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Registration: Interim

Interim 2011

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: Dramatic Families.  This DCM section will study a number of plays featuring families suffering from maladies such as death, abandonment, and betrayal; these same families have members who each have their own dreams, desires, and aspirations.  We will ask questions such as these: How do these families differ from what might be considered God’s design for families?  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 redemptive hope present (or absent) in the different families?  How is all of this relevant to our own lives?  How can the study of such material glorify God, draw us closer to Him and others as we become increasingly conformed to His image, and help advance His Kingdom?  We will study The Tempest by William Shakespeare, A Doll House by Henrik Ibsen, The Glass Menagerie by Tennessee Williams, Death of a Salesman by Arthur Miller, and A Raisin in the Sun by Lorraine Hansberry.  D. Urban.  8:30 a.m. to noon.

150 02 DCM: Training to Walk Daily with Jesus. Life’s full of  hurry, busyness and crowds.  And of  fears,  resentments, and idols, too.  Each of these—and a thousand other  noises—distract a person.  They lure one away from the path of living in trust and obedience toward God.    How then,  like Jesus,  to live purposefully and with focus;   to cultivate awe and delight;  to slow down and  ‘let life’s blessings catch up’?   How to seek justice, to love mercy, and to walk humbly with God? Jesus invites his would-be followers to learn to walk attentively—daily to train their eyes to see and their ears to hear God amid the fine-print details of their life circumstances, and  then to grow in faith, hope and love.   He bids them to guard against idols and to aim their hearts toward  God alone.  This course shall explore the several Christian ‘practices of the heart’—meditating upon Scripture, cultivating solitude,  praying, worshiping, fasting,  practicing simplicity, shunning idols, seeking justice, loving mercy, walking humbly with God, among others —which Jesus (and generations of Christians, too) commend as useful for living with, like & for  him.  Students will read and reflect together upon a number of (classic and contemporary) Christian treatises.   The course will conclude with a week-long stay at a quiet monastic Christian community,  the Abbey of Gethsemani in Trappist,Kentucky.   Students will have opportunity to report on this “journey into solitude” at the Calvin Symposium  on Worship 2011.  Fee: $500. D. Cooper.  8:30 a.m. to noon.

150 03 DCM: Figuring Yourself Out. In this course we help you figure out who you are and how you work. In particular, we want to get clear on how the parts of you function together as you live, work, think, fight sin, and seek God. As background, we examine your soul: what makes you, you? But our main topic is what's in your soul. What, for instance, about your mind? Is it the same thing as your soul, or is it just part of your soul? How does your heart fit in? Is it another part of your soul? Some prominent Christians say that your heart is good and some say that it's desperately wicked: well, which is it? What about your desires: do those come from your heart, your mind, or what? What goes on when you struggle with sin? Is it one part of you versus another part? Is it you versus Satan? Is it both? What is 'the flesh'? Christians also talk about the spirit: is that another part of your soul, or is it something else entirely? What does it do? What about reason and intellect? Are they the same as your mind, or are they just parts of it? And what about your will? What on earth is it, what does it do, and how does it fit in with everything else? Your soul seems to be awfully crowded. In this course we get all these muddled notions arranged properly. Of course we can't solve every problem; but you can give a house a pretty good cleaning without getting rid of every last speck of dust. Our big cleanup involves assiduous consultation of Scripture and close scrutiny of views both ancient and modern. Grades will be based on two papers, a final exam, periodical quizzes, and class investment. D. Herrick.  8:30 a.m. to noon.

150 04 DCM: Animals, Angels & Androids. This class explores the distinctiveness of human beings as created in the image of God and the nature of human rationality in relation to other non-human creatures marked by some form of intelligence: intelligences: animals, angels, and artificial intelligences.  Focusing on human intelligence in comparison to non-human intelligence will help highlight the strengths and shortcomings of limiting our notion of imago dei and human uniqueness to rationality.  By examining the nature of non-human intelligences and how human beings relate to creatures with such intelligences, the class addresses the questions “What does it mean to be human?” “What is ‘intelligence’?” “How should we understand and respect the integrity of the non-human?”  “How should human beings interact with the non-human?” “What relationships do non-human creatures have with each other and with God?”  Textbooks, essays, short stories, and films serve as materials to engage the topic.  Students keep a daily journal recording comments, questions, and insights arising from these materials.  Class time involves lecture and discussion.  Students write three essays, take quizzes, and write a final exam.  B. Madison.  8:30 a.m. to noon.

