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.
IDIS 150 01 DCM: Christian Ethics and Aesthetics. What does a Christian worldview have to say about art? In this course, students will examine this question from an ethical vantage point, with emphasis on the visual arts. Students will consider both the broad question of whether ethical norms apply to the making and viewing of art, as well as specifically Christian question of whether the second commandment and other biblical exhortations have any bearing on the types of art Christians should produce and consume. Students will critically engage such questions, informed by a combination of early-Church, Reformation, and contemporary writings. Evaluation is based on class participation, quizzes, and writing assignments. N. Jacobs. 2:00 to 5:00.
CANCELED IDIS 150 02 DCM: A Christian Response to Poverty and Injustice. The commitment to the poor and oppressed is at the heart of the mission of the church. We bear witness to the Kingdom of God in reclaiming and restoring under–resourced communities. Based on ideas developed by Dr. John Perkins and others that have become the principles of “Christian Community Development,” this class offers a framework for ministering among the poor and under resourced of our nation. It will look at seeing families in poverty not as a “mission project” but as friends and family with whom we identify, live, laugh, cry, dream, and struggle. The class includes the study of the theology, history, and strategies of mission, and also considers its wholistic nature, including evangelism and discipleship. J. Kooreman. 8:30 to noon.
IDIS 150 03 DCM: A Christian Response to Racism. Race relations in the United States have improved dramatically over the last 50 years, or have they? 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. Heffner. 2:00 to 5:00.
IDIS 150 04 DCM: Borderlands. The Borderlands, also known as the American Southwest, has been a meeting place of diverse cultures for hundreds of years. It is also a place where the material demands of human society have to contend with scarce environmental resources. Native Americans, Mexicans, and Anglos have struggled sometimes together and sometimes against each other to sustain themselves in this beautiful but harsh landscape. This course will examine the history of this region and its peoples from pre-Columbian times to the present. Class sessions will incorporate lectures, discussions, videos, and guest speakers. Students will present one written report, one oral report, and will be tested over readings and class presentations. D. Miller. 8:30 to noon.
IDIS 150 05 DCM: C.S. Lewis. C. S. Lewis was one of the greatest champions of the Christian faith in the twentieth century. His apologetic writings, both fiction and nonfiction, continue to instruct, entertain, and challenge. This course engages Lewis through three of his classic works: Mere Christianity, The Screwtape Letters, and The Great Divorce. As a collateral text, we will read all but one chapter 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 will complement the readings. The goal of the course is to bring Lewis into conversation with Reformed theology and to consider how the two can help Christians think about such issues as scientific naturalism, atheistic evolutionism, ethical relativism, and new-age paganism. Evaluation is based on quizzes, daily journaling, participation, and an essay. D. Harlow. 8:30 to noon.
IDIS 150 06 DCM: Dramatic Families. This section will study a number of plays featuring families suffering from maladies such asdeath, 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. Videos of these plays will be available for students to watch. D. Urban. 8:30 to noon.
IDIS 150 07 DCM: Genesis in the Light of Science. With the help of professional scientists as guest speakers, students consider modern scientific theories on the origin of the cosmos, the earth, and life. They then consider various ways in which Christian theologians have tried to deal with the apparent conflict between these theories and the account of origins in the book of Genesis. Primary emphasis is placed on the approach which places Genesis in its own historical context and understands it in its ancient literary and religious terms. Students consider reasons why scholars prefer this view to recent attempts by literalists to use Genesis as an important source for modern science, especially in support of “Young Earth Creationism.” J. Schneider. 8:30 to noon.
IDIS 150 08 DCM: Give us Your Poor. What are we to think of this latest wave of immigrants? Are they taking our jobs, pushing upour crime rates, and making use of our schools and hospitals without paying for the privilege? Or are they merely working hard at jobs no one else wants, contributing taxes they will never benefit from, and improving our economy and society through their presence. Serious thinkers and committed Christians disagree on the answers to the above. An overture to Synod this year suggested the Christian Reformed Church ban illegal immigrants from taking communion. Other churches provide tutoring, food pantries, and legal services to immigrants. What should be our stance as Christians and global citizens? This course will look at the issue of immigration both throughout history and as it looks today in North America. Course instructors, Kurt Ver Beek and Jo Ann Van Engen live in Honduras, where every year thousands of Hondurans attempt enter the United States and Canada illegally. Together, the class will analyze the effects of immigration, listen as illegal immigrants tell their stories, and hear 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 Capitol 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. VerBeek, J. Van Engen. 8:30 to noon.
