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Registration: Interim

Interim 2008


W10 Peaceable Kingdom. Though stewardship of the animal kingdom is one of the primary responsibilities accorded to human beings in the Christian creation narrative, the question of how best to respect and to honor the creatures under our care is one that Christians too often neglect to ask. This omission is especially tragic, given the overwhelming evidence of fallenness in the social and commercial practices that presently govern our relationships to animals. While large-scale agribusiness has increased consumer convenience, this convenience has come at a high cost, and not just to animals; factory farming has had negative effects on the environment, on local and global commerce and agriculture in both rural and urban communities, and on public health. In view of these considerations, the purpose of this course is two-fold: first, to gain insight into the problem through a survey of the philosophical, ethical, environmental, and socio-economic issues surrounding the treatment of animals and the allocation of natural and human resources by contemporary agribusiness and other industries that exploit non-human animals; and second, to take the initial steps toward becoming agents of renewal by workshopping an array of concrete approaches to addressing these problems (e.g., supporting sustainable food systems, community supported agriculture, cooking and eating lower on the food chain, exploring vegetarianism and veganism, animal rights advocacy, etc.). Students will be graded on journal assignments and participation in class discussion, events, and field trips. M. Halteman. 2:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m.

W11 Facing East. Nearly one thousand years ago, Christendom divided into the Western church, on the one hand, and the Eastern church, on the other. This division has had the unfortunate result that today many Western Christians know relatively little about the beliefs and practices of their Eastern cousins, especially those who belong to the Eastern Orthodox tradition. The aim of Facing East is to help address this situation. Its central question is this: What can Western Christians—Reformed or otherwise—learn from the theology and practices of the Eastern Orthodox tradition? In this class, we'll focus our attention on three facets of the Orthodox tradition in particular: its history, theology, and spiritual practices. With regard to its history, we'll spend some time investigating the importance of the seven ecumenical councils and the great schism between East and West. With regard to its theology, we'll explore the Orthodox understanding of salvation, atonement, and sin. And with regard to Orthodox spirituality, we'll investigate the role of monasticism, iconography, the spiritual disciplines, and the divine liturgy. An excellent way to understand Orthodoxy is to be acquainted with its worship. So, in addition to having guest speakers, we'll take field trips to local churches to investigate their iconography and the shape of Orthodox worship. Evaluation is based on completion of daily journal assignments and class participation. T. Cuneo. 8:30 a.m. to noon.

W60 Conversing with Augustine. In this class we will study and discuss Augustine's Confessions, in connection with study of a small number of shorter works, including his On Free Choice of the Will. We will give special attention to Augustine's evolving understanding of sin, love, and grace--of God's grace wooing a soul that was changed from "looking for love in all the wrong places." In the Confessions, Augustine unfolds his ideas in narrative: the narrative shows the power of these ideas to illuminate the twisting paths of his life and his friends' lives. In On Free Choice, he uses logical argument and analysis to show how the concepts cohere with each other, with Scripture, and with our experience of the world. We will divide class time between both approaches. Our work will be textually focused, but with some attention to Augustine's cultural context, to the role of dualistic philosophies (Manicheanism and Platonism) in his pilgrimage, and to whether, through him, an unbiblical dualism may have entered Christian theology, including Calvinist theology. In evaluating this we will study writings some current reformed thinkers like Cornelius Plantinga (Engaging God's World,), Nicholas Wolterstorff, (“The Wounds of God,” “Suffering Love,” and Lament for a Son). Ideally, this class will be conducted in a seminar style, with a stress on writing textual explications. The course is best suited for students who enjoy reading and writing, have had at least one philosophy course, and can give at least 3 hours a day to class preparation. Prerequisite: PHIL 153. S. Wykstra. 2:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m.

IDIS W14 Pubs, Clubs, & Alternative Worship. K. Corcoran.

IDIS W19 War & Violence: Context, Cause, Cure. D. Hoekema.

IDIS W32 Elementary, My Dear Watson. D. Ratzsch.

IDIS W61 L'abri Fellowship - Switzerland. L. Hardy.