150 05 DCM: Can Helping People Hurt Them? The Case of Africa. Many billions of dollars have been spent  on aid to sub-Saharan Africa in the half-century since  its colonies became independent nations.  Western governments, nonprofits, and churches have  shown great generosity in their giving—but some observers say they have done more harm than good.  Foreign aid, some say, only encourages dependence and  lines the pockets of politicians.  Can helping people hurt them?  Does aid actually harm its recipients?  In this DCM section, students will read some recent books and articles claiming that Western aid cannot solve Africa’s problems and others arguing that only increased aid can  solve them.  In assessing these opposing viewpoints, students will gain a better understanding of the political and economic situation of Africa today and of the relationship between ethics, economics, and development.  Evaluation will be based on several brief essays on assigned topics, reading reports, and an in-class individual or group presentation.  D. Hoekema.  8:30 a.m. to noon.

150 06 DCM: Church, World, and the Christian Life.   What is the role of the church in the Christian life?  What is the role of the church in America?  What is the role of the church in the world?   How should we understand the explosive growth of the church around the world when it seems that so many denominations are declining in North America?  Is the church alive and well – or not?  This course will attempt to these questions by identifying the nature and mission of the church in the Christian life, in America, and in the world, particularly by comparing and contrasting the “North American church” and the “global church.”  Along the way, we will consider how the church influences and is also influenced by cultural trends, political movements, globalization, and other similar factors and movements.  Finally, we will inquire into how students should see the church – and specifically the local church  – in their own lives, especially as they pursue a vocation while at Calvin College.  Throughout the course, various church leaders from around the world will be invited to participate in our discussions.  Requirements will include readings, participation in class discussion, writing assignments, visiting several local churches and ministries that will result in a final project, and a final exam.  T. Cioffi.  8:30 a.m. to noon.

150 07 DCM: CS Lewis: Integrating Reason, Imagination & 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. This course will be taught as a hybrid combination of traditional lectures, small and large group Socratic discussions, reading of books and essays.  The students are guided to follow a comprehensive list of reading materials, homework assignments and discussions in class and via blogs.  Daily interactions among students and / or with the instructor provide the consolidation of the learning experience process. A. Ribeiro, P. Ribeiro.  2:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m.

150 08 DCM: Dollars & Disciples.  Personal finance is a popular topic. Television, radio, direct mail, and the internet deliver a constant stream of advice from self-proclaimed experts. In the midst of this clamor, Scripture still speaks to contemporary Christians. Discipleship and financial discipline are inextricably interrelated. This course explores that relationship by examining the elements of personal finance in the context of personal discipleship. Topics include socially responsible investing, debt and borrowing, and Christians and risk. Student achievement is evaluated on the basis of class discussions, periodic quizzes, two projects, and an integrative paper.  D. Cook.  2:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m.

150 09 DCM: Dystopia & Utopia: The 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.  8:30 a.m. to noon.

150 10 DCM: Eugenics Past & Present. Eugenics – the self-direction of human evolution through the promotion of desirable traits and the elimination of undesirable traits is a philosophy we most commonly associate with Hitler and Nazi Germany. Would it surprise you to know that eugenics programs, including mandatory sterilizations were  vigorously promoted in the United States well before Hitler by prestigious institutions such as the Carnegie Institute and the Rockefeller Foundation, and by notable persons such as H.G. Wells, Theodore Roosevelt, J.H. Kellogg, and Woodrow Wilson? Would it surprise you to know that the American eugenics movement, American funding and American technology promoted Hitler’s human extermination program? For obvious reasons, after WWII eugenics programs and their support fell into disfavor. However, the sequencing of the human genome coupled with advanced technology has again made directed modification of the human species probable, with seemingly good intentions. However, is the genetic modification or selection of embryo's to prevent disorders an acceptable form of “treatment,” rather than drug therapies and surgical procedures used today? Is the unprecedented accessibility to data from your own personal genome (90 diseases and traits for as little as $400) leading us again down the slippery slope of hatred, discrimination, and devaluation of subsets of humanity similar to the old eugenics movement? What decisions go into obtaining and interpreting this genetic information, who should have access to it, and what values should guide our use of it? This course will evaluate the rise of eugenics, its original hopes, 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/activities, blogs and reflection essays, an exam, and a course paper.  R. DeJong.  8:30 a.m. to noon.

