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2012 Seminars

Singing What We Believe: Theology and Hymn Texts
June 18 - 22, 2012

Directed by:
Bert Polman, Calvin College

Sponsored by the Calvin Institute of Christian Worship with funding by Lilly Endowment, Inc.

Seminar Description

Congregational songs have often been called the lay persons’ “handbook of theology” as “psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs” have a unique mix of doxa (worship) and logia (teaching) which shape and express the life of Christians.  This seminar will explore initially the theology of hymn texts, based on an analysis of some 250 classic hymn lyrics and a similar number of contemporary Praise-Worship texts. Then the seminar participants will discuss the relationship between the theological themes of such texts and the prevalence of what sociologists of religion (Christian Smith, et al) have termed “moralistic therapeutic deism.”  In other words, this interdisciplinary seminar will focus not only on doxa and logia but also on praxis, and is expected to raise issues about current religious convictions and practices of Christians.

About the Director

With a PhD in musicology from the University of Minnesota, Bert Polman has spent the last 36 years teaching class room courses in music, doing administrative work as chair and associate dean, and researching-publishing in the areas of church music, hymnology, and worship.  He is current Professor & Chair of Music at Calvin College and a senior research fellow at Calvin’s Institute of Christian Worship.

Application Information

Applicant Information, including who may apply and how to apply can be found here.

The application deadline was February 10, 2012. We are no longer accepting applications.


Seminars @ Calvin
Calvin College
1855 Knollcrest Circle SE
Grand Rapids MI 49546-4402
fax 616.526.6682