conflict, as well as their broader implications for the Middle East and the world. Moving beyond the sound bites and propaganda that have overrun the contemporary media’s coverage of this conflict, students will be expected to engage both sides of this struggle from a biblical perspective. At the completion of this course, students will be expected to refine their methods of Scripture interpretation, have a general knowledge of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, and understand and empathize with each side’s arguments. C. Pierce. 2:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m.
150 11 DCM: Reading Banned Books. The impulse to censor, ban, or restrict access to objectionable literature remains strong in contemporary North American society and is motivated by ideologies that span the political spectrum. To the defenders of free speech, the issue is unambiguous: the right to free expression guarantees every artistic expression, no matter how controversial. To those who challenge such books, the issue seems equally clear: for the well-being of society (and especially of its children), communities should not tolerate morally dubious content. How might Christians contribute to the public dialogue about controversial books? Is our primary purpose to act as moral censors for society? Can we celebrate the imagination, or must we view it with suspicion? We seek to sort out such issues by considering the challenges to novels like Mark Twain’s The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, J. K. Rowling’s Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone, and J.D. Salinger’s The Catcher in the Rye. We seek to cultivate a mature Christian engagement with literature, drawing on the biblical theme of the cultural mandate to help us develop a responsible appreciation for literary expression. G. Fondse. 2:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m.
150 12 DCM: Reading Banned Books. Students study the motivations, especially religious, for literary censorship. The course reading includes novels that have been challenged for objectionable content: Mark Twain’s The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, J. K. Rowling’s Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone, Margaret Atwood’s The Handmaid’s Tale, and Alice Walker’s The Color Purple. Examining civil and biblical arguments concerning freedom and moral responsibility, students are encouraged to develop responsible approaches to engagement with controversial literature. K. Saupe. 2:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m.
150 13 DCM: Me in the world of Business. Principles of setting and meeting benchmarks in business will be examined by students’ assessments of their values, strengths, and goals. Practical applications will help students learn how to manage time, money, and themselves and how to discern the shape of their professional vocations. Guest speakers and organization visits will assist students in learning the importance of communication in the workplace environment. Students will be evaluated through journal reflections, quizzes, writing assignments, a presentation, a group project and final exam. R. Eames. 2:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m.
150 14 DCM: A Christian Response to Racism. The nature of race relations in the United States has improved dramatically over the last 50 years, or has it? Racism was present in America before the founding of the United States as a nation and is still present today. Though legislation has made it illegal to discriminate against people on the basis of race, many contend that racism is still a problem. This calls for a response from us as Christians. Building on the Reformed Christian understanding of creation, fall, and redemption we will explore the causes, consequences, and possible responses to racism in North America. We will then seek ways we can work against racism, thus fulfilling part of our calling to work for justice in our society as citizens of God's kingdom. This class will use readings, lectures, discussions, films, journals, and student presentations. G. Gunst Heffner. 2:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m.
150 15 DCM: A Christian Response to Racism. Why are we still talking about racism in 2008? Haven't we legislated the problem away? Isn't it just ancient history? While most Christians would agree that racism is a sin; few understand its continued presence or scope of impact in the United States. And just when we think we "really can all just get along", there is a major news story with charges of racism in the headlines. Racism, by any definition, is a form of oppression that affects all people. Racism is a reminder that life on earth is not the way it was meant to be and is a reflection of the injustice that plagues our world. As Christians we are to respond to injustice and work for justice in our society. In this course students will have an opportunity to study the complex social reality of racism, investigate responses to racism from Christian institutions and leaders, and develop their own plan of response. This course includes films, lectures, journals, discussions, and student presentations. J. Rhodes. 2:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m.
150 16 DCM: Refugess: A Christian Response. Refugees have been a part of history since Adam and Eve were kicked out of the Garden. What should the response be to humans displaced by natural and manmade disasters? Who should manage such responses? How are Christians to respond to crises in non-Christian communities? This interim intends to offer a theoretical introduction to the promotion of human rights for refugees and displaced persons. Focus is on the development and definition of key concepts, on regional and international institutions involved with refugees, and on current issues relative to refugees. D. Slager. 8:30 a.m. to noon.
