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: 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 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 the Reformed tradition’s understanding of creation, fall, redemption, and consummation 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 daily journaling, participation, an integrative essay, and a final exam. D. Harlow. 8:30 a.m. to noon.
150 02 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. 2:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m.
150 03H Honors DCM: Christian Leadership. Whenever people are together, leadership appears. How people exert leadership varies considerably. How people respond to leadership varies still more. Students participate in a simulated research organization, applying for and performing specific positions and roles. As they obtain leadership information, they apply it to their simulation activities. Their leadership and response to others’ leadership are evaluated by peers and the instructor almost daily, as is the quality of their research and research reports. Participants are challenged to identify and defend core Christian values that apply to leadership, to assess the quality of current and past leadership theories, and to assess the leadership of selected prominent leaders in the church, government or politics, and in Christian communities. In light of their assessments, they recommend improvements in the leadership they observe. In response to frequent feedback, students’ leadership knowledge and skill increase demonstrably. This section is restricted to members of the honors program. D. Nykamp. 8:30 a.m. to noon.
150 04 DCM: The Church in the 21st Century. The local Christian church is undergoing rapid change. Changes in worship style, music, the visual arts, and the role of lay leadership are just a few of the elements that are driving these changes. Still deeper, many Christians are questioning even the necessity of the institutional church. Others are asking, “What is the role of the local church in the Kingdom of God?” These questions are being asked in the midst of a North American society that is rapidly becoming more secular, pluralistic, and 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 required to visit local churches as part of their course work. R. Scott Greenway. 2:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m.
150 05 DCM: Where is Home? The last 150 years of world history have been characterized by unprecedented global mobility. In our increasingly shrinking and accessible world many move by choice while others are forcibly moved against their will. How does this nomadic life affect our desire and quest for “home?” The course will look at the different dimensions of home; is it a place, person(s), state of mind? How has it been defined at different times and currently in different cultures? What are the spiritual implications of “being at home?” How does God transform us from rootless nomad to grounded pilgrim? What is our role as divine image-bearers in assisting others in finding and being at home? We will explore the diverse aspects of home and various forms of historical and contemporary (im)migration, from the voluntary to the traumatically forced, through non-fiction texts, documentary and feature films, fiction, lyric poetry, and personal story. The students’ performance will be assessed by a reading and viewing journal, brief quizzes, completion of a first-person interview, participation in class discussion, and a final test. M Buteyn. 2:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m.
150 06 DCM: A Christian Response to Racism. Preferential treatment based on race is foundational to the development of the United States. But considering political gains and economic advancements of People of Color, do we now live in a post-race society? In this course students study the complex definition of racism and the effects of the reality of racism in the United States. Students will seek ways to fulfill part of our calling to work for justice as citizens of God’s kingdom by applying a broader understanding of racism to the church, academy and society. The course includes films, readings, discussions, lectures, journals, student presentations, and field trips. J. Rhodes. 2:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m.
150 07 DCM: Unexpected Guests . This course examines assumptions and common misperceptions connected with disability, especially meanings that reside in the mind of the observer rather than inherently in conditions labeled as physical, emotional, or cognitive impairment. Facilitating inclusion of persons with disability labels into the life arenas of work, worship, recreation, education and community living is a primary goal of the course, as is understanding of the themes of powerlessness, interdependence, and hospitality to stranger as they affect each of our lives. In addition to readings, discussion, and written reflection, students will interact with people who live with disability and experience representations of disability in popular media. T. Hoeksema. 8:30 a.m. to noon.
150 08 DCM: Missing the Message? Sometimes the message presented isn't the one that's heard. At times this is because of how the message is presented; other times, a person's own thoughts and ideas get in the way of understanding. This can be seen, for instance, in discussions about faith: some Christians (mostly those who'd call themselves postmodern) would argue that how one lives is a lot more important than what one believes. Yet, the Reformed view seems to argue that what one believes is most important. Or does it? The class will look not only at the Reformed message (and how it is presented) but will also cover a number of other areas in which there is potential misunderstanding of the message, such as: education, media, sociology, languages, statistics, psychology, and technology. A variety of formal and informal assignments will be given, with an emphasis on dialogue and participation. The assignments and class sessions themselves will be looked at in terms of how a message can best be heard and remembered. Lastly, the “message” of this course will be given from the perspective of a member of a monastic community in Amsterdam's Red Light District, highlighting further what can affect how the message is given and heard. B. Heyink. 8:30 a.m. to noon.