150 11 DCM: Eugenics and Personal Genomics: Past, Present, and Future.  Eugenics – the self-direction of human evolution through the promotion of desirable traits and the elimination of undesirable traits is a philosophy we most commonly associate with Hitler and Nazi Germany. Would it surprise you to know that eugenics programs, including mandatory sterilizations were  vigorously promoted in the United States well before Hitler by prestigious institutions such as the Carnegie Institute and the Rockefeller Foundation, and by notable persons such as H.G. Wells, Theodore Roosevelt, J.H. Kellogg, and Woodrow Wilson? Would it surprise you to know that the American eugenics movement, American funding and American technology promoted Hitler’s human extermination program? For obvious reasons, after WWII eugenics programs and their support fell into disfavor. However, the sequencing of the human genome coupled with advanced technology has again made directed modification of the human species probable, with seemingly good intentions. However, is the genetic modification or selection of embryo's to prevent disorders an acceptable form of “treatment,” rather than drug therapies and surgical procedures used today? Is the unprecedented accessibility to data from your own personal genome (90 diseases and traits for as little as $400) leading us again down the slippery slope of hatred, discrimination, and devaluation of subsets of humanity similar to the old eugenics movement? What decisions go into obtaining and interpreting this genetic information, who should have access to it, and what values should guide our use of it? This course will evaluate the rise of eugenics, its original hopes, 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/activities, blogs and reflection essays, an exam, and a course paper.  J. Wertz, A. Wilsterman.  8:30 a.m. to noon.

150 12 DCM: Global Climate Change. Global climate change is a widely discussed topic today: in the media, among politicians, among scientists. Yet the various summaries offered often seem mutually exclusive. Have we ruined our environment beyond repair? Or is it simply not possible for humans to have a significant impact at all? In this course students develop and practice reasoning skills needed to sift through competing claims and to define which issues, if any, are pressing. Further, students consider moral questions raised by the scientific results, such as stewardship of a common earth and justice when the actions of one group affect the environment of another. Finally, students consider how environmental policies must balance environmental, moral, and economic factors. Assessment is through quizzes, tests, presentations, and papers.  M. Heun.  8:30 a.m. to noon.

150 13 DCM: Global Crisis? Global climate change, water and food scarcity, mineral depletion, pollution, habitat loss, species extinction and human population growth. Many scientists say each of these areas is a crisis for humanity.  Some of these are topics frequently presented in the media as either alarming or alarmist, fanning fiery political shouting matches.  Other crucial topics are given little coverage. Addressing these deeply interrelated concerns, even if only partly true, will impose difficult economic, political and moral choices on our society.  Are doomsayers too pessimistic?  Will technology and economic growth save us?  How can wealthy and poor countries deal fairly and justly together to solve problems that will disproportionately afflict the poor? What is an appropriate Christian response?  By way of assigned readings, films and student presentations, the basis of the warnings will be examined. Students will learn ways governments, the private sector and individuals are responding and what more could (or should?) be done. Student teams will explore a topic of interest and present it to the rest of the class.  Individuals will produce a final paper integrating these issues with the main Christian themes of the DCM text, focusing not only on problems but also on solutions. A course goal is to create informed citizens who can more fully understand what faith demands of them personally and of us collectively now and in times ahead. The instructor will serve as a guide, discussion facilitator and filter, not as an expert in all these complex topics.  Quizzes and a final exam will also be given.  S. Steenwyk.  2:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m.