CANCELED 150 17 DCM: Having Faith in the Theatre. This course explores theatre as a cultural art form through which we see and learn about ourselves as Christians navigating the contemporary world. The theatre, as an imitative art form, is a unique window through which we might observe human behavior and human culture, in all of its fallenness and all of its grace. Through watching plays, reading plays, and discussing them in class, we will explore topics ranging from the mystery of human existence to the importance of laughter and comedy, from the problem of evil to the beauty and complexity of human relationships. Readings and viewings will be drawn from the contemporary world theatre scene, examining how theatre is dealing with current issues and deep human needs. The plays we examine will mostly be from the past five years of theatre; plays such as Doubt, Spring Awakening, Rabbit Hole, TopDog/Underdog, and History Boys. S. Sandberg. 8:30 a.m. to noon.
150 18 DCM: Theatre Faith and Identity. Since the Greeks celebrated the god Dionysus through annual theatre festivals, tribes danced in mask and chanted ritualistic liturgies around fires, bards told stories of ancestors or people of legend, and clowns made riot in any performance space, theatre has helped us understand what it means to be human on this earth. Who am I? Where do I belong? What is my purpose in this world? Theatre is “the stuff” of human behavior and human interaction. By pointing out our foibles, longings, strivings, and failings, theatre allows us witness the consequences of human frailty and overweening passion. Theater allows us to see characters striving to make a life in this world and sometimes fail. We see that a character from centuries past, from a continent away, from a culture unlike our own, is much like ourselves, human, fallible and broken searching for meaning and identity—searching for God. Theatre breaks down barriers by allowing us to understand people like and unlike us fail, laugh at human foolishness, and weep with characters that are undone by circumstance. This course examines several plays that highlight how theatre helps us to understand identity and faith. D. Freeberg. 8:30 a.m. to noon.
150 19 DCM: C. S. Lewis and the Postmodern World. C. S. Lewis was the greatest champion of the Christian faith in the twentieth century. His writings, both fiction and nonfiction, continue to instruct, entertain, and challenge. This course engages Lewis through three of his classic works: Mere Christianity, The Great Divorce, and The Screwtape Letters. As a collateral text, students read select chapters of Lewis Agonistes: How C. S. Lewis Can Train Us to Wrestle With the Modern and Postmodern World, by Louis Markos. Excerpts from the film The Question of God: C. S. Lewis and Sigmund Freud and a full screening of the movie Shadowlands serve to chart Lewis’s own journey from atheism to theism to Christianity. The goal of the course is to consider how his thought can contribute to the formation of a Christian perspective on such issues as scientific naturalism, atheistic evolutionism, ethical relativism, and new-age paganism. D. Harlow. 8:30 a.m. to noon.
150 20 DCM: Conservatism Then and Now. What is a "conservative"? How should Christians think about political and social conservatism? Is a conservative narrow-minded or "illiberal"? What is the proper role of tradition in conservative—and Christian—thinking? Is the Republican Party the "conservative" party? Does the Christian faith require one to be conservative? Can one be conservative without being a Christian? Russell Kirk’s remarkable exploration of this subject, hisThe Conservative Mind—a book that is credited with both igniting and continuing to fuel modern American conservatism—presents a fine opportunity to address these questions. Arguably the most profound conservative thinker modern America has produced, Kirk (1918-1994) remained an "independent scholar" -- unaffiliated with either academic institutions or partisan organizations -- his entire career. As such, his voice was respected that much more, by conservative and non-conservative thinkers alike. This course will ask students to see conservatism through the eyes of perhaps its preeminent spokesman, and then to grapple with what are at times intruiguing dissonances between Kirk's "conservatism" and what often goes under the label in our day. In addition to the regular DCM text, students will read and discuss 20-25 of Kirk's short essays (collected in Redeeming the Time and The Politics Of Prudence.) The class will also take a one day visit to the Russell Kirk library and homestead in Mecosta, Michigan where students tour the Kirk home and have a private lunch with Russell Kirk’s widow, Mrs. Annette Kirk. W. Stevenson. 8:30 a.m. to noon.
150 21 DCM: Jesus, the One Name that Saves, and Other Faiths. This course explores the relation of the Christian claim that Jesus is the only way to the Father to the claims made by other major faiths. Using Reformed teaching on the Creator, common grace, the mystery of God's plan, and some key passages in the prophets, gospels, and letters it looks for ways to maintain the uniqueness of the Christian faith and to remain interested in Christian mission, while gaining some knowledge of other faiths and being open to civil dialogue with them. The course initiates some of the core knowledge of other religious traditions. M. Greidanus. 8:30 a.m. to noon.