150 09 DCM: Dystopia & Utopia: World of Science Fiction. For over a hundred years, science fiction and fantasy writers have been fascinated by the possibilities afforded by extrapolating contemporary trends, ideas, and inventions and pushing those imaginings into the future. Sometimes the results are frightening, but this fiction can always shape the way the young Christian student shapes his behavior, her choices, his values, and her discernment Such writers as Isaac Asimov, H.G. Wells, Ray Bradbury, George Orwell, Aldous Huxley, and C.S. Lewis will be considered in this class, especially as they speak to the intentional Christian scholar. The best novels and short stories from these writers will be engaged; daily reading quizzes will be administered; two essays will be assigned and a final exam will be administered at the end of the course. J. Fondse. 2:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m.
150 10 DCM: Eugenics & Personal Genomics: Past, Present, Future. Eugenics - the improvement of heritable traits in humans through the promotion, elimination, or mandatory sterilization of certain peoples (e.g. poor, disabled, homosexual, and racial minorities) is a philosophy we most commonly associate with Hitler and Nazi Germany. Would it surprise you to know that eugenics programs were promoted in the US well before Hitler, by prestigious institutions like the Carnegie Institute and the Rockefeller Foundation, and by notable persons such as Teddy Roosevelt, H.G. Wells, and Woodrow Wilson? After WWII these programs and their support fell in disfavor. However, the sequencing of the human genome has made modification of the human species possible again, through artificial selection of "good" traits over "bad." Is the use of genetic information or manipulation of genes to prevent disorders an acceptable form of “treatment,” rather than drug therapies and surgical procedures commonly used today? Did you know that right now you can obtain data from your own personal genome that includes your susceptibility to over 90 different diseases and traits for as little as $400? Do you want to know what diseases you may be susceptible to, even if the disease has no cure? What decisions go into obtaining and interpreting this information, and what values should guide our use of it? This course will evaluate the rise of eugenics, its subsequent fall, and re-invigoration in the genomic era. Students will learn to recognize eugenics in all of its forms, both past and present, and will evaluate its implications in political, socio-economic, moral and religious contexts. Students will be graded on the basis of class participation, journal responses, quizzes, an exam, and a course paper. A. Wilsterman, J. Wertz. 8:30 a.m. to noon.
150 11 DCM: Eugenics & Personal Genomics: Past, Present, Future. Eugenics - the improvement of heritable traits in humans through the promotion, elimination, or mandatory sterilization of certain peoples (e.g. poor, disabled, homosexual, and racial minorities) is a philosophy we most commonly associate with Hitler and Nazi Germany. Would it surprise you to know that eugenics programs were promoted in the US well before Hitler, by prestigious institutions like the Carnegie Institute and the Rockefeller Foundation, and by notable persons such as Teddy Roosevelt, H.G. Wells, and Woodrow Wilson? After WWII these programs and their support fell in disfavor. However, the sequencing of the human genome has made modification of the human species possible again, through artificial selection of "good" traits over "bad." Is the use of genetic information or manipulation of genes to prevent disorders an acceptable form of “treatment,” rather than drug therapies and surgical procedures commonly used today? Did you know that right now you can obtain data from your own personal genome that includes your susceptibility to over 90 different diseases and traits for as little as $400? Do you want to know what diseases you may be susceptible to, even if the disease has no cure? What decisions go into obtaining and interpreting this information, and what values should guide our use of it? This course will evaluate the rise of eugenics, its subsequent fall, and re-invigoration in the genomic era. Students will learn to recognize eugenics in all of its forms, both past and present, and will evaluate its implications in political, socio-economic, moral and religious contexts. Students will be graded on the basis of class participation, journal responses, quizzes, an exam, and a course paper. R. DeJong, S. Matheson. 8:30 a.m. to noon.
