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: 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, 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. 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 (200+ diseases and traits 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. A course field trip to the Holocaust Memorial Center requires a $40 student fee. R. Bebej, J. Wertz. 8:30 a.m. to noon.
IDIS 150 02 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, 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. 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 (200+ diseases and traits 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. A course field trip to the Holocaust Memorial Center requires a $40 student fee. A. Wilstermann. 8:30 a.m. to noon.
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. What does it mean to “put on 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. In this course 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 use 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. B. Cawley. 8:30 a.m. to noon.
IDIS 150 04 DCM: Personal Finance. 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 speaks to contemporary Christians. Can a Christian really have money? What about not serving two masters? This course explores this relationship by examining the elements of personal finance in the context of personal discipleship. Topics include socially responsible investing, debt and borrowing, and the attitudes Christians should take toward risk. Students will be able to look at their own habits while learning about bank accounts, investments, retirement savings, student loans, credit cards, budgeting, insurance, and more. C. Cooper. 8:30 a.m. to noon.
IDIS 150 05 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. The course addresses these questions by examining Christian beliefs and practices to seek to understand how they may lead to faithful business practices. Students learn what Christian practices are and develop their own understanding of how Christian practices can influence business practices. This work is based on field observations, lectures, and readings. T. Cioffi, P. Snyder. 8:30 a.m. to noon.
IDIS 150 06 DCM: DCM: Creativity and the Mind of the Maker. In her excellent book, The Mind of the Maker, Dorothy Sayers contends that the creative process in the arts works in ways that correspond to the dynamic relationship between the three persons of the Trinity, and that the activity of one necessarily illuminates the activity of the others. Through reading this book and other assigned readings, and viewing films and live performances, students in this course will engage with the act of creation on theoretical and practical levels. Beginning with the work of the Triune God in the first creation act, mirrored by human response in creative acts of our own, students will engage with the three-fold nature of creation: the idea, the implementation, and the interaction. Upon completion of this course, students will articulate a full working knowledge of the concepts of creation and creativity. Students will also develop their own creative skills through intentional creativity-building exercises. D. Leugs. 2:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m.
IDIS 150 07 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. H. Fynewever, K. Piers. 2:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m.
IDIS 150 08 DCM: Homer, Augustine & Christianity. This course features selected readings from Homer’s Iliad and Odyssey as well as Augustine’s City of God. Through close reading, extensive classroom discussion, and crisp, concise essays, “Homer, Augustine, & Christianity” seeks to examine the first, and arguably most robust, account of the earthly city in Western civilization—namely, Homer’s epic vision of a world in war and peace (and betwixt). Students then explore Augustine’s attempt to delineate two kingdoms by their respective loves and ends. Foundational questions of the course include: What is the nature of human excellence (arête)? Does this excellence vary from person to person or is it uniform? What obligations does the human being who seeks excellence have toward self, toward others, and toward God? What resources are there within the Reformed confessions, relying as they do on Augustinian anthropology and soteriology, for answering these questions? Students in this course will demonstrate the following: (1) the skill to read literature closely across a range of styles and genres; (2) the acuity to use the foundations of Christianity as adduced in the Reformed tradition to examine and assess a foreign faith (namely, Archaic Greek religiosity); and (3) the ability to engage critically with three of the most enduring works of Western literature in a distinctively Christian liberal arts context. U. Dhuga. 2:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m.
IDIS 150 09 DCM: Lifehacking: Thoughtful 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, test, evaluate, and present various self-chosen and assigned lifehacking techniques, including, e.g., memorizing faster, eating better, taking better notes, taking better pictures, keeping your computer clean, learning how to do small talk better, how to save money better, listening better, better time management, etc. Students will also participate in some self-reflection activities, such as StrengthsFinders. Lifehacking techniques will be investigated and evaluated from a biblical, Reformed perspective, including an investigation of the difference between “efficiency” and “effectiveness”. S. Nelesen. 8:30 a.m. to noon.