150 14 DCM: God Rested-Why Can't You? Living in a life of a 24/7 world, the notion of rest may come to our mind as an anachronism, a fantasy, or simply unimaginable.  While we are created to worship God and rest in Him, we tend to worship our work, and rest in ourselves. These distortions affect our perceptions of ourselves, our relationships with others, and most importantly, our relationship with God. We may wonder, “Do I realize life while I live it, every, every minute?” This class will examine some of the personal and socio-cultural forces that drive us toward living restless life. In addition, this class will assist in developing a new perspective that will help rediscover leisure, work and rest.  Assessments will include quizzes and a personal plan for leisure project.   Y. Lee.  8:30 a.m. to noon.

150 15 DCM: God's Economy & Culture. Have you ever had a puzzling conversation with someone where even though you spoke the same language you could not quite communicate and 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 cultural 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 16 DCM: Having Faith in the Theatre: Examining our Contemporary World through the Lens of Dramatic Art.  In This DCM course, students engage with key issues of our faith and culture.  These issues include questioning our own sense of truth, the meaning of human suffering, death and dying, longing for fulfilling relationships, abuse and power, racism and sexism, and the struggle of human existence.  Through a thoughtful and careful study of contemporary plays such as “Doubt,”  “August/Osage County,”  Reasons to be Pretty,” and other works currently running on the worldwide stage, students delve into the meaning of a Christian’s role in contemporary life.  Students will read six plays (some will also be viewed on film and in the theatre if possible), keep a daily journal on their reading, give a critical presentation on one of the plays, write an integrative essay, and take a final exam.  S. Sandberg.  8:30 a.m. to noon.

150 17 DCM: Theatre & Identity. Since the Greeks celebrated the god Dionysus through annual theatre festivals, tribes danced in mask and chanted ritualistic liturgies around fires, bards told stories of ancestors or people of legend, and clowns made riot in any performance space, theatre has helped us understand what it means to be human on this earth. Who am I? Where do I belong? What is my purpose in this world? Theatre is “the stuff” of human behavior and human interaction. Theatre breaks down barriers by allowing us to understand people like and unlike us fail, laugh at human foolishness, and weep with characters that are undone by circumstance. This course examines several plays that highlight how theatre helps us to understand identity and faith.  D. Freeberg.  8:30 a.m. to noon.

150 18 DCM: Just War & Christian Ethics. Christian faith worships the “Prince of Peace” who commands his disciples to “turn the other cheek” and love their enemies. How, then, should 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 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 questions of war and peace. Students will be evaluated on the basis of reading 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.

CANCELLED 150 19 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 20 DCM: Mathematics & Culture. How does mathematics influence culture, and how does culture influence mathematics? Answers to these  questions 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 midterm and final exams.  G. Talsma.  2:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m.

150 21 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 will learn new mathematics from different areas, they will study how mathematicians have connected their discipline with their understanding of God, and they will reflect on their own understanding of beauty and how it connects with their understanding of God. Students will be 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 a.m. to noon.

150 22 DCM: Men, Women & Media. The powerful stories media tell about gender affect people’s sense of self and place. In this class, students will 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: 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, each student 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. D. Nykamp. 8:30 a.m. to noon.

150 24 DCM: Music, Manipulation & 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 critically evaluate the emotional, intellectual, and spiritual implications of music as they also reflect on ways they engage with it. Through this course, students will greatly improve their awareness of the many roles that music plays in life and be able to articulate why and how certain modes of engagement promote human flourishing better than others. 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 25 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 26 DCM: Redemption & the National Parks.  Using a slightly different approach to learning this DCM is offered in a hybrid on-campus/off-campus format—with the majority of the learning happening off-campus.  The subject of the course is the examination of the environmental history of Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore and Everglades National Park. Water is currently being discussed as the ‘new oil.’ Sources of and care for freshwater will be paramount into the future. However, the growth of the consumer society has a significant impact on water quality. The original quality of two representative water sources, development’s impact and attempts at preservation are explored in this interim. This topic meshes ideally with the themes of DCM and will be presented in a creation, fall, redemption, vocation, and participation model. This course will provide a parallel dialogue regarding science and faith formation. Together, teachers and students will explore a) the basic themes of the Christian faith as interpreted by the Reformed tradition, b) the nature, aims, and tradition of a Christian liberal arts education, as well as, c) foster a sense of community investigation by providing a common fund of intellectual and tacit experiences.  The learners in this course will also explore the bearings and implications of the historic Christian faith on human responsibility in creation stewardship. Students are assessed through a series of exercises and activities using the national parks and human relationships as the laboratory.  Through engagement, service, reflection and purposeful response students will demonstrate learning. This will encompass traditional activities such as essay/reflection papers and quizzes as well as non-traditional methods such as documentary photography.  Course dates: January 5-25.  Fee: $1793.  C. Klein, C. Tatko. Off campus.