150 12 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 p.m. to 5:00 p.m.
150 13 DCM: Genesis and Science. The course is focused on the famous problem of apparent conflict between the creation story of Genesis and theories of origins that now prevail in modern science. Guest lecturers from the natural sciences introduce the evidence supporting those theories (on the origins of the universe, the earth, and species.) In an essay of three or four pages, students write a coherent summary of this evidence to submit as part of the final exam at the end of the term. Next, students examine debate that has erupted over how now to read and understand the story of origins in Genesis. Does Genesis in fact agree with the teachings of science, as so-called Concordists have proposed? Or does Genesis disagree with these teachings, so much so that a Christian crusade against modern evolutionary science is required? This is the proposal of “Simple Literalists,” or “Young Earth Creationists,” who take their cause passionately to evangelical churches nationwide. Serious defects of both these approaches to Genesis are raised for discussion and examination. Stress falls on a third approach that prevails among scholars of the Bible, but which is not very well known outside academic institutions. It is to see Genesis in its own Ancient Near Eastern historical setting, and that way to read and understand it in its own original terms. In this approach, Genesis has little or no relevance to modern science, but instead offers a unique religious vision of God and human existence for modern people. In an integrative essay of five pages, students show that they understand and can explain the elements of this view clearly and as a coherent whole. J. Schneider. 8:30 a.m. to noon.
150 14 DCM: God’s Economy Across Cultures. Have you ever had a puzzling conversation with someone where even though you spoke the same language you could not quite communicate? And where this led to frustration or misunderstanding? Our ways of communicating, as well as our values, norms, and behaviors are shaped not only by our language, but also by cultural influences. In this course, students deepen their understanding of the cultural influences on their own values, norms, and behaviors as well as on those from other cultures, with a special emphasis on Native American cultures. Lack of cultural awareness can lead to severe problems, from oppression by dominant cultures throughout history to simple misunderstandings that impede communication in international relations today. At a national level, this can lead to human suffering. At an individual level, lack of cultural awareness can result in lost opportunities to grow from encounters with those different from us. Throughout the course students read, discuss, and listen to a variety of speakers and insights. The learning objectives include a heightened awareness of how cultural contexts and faith traditions impact human relationships; a deeper understanding of how the Reformed tradition of Christianity relates to other faith traditions; and increased listening and conflict resolution skills. Evaluation will be based on written papers, oral presentations, and thoughtful discussion. B. Haney. 2:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m.
150 15 DCM: The Resurgence of Calvinism. Calvinism, often seen as a dusty throwback to a more theologically passionate age, has new found popularity in North America (the course title gets 172,000 hits on Google). This course will investigate the questions of how and why Calvinism is once again growing in Evangelical circles. Students in this course will (1) review the basic theology and world and life view of Calvinism, (2) read, see, and evaluate some current presentations of Calvinism (John Pieper, Mark Driscoll, etc.), and (3) discuss, debate, and draw conclusions about why these new brands of Calvinism are appealing in this post-modern era. Students are evaluated based on classroom participation, writing assignments, quizzes, and a final exam. P. DeVries. 8:30 a.m. to noon.
150 16 DCM: Human Nature: Psychological & Religious Perspectives. 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 17 DCM: Jewish Thought and Culture. Christianity arose from a Jewish context, but interactions between Jews and Christians have often been strained. The Jewish people have developed traditions that are frequently quite different from those found in Christianity. This course aims to improve students’ understanding and appreciation of Jewish thought and culture. Through this process, this course aims to encourage a greater understanding of the Reformed tradition of the Christian faith. We will explore the lives and writings of several important Jewish thinkers. We will also explore creative and artistic works, looking for insight into Jewish culture and Jewish experiences. Evaluation will be based upon class participation, a journal, and a final exam. D. Billings. 8:30 a.m. to noon.