IDIS 150 10 DCM: Lifehacking: Thoughtful 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, test, evaluate, and present various self-chosen and assigned lifehacking techniques, including, e.g., memorizing faster, eating better, taking better notes, taking better pictures, keeping your computer clean, learning how to do small talk better, how to save money better, listening better, better time management, etc. Students will also participate in some self-reflection activities, such as StrengthsFinders. Lifehacking techniques will be investigated and evaluated from a biblical, Reformed perspective, including an investigation of the difference between “efficiency” and “effectiveness”. V. Norman. 8:30 a.m. to noon.
IDIS 150 11 DCM: Capitalism. This course examines major Christian and secular critiques and defenses of market economies, including both moral and practical arguments. Students interact with these arguments and use them to discuss questions related to major policy disputes. Should we support international trade & globalization? How strictly should we regulate financial institutions? How much wealth should we redistribute? Additionally, the class focuses on questions of individual participation in market economies given a Reformed Christian worldview. In this vein, students consider their consumption and production choices. Are Christians called to buy Fair Trade? Should we buy primarily locally produced goods? Should a Christian business look different than a secular business? S. McMullen. 2:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m.
IDIS 150 12 DCM: Promoting equity in urban schools . There is a great deal of concern in society today about failing schools, low student achievement, and educational inequality. In particular, schools located in urban communities are often subject to criticism and scrutiny because of their high drop-out rate and low test scores. Efforts to improve urban schools have highlighted both the challenges faced by urban students and teachers and the role that schools can play in increasing the educational opportunities available to their students. Discussions of urban schools and how to improve them, therefore, lead to a consideration of issues of equity and justice in schools and society and the potential for urban schools to promote equity. This course, seeks to investigate and explore issues of equity and social justice and how they relate to urban schooling. The course will involve readings, activities, videos, group projects, and class discussions. It will also include visits to several local urban schools. Students will engage in learning activities designed to promote understanding and exploration of equity, social justice, urban schools, and urban communities. Through participation in this course, students will grow in their understanding of societal and educational equity and justice and the biblical foundation of these concepts, understand key characteristics of urban schools and communities, understand the opportunities and challenges that often exist in urban schools, and investigate how urban schools can promote equity and justice in both school and society. J. Walcott. 8:30 a.m. to noon.
IDIS 150 13H Honors DCM: Dramatic Families. This 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.
IDIS 150 14 DCM: Writing, Faith & the Festival. This course will explore how currently active writers draw from the resources of religious faith in their fiction, creative nonfiction, 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 will appear (or have appeared) at the Festival. D. Rienstra. 8:30 a.m. to noon.
IDIS 150 15 DCM: Utopian Literature. 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 (and dystopian) works, such as Thomas More’s Utopia and George Orwell’s 1984, through regular response papers, and through a final integrative essay. C. Engbers. 8:30 a.m. to noon.
IDIS 150 16 DCM: Science Fiction Stories . The way we work, play, and worship as individuals, families, and communities has been radically altered by science and technology. This course uses science fiction stories and films as the basis of discussion to explore what it means to be human and Christian in a technological age. Using thought-provoking classic and modern science fiction literature, the class will examine the effects of technology on individuals and society. The course also explores current topics such as artificial intelligence, cloning, genetic engineering, and virtual reality. Students in this course will be able to articulate the theological themes from the common Plantinga textbook and use these in reflection on the topical themes of the course. Students will also be able to define and identify sub-genres of science fiction, including hard SF, apocalyptic, dystopia, alternative history, and cyberpunk. Students will be able to recognize technology as an aspect of culture formation and apply Christian principles and virtues to the evaluation of specific technologies in their societal context. S. VanderLeest. 8:30 a.m. to noon.