150 22 DCM: Dramatic Families. This DCM section will study a number of plays featuring families suffering from maladies such as death, abandonment, and betrayal; these same families have members who each have their own dreams and aspirations. We will ask questions such as these: What has brought about these problematic situations? How do characters’ dreams seek to rise above the dysfunction? How are they the cause of it? How is hope present in (or absent) the different families? Students in this section will study Shakespeare’s The Tempest, Henrik Ibsen’s A Doll House, Arthur Miller’s Death of a Salesman, Tennessee Williams’ The Glass Menagerie, Lorraine Hansberry’s A Raisin in the Sun. Students are encouraged to watch videos of these plays during optional afternoon screenings. D. Urban. 8:30 a.m. to noon.
150 23 DCM: Living the Magnificat. The Magnificat, or Song of Mary [Luke 1:46-55] is an early Christian canticle that evokes numerous Old Testament texts, and includes the “great reversal” in which God humbles the mighty ones, and exalts the lowly. This text is found in the worship traditions of all Christians [Roman Catholic, Orthodox, and Protestant], and has multiple meanings and applications right into the present day. This interdisciplinary course will examine the text itself, study the uses of this text in Christian worship & music and personal piety, explore the role of this text in Mariology and Marian visual art, and take a critical look at the importance of this text in contemporary liberation theology and other recent Christian documents about social structures and public policy. The course requires oral group presentations and written work; there are no undue expenses beyond minimum costs for some personal field trips in the GR area. B. Polman. 2:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m.
150 24 DCM: Multisensory Worship. As they critically examine the formal elements of art and popular culture, students are led in the study of aesthetic principles governing the creation of ministry and fellowship aids, then challenged to apply those principles in collaborative design projects which may include power point, video, website design, worship bulletins, cooking, painting, photography, aromatherapy and architecture. Students fees may total as much as $50. B. Fuller. 2:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m.
150 25 DCM: Music, Manipulation, and the Mind of God. This course will examine music’s power to persuade in light of the Christian’s call to spiritual freedom and service. A primary object of study will be film music. Students need to be willing to evaluate both aspects of music and some of the primary means and manners by which people in our society engage with it. D. Fuentes. 2:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m.
150 26 DCM: Reading Genesis. Students consider the problem that modern evolutionary science poses for reading Genesis as a literal history of the world. When read this way, Genesis teaches that God made the universe no more that 10,000 years ago in a span of six 24-hour days, and that God created things by “fiat,” fully formed as we observe them now. In contrast, modern science teaches that the universe began more than 13 billion years ago with a Big Bang, that stars and planets—including our sun and earth—evolved gradually by means of natural processes unleashed by the explosion, and that at least on earth, life originated and also evolved by means of natural selection and common ancestry.. On the literal reading, biblical Christians can only judge this science to be a diabolical mistake, and they are encouraged to support a science of a “Young Earth Creationism.” The main focus is upon reasons that support an alternative reading of Genesis in its own ancient literary and religious context. On this reading, widely endorsed by Christian scholars, Genesis does not authorize this judgment against modern science or support for a science of “Young Earth Creationism. On this reading, the main purpose of Genesis is to convey a religious vision, or worldview, to people of ancient times. It is this vision of God, nature, human value and purpose, and the direction of history that is important to people in modern times. J. Schneider. 8:30 a.m. to noon.
150 27 DCM: Responsible Technologies. Manufactured consumer goods, from computers and appliances to cars and toys, play a significant role in the way we live our daily lives. Yet very few people spend much time reflecting on the implications that Christian faith has for the appropriate selection and design of such products. This course begins by presenting students with a basic knowledge of what technology is and what cultural values are embedded within various technologies. It will reveal the processes and systems involved in the design and manufacturing of particular consumer products. Discussions will explore the ways in which the technologies that make life easier and enrich our experiences can also be the cause of personal and societal problems. Christian norms will be presented which can guide the technological design process and also shape the selection and use of manufactured products. Only with this kind of insight can consumers make responsible decisions both about using and producing technology. The course consists of readings, videos, discussions, and lectures presenting historical and contemporary perspectives on consumer technologies and engineering. Quizzes on daily readings, informal reflective writing, and a substantial project/paper are expected of all students. G. Ermer. 8:30 a.m. to noon.
150 28 DCM: Take Back Your Time. Our lives are out of balance. We worship our work, work at our play and play at our worship. These distortions affect our perceptions of ourselves, our relationships with others, and most importantly, our relationship with God. We may wonder, “Do I realize life while I live it, every, every minute?” This class will examine some of the personal and socio-cultural forces that drive us toward time famine and will assist in developing a new perspective that will help us cope with these pressures. G. Van Andel. 8:30 a.m. to noon.
