20 September 2016

Ways of Learning

Participants in the course will investigate and evaluate significant perspectives on the learning process in order to understand the assumptions of various theories and to interpret these from a biblically-informed standpoint. They will review current research into child development and learning (e.g. brain research, cognitive processes, multiple intelligences, learning styles) in seeking to develop a coherent understanding of the relationships between various learning theories, on the basis of a Christian view of the person and of knowledge. An action research project will enable participants to test an approach to learning in the context of their own classrooms.

ICSD 120305/220305 F16
Instructor: Doug Blomberg / Joonyong Um

(MWS, MA, PhD)


19 September 2016

Vocational Wayfinding

Study ONLINE in Continuing Education or Degree Credit mode.

“What am I to do with my life?” “Who am I?” There appears to be an inextricable connection between the work that we do and our sense of who we are. As the poet David Whyte has suggested, work is for all of us a pilgrimage of identity. It is not, however, a pilgrimage for which any of us are provided with a GPS device, allowing us to navigate in straight lines with comfortable certainty towards clear career objectives that cohere in obvious ways with an immutable sense of our identity. Instead, this pilgrimage is more like the experience of Polynesian sailors, who traversed the vast expanses of the Pacific Ocean with the help of the stars, memory, and close attention to the patterns of the waves on the surface of the ocean as these reflected features of the ocean (including far-off islands). Polynesian wayfinding was a way of navigating that required alert improvisation and frequent reorientation from within a perpetually shifting context. Our vocational pilgrimages require of us to find our way in a similar manner.

In this course we will explore particular practices, frameworks, and tools, by means of which we can engage in vocational wayfinding. Prompted by our readings we will consider some of the relationships between work and identity: How does my work prompt my discovery of my sense of self? How do I try out possible selves in relation to whatever in the world is calling me toward particular kinds of work? What am I to do with my life? We will give close attention to those passages in our lives (in particular young adulthood and the middle passage of life) when both our work contexts and our experience of our identity are most obviously in flux. In addition, we will consider how to contribute skilful leadership and insightful mentoring to others as they engage in their own vocational wayfinding, particularly in the contexts of the workplace and educational institutions.

Vocational Wayfinding is a two-part course that will equip participants to navigate the work-life journey. The first six-week module will focus more on frameworks for digging into the meaning of our work-life journeys, and will include a discussion of David Whyte’s book Crossing the Unknown Sea: Work as a Pilgrimage of Identity. The second six-week module will focus more on practical tools for figuring out how to go about the next phase of our careers, and will include a discussion of Herminia Ibarra’s book Working Identity: Unconventional Strategies for Reinventing Your Career.

As a credit course Vocational Wayfinding is part of our Wayfinding Master of Worldview Studies program and is a credit level course for MWS, MA and PhD programs. The tuition fee in this mode is $900 for both modules.

As a continuing education course Vocational Wayfinding is oriented towards professional and personal development and has no particular academic prerequisites. It can be taken individually or as part of a small discussion group in your church or school with prices ranging from $150 to $500 (depending on the number of modules and options you choose).

Click here for more details and registration information.

ICSD 132502/232502 F16
Dr. Gideon Strauss
(MWS, MA, PhD)


First Module: Week of Sept. 19 - Oct. 24
Second Module: Week of Nov. 7 - Dec. 13

Christianity and the Ecological Crisis

Critics often blame Christian culture, and sometimes rightly, for ignoring and even contributing to the global ecological crisis. This course explores the gap between a biblical view of creation and Christianity's current response to the threats and opportunities posed by our ecological crisis. In this course, we will study the work of thinkers and practitioners who desire to address this perceived gap in Christian practice and reflection. In doing so, we will consider the ideological factors that have contributed to the emergence of this crisis as well as the normative question concerning the role a robust environmental ethic should play in a Christian’s walk of faith.