IDIS 150 17 DCM: John Wayne & St. Augustine . American Christians often assume a harmony between their love of nation and their religious tradition, viewing the U.S. as chosen by Providence for a unique role in world history. American mythology characterizes the U.S. a “new world,” a frontier where people could start over and reinvent themselves. This idea is expressed in a phrase on the Great Seal of the United States, Novus Ordo Seclorum, Latin for “a new order of the ages.” What do American nationalism and new world frontier mythology look like from the viewpoint of Christian theology going back to Abraham Kuyper, John Calvin, Augustine, and scripture itself? How do Christian views of human nature, masculinity and femininity, race, society, politics, and war compare to those in American nationalism? How have American nationalism and Christianity influenced each other? Questions like these are raised especially fiercely in the mythic history of the American West. As writer Wallace Stegner put it, this region is “America, only more so.” We might say, “America on steroids.” What do we learn on these questions from cowboys, Indian wars, the gold rush, gunfighters, and vigilantes? From characters like Daniel Boone, Kit Carson, Brigham Young, Narcissa Whitman, Buffalo Bill Cody, Sitting Bull, the Ingalls and their “Little House on the Prairie,” John Wayne, Clint Eastwood, and more. Some of these are real historical figures, some Hollywood entertainers, but sometimes it’s hard to tell the difference. To address these questions, this course examines basic components of Christian thought and the history of nationalism and frontier West mythology in the United States in relation to each other. Course material includes (1) common DCM readings, (2) readings on nationalism and frontier mythology in the U.S., and (3) films, TV shows, and other cultural material. W. Katerberg. 8:30 a.m. to noon.
IDIS 150 18 DCM: The Civil War & Reconstruction. The middle of the nineteenth century was a watershed in U.S. history: the Federal Union broke apart after a generation of sectional bickering; civil war left half the nation in ruins; and a campaign to promote racial justice was undone by paramilitary violence. The nation that emerged from the ordeal was richer and more powerful than ever before but it was no closer to the egalitarian promise of the Declaration of Independence. This course deals with the history of slavery and the secession crisis, rival explanations of the war's outcome, and the controversial history of Reconstruction. Classroom activities include lectures, videos, discussions, student presentations, and a simulation game. D. Miller. 8:30 a.m. to noon.
IDIS 150 19 DCM: Understanding Islam. This course presents an introduction to the Islamic religious tradition within a historical context, from its beginnings until the twenty-first century. We take up the issue of the historical Muhammad, the revelation of the Qur’an, and the rise of Islamic communities. We study the development of sects, theology, philosophy, and mysticism in the growth of Islamic societies, with the Ottoman Empire as a case study. Readings include Omid Safi’s Memories of Muhammad: Why the Prophet Matters, an anthology of Rumi’s poetry, and selections from Ottoman historical documents and the writings of modern Islamic thinkers. Discussions examine contemporary issues, including fundamentalism, terrorism, the status of women, the legacy of colonialism, the myth of an Islamic-Western confrontation, Palestine, and Christian views of other religions. We will visit a Grand Rapids mosque and meet Grand Rapids Muslims. D. Howard. 2:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m.
IDIS 150 20 DCM: Other Sheep I Have: African-American Missions in Africa . This course will examine socio-historical, theological, and philosophical motivations for African-American Christians engaging in African missions work. The objective is to understanding how one group of Christians has approached missionary work as a vocation, and how Christians may have multiple motivations for missionary work. The primary focus will be on African American
Protestants and their work in Africa historically and at present. E. Washington. 8:30 a.m. to noon.
IDIS 150 21 DCM: Figuring Yourself Out . The aim of this class is to help students figure themselves out by asking two kinds of questions. On the one hand there are the philosophical and theological questions, the "head questions." We address these questions in the first hour and a half of class each day. As a guide, we read through C.S. Lewis's treatment of philosophy, theology and personal ethics, Mere Christianity, as well as the core DCM text, Engaging God's World. We study philosophical and theological questions of prayer, evil, free will, etc., and we examine how our approach to these questions affects our understanding of ourselves and of our walk with God. The second part of the class asks what might be called "heart questions": questions of identity, self-image, personal history, thought life, loves, fears, etc. We address these in the second hour and a half of class each day. This section of class involves reflective journaling and small-group discussion: the aim is a better understanding of how to structure and understand the non- intellectual parts of yourself so as to strengthen your relationships—with God and with other people—and, generally, the quality of your life. D. Herrick. 2:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m.
