|Adapted from the Christians in Political Science newsletter for March 2008:
Just published, Healing for a Broken World: Christian Perspectives on Public Policy is written by Steve Monsma, a research fellow at the Henry Institute at Calvin College and a former CPS president. In his book, Steve lays out foundational biblical principles for guiding Christiansí evaluation of current public policy issues and then applies them to several key issue areas. His goal is not to prescribe specific public policy positions, but to assist believers to evaluate and reach their own public policy positions in a thoughtful manner, guided by biblical principles. It is published by Crossway Books; more information can be found at
A massive survey of over 35,000 people, the U.S. Religious Landscape study reveals significant levels of religious mobility among Americans, with 28 percent reporting leaving the faith tradition of their childhood and another 16 percent reporting movement between groups within the Protestant tradition. Over sixteen percent reported no religious affiliation at all, but this figure includes 5.8 percent who still think of themselves as “religious” (see the bottom of the table at right on the Pew page.)
Dr. James Penning, currently chair of Calvin’s Department of Political Science, has been appointed to become Director of the Center for Social Research effective June 1, 2008.
Dr. Penning’s extensive experience includes a panoply of research- and community-related projects and positions. A scholar of public administration, urban, state and local politics, and religion and politics, he is a past president of the Michigan Conference of Political Scientists and program chair for the Religion and Politics section of the American Political Science Association. In the community, he has been a member of the Grand Rapids Planning Commission, the Kentwood City Commission, and the Baxter Community Center Board. He has conducted numerous large-scale studies and surveys. His most recent publication is Divided by a Common Heritage: The Christian Reformed Church and the Reformed Church in America at the Beginning of the New Millennium, co-authored with colleagues Corwin Smidt of Calvin and Donald Luidens and Roger Nemeth of Hope College.
The Center’s staff and student team are excited about Dr. Penning’s unique combination of community ties and research expertise.
Political science professor Corwin Smidt and senior Calvin College student Brian Schaap have co-authored a paper which will be published in a future issue of the Review of Religious Research (RRR). The paper is titled "Public Worship and Public Engagement: Pastoral Cues within the Context of Worship Services". An advance PDF copy of the unpublished working paper is available.
Dr. Corwin Smidt
Congratulations to Gwen Einfeld, CSR’s omni-competent senior Research Coordinator. Gwen’s team won the first annual bizPlan entrepreneurship competition at Calvin in late November. An engineering major, Gwen helped Team Volturna propose a design for an electronic device that would receive wireless multimedia from computers and display it on a television.
Gwen is an outstanding veteran member of CSR’s student team. She became our “Research Coordinator” in 2006 and has continued to shine as an internal technical expert. At present, she is doing database design and team training for data cleaning for the Kent County Congregations Study (KCCS). Way to go, Gwen!