ICSD 130509/230509 F16
Instructor: Chris Allers



15 September 2016

Community, Faith, and Judgment: Hannah Arendt and Religious Critique

This seminar explores Hannah Arendt’s reflections on judgment, especially as these were shaped by her experience reporting for The New Yorker at the 1961 war crimes trial of Adolf Eichmann. After exploring the issues Arendt raises in Eichmann in Jerusalem, and before turning to her most mature reflections on the theme of judgment in particular, we will examine Arendt's understanding of the human situation "between past and future" in the essay collection that bears the same name. These essays will help contextualize Arendt's last (and uncompleted) reflections on judgment as that 'faculty' which might yet help us think and act in unprecedented social and political situations where traditional wisdom has collapsed and universal rules have proved incapable of providing moral guidance. Arendt asks how we can come to understand our time, with its unprecedented crimes, and thereby reconcile ourselves to (without condoning) our past and present. Such understanding is essential, she says, if we are to be able to take up the possibility of an alternative future path amidst the various crises of culture, tradition, and authority that characterize modern existence. This exploration will finally lead us to Arendt's latest thoughts concerning judging specifically, a subject which she intended to form the subject matter of her third, uncompleted, volume of The Life of the Mind. In looking at the material collected in the volume Responsibility and Judgment, we will also ask what members of specifically religious communities might learn from Arendt's reflections (a question Arendt does not herself ask): Are faith communities prone to fostering ideological formations that inhibit their members' capacity to engage in the kind of thinking that Arendt says is a necessary condition of our ability to judge? Should members of faith communities be held responsible for engaging (or failing to engage) in the task of critical self-reflection? How do the beliefs and actions of different religious communities contribute to the ability of their members to become effective judges of a world that is shared and constituted by a plurality of persons who are members of different communities? How might Arendt's insights help religious adherents rediscover the spiritual and intellectual resources of their traditions that could awaken hope and reveal novel possibility for action?

ICS 220502 F16
Dr. Ronald A. Kuipers
Thursday 1:45pm-4:45pm

(MA, PhD)


Facing the Darkness: The (Human) Nature of Evil

We shall discuss the origin and nature of evil by engaging various biblical, theological, and anthropological resources. Topics will include lament literature (e.g. Job), idolatry and the demonic, original sin and the correlation between victim and agent, and the relationship between justice and mercy. The course will consist of seminars in which participants will engage key readings relevant to the practice of interdisciplinary theology.

ICS 120801/220801 F16
Dr. Nik Ansell
Thursday 9:30am-12:30pm

(MWS, MA, PhD)


14 September 2016

Hermeneutics and Deconstruction

This seminar will examine and compare Hans-Georg Gadamer’s “Hermeneutics” and Jacques Derrida’s “Deconstruction.” Attention will also be paid to the emphasis on hermeneutics in Martin Heidegger’s Being and Time. The seminar discussions will move toward developing a non-violent reading-with hermeneutic theory which features both trust and suspicion.

ICS 120901/220901 F16
Dr. James Olthuis
Wednesday 6:00pm-9:00pm

(MWS, MA, PhD)


Biblical Foundations

This course will explore the Bible as the ongoing story of and for God and creation, paying special attention to the way in which God's story is intertwined with that of humanity and the world. In asking whether and in what way the Bible is also our story, we will attempt to identify which hermeneutical methods might help us discern its significance for present day life, including the academic enterprise.

ICS 1108AC/2108AC F16
Dr. Nik Ansell
Wednesday 9:30am-12:30pm

(MWS, MA, PhD)


13 September 2016

The Aesthetics of Compassion

In light of the recent renewed interest in the meanings and mechanisms of empathy in such areas as ethics, visual studies, and the philosophy of mind, this course examines the place and role of compassion in the development of the Western aesthetics tradition. Considering a range of art theoretical texts, literature, and images for which the theme of compassion has been crucial, the course aims to clarify the ways in which the concept of compassion has been thought able to account for certain of the emotional and cognitive links that exist between an artwork and its audience.

ICS 220104 F16
Dr. Rebekah Smick
Tuesday 1:45pm-4:45pm

(MA, PhD)


Nietzsche, Foucault, and the Genealogical Approach to the History of Philosophy

This seminar examines that philosophical approach to the history of philosophy that travels under the name of “genealogy”.  It does so in terms of selected texts of the tradition’s to major figures: its founder, Friederich Nietzsche and the presently ubiquitous Michel Foucault.  It examines the role that genealogical study of the history of philosophy has in the philosophical construction of its practitioners and what they think is truly first and deepest in the history they so study.

ICS 120406/220406 F16
Dr. Robert Sweetman
Tuesday 9:30am-12:30pm

(MWS, MA, PhD)


12 September 2016

Religion, Life and Society: Reformational Philosophy

An exploration of central issues in philosophy, as addressed by Herman Dooyeweerd, Dirk Vollenhoven, and the “Amsterdam School” of neoCalvinian thought. The course tests the relevance of this tradition for recent developments in Western philosophy. Special attention is given to critiques of foundationalism, metaphysics, and modernity within reformational philosophy and in other schools of thought.

ICS 1107AC/2107AC F16
ICT3702HF L0101 / ICT6702HF L0101
Dr. Robert Sweetman
Monday 6:00pm – 9:00pm
(MWS, MA, PhD)