IDIS 150 22 DCM: Christianity and Democracy in Africa. This course examines the fascinating interplay between Christianity and democracy on the continent of Africa. Numerous studies over the past decade point to the phenomenal growth of Christianity in Africa over the past century. At the same time, numerous African countries have experienced democratic transitions since the early 1990s. But what is the relationship between Christianity and democracy? This course will explore the rise of Christianity, the different expressions of Christianity, and the unique interaction between religion and politics on the continent. Students, engaging with a variety of articles, books and films, will discuss questions like "With so much religious vibrancy in Africa, why is the church relatively quiet regarding politics?" or "What is an appropriate Christian response to governance issues?" T. Kuperus. 8:30 a.m. to noon.
IDIS 150 23 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 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. Y. Lee. 8:30 a.m. to noon.
IDIS 150 24 DCM: Mathematics & Beauty. 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 demonstrate an appreciation of mathematics from different areas, they will understand how mathematicians have connected their discipline with their conception of God, and they will have grown in their own understanding of beauty and how it connects with their conception of God. M. Bolt. 8:30 a.m. to noon.
IDIS 150 25 DCM: Infinity & the Mind of God. This course will examine several aspects of the notion of infinity and its relation to theological conceptions of the mind of God. Mathematical ideas about infinity, especially those from the theory of infinite sets inspired by the mathematician Georg Cantor, will play a prominent role in the discussions and readings. Students in this course will demonstrate that they understand the mathematical concepts of infinity, such as countable and unaccountably infinite sets, and compare and contrast them with philosophical and theological ideas. C. Moseley. 2:00 pm. to 5:00 p.m.
IDIS 150 26 DCM: Living the Psalms . This section of the “Developing a Christian Mind” course focuses on God’s world through the eyes of the biblical Psalms. It entails a history of the Book of Psalms, and study of the common genres 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. B. Polman. 2:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m.
IDIS 150 27 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. Student Learning Outcomes: 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. E. Epp. 8:30 a.m. to noon.
IDIS 150 28 DCM: The 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. And as for 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. Such experiences can produce an almost unbearable longing that finds its true object 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 that the experience of joy can lead to compulsive behaviors and even idolatry. Musical examples include chants by Hildegard of Bingen and the polyphonic organum of the medieval cathedral of Notre Dame in Paris, music by Bach, Mozart, Beethoven and other classical composers, 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). T. Steele. 8:30 a.m. to noon.
IDIS 150 29 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 a historically unprecedented pattern of development: low-density, auto-oriented suburbs. As the limits of that pattern of development became apparent in the 1990s, the “New Urbanist” movement was spawned—a movement of architects, planners, environmentalists and citizen activists that has tried to recover more traditional ways of putting cities together, 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. L. Hardy. 2:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m.
IDIS 150 30 DCM: Global Climate Change. The theme this DCM section explores is global climate change—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 practice reasoning skills needed to sift through competing claims and to define which issues are pressing. Further, students consider moral questions raised by the scientific results, such as stewardship of a common earth or justice when the actions of one group affect the environment of another. Finally, students consider how environmental policies balance environmental, moral, and economic factors. L. Molnar. 2:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m.
IDIS 150 31 DCM: Interpersonal Relationships. Students investigate the psychology of interpersonal relationships – particularly one-to-one relationships – by examining their initiation, development, and patterns of interactions. Discussion includes topics such as roles, motives, aspirations, expectations, communication, self-disclosure, and resolution of problems. Classes consist of lectures, small-group discussions, analysis of case studies, films, and videotapes. The initiation, breaking, and restoration of relationships is an example of the creation/fall/redemption theme that will be developed in this course. A. Shoemaker. 2:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m.
