Developing a Christian Mind (DCM)
Developing a Christian Mind (DCM) is a first-year core course that introduces students to the central intellectual project of Calvin College, the development of a Christian worldview, and a faith-based engagement with culture. All DCM sections include common readings and plenary lectures, which sketch out the broad contours. Each section then works out the implications of a Christian frame of reference in relation to an issue of contemporary relevance. Student evaluation is based on classroom participation, quizzes on the readings and lectures, writing assignments or presentations, and a final exam.
IDIS 150 01 DCM: Sustainable Development to Reduce World Hunger . 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. Twelve “myths” or partial truths are considered in a quest to identify the root cause of chronic hunger. Global hunger issues are considered from both the perspective of developed and developing societies. Students evaluate issues of our current food system on environmental, nutritional, economic, and social health criteria. Connection with developed country hunger issues is supported by engaging with the local food system through grocery and food pantry visits. Developing country issues are evaluated using Cambodia as a case study. Inspection of the goals and operations of a variety of “non-governmental organizations” like the Christian Reformed World Relief Committee (CRWRC), Research Development International (RDI), or International Development Enterprises (IDE) and others provide compelling evidence of best practices through which some in Cambodia are being empowered today. Having understood the current global situation from environmental, economic and social justice points-of-view in U.S. and Cambodian contexts, students then investigate ways they could serve as intentional and effective agents of redemption either as students today or eventually as Christian citizens. Students will be evaluated through completion of regular quizzes, short verbal reports, a final exam, and a written report. By the end of the course, students will be able to explain the root cause of global hunger, develop specific action plans to sustainably reduce chronic hunger in developed and developing country cultural contexts, and connect the major tenants of a reformed Christian worldview with a convincing rationale as to why and how all Christians can reduce these issues today in every vocational station. D. Dornbos. 8:30 a.m. to noon.
IDIS 150 02 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? 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, and 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.
IDIS 150 03 DCM: Leadership, Character & Virtue. "…Becoming a leader is synonymous with becoming yourself. It's precisely that simple, and it's also difficult. So let's get started" (Warren Bennis). There is a lot of talk about “character” but what does it actually mean and how can we relate it to the world in which we live, learn, and work? The Christian life we lead is in the present - but God also redeems our past and has plans for our future. If we are to understand this Christian life, with its responsibilities and particular callings, we must start by understanding ourselves - in Christ. Our character is a complex interaction between God's 'wiring' of our bodies and background, the contributions others make to our life, and our unique participation in co-writing our story with God. Leadership first rests on character and the importance of ethics and authenticity. In business, and in life, you can't lead others if you can't lead yourself. Students explore the scriptural basis and foundation for Christian "character" and "virtue." "Who" we are is critical in dictating our moment by moment actions and the impact we have on others. Following the study of current virtue taxonomies, students explore their Core Identity – starting with purpose and calling and using new assessment tools and processes (e.g., personality, values, character strengths). The course culminates with the development of a Core Identity statement consisting of virtues, values, passions, strengths, competencies (knowledge, skills, abilities, and personality), and their story. Evaluation is based on three exams, written reflections on assigned topics, an in-class group presentation, class participation, and an integrative paper that includes their Core Identity statement. B. Cawley. 8:30 a.m. to noon.
IDIS 150 04 DCM: Faithful Business Practices. Is business inherently evil, a sphere of activity that worships money, dehumanizes people, and destroys the earth? Or through God’s grace can it be an avenue of redemptive activity, one into which the faithful are called to do His work? If the second, how do faithful men and women serve God in business? This is a daunting question. We address these questions in this course by examining Christian beliefs and practices to seek to understand how they may lead to faithful business practices. Students will develop their own understanding of how Christian practices can influence business practices based on observations, lectures, and readings. Evaluation will in part be based on reflection papers, cases, a project, and a final exam. T. Cioffi, P. Snyder. 8:30 a.m. to noon.