IDIS 150 09 DCM: Global Hunger: An Issue of Your Sustainability. Students identify the root causes of global hunger and its linkage with environmental health, economic health, and social justice issues. By developing a clearer understanding of where our local food comes from through farm, processor, and food pantry visits, students evaluate the broad sustainability of our current system on environmental, nutritional, and social health. Factors considered in local context include pesticides, biotechnology, organic, land use, and community-supported agriculture. This local context is applied to the global environment by focusing on the issues associated with a particularly hungry, poor, and unjust country as a case study: Cambodia. Inspection of the goals and operations of a variety of “non-governmental organizations”, for example the Christian Reformed World Relief Committee (CRWRC), Research Development International (RDI), or the United Nations Food and Agricultural Organization (UN-FAO), provides compelling evidence of best practices through which some people in Cambodia are being empowered today. Having understood the current global situation from environmental, economic and social justice points-of-view taken from the U.S. and Cambodia, students can then investigate ways in which they can serve as intentional and effective agents of redemption today and in the development of their vocational plans. D. Dornbos. 8:30 to noon.
IDIS 150 10 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. 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 to noon.
IDIS 150 11 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. DaSilva. 8:30 to noon.
IDIS 150 12 DCM: Jesus, the One Name and Others.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 described in the Expanded Statement of Mission (see C. Plantinga, Engaging God’s World, p.207). M. Greidanus. 8:30 to noon.
IDIS 150 13 DCM: Just War & The Christian Ethics. Christian faith worships the “Prince of Peace” who commands his disciples to “turn the other cheek.” How, then, is the Christian to think about war? From a Christian point of view, is such a thing as a just war even possible? What should the church’s witness to the Christian vision of peace look like in a world of war and violence? This course examines Christian ethics and issues pertaining to war and peace. Topics discussed are: biblical teachings regarding war and peace, Christian ethical frameworks, just war theory, Christian pacifism, Christian realism, and war in the contemporary world. Students will be evaluated on the basis of quizzes, reading annotations, quality of their participation in class discussions, a course paper, and a final examination. M. Lundberg. 2:00 to 5:00.
IDIS 150 14 DCM: Justice & Reconciliation in South Africa. In this course, students work out the implications of a Christian worldview 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 gain an appreciation for the politics of recognition, the contentious issues of cultural and political identity that are the sources of the ideologies, and the injustices and cultural and political conflicts that 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, a reading journal, and a final exam. E. Botha. 2:00 to 5:00.
IDIS 150 15 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 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 in student teams and individual written work. B. Polman. 2:00 to 5:00.
IDIS 150 16 DCM: Mathematics, Beauty, and the Mind of God. Many mathematicians find aesthetic pleasure in their work and in mathematics more generally. Bertrand Russell said "Mathematics, rightly viewed, possesses not only truth, but supreme beauty" and G.H. Hardy said "Beauty is the first test: there is no permanent place in this world for ugly mathematics." Some have connected their appreciation for mathematics with their understanding of God. Galileo is reported to have said, "Mathematics is the language with which God wrote the universe." Even Paul Erdős, though an agnostic, spoke of an imaginary book, in which God has written down all the most beautiful mathematical proofs. This course will survey beautiful topics from number theory, geometry, and analysis alongside the religious and mathematical perspectives of people working in these fields. No previous mathematical training is required for this course, but a willingness to learn the necessary mathematics is assumed. Besides learning some new mathematics, students will be expected to reflect on their own understanding of beauty and how it connects with our lives of faith. Students are evaluated on the basis of quizzes and a test that cover mathematical content, class participation, a course paper, and a final project (poster or presentation). M. Bolt. 8:30 to noon.
IDIS 150 17 DCM: Men, Women, and Media. The powerful stories media tell about gender affect people’s sense of self and place. In this class, students analyze and discuss media representations of masculinity and femininity. Some have argued that media are by their nature evil. That is not the perspective of this class. In it, all media are seen as potentially filled with grace, with redemptive possibilities. Class members are expected to bring their own experiences of media to the conversation. H. Sterk. 2:00 to 5:00.