IDIS 150 32 DCM: Human Decision Making and God’s Will . How does our reasoning shape our beliefs and how do our beliefs shape our reasoning? This course explores decision making as it relates to understanding ourselves, others, and God. A particular focus is how strengths and weaknesses of human decision making influence our choices and ability to choose. In addition, understanding God’s will in light of our reasoning practices is examined. D. Tellinghuisen. 2:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m.
IDIS 150 33 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 relationship between humor and health. Considerable class time is devoted to critiquing and discussing examples of humor (e.g., comedy routines, movies, literature, sarcasm, jokes, etc.]. J. Moes, B. Riek, D. Tellinghuisen. 8:30 a.m. to noon.
IDIS 150 34 DCM: Movies & Music: Theological Themes. This course examines the expression of theological themes in select musical works and films. Compositions studied include works by Haydn (The Creation), Bach (St. John Passion), and Mozart (Requiem). Films analyzed include Babette’s Feast, The Mission, The Seventh Seal, and Amadeus. Where possible, the relevant libretto or screenplay is read prior to listening to or viewing the work in question. Prerequisites: interest in theology, the arts, and their intersection; readiness to listen carefully and watch discerningly; and willingness to
engage in discussion. Students will: 1) acquire a knowledge of select theological themes 2) become acquainted with certain sacred compositions (and their composers) 3) enhance their listening skills 4) become acquainted with certain films (and their directors) 5) advance their skills in film analysis 6) exercise their skills in discussion and oral presentation. R. Plantinga. 2:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m.
IDIS 150 35 DCM: Wiesel, the Holocaust, & Theodicy. Among the challenges to the Judeo-Christian belief in an all-good, powerful, and loving Creator, the problem of evil (a.k.a. the question of theodicy) stands out. Among the atrocities of the modern world that aggravate the problem of evil for our times, the Nazi holocaust stands out. Elie Wiesel, an Auschwitz survivor and the 1986 Nobel Peace laureate, has devoted his life and writings to the remembrance of this horrific event in the attempt to discern and publish its moral lessons—above all: “never again!” This course wrestles with the problem of evil (theodicy) as facilitated by Wiesel’s holocaust experience and subsequent quest to sustain faith in God and hope for humanity in that arduous task to build a just and humane society. Students journey with Wiesel by aid of documentary and film, but principally through his own writings, which include Night, The Trial of God, The Town Beyond the Wall, and selections from his memoirs. Beyond the inspiration of Wiesel’s own life journey, students will deepen their appreciation of the question of theodicy, and of the theological resources for persevering in a world with an Auschwitz, a world still dangerously poised for genocide and mass annihilation. More particularly, students will become conversant in the issues surrounding theodicy, the range of “answers” offered to the problem of evil, as well as how Jewish theological and ethical resources, as exemplified by Wiesel, both inform and are formally commensurate with Christian resources, even if materially differentiated by one coming of the Messiah. T. Thompson. 2:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m.
IDIS 150 36 DCM: Social Movements: Immigration. This course considers the dynamics of race, class, gender and migration in the United States particularly as they interact with migration and migration processes. Students examine the ways that North American race, class, and gender relations affect newly arriving immigrants and their access to participation in community. The experiences of migrants and their communities and how they understand their social location within these sets of relations are central to the course. Students consider the role of faith, religion and faith communities in the lives of people involved in migration processes. Students in this course demonstrate an understanding of the complexities of race, class, gender and migration. L. Schwander. 8:30 a.m. to noon.