IDIS 150 05 DCM: Taming of the Shrew: On stage! Taming of the Shrew has always been considered a classic Shakespeare comedy, but what about the provocative reputation the play has gained in modern times? What may have been seen as normal behavior in the 16th century is seen as domestic violence, partner abuse or a skewed view of traditional gender roles today. Does this play, originally written as a comedy, require a different lens to bring it to life in the modern age? How do we represent a controversial story today and manage to help our audience understand it? Through this DCM course, students will consider the issue of evil in the world as seen in classic dramatic literature, and come to a personal understanding of its place in the Christian life, how one can learn and grow from such literature and how it can point, even from a very fallen point of view, to the human need for redemption and restoration. This DCM is offered in conjunction with the regular interim course, “Taming of the Shrew: On stage!” for which students will participate either on stage or backstage in the play production, as well as complete DCM requirements through this additional course component. This dual-purpose course will meet in the afternoons with afternoon and evening rehearsals and performances. Some mornings and Saturdays may also be required for play production work, but no more than eight hours will be required on any given day. The final production of The Taming of the Shrew will be performed for the public January 31 - February 9, 2013 as part of the CAS Department’s theatre season. All students in this course must commit to these two weekends for the performance of the play. Evaluation of student work for DCM credit will be based on successful completion of all readings, reflection papers and a final exam. (See listing for “Taming of the Shrew: On stage!” under regular CAS department interim courses, for more information.) D. Leugs. 2:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m. & 6:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m.
IDIS 150 06 DCM: Filmmakers Under Censorship. This course examines four different groups of filmmakers who have had to work under various types of censorship: the directors of American screwball comedies under the Hayes Code, Chinese directors during the 1980’s and 90’s, recent Indian filmmakers, and Iranian directors of the 1990’s to the present. In each of these cases, filmmakers have managed to produce an excellent body of work despite (and possibly because of) the pressures of censorship. Students examine a variety of questions regarding this topic. Why in some situations (Cultural Revolution in China, Stalinism in Russia) does censorship produce propaganda movies while in other situations filmmakers seem to blossom? What do these groups of censors (Catholic/Christian, Communist, and Hindi/Muslim) have in common? Why would they more or less censor the same things (sex, violence, material critical of the government) as many American Christians would? Does having limitations actually benefit artists in some ways? Students will evaluate and describe films that have been produced under censorship in a variety of situations, reflect on the situation of artists under censorship, and write possible reasons many Christian censors fall into the same patterns as other religious or political censors. Evaluation is based on class participation, a film journal, short paper and a final exam. P. Goetz. 8:30 a.m. to noon.
DIS 150 07 DCM: Theatre Faith & Identity . Theatre helps 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 why 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. This DCM course is based on a reading/viewing of six- eight American plays. During the course these plays will be analyzed and assessed against the theological material provided in Engaging God’s World and the book The Necessity of Theatre. Students will present a final project on one of the interim plays. A Final exam will be comprised of an integrative essay as well as a multiple choice text on texts, lectures and plays. D. Freeberg. 8:30 a.m. to noon.
IDIS 150 08 DCM: This is my Flesh: Female Embodied Experience. How can women experience true humanity in a culture that idolizes the two-dimensional, airbrushed female form? What does being created in the image of God have to do with how we experience and view our own bodies? This course seeks to explore these and other questions related to spirituality and the experience of being embodied creations in conjunction with the core requirements of Developing a Christian Mind. Personal memoir and spiritual theology texts including Lilian Calles Barger’s Eve’s Revenge will be read and discussed. Because the topic of embodiment lends itself to actual physical experience (and not simply reading and conversation), there will also be an element of movement to daily course content, as well as some outdoor activities, weather permitting. Students will write personal reflections, participate in artistic responses and collaboration, and eat together as part of their topic exploration. Assessment will be based on written assignments, class participation, and reading quizzes. J. Lawrence. 8:30 a.m. to noon.
IDIS 150 09 DCM: Redemption & the National Parks. 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 the Everglades National Park. Water is currently being discussed as the ‘new oil.’ Sources of and care for freshwater will be paramount in the future. However, the growth of the consumer society has a significant impact on water quality. An exploration of the historical aquatic ecology, 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. Off campus dates: January 7-16. Fee: $1540. C. Tatko. Off campus.