IDIS 150 18 DCM: Models as Mediators. Students study and discuss the many and varied ways in which models function in natural and social science as well as everyday life. A framework is offered for understanding how models can act as mediators with special attention paid to autonomous mediators. Students also study the mediation of Christ with the goal of understanding how general revelation might mirror or illuminate special revelation. W.D. Laverell. 2:00 to 5:00.
IDIS 150 19 DCM: Bonhoeffer's Life and Work. What did Jesus want to say to us? What does he want from us today? How does he help us to be faithful Christians today? These are the questions that dominated the life and work of the German theologian Dietrich Bonhoeffer. This course explores the political and theological contexts in which Bonhoeffer lived out a life of Christian discipleship. A study of his work, from a young lecturer in theology at the University of Berlin before World War II to a prisoner for his participation in a plot to assassinate Adolph Hitler, orients a proper understanding of Bonhoeffer’s maturation as a theologian. Bonhoeffer’s life and work present an opportunity to explore themes intimately related to a Christian worldview: how the church relates to the state, the Christian’s responsibility in the world, and how to follow Christ in modern life. Students will read Bonhoeffer’s works, complemented by secondary sources that will help orient the class discussions. Through readings, dialogue, lectures, reflections, and film, together with Bonhoeffer we learn to ask (and answer), “Who is Jesus Christ for us today?” Students will learn how a major theologian in the twentieth century thought about questions of Christian discipleship in the modern world. Students will learn how basic theological worldview categories can be integrated to analyze concrete historical situations and contexts. Evaluation will be based on grading of formal papers, reflection journals, in-class discussion, and final exam. J. Ballor. 2:00 to 5:00.
IDIS 150 20 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. Fee: $50. B. Fuller. 2:00 to 5:00.
IDIS 150 21 DCM: Music, Manipulation, and the Mind of God. This course explores the question: “What is Christian freedom, and how might music help us or hinder us in attaining it? A primary object of study is film music, although we spend a considerable amount of time on popular music, worship music, and music in advertising. 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 to 5:00.
IDIS 150 22 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. These costs are not inevitable. Individuals, relationships, and organizations benefit from optimized conflict that improves ideas, creativity, and decisions. Optimized conflict that is consistent with eight Christian value principles takes disciplined preparation, superior listening and analysis skills, and well-managed emotions. Conflict avoidance leads to a major cost: failure to confront condemns others to continued poor performance. Students will debate conflict principles, take part in skill-building exercises, and write their evaluation of a conflict. D. Nykamp.
IDIS 150 23 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 performanceduring in-class discussion, short writing assignments, and a final exam. E. Washington. 8:30 to noon.
IDIS 150 24 DCM: Pop Culture in the Empire. While references to “empire” can easily bring Star Wars to mind, the word refers to a much broader reality that is referenced throughout Scripture and has significant implications for daily life in today’s world. This course will use texts such as Colossians Remixed (Brian Walsh & Sylvia Keesmaat) and Everyday Apocalypse (David Dark) to help define empire and the role of fully awake Christians living in the empire, with particular reference to aspects of popular culture, including food, television, film, music, and fashion. Through reading, film viewing, discussion, guest speakers, and special projects, students will explore the problem of sin reflected in idolatry, consumerism, and power manipulation, but they will also be encouraged to find hope in the Kingdom of God, rooted in activism, community, and daily practices. R. Vander Giessen-Reitsma, K. Vander Giessen-Reitsma. 2:00 to 5:00.
IDIS 150 25 DCM: Ruins and Decay. The course provides an eclectic introduction to the importance of ruins (as material forms and as ideas) and the larger theme of decay within the Western art historical tradition. From the cult of ancient ruins, to the construction of faux ruins, to vanitas themes, to memento mori devices, art history is filled with instances of works that explicitly address the problem of deterioration. This profound dimension of human experience is especially pertinent for a discipline that itself often depends upon decaying fragments from the past. Themes of melancholy and loss play an important role in the course, though we’ll also consider how various individuals have used these associations of decay as foundations for new forms of creation. Although a DCM option, the course is particularly recommended for students interested in art or art history. C. Hanson. 2:00 to 5:00.