150 18 DCM: Just War & 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 contemporary issues. Students will be able to: (1) articulate accurately a variety of Christian positions on the relationship between peace and war, including just war perspectives and pacifist perspectives; (2) apply the theoretical resources of Christian ethics to concrete questions related to war in the contemporary world; and (3) deepen their ability to exercise critical and Christian thinking in their approach to the complex issues of war and peace. Students will be evaluated on the basis of quizzes, impromptu writing assignments, the quality of their participation in class discussions, a reflection paper, and a final examination. M. Lundberg. 8:30 a.m. to noon.
150 19 DCM: Understanding Islam. This course surveys the history of the Islamic religion from its beginnings until the twenty-first century. After a brief look at the Arabs in antiquity, we take up the issue of the historical Muhammad, the revelation of the Qur’an, and the rise of Islamic communities. We study the development of sects, theology, philosophy, and mysticism in the context of the growth of Islamic societies, with the Ottoman Empire as a case study. Readings include the Qur’an, selections from the works of modern Muslim thinkers and other primary sources, and a popular book about the history of Islam. Discussions examine contemporary issues, including Palestine, fundamentalism, terrorism, the status of women, the legacy of colonialism, the myth of an Islamic-Western confrontation, and Christian views of other religions. We will visit a Grand Rapids mosque and meet Grand Rapids Muslims. Students do readings, participate in discussions, take quizzes, and write three short papers. D. Howard. 2:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m.
150 20 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 in student teams and individual written work. B. Polman. 2:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m.
150 21 DCM: Mathematics & Culture. How does mathematics influence culture, and how does culture influence mathematics? Answers to this question have varied over time and place, and often are related to other questions: Are mathematical objects discovered by humans or created by them? What are mathematical objects, anyway? Is mathematics important? Is it “true”? How do we learn mathematics? Is mathematics related to faith commitments? In this class, students investigate these and related questions through readings, discussions, and class activities. Evaluation is based on daily quizzes, class participation, writing assignments, and a final exam. G. Talsma. 2:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m.
150 22 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. Assignments include four short papers, an oral and visual presentation on an aspect of gender and media, and a final exam. H. Sterk. 8:30 a.m. to noon.
150 23 DCM: Music & 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. Through this course, students will improve their awareness of the many roles that music plays in modern life and be able to evaluate them against various perspectives on Christian service. In addition, students will develop and sharpen the skills of listening to and talking about music. Graded activities include daily reading and homework assignments, a position paper, a group project, a final exam, and a self-evaluation of one’s investment (including things like participation in discussion, attendance, and body language. D. Fuentes. 2:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m.
150 24 DCM: The New Urbanism. This course examines the current cultural debate over the way we build cities. After the Second World War, the US embarked on a historically unprecedented pattern of development: low-density, auto-oriented suburbs. As the limits of that pattern of development became apparent in the 1990s, the “New Urbanist” movement was spawned—a movement of architects, planners, environmentalists and citizen activists that has tried to recover more traditional ways of putting cities together. Students will review the history of city-building in the west, in teams of four or five design a town for 30,000, and read articles and view DVDs that explore different aspects of the issue. Several guest speakers from the development and planning community of Grand Rapids will address the class. The overall goal of the class is to gain a deeper understanding of our built environment. Evaluation will be based on reading journal entries, participation in the design project, a test and a final exam. L. Hardy. 2:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m.
150 25 DCM: The Scandal of 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 26 DCM: The US Civil War & Reconstruction. For more than a century, the era of the Civil War and Reconstruction has been the most extensively written about period in America history and it continues to inspire passionate debate. This course shows why. Topics covered include slavery and the sectional crisis, explanations of the war's origins and course, and the contentious history of Reconstruction. Classroom activities include discussions, lectures, films, student presentations, and a simulation game. Students will be evaluated on the basis of daily quizzes over the readings, an oral book report, three primary source reports, a final exam that focuses on how the concepts presented by Neal Plantinga in Engaging God’s World illuminate the issues raised by this period of history, and participation in class activities. D. Miller. 8:30 a.m. to noon.