IDIS 150 10 DCM: The New Monasticism. Ever wonder what life is like in a Christian monastery? Ever ask why Shane Claiborne urges serious followers of Jesus today to return to the past—to pay careful attention to early Christian monastic life and practices, and to adopt for themselves a “new monasticism?” This course will focus on what Christian monks, disciples strangely out-of-step with prevailing culture, can teach about staying in step with Jesus. Students will read (ancient and contemporary) books on Christian monastic life and practice and explore ways to implement them today . The course will conclude with a week-long stay at a tranquil Christian monastery, the Abbey of Gethsemane, spiritual home of Thomas Merton. Off campus dates January 14-18. Fee: $400. D. Cooper. 8:30 a.m. to noon.
IDIS 150 11 DCM: C.S. Lewis. C. S. Lewis will probably stand forever as perhaps the most significant Christian writer of the twentieth century. He was a master of English literature and of literary criticism, a prolific author of Christian theology and apologetics that was at once popular and sophisticated, and a gifted creator of fantasy worlds for adults and children. He was both rationalist and romantic, combining razor-sharp thinking with enormous appeal to human longing. He was so alert an observer of God and of life under God that many of his published observations almost immediately achieved the status of aphorisms (God is good, but not safe; many valuable things come to us only if we do not try too hard for them; “it is wonderful what you can do when you have to”). His command of the English language is legendary, and his deep simplicity in writing it has become a model of one of his own aphorisms: any fool can write learned jargon; the test of one’s command is the vernacular. He imagined parallel worlds so fanciful and yet appallingly real that, once entered, stay forever in thought and feeling. He made a holy God believable. His reputation in the world continues to grow (his name, googled, yielded 14 million hits in September, 2011 and 15 million on February 1). For this reason alone—bracketing everything else—Christian college students ought to know C. S. Lewis well. Course objectives for students are to become acquainted (or reacquainted) with the principal works of C. S. Lewis' apologetical theology, including The Screwtape Letters, The Great Divorce, and Mere Christianity; To see fairly deeply into some of the central claims of these works; for example, that evil is a parasite on good, that the road to hell is gradually sloped, that many human longings, undisguised, are longings for God; To let Lewis enchant us with several wonders of life with God; and to learn by observation and practice an elementary proficiency in writing with "deep simplicity," a Lewis trademark. Evaluation will be by way of brief reflection papers on central claims by Lewis, class participation, a notebook of memorable insights by Lewis, and several exercises in writing with deep simplicity. N. Plantinga. 2:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m.
IDIS 150 12 DCM: Eugenics & Personal Genomics. 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 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. But presently, the sequencing of the human genome coupled with advanced technology has again made directed modification of the human species probable. However, is the genetic modification or selection of embryos to prevent disorders an acceptable form of “treatment,” as opposed to the drug therapies and surgical procedures used today? Is the unprecedented accessibility to data from your own personal genome (234 diseases and conditions for as little as $100) leading us again down the slippery slope of hatred, discrimination, and devaluation of subsets of humanity similar to the original 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, and will evaluate its implications in political, socio-economic, moral, and religious contexts. Course field trip to Holocaust Museum requires $20 student fee. Students will be graded on the basis of class participation/activities, reflection essays, reading quizzes, an exam, and a course paper. R. DeJong, S. Nelesen. 8:30 a.m. to noon.
IDIS 150 13 DCM: Lifehacking Practicing Smart Living. The term "lifehacking" means finding ways to get things done in smarter, unusual, or more efficient ways, whether by means of using technology better or going back to basics. The student will learn, practice, evaluate, and present various self-chosen and assigned lifehacking techniques, including memorizing faster, buying food cheaper, taking better notes, taking better pictures, keeping your computer clean, learning how to do small talk better, how to save money better, listening better, etc. Lifehacking techniques will be investigated and evaluated from a biblical, Reformed perspective, including an investigation of the difference between “efficiency” and “effectiveness”. Students will be evaluated on the thoroughness of their investigation of a lifehacking technique, level of class participation, their 2 in-depth presentations, and regular journal entries. V. Norman. 8:30 a.m. to noon.
IDIS 150 14 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, Alvin Plantinga, Francis Schaeffer, Cornelius Van Til). There are 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 is a painless (ungraded!) introductionto 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.