IDIS 150 37 DCM: Catholic Reformers & the Hispanic Spiritual Tradition.As Christians, we are called to sharpen our understandings of our own practices and points of view through hospitable critical analysis of other peoples and cultures. This course does that by closely investigating the founders and legacy of a traditional “rival” of the Protestant Reformation from which Calvin College takes its bearings—the Catholic Reformation of the 16th and 17th centuries. We will engage with such spiritual giants as Saint Ignatius of Loyola and Saint Teresa of Avila as they explore the interconnections of spiritual devotion, faith and doctrine. We will also investigate through text and film how heirs of the Catholic Reformation throughout the centuries have dealt with issues that matter a great deal at Calvin College today. For example, we will study how the Spanish Enlightenment priest Benito Jerónimo Feijóo handled the intersection of faith and "science," and we will use the Hollywood hit film Romero and Guatemala-centered documentary Reparando to explore Christianity's counter-cultural mission and its calling to pursue political and social justice as this resonates both on the current Latin American scene and with the idea of Kingdom consummation in Cornelius Plantinga's DCM text, Engaging God's World. Join this course to see where, why, and how Catholic reformers and their inheritors might dialogue with Calvinists on important matters of theology, faith and spiritual practice. In the process, be enriched in your understanding of the religious background and potential spiritual perspectives of Hispanic neighbors in North America as you regularly receive opportunity to offer your own spiritual traditions and beliefs to the dialogue. Course and readings will be offered in English with some optional original texts for those who read Spanish. A. Tigchelaar. 8:30 a.m. to noon.
IDIS 150 38 DCM: Learning from the Stranger. This course is for students who would like to deepen their ability to “learn from the stranger” when participating in cross-cultural missions or off-campus programs. It is even for those who would like to explore how to learn better from other students, staff or faculty at Calvin who seem to come from a “strange” cultural or social perspective. In fact, this course is for students who are willing to explore how they themselves can become better “strangers,” so that others can learn well from them. In this course, students deepen their cultural intelligence (CQ), that is, begin to develop the knowledge, skills and virtues related to understanding cultures, including their own. There is a special emphasis on, and field trips involving, Native American cultures in Michigan. Lack of cultural intelligence can lead to severe problems, from oppression by dominant cultures to simple misunderstandings between roommates. At a national level, this can lead to human suffering. At an individual level, lack of cultural intelligence can result in lost opportunities to grow through encounters with those different from us. Throughout the course, Calvin professor David Smith’s book, Learning from the Stranger, humorously models how to deepen the virtues related to crossing cultures. Patty Lane’s book, A Beginner’s Guide to Crossing Cultures helps students sharpen their cross-cultural skills and knowledge. Together, these provide a widened lens through which students encounter the core DCM text: Engaging God’s World. B. Haney. 2:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m.
IDIS 150 39 DCM: Jewish Thought and Culture. Christianity arose from a Jewish context, but many Christians are unfamiliar with Jewish culture. The Jewish people have developed traditions that are frequently different from those found in Christianity. Yet many Christians find that studying Jewish culture can yield unexpected insights into our own faith. This course aims to improve students’ understanding and appreciation of Jewish thought and culture (from ancient times until the present). Through this process, this course aims to encourage a greater understanding of the Reformed tradition of Christianity. We will study the lives and writings of several important Jewish thinkers. We will also explore creative and artistic works, looking for insight into Jewish culture and Jewish experiences. D. Billings. 2:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m.
IDIS 150 40 DCM: The Local Church in the 21st Century. Few institutions have undergone more change in the past twenty-five years than the local Christian church. Changes in worship style, music, the visual arts, and the role of lay leadership have driven some of these changes. Still deeper, the very nature and mission of the church are also being reexamined. Many are asking, “What exactly is God’s purpose for the church? What is the role of the local church in the Kingdom of God?” Additionally the church in North America is being challenged by a society that is rapidly becoming more pluralistic, more secular, and more materialistic. Local churches must be ready to respond and speak clearly to these and other issues. This course will challenge students to think carefully about the nature and mission of the local church within a broad Kingdom context, and about their own personal roles within in it. Please note: Students will be expected to visit local churches each Sunday of interim. R.S. Greenway. 2:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m.