150 27 DCM: Societal Views on 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 will study the history of the legalization of drugs in the U.S.  They will determine how drugs currently are legally made available in the U.S. and what drug properties determine whether or not a drug is legal to purchase and use.  Then, students will consider when the use of drugs shifts from being a blessing from God to potentially 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 taken from popular literature, government documents, and the Bible will be used as a backdrop to assessing drug availability and use.  Students will reflect on, discuss, and write about drug use in various medical and social situations.  R. Nyhof.  2:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m.

CANCELLED 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. K. Piers.  2:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m.

150 29 DCM: The Art of Bathing.  Because it is so closely tied to the body, people commonly think of bathing as being ‘natural’. And yet, bathing practices are always heavily endowed with social customs and meanings. Because of both its close connection with the body and social conventions (particularly gender), the subject of the bath has been a common theme in art. Surveying this wealth of cultural production from antiquity into the present, this course considers an array of images from the voyeuristic (Bathsheba and Susanna) to the sacred (baptismal depictions), to the secularly mundane (representations of ordinary, solitary bathers). Students will become familiar with various bathing traditions from those of the ancient Greeks and Romans to the persistence of communal bathing in much of Asia and Northern Europe. The medical implications of bathing (hygiene) and the difficulties of defining cleanliness are also important themes.  In addition to meeting larger DCM requirements, the course aims to acquaint students with some of the most famous images of art related to bathing themes. Using the discipline of art history then as a starting point, the course explores the discourse of ‘cleanliness’ at the point where the body, social customs, and meaning come together.  In addition to the standard modes of assessment that pertain in all DCM sections, students’ grades will be based on participation, responses to daily readings, a reflection paper, and one slide exam.  Students will be required to alter their regular daily hygiene practices for the duration of the course. Students themselves will decide how to make these alterations, but they must be willing to do so and to respond to the changes in a reflection essay. Also, students will ideally have had Art 153 (visual culture), Arth 101, or Arth 102 in the fall before this January course. C. Hanson. 8:30 a.m. to noon.

150 30 DCM: This Class is a Joke: Psychological perspectives on Humor. Humor is an integral part of the human experience, yet we rarely talk about it in academic settings.  This course explores the many facets of humor, including a growing body of psychological research on why humor exists, and how it impacts our daily lives.  The course follows three themes: 1) Why were we created to have humor?  2) How and why has humor been distorted and sometimes cause harm? 3) How can we be discerning with humor and use humor in the way it was intended?  Specific topics include, psychological theories of humor – including recent evolutionary accounts, Biblical portraits of humor, the way our brains process humor (including brain conditions where humor comprehension is diminished), how humor develops in children, adolescents and emerging adults, social and psychological effects of humor (i.e., dark humor, humor that stereotypes, etc.), and the social and psychological benefits of humor.  Considerable class time is devoted to critiquing and discussing examples of humor (e.g., comedy routines, movies, literature, sarcasm, jokes, etc.].  In addition to exams, students are evaluated through individual written critiques of humor and through group presentations that critique a certain humor style or humor issue - using themes learned during the course.  L. DeHaan, P. Moes, D. Tellinghuisen.  8:30 a.m. to noon.

150 31 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.  2:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m.

150 32 DCM: World Hunger & Sustainable Development. Students identify the root causes of global hunger and its linkage with environmental health, economic health, and social justice issues from a reformed Christian worldview perspective.  After developing a clearer understanding of our local food system through farm, processor, and food pantry visits, students evaluate the sustainability issues 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.  From this perspective, food supply and related sustainability issues are evaluated using Cambodia as a contextual case study for the global poor.  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 U.S. and Cambodian contexts, students then investigate ways they could serve as intentional and effective agents of redemption both today and in the development of their vocational plans.  D. Dornbos.  8:30 a.m. to noon.