IDIS 150 26 DCM: Societal Views of Drugs. The pharmaceutical industry and clandestine drug laboratories make available to us drugs that can have myriad effects. Drugs can lengthen lives, relieve pain, replace hormones, relieve anxiety, sharpen mental awareness, alter sensations, change our behavior, enhance performance, help us lose weight, or just make us feel good. In this course, students study the history of the legalization of drugs in the U.S. and how some representative drugs work. They examine what drug properties determine whether or not a drug is legal to purchase and use, how drugs are legally made available in the U.S., who pays for these drugs, and what determines whether a drug is made available without a prescription. Then, students consider when the use of drugs shifts from being a blessing from God to making us lazy or to harming our bodies and our minds. What use of drugs is appropriate? Is it appropriate for us as Christians to take insulin, aspirin, Ritalin®, coffee, tobacco, or marijuana? Readings are taken from Powerful Medicines by Jerry Avorn, M.D., popular literature, and the Bible. Students reflect on, discuss, and write about drug use in various medical and social situations, and take tests based on the readings. R. Nyhof. 2:00 to 5:00.
IDIS 150 27 DCM: Sustainability and Worldviews. Global environmental issues related to creating a sustainable future generate much debate in the public media, among policy-makers, and even 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 modern, post-modern, and some explicitly Christian worldviews with respect to our relationship to the natural world. Drawing on the Biblical themes of creation, fall, redemption, and sanctification and their implications for environmental stewardship, this course seeks to cultivate a mature Christian response to environmental issues, especially as these come to expression in issues related to the sustainability of modern civilization. Global issues relevant to the sustainability of human society include climate change, energy supply, biotic carrying capacity, environmental pollution, the carbon cycle, biodiversity, water resources. The course will feature videos, guest lectures, professorial presentations, discussion, and student presentations. Assessment will be based on attendance, quizzes on reading assignments, class tests, writing assignments, class participation, a project report, and final exam. K. Piers. 2:00 to 5:00.
CANCELED IDIS 150 28 DCM: Sustainability and Worldviews. Global environmental issues related to creating a sustainable future generate much debate in the public media, among policy-makers, and even 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 modern, post-modern, and some explicitly Christian worldviews with respect to our relationship to the natural world. Drawing on the Biblical themes of creation, fall, redemption, and sanctification and their implications for environmental stewardship, this course seeks to cultivate a mature Christian response to environmental issues, especially as these come to expression in issues related to the sustainability of modern civilization. Global issues relevant to the sustainability of human society include climate change, energy supply, biotic carrying capacity, environmental pollution, the carbon cycle, biodiversity, water resources. The course will feature videos, guest lectures, professorial presentations, discussion, and student presentations. Assessment will be based on attendance, quizzes on reading assignments, class tests, writing assignments, class participation, a project report, and final exam. R. DeKock. 2:00 to 5:00.
IDIS 150 29 DCM: The Church and its Missions in Africa. The church in Africa has a long existence. This is especially true in areas like Ethiopia, the Sudan, Egypt, and parts of North Africa. Cognizant of its core mission, the church had been involved in the process of evangelization and the expansions of the kingdom of God long before the advent of western missionaries. The church and Christianity at large spread throughout the continent in the 19th and 20th centuries with the increasing presence and activities of western missionaries. Though Africa witnessed the spectacular expansion of the Christian faith, the engagements of the church in fulfilling its wider mandates (cultural, political, social, etc) not only leaves much to be desired, but requires a critical inquiry. This course will provide an introduction into the development of the church in Africa from the perspective of Engaging God’s World through various vocations, such as health care, education, community development projects, etc. Evaluation of previous mission/development endeavors will be conducted with special emphasis on the church in Ethiopia. Apart from considering the challenges and opportunities the African church is encountering, the course will also examine its roles in the emerging African society and its preparedness for a broadened social commitment. Ways and means for an enhance engagement and resultant societal impacts will be discussed and debated. T. Eshete, M. Vander Wal. 8:30 to noon.
IDIS 150 30 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 to noon.
IDIS 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 to 5:00.
IDIS 150 32 DCM: Writing, Faith and the Festival of Faith. 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 have appeared (or will appear) at the Festival. Students will discuss assigned readings, keep a journal, write a paper, and produce creative work of their own. D. Rienstra. 8:30 a.m. to noon.
IDIS 150 33 DCM: Human Exceptionalities. Genesis 1:27 states “So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them.” Yet, there are many people who are created with exceptionalities/disabilities. Does this mean God is also disabled? Are these persons evidence of the Fall? Are they able to experience redemption? Who is normal? The purpose of this course is to understand and experience persons with exceptionalities in the context of a Reformed Christian worldview. Student evaluation will be based on journals, quizzes and a final essay. B. Macauley. 8:30 to noon.