IDIS 150 15 DCM: P-12 Education in a High Stakes Environment. High-stakes testing and accountability directives have shaped curriculum and instruction in the United States since the passage of the No Child Left Behind Act (NCLB) in 2001. The proposed renewal of the act, the Blueprint for Reform, seeks to continue school accountability, but remedy the problems with NCLB. In September, 2011, the standards for proficiency on the Michigan Educational Assessment Program (MEAP) test were raised because the prior standards fit a manufacturing rather than a college and career readiness. What difference do these changes make? What do these pieces of legislation seek to do? What do they view as the problem with education in the United States? The solution? Who is benefiting from these legislative acts? Who is losing? Students in this course, through readings, online resources, visits from school administrators and teachers, and their own experiences, will examine the history and effects of school reform legislation in the past twenty years. Students will submit the final project, a suggested course of action for future legislation, to their legislator. M. Terpstra. 8:30 a.m. to noon.
IDIS 150 16 DCM: Utopian Literature. The word “utopia” means both “good place” and “no place,” and utopian literature has traditionally been about places that are too good to exist in the world as we know it. The Garden of Eden is a kind of utopia; the redeemed heaven and earth promised in the Bible is another. In between those utopias, humans have always—and will always—create utopian visions of their own, usually in comparison to the cultures they live in, but also to pose larger questions: What would an ideal world look like? What in human nature prevents our world from looking like that? And wouldn’t one person’s idea of utopia be awfully oppressive or boring to someone else? Students in this course arrive at questions like these through class discussion of major utopian works, such as Thomas More’s Utopia and George Orwell’s 1984, through regular response papers, and through a final argumentative essay. Students will also be evaluated using daily quizzes and an exam. C. Engbers. 8:30 a.m. to noon.
IDIS 150 17H Honors DCM: 1492. In this course, students will examine the art and literature produced around 1492. They will study images and texts from places around the globe. Special attention will be given to the relationship between sacred and secular culture during this historical period. In addition, we will also investigate the interaction between western and non-western cultures to deepen our understanding of international trade, the establishment of missions, and the processes of colonialism. Besides offering students an opportunity to learn more about western and non-western art and literature during the late middle ages and early modernity, it will provide students who have completed ARTH 101/HIST 151 the prospect to reflect on material they studied during the previous semester. Meanwhile, students registered for ARTH 102/ENGL 200 will be given a foretaste of materials they will encounter in the forthcoming semester. During the interim, students will travel off-campus to museums and galleries to see works of art firsthand. These experiences will foster a richer understanding of visual images produced around 1492. Students will participate in class discussions and write directed journal entries based on the images they have seen and the texts they have read. In addition, students will fulfill the requirements for DCM category of the core by completing the required test. Off campus dates: January 6-20. Fee: $1950. H. Luttikhuizen, J. Vanden Bosch. Off campus.
IDIS 150 18 DCM: Coaching Young Athletes. This course is designed to provide students with knowledge and practical experiences related to coaching young athletes. The focus is on knowledge, skills, strategies, and issues in youth sport. This course aims to develop insight and knowledge for a youth sport leader primarily in the areas of philosophy, psychology, and pedagogy, and secondarily in physiology and risk management. Cultural norms involved in coaching the young athlete will be critiqued using a Reformed worldview in an attempt to expose the complicated demands of coaching and the necessary tools one should possess in order to be successful in coaching. J. Bergsma. 8:30 a.m. to noon.
IDIS 150 19 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. Students will integrate many of the elements of a Reformed Christian perspective that have been introduced in your courses and co-curricular activities at Calvin. Students will develop an appreciation for the importance of leisure, work, and rest in their lives. They will explore God’s plan and purpose for their lives as well as develop and begin to implement a personal plan that will help them address the rest-less life. Y. Lee. 8:30 a.m. to noon.
IDIS 150 20 DCM: Sport Ethics: Who Me? Cheat? This course will explore how a person's worldview shapes their behavior toward sports and ethical decision-making. The complex and rapidly changing sport environment imposes new demands on sport participants and organizations. The increased pressure to address ethical issues is one of these new demands. While there are no simple prescriptions for dealing with ethical issues, the purpose of this course is to show how both sport participants and organizations can more effectively address these ethical dilemmas. The course examines and applies current understandings, concepts, models, and techniques that help manage ethical dilemmas in sport, as well as show how a Reformed worldview can help Christian sport participants discern responsibility in this area. J. Timmer. 8:30 a.m. to noon.