150 33 DCM: Writing, Faith, & the Festival of Faith & Writing. This course will explore how currently active writers draw from the resources of religious 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 have the chance to produce creative work of their own. D. Rienstra. 2:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m.

150 34 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.

CANCELLED 150 35 DCM: Music as Therapy in Everyday Life. Think of the myriad ways one engages with music through the course of a day. What needs in our lives does music fulfill? What needs in the world can be addressed by music? This course will explore the ways in which music can impact our lives, transforming us and reflecting God's redemption of the world. Through readings from contemporary musicology and the social sciences, films, and a variety of musical styles, students will explore the questions, 1)What is music? 2) How does music make us human? and 3)How might different musical forms and practices contribute to the healing of a broken world? The field of music therapy will be looked at as a "case example" of themes and concepts discussed. No formal music training is required, though students will have the opportunity to participate in group music-making experiences. Evaluation will be based on participation, reading responses, journal entries, oral presentations, and a final exam. E. Epp. 2:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m.

150 36 DCM: The Church in the 21st Century. The local Christian church is changing rapidly. Shifts in worship style, music, the visual arts, and the role of lay leadership are only a few of the elements driving these changes. Still deeper, many Christians are questioning the necessity of the institutional church. Others are asking, “What does a biblically functioning church look like?” And, “What is the role of the local church in the Kingdom of God?” These questions are compounded by a North American society that is becoming rapidly 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 attend local church worship services each Sunday of Interim. R. S. Greenway. 2:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m.

150 37 DCM: 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 the creatures under our care is one that Christians too often neglect to ask. This omission is unfortunate, given the mounting evidence of fallenness in the social and commercial practices that presently govern our relationships to animals. While large-scale animal farming has increased consumer convenience, this convenience comes at a cost, and not just to animals. Our current food system is proving to have negative, if unintended, consequences for the environment, local and global commerce and agriculture in both rural and urban communities, and 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 theological, moral, environmental, and socio-economic issues surrounding the treatment of animals and the allocation of natural and human resources by our current food system and other industries that use animals; and second, to take the initial steps toward becoming agents of renewal by discerning an array of concrete approaches to addressing these problems (e.g., legislating for less intensive, more sustainable food systems, community supported agriculture, cooking and eating lower on the food chain, exploring “locavorism,” vegetarianism and veganism, animal compassion advocacy, etc.). Student evaluation will be based on their responses to a total of eight journal assignments and a final essay as well as on their participation in class discussion and DCM plenary sessions.  M. Halteman.  2:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m.

150 38 Honors 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, Jim Collins, and Timothy Keller. Students will be evaluated on the basis of performance during in-class discussion, group work, writing assignments, and final exam. This is an honors section. S. Berg. 8:30 a.m. to noon

150 39 DCM: Education in the Movies. This course will explore how the world of the education has been portrayed in the movies.  By offering descriptions of the current condition in the classroom or exhibiting positive and negative models of teachers, movies portray particular perspectives that may offer valuable lessons for those interested in teaching. Building on that data and the student’s own school experiences several kinds of questions will be considered in the light of a biblical framework.  What is the purpose of education? How do schools embody a worldview? What is the nature of effective instruction? What is the role of the teacher? What should be taught? How can schools be structured to enable rather than control students?  Answers to these questions will be analyzed by using a variety of sources, such as the Bible and educational thinkers like Nicholas P. Wolterstorff, Parker Palmer, and Nel Noddings. Students will take quizzes on the readings, journal their analysis of movies, and participate in a group project. The course is intended for students who are interested in exploring the profession of teaching and developing a beginning perspective of what it means to teach. R. Buursma. 2:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m.