IDIS 150 41 DCM:Into the Woods, Jr.- Sondheim. Musical Theatre is the most collaborative of all arts, which include directors, choreographers, dancers, singers, actors, technicians, designers, musicians and the like. This course will incorporate students in various roles with supervision. The goal of the course is to educate and give students the opportunity to exhibit their musical and technical skills in a performance practicum, which will culminate into six performances of Into the Woods Jr. Sondheim’s musical “Into the Woods Jr.” – takes favorite storybook characters and brings them together for a timeless piece and rare modern classic. The story follows a Baker and his wife who wish to have a child, Cinderella who wishes to attend the King's Festival, and Jack who wishes his cow would give milk. When the Baker and his wife learn that they cannot have a child because of a Witch's curse, the two set off on a journey to break the curse. Everyone's wish is granted, but there are consequences.
This DCM is offered in conjunction with the regular interim course, Into the Woods, Jr: 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 Into the Woods Jr. will be performed for the public February 6-8, 13-15, 2014 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 “Into the Woods, Jr” under regular CAS department interim courses, for more information.) D. Freeberg. 2:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m. & 6:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m.
IDIS 150 42 DCM: Young Adults & the Church. Young Adults, a.k.a. “Gen Y,” “Millennials,” or “Mosaics”: who are they, and why are they (not?) going to church? These questions are much discussed both about and among the cohort in question, and have forced the Church to think strategically about its Biblical mandate to pass on its faith to future generations. This class will review the historical and sociological factors that have shaped this generation, including the differences and similarities present across cultural and socio-economical lines. The spiritual profile of this generation will be surveyed through studies of the “none-ers,” of those who are attempting to recreate the church, and of those who see themselves living in exile from the church. Through discussions with pastors, church visits, and case studies, the impact of this generation’s demands for diversity, flexibility, and innovation upon congregational life and worship will be explored. Students will develop an understanding of unique characteristics of faith development for this generation, as well as best ministry practices addressing these issues. L. Elliott. 2:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m.
IDIS 150 43 DCM: DisAbility - Beyond Suffering. Students in this course will investigate a faith-filled view of disability. They will explore stereotypes of disability, definitions of disability, and historical responses to disability. In addition, course participants will develop a theology of disability and will describe a response to disability for both schools and worship communities. This course is open to all students who wish to explore society’s and their own perspectives and responses to individuals who live with identified disabilities.
Following completion of this course, students will demonstrate understanding of what it means to be identified with a disability, society’s typical view and response to disability, schools’ and churches’ response to individuals with disabilities, ethical considerations of one’s response to individuals who live with disabilities. Readings, media presentations, interacting with those who live with disabilities and class discussions will form the primary course format. P. Stegink. 8:30 a.m. to noon.
IDIS 150 44 DCM: The Good Life: Home Economics in the Kingdom of God. What does the Kingdom of God look like when it’s lived out in the stuff of everyday life—the food we eat, the clothes we wear, the cars we drive, the homes and neighborhoods we live in? This course will explore the theological, philosophical and practical sides of these basic questions within a Reformed context, as well as the answers being offered by a competing vision of life that is dominant in the twenty-first century: global consumerism. This course uses Colossians Remixed (Brian Walsh & Sylvia Keesmaat), Engaging God’s World (Cornelius Plantinga Jr.) and additional resources to explore the role of fully awake Christians seeking to live faithfully in today’s world. Interwoven with practical examples drawn from the wide realm of home economics, 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 evil, but they are also encouraged to find hope in the Kingdom of God, rooted in individual practices and communal rituals. Students will emerge from the course with, the ability to apply a comprehensive Reformed worldview to our ordinary daily practices, 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 45 DCM: Multi-Sensory 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. B. Fuller.2:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m.