150 29 DCM: The Scandal of the Incarnation. This section is designed for students who wish to explore in greater theological depth various readings of the Creation-Fall-Redemption paradigm and the implications the Christian doctrine of the Incarnation of the Son of God might have for that paradigm. Readings will be from St. Irenaeus, the 2nd century theologian who first clearly articulated the Church’s response to the growing anti-creational and anti-incarnational threat of gnosticism. Implications for the contemporary setting of Christians and Christian churches in American society will be discussed. A. Griffioen. 8:30 a.m. to noon.
150 30 DCM: The Totalitarian Temptation. What was the appeal of Nazism and Marxism-Leninism in the twentieth century? Both systems had worldviews of religious scope that claimed to answer all of life’s questions and to provide meaning for human life. These claims put them in direct conflict with Christian worldviews. This course examines the propaganda that promoted and sustained Nazi Germany and the German Democratic Republic (East Germany), seeking to understand how evil systems generated widespread support. Students will write a term paper, make daily blog entries, and take a final exam. R. Bytwerk. 8:30 a.m. to noon.
150 31 DCM:Thinking About Decisions and God’s Will. How does our reasoning shape our beliefs and how do our beliefs shape our reasoning? This course explores decision making as it relates to understanding ourselves, others, and God. A particular focus is how strengths and weaknesses of human decision making influence our choices and ability to choose. In addition, understanding God’s will in light of our reasoning practices is examined. D. Tellinghuisen. 2:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m.
150 32 DCM: UFOs, Psychics, and Pseudoscience. Millions of people believe in alien abductions, psychic readings, and other forms of pseudoscience—beliefs that sound scientific but have no scientific evidence. While pseudosciences may make for interesting entertainment, they can be a dangerous distraction from the truth of God’s creation. Alternative medicine is a billion dollar industry, and yet few of these remedies are proven effective. Similarly, some people plan their lives based on horoscopes and psychic predictions, and yet none of these fortunetellers have ever clearly predicted major events. So how is a Christian to respond to pseudoscience? Many people from many different walks of life have banded together as skeptics; skeptics use the scientific method to determine what scientific claims to trust. Reformed Christians have also embraced the scientific method to explore God’s creation. This course examines many different pseudosciences as reported in the media and as fictionally portrayed on television and in movies. Students explore the skeptical and Christian responses to these pseudosciences to figure out what it means to be a Christian skeptic and how it fits in a Reformed worldview. J. Frens. 2:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m.
150 33 DCM: Writing, Faith and the Festival of Faith and Writing. This course will explore how currently active writers draw from the resources of Christian faith in their fiction, creative non-fiction, and poetry. Students will consider how writers portray the life of faith, address taboo topics, balance emphasis on fallenness and redemption, and negotiate difficult ethical questions about what it means to tell the truth and be faithful in their lives and their work. Students will also consider the role of Christian publishing, Calvin’s Festival of Faith and Writing, and various publications in the faith-and-writing subculture. Readings will represent a range of genres and topics and will be drawn primarily from the work of authors who will be speaking at the 2008 Festival. Students will discuss assigned readings, write a paper, and have the chance to produce creative work of their own. D. Rienstra. 8:30 a.m. to noon.
150 34 DCM: Understanding Islam. Islam is much in the news today, but little understood. This course provides an understanding of Islam through a survey of Islamic history. It begins with the Arab background and the life of the Prophet Muhammad; goes on to an introduction to the basic theology of Islam and various schools of Islamic thought that developed in the medieval period, tendencies of which were evident down to the 1970s; continues with developments during the period of the great Eurasian Islamic empires; and concludes with the rise of modernism in the nineteenth century and an overview of current issues. Current issues include anti-Islamic bigotry, colonialism, the Palestinian conflict, democracy, the rights of minority communities, the role of women, and jihad. Along the way we will demystify Islam and debunk many cherished myths, especially the “Clash of Civilizations.” Course themes emphasize the monotheistic worldview of Islam, its diversity of cultural expressions, and the importance of a modernist Islam little known in the West. Readings: the Koran, a survey history of Islam, and an anthology of current writings. Evaluation: based on quizzes, class participation, response essays, and a final paper. Prerequisites: an interest in the subject and a readiness to learn. D. Howard. 2:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m.