IDIS 150 34 DCM: 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 make our way into the 21st century, society is becoming more pluralistic, more secular, and more materialistic. The local church must be ready to speak and respond to these and many more issues. This course will challenge the 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 perspective. Students will be expected to visit specific area churches each Sunday of interim. R.S. Greenway. 2:00 to 5:00.
IDIS 150 35 DCM: Filmmakers Under Censorship. This course examines four different groups of filmmakers who have had to work under various types of censorship: the directors of American screwball comedies under the Hayes Code, Chinese directors during the 1980’s and 90’s, recent Indian filmmakers, and Iranian directors of the 1990’s to the present. In each of these cases, filmmakers have managed to produce an excellent body of work despite (and possibly because of) the pressures of censorship. Students examine a variety of questions regarding this topic. Why in some situations (Cultural Revolution in China, Stalinism in Russia) does censorship produce propaganda movies while in other situations, filmmakers seem to blossom? What do these groups of censors(Catholic/Christian, Communist, and Hindi/Muslim) have in common? Why would they more or less censor the same things (sex, violence, material critical of the government) as many American Christians would? Does having limitations actually benefit artists in some ways? Evaluation will be based on class participation, a film journal, and a final paper. P. Goetz. 2:00 to 5:00.
IDIS 150 36 DCM: Theology and the Emerging Church Movement: A Journey into a Kaleidoscopic Conversation. In Engaging God’s World, Neal Plantinga speaks of the Heildelberg Catechism and other confessions as medium-length documents better suited to guide a program of reform in this world than the Bible as a whole, or selected texts. However, are theological documents still relevant in a world where many in are more interested in following Jesus's example than in discussing theology? In this class we will reassess the relevancy of theological confessions by better understanding their historical, literal, and theological elements as we engage in a conversation with varying perspectives within the Emerging Church Movement. The objective of the course is to better understand the relevance of Reformed theological confessions to a postmodern audience. Evaluation will be based on class participation, daily reflection papers, and a short course paper. S. Ko. 2:00 to 5:00.
IDIS 150 37 DCM: C.S. Lewis: Integrating Reason, Imagination and Faith. This course will explore the extra-ordinary life and influential writings of one of the most exact and penetrating Christian minds of recent times, Clive Staples Lewis. C.S. Lewis (1898-1963) is perhaps the most widely read Christian intellectual of the twentieth century. The course concentrates on his integration of reason, imagination and faith. Students will be encouraged to freely investigate and find out how Lewis, honestly, painstakingly and faithfully, attempted to see, and apply to his life and writings, human life and history as held in God's hands. Samples of Lewis's works related to literary criticism, theology, philosophy, poetry, autobiography, and children's stories will be read and freely debated in a Socratic approach format. Also audio recordings of Lewis's own lectures and videos about Lewis's life will be presented and discussed. A. Ribeiro, P. Ribeiro. 8:30 a.m. to noon.
IDIS 150 38 DCM: What is a Confessing Church? Why bother with the old creeds and confessions of the church? Can’t we just preach Jesus? (After all, that was good enough for the Apostle Paul). Don’t the confessions of the Church separate Christians and damage our unity? Do they help us to deal with the major questions the church faces today (e.g., homosexuality, global warming, cloning)? We will explore the main teachings of the Reformed confessions, what difference they make in our lives and churches, and how non-confessional churches organize and maintain their ministries. Students will be evaluated on three papers, quizzes, a final examination, and class contributions. P. DeVries. 2:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m.