150 27 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. 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. Students will come to understand how theatre helps us to understand identity and faith. The course is based on a reading/viewing of eight different American plays. During the course these plays are analyzed and assessed against the theological material provided in Engaging God’s World. Student learning is evaluated by written play responses, a reading journal for Engaging God’s World, an exam, and an essay. D. Freeberg. 8:30 a.m. to noon.
150 28 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.
CANCELLED 150 29 DCM: World Christianity: Christ of the China Road. Some say that by the end of the 21st century, China will be largely Christian. How is Christ received by Chinese people accustomed to Confucian, Daoist, and Buddhist traditions? How do indigenization and syncretism differ? What are the main doctrinal characteristics of the indigenous Chinese Church? What are Chinese “cultural” Christians? What are Chinese “house” churches? What is the relationship of the Christian church to Chinese government? To universities? To seminaries? What are six important ways in which CRC Christians are engaged in China today? How will Christian faith continue to grow and deepen in China in the future? Student learning will by discussion of readings in class, by a mid-term paper, and a final examination. D. Obenchain. 8:30 a.m. to noon.
150 30 DCM: Worldviews and the Natural Environment. 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. Students will be evaluated through daily quizzes over assigned reading material, a group project, and a final exam. D. McCarthy. 8:30 a.m. to noon.
150 31 DCM: Writing, Faith, and the Festival of Faith & Writing. This course explores how currently active writers draw from the resources of Christian faith in their fiction, creative nonfiction, and poetry. Students 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 also consider the role of Christian publishing, Calvin’s Festival of Faith and Writing, and various publications in the faith-and-writing subculture. Readings represent a range of genres and topics and are drawn from the work of authors who have appeared (or will appear) at the Festival. Students discuss assigned readings, keep a journal, write a paper, and produce creative work of their own. D. Rienstra. 8:30 a.m. to noon.
150 32 DCM: Global Hunger: Issues of Food Security & 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 food comes from, students evaluate the sustainability of our current food system on environmental, nutritional, and social health. Factors considered in local context include land and water resource use, pesticides and chemicals, biotechnology, organics, farmer markets and community-supported agriculture. The local context, once fully informed, is applied to the global environment. Having understood the current global situation from environmental, economic and social justice points-of-view, 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. This course examines how our perspectives influence our perceptions and understanding of world hunger issues. Students examine how the causes of world hunger are deeply rooted in our understanding of the nature of human beings, the meaning of creation, and the relationship of human beings to their environment. Students also consider how our understanding of the norms of justice and how a biblical concept of justice applies to the worldwide distribution and availability of our daily bread. U. Zylstra. 8:30 a.m. to noon.
150 33 DCM: Called to Serve - Called to Lead. Through tears of shattered dreams, empty success, cruel injustice, and broken promises, the world cries for a sense of meaning, a sense of hope, and new life. Where are the leaders who can show us a “new land”, a “new beginning’, and a “new hope” for a better tomorrow? Exploring the commands of Jesus, the Biblical message, and Reformed theological insight, the course will examine (in practical terms) two propositions: (1) “Leadership is not simply a question of how can “leaders better serve”, but rather how can “servants better lead” and (2) “Today’s leaders are already in our midst.” Class sessions will incorporate guest speakers, lectures, discussions, a project, videos, and readings from Neal Plantinga, Robert Greenleaf, Viktor Frankl, and Jim Collins. Students will be evaluated on the basis of performance during in-class discussion, group work, writing assignments, and a final exam. S. Berg. 8:30 a.m. to noon.
150 34 DCM: What's for Dinner? How can Christian belief inform personal decisions about what to eat? This class will examine some of the many problems confronting the eating habits and food systems in North America and explore literature, including biblical texts, Mark Bittman’s Food Matters, Barbara Kingsolver’s Animal, Vegetable, Miracle and various 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, critiques of food advertising, and hands-on interaction with food. J. Lawrence. 2:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m.