150 35 DCM: Green Discipleship and the Garden of Eden . This DCM course will examine how Christians have a crucial role to play in restoring God’s Creation, which is at a crisis point with global warming, overpopulation, peak oil, the polluted environment, and an imbalanced global economy. Two books will be studied: Barbara Kingsolver’s “Animal, Vegetable, Miracle: A Year of Food Life,” and James Howard Kunstler’s “The Long Emergency: Surviving the End of Oil, Climate Change, and other Converging Catastrophes of the Twenty-First Century,” in order to understand how our industrial food production, distribution, and consumption are major contributors to these global stresses. A sustainable food system that restores and heals people and Creation is possible, but only if it can be imagined and brought into practice.“Engaging God’s World,” the DCM common text, will provide the general theological framework for visualizing a more sustainable world. In addition to these texts, visiting farmers and food activists will provide a framework for actualizing a local food system here in Grand Rapids. The class will also visit Trillium Haven Farm, a local organic Community Supported Agriculture farm in Jension, to actually see sustainability in action. A. Mast. 2:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m.
150 36 DCM: When Justice & Compassion Compete: Kids that Offend. Locked facilities for minors are over-flowing and long waiting lists characterize nearly every juvenile treatment and out-of-family placement program. Status offenders, such as truants from school and curfew violators, are housed with more violent youth offenders, putting status offenders at personal risk and in an excellent deviance-teaching environment. Increasingly, violent minor offenders are tried as adults and sentenced to “punk” prisons. Clearly juvenile justice amply illustrates the effects of sin and the need for redemption. The Reformed world and life view is applied to examine both personal and systemic manifestations of sin. Students explore faith-shaped strategies for prevention, enforcement, detention, juvenile courts, corrections, and treatment. Teaching methods include lecture, films, speakers, a juvenile panel, a site visit, and a reflective journal. F. De Jong. 8:30 a.m. to noon.
150 37 The Church in the 21st Century. Few institutions have undergone more change in the past twenty-five years than the local Christian church. Changes in worship style, music, the visual arts, and the role of lay leadership are just a few of the elements that have driven these changes. These shifts have challenged many Christians to reexamine the question: What is the role of the local church in the Kingdom of God ? As we enter the 21 st century, society is becoming more pluralistic, more secular, and more materialistic. Local churches must be ready to respond and speak clearly to these and other issues. This course will challenge students to think about their individual roles within the local church, and to think carefully about the nature and mission of the local church within a broad Kingdom context. Students will be expected to visit various local churches. R. Scott Greenway. 2:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m.
150 38 DCM: Optimizing Conflict. Conflicts between spouses, friends, work colleagues, work teams, organizations, and churches are inevitable. Unique people see things differently. Handled poorly, conflicts lead to hostility, injured relationships, multiple losses, and a negative atmosphere. Although conflict is inevitable, its costs are not. Individuals, relationships, and organizations need conflict. Optimized conflict improves ideas, creativity, decisions, and relationships. But it takes disciplined preparation, superior listening and analysis skills, and well-managed emotions. Optimizing conflict may seem at odds for Christians whose God is love and whose prime commandment is to love others. In reality, conflict avoidance creates a major cost of its own: failure to confront condemns others to continued poor performance. Eight value principles that lead to genuinely loving conflict management will be examined. Students will debate conflict principles, take part in skill-building exercises, and write their evaluation of a conflict. D. Nykamp. 2:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m.
150 39 DCM: Idols, Images, and Incarnation: Worship and the Visual in the Bible and Beyond. What does a Christian worldview tell us about the relationship between worship and the visual? In this course, students will examine a myriad of issues related to this question, ranging from temple worship and idolatry in the Old Testament to New Testament and early Church interest in the impact of the Incarnation on such a question. Students will critically engage these issues, informed by a combination of early Church, Reformation, and contemporary writings. The aim of this course is twofold: (1) to explore the manifold issues relevant to the relationship between worship and the visual, and (2) to develop a robust and consistant Christian outlook on the relationship between the visual and Christian worship. N. Jacobs. 2:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m.
150 40 DCM: Give us your poor: A Christian response to Immigration. This course will look at the issue of immigration both as it has played out through history and as it looks today in North America. Together, the class will analyze the effects of immigration, listen as illegal immigrants tell their stories and US citizens discuss losing their jobs to immigrants. We’ll visit a hospital and school that provides services to immigrants and NGOs that advocate for immigrant rights We’ll also talk to Congressional representatives about how the immigration debate is playing out on Capital hill and what’s likely to happen next. Evaluation is based on class participation, an in-class presentation and position papers based on the readings. K. Ver Beek, J. Van Engen. 8:30 a.m. to noon.
