Skip to Navigation | Skip to Content


Cultivating Faithful Citizens in a Pluralistic Society

Directed by: Kevin R. den Dulk (Calvin College)
and James K. A. Smith (Calvin College)

June 12-17, 2016

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


Seminar Description

Christian worship ends with sending: we gather as the people of God precisely in order to be sent into the earthly city. Our heavenly citizenship comes with a call to be good neighbors. Faithful discipleship engenders good citizenship. But many Christians wonder about their place in a public square that seems to be more diverse and increasingly hostile toward faith-based perspectives. How do faithful citizens of the city of God inhabit the contested spaces of the earthly city?

This seminar will bring together scholars and ministry practitioners to reflect on faithful citizenship in those areas of civil society where the combination of pluralism and conflict is experienced most intensely. We will consider some key questions: Do Reformed, Catholic, or other Christian traditions provide satisfying intellectual responses to the challenges faced by chaplains, campus pastors, and similar leaders? Do various models of “principled pluralism” have anything useful to say to these practitioners? How does—or can—Christian worship equip and form us for faithful citizenship in a secular age? At a practical level, are there better or worse models of preaching, public prayer, and ministry outreach that help address the challenges of diversity and conflict?

Participation in this seminar is by invitation only. We do not have any slots available for other hopeful participants.


About the Directors

Kevin R. den DulkKevin R. den Dulk holds the Paul B. Henry Chair in Political Science and serves as the Executive Director of the Henry Institute for the Study of Christianity and Politics at Calvin College. An award-winning teacher, his scholarship focuses especially on how religion works through civil society to foster democratic citizenship, both in the United States and abroad. He has co-authored or co-edited several books, including Religion and Politics in America (2013), Pews, Prayers, and Participation (2008), A Disappearing God Gap? (2010), Christianity in Chinese Public Life (2014), Mediating Religion and Government (2015), and, most recently, The Church and Religious Persecution (2015). He is a member of the board of the Michigan Center for Civic Education.


James K. A. SmithJames K.A. Smith is professor of philosophy at Calvin College where he holds the Gary & Henrietta Byker Chair in Applied Reformed Theology & Worldview. The award-winning author of Who’s Afraid of Postmodernism? and Desiring the Kingdom, his most recent books include Imagining the Kingdom (2013), Discipleship in the Present Tense (2013), Who’s Afraid of Relativism? (2014), and How (Not) To Be Secular: Reading Charles Taylor (2014). His popular writing has appeared in magazines such as Christianity Today, Books & Culture, First Things, and The Hedgehog Review and periodicals such as the New York Times, Wall Street Journal, and Detroit Free Press. He is a Senior Fellow of Cardus and serves as editor of Comment magazine.



Additional Information

There is no fee to apply for or attend this seminar. All participants in this seminar will be offered free housing in Calvin's Knollcrest East Apartments. Spouses and family members are welcome to join you at no additional cost (space allowing; details for housing and family needs will be provided at time of acceptance into the seminar.) We provide weekday lunches and morning breaks for participants only, and a welcome picnic for participants and family members. Participants and family members are responsible for all other meals and personal expenses. Although we provide limited shuttle service to and from the airport, participants and their family members are responsible for their own travel arrangements; travel reimbursement up to $500 per participant is available for this seminar. For additional information, please visit our FAQs.