150 35 DCM: Reconciliation in South Africa. 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 Koinonia Declaration, the Kairos Document, Africa Enterprise, PACLA, SACLA, the Belhar Confession and other witnesses against apartheid and for justice will be examined. Attention will be given to the role of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission and films and literature that portray the struggle for truth and justice in the history of South Africa. 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 p.m. to 5:00 p.m.
150 36 DCM: Cinematic Storytelling. Stories are an integral part of human life, enabling human beings to envision and communicate about their world. This course will examine the way stories have been told in film, focusing on the two dominant modes of cinematic storytelling in film history: Classical Hollywood Cinema narration and European Art Cinema narration. Attention will be given to how story information is communicated and the forms stories take, while also considering what types of stories are told in the two filmmaking traditions and the moral and philosophical questions they often address. The class will consider how a particular kind of story (such as a romance or a coming-of-age tale) can be told differently in each of these filmmaking traditions. While neither school of filmmaking has claimed to represent a Christian worldview, each way of telling stories has insights to offer the thoughtful Christian viewer about how to speak truthfully about the complex world we live in. Students will examine the strengths and weaknesses of each model of narration in light of a Reformed worldview and will reflect upon the types of cinematic stories they regularly consume. Student assessment will be based on in class participation, a reading and viewing journal, an integrative essay, and a final exam. A. Richards, J. Vander Heide. 2:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m.
150 37 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 a.m. to noon.
150 38 DCM: Pop Culture in the Empire. The word “empire” refers to a complex reality that is referenced throughout Scripture and has significant implications for daily faithfulness in today’s world. This course uses Colossians Remixed (Brian Walsh & Sylvia Keesmaat) and additional resources to help define empire and the role of fully awake Christians living in the empire. Popular culture is explored in a broad sense, with particular reference to food, fashion, shopping, advertising, television, film, and music. Interwoven with pop culture, the course material touches on theological and philosophical concepts such as truth, storytelling, imagination, hope, modernism, and postmodernism. Through reading, film viewing, discussion, guest speakers, and special projects, students explore the problem of sin reflected in idolatry, consumerism, and power manipulation, but they are also encouraged to find hope in the Kingdom of God, rooted in individual practices and communal rituals. Course evaluation consists of reading responses, group projects, online conversation with other students in the class, as well as a final project that allows students to choose a particular area of pop culture in which to apply the theological framework presented in the course. Students will emerge from the course with: the ability to apply a comprehensive Reformed worldview to popular culture, an awareness of the systems and powers that influence human culture, a sense of hope rooted in the promises of God’s Kingdom. K. & R. Vander Giessen-Reitsma. 2:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m.
150 39 DCM: Global Crisis? Global climate change, water scarcity, mineral depletion, pollution, habitat loss, species extinction and human population growth. Much in the news, these are topics with alarming overtones. These interrelated topics cause significant turmoil in national and international politics and will impose difficult moral choices on our society. Are doomsayers too pessimistic? Will technology and economic growth save us? What is an appropriate Christian response? By way of assigned readings and student research, the basis of the warnings will be examined and personal and societal responses explored with presentations and class discussion, Each participant will explore one specific topic and produce a final paper. The instructor will serve as a guide, discussion leader and filter, not as an expert in all these complex topics. S. Steenwyk. 2:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m.
150 40 DCM: Religion and Politics This is a course on the ethics of citizenship. There will be a special focus on the place of religious convictions and religious actions in modern pluralist democracy. The course consists of two parts. In part 1, students will read and discuss contemporary work on the ethics of public deliberation—to what extent should religious citizens offer their religious reasons in public debate in a pluralist democracy? In part 2, students will pursue an individual project. Each project will contribute to the public political discussion of some issue in keeping with the most defensible set of norms as established in the first part. In other words, students will engage in public political participation as part of this course. Students will learn to develop a critical understanding of the obligations of citizenship in public political deliberation, develop a critical understanding of the challenges that religious institutions and democratic institutions pose for one another in modern pluralist democracy and learn how to contribute to public political deliberation on important issues. Student evaluation will be based on a set of reading assignments, the individual project, and a final exam. M. Jensen. 8:30 a.m. to noon.