IDIS 150 21 DCM: Living the Psalms. This course focuses on God’s world through the eyes of the biblical Psalms. It entails a history of the Book of Psalms, a study of the common genre of psalms (lament, praise, thanksgiving, and psalms for wisdom teaching or festival use), their spiritual and literary qualities, and their use in personal and corporate worship. The themes of Plantinga’s Engaging God’s World and other readings (hope, creation, fall, redemption, vocation, kingdom, consummation) will be explored in specific psalms by the instructor and by students in their presentations and essays, so that there will be interaction between the Psalms and the Christian world-and-life perspectives that are central to the mission of Calvin College. Students will be expected to demonstrate that they have acquired a concentrated introduction to Calvin College’s perspectives on a reformed Christian, multi-facetted world-and-life view; and explored select textual, historical, theological, musical, and other cultural/artistic aspects of the biblical Psalms and interface them with such Christian perspectives. For assessment of student accomplishments, the course requires an oral team presentation, quizzes, an integrative DCM essay, and a multiple-choice final exam. B. Polman. 2:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m.
IDIS 150 22 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? What are the possible roles of music within God’s creation? 2) How does music make us human? 3) How might different musical forms and practices contribute to the restoration of a fallen world? and 4) How might music be part of a Christian’s vocation, whether or not one is a professional musician? 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. Students will demonstrate the ability to examine critically the role of music in everyday life. Students will also gain an introduction to the field of music therapy, study its use with different client groups, and examine how this musical vocation may be part of God’s redemption of the world. Evaluation will be based on participation, reading responses, journal entries, oral presentations, and a final exam which includes the DCM integrative essay. E. Epp. 8:30 a.m. to noon.
IDIS 150 23 DCM: Music of Joy . “It is a certain sound of joy without words, the expression of a mind poured forth in joy.” For St. Augustine, music—especially wordless singing—is a means through which joy becomes embodied in meaningful sound. This linkage of music and joy is deeply embedded in human culture from antiquity to the present day. As with St. Augustine, such music is for many the expression of joy rooted in contemplation of God. But music can also trigger a response that is palpably similar to the experience of joy, that might be described as not only expressive of joy but an actual experience of joy itself. In this way it may produce what C. S. Lewis described as a “stab of joy,” an experience that may arise, unlooked-for, at any time and in any circumstances. As noted by Neal Plantinga in Engaging God’s World, such experiences can produce an almost unbearable longing that is ultimately satisfied in Jesus Christ alone. Building on key passages in the Old and New Testaments, the task of this course is to assemble a framework for understanding joy and its relationship to the experience of music. Consideration is given to how joy emerges even in the midst of sorrow and brokenness, and how the experience of joy can lead to compulsive behaviors and even idolatry. Musical examples are drawn from the historical traditions of European music as well as several non-Western cultures, the progressive rock of Yes, the jazz of John Coltrane, and film scores by Howard Shore (The Lord of the Rings) and Vangelis Papathanassiou (Chariots of Fire). Students will keep a daily journal, write the DCM integrative essay, and take a final exam. T. Steele. 8:30 a.m. to noon.
IDIS 150 24 DCM: Music, Manipulation, and the Mind of God. This course will help students understand how and why music is such a powerful force in people’s lives, and how this power fits into God’s plan for human flourishing, as laid out in the common material for the “Developing a Christian Mind” course. Students who engage with the course material will be able to articulate how music affects their emotions, identity, interpersonal relationships, confidence, empathy, energy levels, purchasing decisions, attitudes toward race and gender, values, and faith. Graded activities include daily reading and reflection questions, participation in class discussions, a group presentation that explores the content and impact of a song or film scene, a final DCM integrative essay, and a final exam. D. Fuentes. 2:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m.
IDIS 150 25 DCM: Development aid in Africa: Can Helping Hurt? This DCM section will involve a journey to Africa – not on a plane but through readings, films, and conversations. Our focus will be on how the nations of the developed world have sought to advance political and economic development in Africa and whether—as some observers claim—our help has only made a bad situation worse. Key questions to be addressed include: why should the world’s rich help the world’s poor? Should churches collaborate with governments and secular agencies to promote economic development, or should they promote only spiritual development? Students will read books and articles that try to answer these questions; learn from readings and conversations with local representatives how church-related agencies such as the Christian Reformed World Relief work with local partners to identify and address development needs; and view and discuss several films that convey the challenges facing Africa today. The goals of the course include learning about Africa’s recent history and understanding its current political and economic situation; identifying the role of the church in situations where poverty is widespread; and reflecting on the ways in which students, their families, and their home communities can be effective partners with counterparts in sub-Saharan Africa. 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.