IDIS 150 39 DCM: This is the Way the World Ends: the Apocalypse in Popular Fiction, Film, and Music. Whether watching Hollywood blockbusters such as I Am Legend, reading Chuck Palahniuk’s cult novel Fight Club, or watching fatalistic imagery in Radiohead’s music videos, it is easy to see that contemporary culture is obsessed with questions about the “end” . This course asks students to critique, respond to, and write about ancient, modern, and postmodern cultural definitions and artistic representations of the apocalypse. Along with the help of novelists Douglas Coupland and Don Delillo; musicians Radiohead, the Mountain Goats, and Sufjan Stevens; and filmmakers Mark Achbar, Jennifer Abott, and Alfonso Cuaron, this class asks why the original Judeo-Christian use of the term “apocalypse” has changed so dramatically in its contemporary context. This term, which initially meant “to uncover” or “reveal,” is now a secularized catch-all phrase for discussion of a dark eschatology, a focus on “last things” that implies destruction without any sense of illumination, transformation or redemption. The course also examines the ways in which consumerism, postmodern irony, and dependence on virtual reality have molded the collective cultural mindset (including that of the church), perhaps encouraging it to abandon the Christian understanding of the redemptive nature of apocalyptic rhetoric and imagery. Equally as important, students explore how the discussed cultural artifacts might still reflect the collective longings/ religious impulse of both their creators and the culture that embraces them. Evaluation will be based on a few short essays, one longer essay, a final exam and class participation. M. McCampbell. 2:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m.
IDIS 150 40 DCM: What's for Dinner? How can Christian belief inform personal decisions about what to eat? This class will examine some of the problems confronting eating habits and food systems in North America and explore literature, including biblical texts, Michael Pollan’s The Omnivore’s Dilemma, Barbara Kingsolver’s Animal, Vegetable, Miracle, and essays from Eat Well: A Food Road Map, that helps provide a new perspective of food and the soil, animals, and human beings involved in its growth and production. Students will reflect on their own relationship to food and redemptive ways of eating. Class sessions will incorporate guest lectures, classroom discussion, film, student presentations, and hands-on interaction with food. Students will identify and describe their own relationship to food, explore problems and solutions in North American eating habits and food systems, and discover and develop practical ways of eating in Shalom. Evaluation will be based on class participation, quizzes, a reflective essay, and in-class presentations. J. Lawrence. 2:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m.
IDIS 150 41 DCM: Witnessing Suffering on TV. TV, Internet,and newspaper audiences are daily inundated with news about people in far away places suffering famine, genocide and other humanitarian crises. Google Earth’s Darfur project encourages audiences to ‘witness the destruction for yourself.’ Now that audiences know about the distant suffering, are they responsible to act? Are audiences complicit in the suffering if they do not act? In this course, the class will explore possibilities for how media audiences can respond to distant human suffering. The exploration begins with questioning the adequacy of the analogy of the Good Samaritan as the Global Samaritan. The class will explore the possibilities of a Christian audience response to the viewing of distant human suffering through television, Internet, and newspapers. Readings, lectures, discussions, films, news coverage, journals, and student presentations will provide the material with which to compassionately investigate this topic. Evaluation will be based on quizzes, journals, and short essay with accompanying presentation. A. Richards. 2:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m.
IDIS 150 42 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 in this 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. Readings and viewings will be drawn from plays written in the last decade, including Doubt, Rabbit Hole, The Clean House, Top Dog/Underdog, Dying City, Proof, and Wit. Coursework consists of reading plays, viewing plays (both live and on film), discussions on the plays, quizzes, one critical response paper, and a reading journal. S. Sandberg. 8:30 a.m. to noon.
CANCELED IDIS 150 43 DCM: Documentary Film & the Struggle for Truth. This section will study a number of documentary films on significant social issues and explore the accuracy of the facts presented, the influence of point of view and story structure on the meaning of the film, and the ethical decisions made in editing. Where do we draw the line between poetic license and deceit? Whose perspectives are emphasized or omitted from these productions? Do the films rely on emotional appeals more than hard facts? The class will view documentary films, research the data the films present, and read third-party critiques of the films. Evaluation will be based on research papers, film responses, and class participation. R. Prince. 2:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m.
IDIS 150 44 DCM: Citizenship and Politics. This course focuses on key questions involved with a Christian understanding of and action in the public sphere. These topics include: 1) the purpose of government and Christian attitudes toward government (with special emphasis on comparing Reformed perspectives to other Christian and other religious perspectives), 2) civil religion and its dangers (with special reference to the United States), 3) church-state separation/integration issues, 4) mixing biblical readings and public policy, and 5) Christian citizenship and political engagement. The main objective is to encourage intelligent, critical, and humble Christian reflection on and engagement in political and public policy issues. Objectives will be achieved through lectures, critical reading of texts (accessible yet thoughtful articles on each topic), class visits by political practitioners, classroom simulations, classroom debates, videos, and movies. Evaluation will be based on quizzes on readings, refection papers, and oral debates. D. Koopman. 8:30 a.m. to noon.