150 40 Honors DCM: Arguing 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.  In Confessions, Augustine puts his ideas about sin, love, and grace in narrative form, shows the power of these ideas to illuminate the twisting paths of his own life and his friends' lives,as they ruined themselves by “looking of love in all the wrong places.”  In On Free Choice, he uses logical argument to show explore perplexing issues about how the same ideas cohere with each other, with Scripture, and with our experience of the world.  In studying Augustine, we will attend to linkages between his cultural context and ours: to his roots in Platonism, to how Platonism influenced John Calvin, and (through review of Plantinga's book Engaging God's World and other Kuyperian writings) to how we can avoid conformity to the world while affirmative about the material creation and its joys.
    This class will be conducted in a seminar style, so size will be limited. The material is rich but philosophically demanding; it is meant for students who are serious about improving their reading and writing skills, and who can willingly give 3-4 hours per day in preparation for class. The grade will be based on class participation, regular writing, quizzes, and presentations, and a paper representing the student's personal synthesis of material covered. Students doing the course for DCM credit (philosophy major transfer students) or honors credit  will meet agreed-upon further requirements to be worked out with guidance from the professor and those heading the DCM and honors program. Restricted to philosophy majors and students in the Honors Program. S. Wykstra. 2:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m.

150 41 DCM: Multisensory, Multimedia 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. Integrative understanding and application of concepts is judged chiefly through essays (often related to readings of Engaging God’s World) and group projects (culminating in the design of a worship service planned around an assigned Scripture passage). Students’ fees may total as much as $50. B. Fuller. 8:30 a.m. to noon.

150 42 DCM: Know Why You Believe. Every Christian college student eventually faces this question: Is my faith built on much more than wishful thinking? Yet college can be a time of deepening and maturing faith, especially if we're accompanied by those who have successfully walked this path before us. This apologetics course introduces students to some of those winsome, wizened ancestors in the faith. We will read and evaluate excerpts from some of the classics (Aristides, Augustine, Martyr, Irenaeus, Boethius, Anselm, Aquinas, Calvin, Bavinck) and some of the newcomers (C.S. Lewis, Peter Kreeft, R.C. Sproul, Francis Schaeffer, Cornelius Van Til). There will be films and videos, both from proponents of Christian orthodoxy and from those raising sincere questions about the faith. As part of our consideration of the reliability of the Scriptures, there will also be a painless (ungraded!) introduction to reading the Greek New Testament. The course requires consistent attendance, daily readings or creative assignments, active participation in class discussions and activities, three quizzes and a term project. K. Schaefer. 8:30 a.m. to noon

CANCELLED 150 43 DCM: The Fathers of the Church. Christians in the Reformed tradition usually recognize Augustine as the greatest of the Church Fathers, especially since much of his theological reflections and writing have had a deep influence on John Calvin and other Reformers.  However, there were other equally important Church Fathers, whose writings have also impacted greatly developments in Christian belief and practice.  This course will focus on reading selections from a wide range of these great Christians of the past, with the hope of understanding more deeply their impact on contemporary Christianity. Young Kim. 2:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m.

150 44 DCM: Writing the Christian Life. This course explores the moral, theological, and philosophical themes of DCM through the lens of biography, which has long been a central literary genre in the Christian tradition. By reading several full-length autobiographies and by practicing the art of interviewing and writing about modern lives, we will consider the genre of biography both as a form of literature and as an exercise in Christian self-reflection. Our central texts in addition to Plantinga’s Engaging God’s World will be Augustine’s Confessions (the work that established the genre of Christian autobiography) and two modern works based on real lives: Frederick Buechner’s Godric, a fictionalized autobiography of a twelfth-century monk, and Anne Lamott’s Traveling Mercies, a twentieth-century American memoir about an unwed mother’s unconventional journey to Christian faith. In all of these works we will explore both the explicitly Christian themes of good and evil and of trying to shape one’s life around God’s commandments in a fallen world, and also more universal themes of life-writing, including literary style, the boundaries between fiction and non-fiction, the ways that social and family structures shape the individual, and the role of memory and imagination in constructing a life narrative. We will also practice the art of life-writing, by interviewing residents of a local retirement home; writing their life stories on the basis of these interviews; and reflecting on these narratives in the context of the literary and Christian themes we are studying. K. Van Liere. 8:30 a.m. to noon