IDIS 150 26 DCM: New Urbanism. This course examines the current cultural debate over the way we build cities. After the Second World War, the US embarked on an 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, cities that are compact, walkable, transit-oriented, and filled with mixed-use neighborhoods. 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, quizzes, and a final exam. L. Hardy. 2:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m.
IDIS 150 27 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 causes 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 group projects that observe the occurrence of humor in a particular setting - using themes learned during the course. L. DeHaan, J. Moes. 8:30 a.m. to noon.
IDIS 150 28 DCM: Psychology of Conflict, Forgiveness, & Reconciliation. Conflict is part of our lives and yet forgiveness and reconciliation are vital aspects of the Christian worldview. While psychology has been investigating the factors involved in conflict for some time, the field has recently begun to examine the psychology of forgiveness as well. This course explores psychological factors that influence conflict and forgiveness and how these factors relate to a Christian understanding of the topics. Topics will include both intergroup (e.g., racism, sexism) and interpersonal (personal offenses & transgressions) conflict, different perspectives on why we should forgive, what forgiveness truly is, and what methods can be used to facilitate the forgiveness and reconciliation process at both the group and individual level. Both similarities and differences between the psychological and Christian understanding of these topics will be explored. In addition to exams, students will be evaluated through their short response essays to the readings, class participation, and an integrative essay. B. Riek. 8:30 a.m. to noon.
IDIS 150 29 DCM: The Scandal of the Incarnation. This section is designed for students who wish to explore in greater theological depth various readings of the familiar “Creation-Fall-Redemption” paradigm so frequently employed at Calvin College in discussions of its educational mission and its Reformed worldview. In particular, we will strive for greater theological insight through a study of the Incarnation of the Son of God and the implications that doctrine might have for Calvin’s paradigm. Reading will be from St. Irenaeus, the 2nd century Church Father 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. Students will learn basic theological concepts and vocabulary and learn how to express them coherently in written and spoken form. Students will be evaluated with quizzes, exams, papers, and discussions. A. Griffioen. 8:30 a.m. to noon.
IDIS 150 30 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 the 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? Through readings, art, short videos, feature-length films, and class discussion, students will learn 1) about indigenous Chinese religious traditions, 2) good Christian mission, and 3) the history of Christian faith in China, with a focus on the post-1949 Christian church in China. Students will also integrate what they learn about Christ on the China Road with reformed Christian faith witness: creation, fall, redemption, renewal/restoration. Student accomplishment will be evaluated on the basis of sentence outlines, short quizzes, class participation, short class presentation, one carefully constructed, integrative essay, and required final exam. D. Obenchain. 2:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m.
IDIS 150 31H 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, one-on-one and small group discussions, videos, and readings from Neal Plantinga, Jim Collins, Dietrich Bonhoeffer, and Timothy Keller. Students will be evaluated on the basis of performance during in-class discussion, group work, writing assignments, and final exam. S. Berg. 8:30 a.m. to noon.
IDIS 150 32 DCM: Global Hunger: Issues of Food Security and Sustainability. In this course 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.
IDIS 150 33 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. 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?” Still deeper, many Christians are questioning the necessity of the institutional church. 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 (and one Saturday evening) of Interim. R. S. Greenway. 2:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m.
IDIS 150 34 DCM: Culture Making 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 culture-making role of fully awake Christians living in the empire. Human culture is explored with particular reference to food, fashion, shopping, advertising, television, and popular art. Interwoven with cultural examples, 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 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 human culture making; An awareness of the systems and powers that influence human culture; and 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.