150 41 DCM: Bringing Heaven Down to Earth. Few people live with a clear idea of what eternal heaven will be like, and few Christians live with eager hope in their daily lives for the coming of eternity. This course explores the biblical vision of the eternal restoration of creation and culture, and the hope that flows from God's promise of the coming new heavens and new earth. Students will critique the shortcomings of superficial portrayals of heavenly existence that are overly vague and overly spiritual. Looking instead at the biblical prophecies of the New Jerusalem in Isaiah 60 and Revelation 21, which portray eternal heaven as terrestrial and urban, and using the books When the Kings Come Marching In by Richard Mouw and Bringing Heaven Down to Earth by Nathan Bierma, students will form a framework for reading the biblical narrative as a story that culminates in God's eventual perfection of creation, culture, and fellowship. Students will also learn the importance of conceptualizing the Reformed worldview with a fourth crucial component: creation-fall- redemption-new creation, and examine how that worldview frames questions related to vocation, citizenship, community life, family life, recreation, and worship. Students will write one paper on “New Creation and Vocation” that integrates the theology of vocation with the Reformed worldview, biblical eschatology, and hope for God's eternal restoration. N. Bierma. 8:30 a.m. to noon.
150 42 DCM: Christianity and Politics. A study of how basic Christian theology, liturgy, and community intersects with human political concerns. This course examines the biblical narrative with a view toward understanding the role of politics in relation to God’s covenant people. The implications of biblical and theological motifs, such as the imago Dei, the kingdom of God, and Christ’s Lordship, will be explored. The course will provide a basic understanding of the various contemporary positions on Christian involvement in the political arena, including Reformed, Roman Catholic, and broadly evangelical perspectives from Pat Robertson to Jim Wallis. In addition, the question of the relationship of Christian liturgical practices to political citizenship and duties will be outlined, including topics such as baptism and the Lord’s Supper. The emphasis will be placed upon the intersection of Christian liturgical practices and the national, global, and economic “liturgies” that shape human life at the beginning of the 21st century, such as the Iraq War, abortion, globalization, and other contemporary issues. B. Parler. 2:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m.
150 43 DCM: Living in the Midst of Sin. We live in a world that is fallen and full of sin. Brokenness is apparent in us as individuals and in the world around us. Through Christians living out their faith, God works in, through, and against this brokenness. Community provides a way of living out one's faith in a tangible way and provides a means to reach out to the broken, abandoned places of the world. Community provides a sense of belonging and allows people to experience and share God in a unique way. This class will draw upon experiences from a Christian community in Amsterdam's Red Light District and from communities based on “new monasticism,” as well as bringing forward examples of community found in such places as the internet, church, and family. This class will reflect on how the Reformed faith and community provide guidance for being present in the brokenness of the world, with special attention given to issues related to prostitution. This class will discuss the joys and challenges of community life in the midst of sin, with the intention of seeing what community can look like in a variety of settings and situations. B. Heyink. 2:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m.
150 44 DCM: Joining Creation’s Song. What? Is this a biology class or worship class? Neither…and both! It’s been said that ‘earth is crammed with heaven and every common bush afire with God’. Perhaps that’s easy to see in brilliant fall foliage or a glorious sunset, but how is God’s glory seen at the microscopic level…or in a creature as strange as a sloth? And what about the times we don’t see God? From beauty to brokenness; from splendor to suffering, this course will explore creation to help us see glimmers of God’s divine nature and invisible qualities. Through field trips, writing, discussion, art, music and various spiritual disciplines we’ll decipher ways that we can link a sense of wonder stemming from the beauty of creation to an expression of worship of the Triune God. J. Bonnema. 8:30 a.m. to noon.
150 45 DCM: Other Sheep I Have. This course will examine theological, sociological, and philosophical motivations for Christian missions. The objective is to comprehend other motivations for mission work other than biblical commands, and to demonstrate that motivations for Christian missionary work vary from generation to generation and from place to place. Primary focus will be on African American mission work and driving motivations. Students will be evaluated on the basis of performance during in-class discussion, short writing assignments, and a final exam. E. Washington. 8:30 a.m. to noon.