IDIS 150 35 DCM: Gender in American Culture. DCM (Developing a Christian Mind) introduces students to the “central intellectual project of Calvin College—the development of a Christian mind and a broad, faith-based engagement” with culture.* In this course students will be introduced, through readings and plenary sessions, to “basic themes of the Christian faith” and “the nature, tradition, and aims of Reformed Christian liberal arts education.” This introduction should foster academic community by providing a shared intellectual foundation here at Calvin College. This course will further explore the implications of the foundations of Reformed faith on issues of gender in American culture. Students will closely examine and explore how issues of faith intersect with gender in American culture, how American culture and the church have historically viewed the concept of gender, and how Christians might form responses to those conceptions. We will consider questions such as “What does it mean to be ‘feminine’ or ‘masculine,’ to act like a man or a woman?” “Is gender God-ordained or culturally constructed?” and “does gender describe ‘natural behavior’ or does it involve learned performance?” Discussion will integrate the principles and issues raised in the shared DCM readings and plenary sessions with historical, theoretical, science, and theological writings; popular cultural representations of gender; and literature. L. Naranjo-Huebl. 2:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m.
IDIS 150 36 DCM: Science Fiction. SScience and Belief in Science Fiction
Science fiction provides a vehicle to explore questions about ourselves and our relationships to one another, to other beings, and to the world we inhabit. Science fiction can imaginatively ask some deep questions. For example, is it possible and morally acceptable to create conscious beings that are hybrids of human and animal, or autonomous robots that can think and feel? If such beings did exist, how should they be treated? How would or should society and government respond to extreme threats to our very existence through disease, environmental disaster, or the impact of an asteroid? Sci-fi stories often present moral, social, and spiritual dilemmas that allow for imaginative thinking as we develop our Christian minds. Through their characters, science fiction authors express a belief-system or “world view” that may conflict with religious or spiritual beliefs and values we hold dear. In this DCM section students will try to discern the world view of different sci-fi authors or directors and relate the ideas expressed to biblical themes of creation, humanity’s fallen state, and God’s acts of redemption and sanctification. Furthermore, the science used to support the plot will be discussed. Students will learn to distinguish between solid science, speculative science, and the sometimes impossible “science” portrayed in science fiction in order to carry the plot. However, the primary focus is to explore the human themes presented in a sci-fi work. Looking at science fiction from different generations will show how it often reflects the fears and preoccupations of the era when it was created. What are the worries of people today that are reflected in recent science fiction? Daily reading, writing, and discussion will be required. In-class viewing of sci-fi films and film clips with follow-up discussion will be a significant part of the course. Evaluation will be based on daily writing, class participation, and a final paper relating themes from science fiction to the themes presented in Plantinga’s Engaging God’s World in the form of a critical movie or book review posted to the class. S. Steenwyk. 8:30 a.m. to noon.
IDIS 150 37 DCM: Movies and Music: Theological Themes. This DCM section will examine how central theological themes are expressed in notable works of music and cinema. The compositions to be studied include works by Haydn (The Creation), Bach (St. John Passion, St. Matthew Passion, Cantata 106), and Mozart (Requiem). The films will be chosen from Babette's Feast, The Mission, The Seventh Seal, and Amadeus. Students will acquire a knowledge of important themes in Christian theology and how they are borne out in important cultural productions. Students will become better acquainted with sacred compositions (and their composers) as well as with landmark films (and their directors); will enhance their skills at listening and film analysis; and will engage their skills in discussion and oral presentation. Course requirements include readings, keeping a journal, writing a paper, engaging in discussion, and crafting an integrative reflection essay as part of a final exam. R. Plantinga. 2:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m.
IDIS 150 38 DCM: Books Every Christian Should Read. Where can we turn to discover how “to be” in Christ today? In 25 Books Every Christian Should Read,authors like Dallas Willard, Richard Foster, Richard Rohr, and Frederica Matthewes-Green put together a list of books to launch and guide Christians on “a journey of spiritual reading and discipleship that will help people to become more like Jesus.” The list includes the writings of people like St. Athanasius, St. Benedict, Julian of Norwich, Fyodor Dostoevsky, Thomas Merton, and Henri Nouwen. Such books have become “must reads” for those Christians who desire not just a historical look at Christian teachings about spirituality but entry into the soul of its practice. In this section of DCM, therefore, we will discuss how the ancients and contemporaries have wrestled with the big questions around thinking and living “Christianly.” We will improve our ability to read, comprehend, and apply what we read. We will proceed by reading and discussing together four of the 25 books (none of them lengthy). Then each student will select one additional book from the list to read, write on, and present to the class. A. De Jong. 8:30 a.m. to noon.