Wednesday, 11 September 2019

Shaping a Just Canada: CPRSE Event with Citizens for Public Justice



Shaping a Just Canada
When: Thursday, October 3, 7:00-9:30pm
Where: Christ Church Deer Park, 1570 Yonge St., Toronto, ON M4T 1Z8


The Centre for Philosophy, Religion, and Social Ethics (CPRSE) at ICS is pleased to partner with Citizens for Public Justice (CPJ) to host Shaping a Just Canadaa non-partisan forum aimed at equipping voters with the knowledge needed to fully engage in the Canadian political process. CPJ is a faithful voice for social justice in Canadian public policy focused primarily on poverty in Canada, ecological justice, and refugee rights. CPJ’s fall tour will provide a non-partisan look at major issues leading up the fall federal election.

ICS/CPRSE and CPJ invite all members of the public to participate in this event as a means of gaining a clear and practical understanding of the key issues facing Canada in the upcoming election. Such understanding and engagement is especially key for Canada’s faith communities who bring important perspectives to our public discourse. 

The event will feature remarks from CPJ’s new Executive Director, Willard Metzger, and a panel presentation on immigration, refugees, and political participation led by members of Ontario Council of Agencies Serving Immigrants (OCASI) and CPRSE's own Héctor Acero Ferrer.

ICS/CPRSE is grateful to Christ Church Deer Park, an Anglican parish in midtown Toronto, for lending the use of their building for this event.

The event is free, but please register to attend at https://www.eventbrite.ca/e/cpj-fall-tour-toronto-on-tickets-66381722519

Thursday, 29 August 2019

Adorno’s Critique of Capitalism

The Times Literary Supplement has published a new essay by Lambert Zuidervaart, ICS Senior Member, on the life and work of Adorno, a prominent philosopher and social critic in the Frankfurt School. Titled “Theodor W. Adorno: Exposing Capitalism’s Blind Domination,” the essay is online in the Footnotes to Plato series, at https://www.the-tls.co.uk/articles/public/theodor-adorno-footnotes-to-plato/.

Prayer Letter: September 2019

Monday, September 2 - Friday, September 6:

Please pray this week for the staff, faculty and students as they participate in Registration Week, that it will be an inspiring time together to launch the new school year. Please especially pray for our Registrar Elizabet as she takes care of the many details that are involved in making sure each day fulfills its potential.

Tuesday, Sept 3: This is Orientation Day for all of our new students which will consist of faculty presentations in the morning, followed by lunch. In the afternoon there will be a presentation about the Christian Campus Ministries and a Library Tour of Caven Library, ICS Library, and Robarts Library with our Librarian Hilary Barlow.

Wednesday, Sept 4: This is the day that our Junior Members in Year 1 & 2 finalize their registration for the semester. There will also be meetings with their Senior Member mentors, with Elizabet our Registrar, and Harley Dekker about financial matters.

Thursday, Sept 5: This is Retreat Day which this year will be held at Evergreen Brickworks located in the Don River Valley for the first time. The morning will consist of reflection and chapel and community meeting, followed by lunch. In the afternoon, there will be breakout sessions with the Junior and Senior Members, followed by silent meditation and free time to explore the hiking trails in the area.

We have new students moving from France, Indonesia and Alberta to study at ICS this month. At least two have been offered residency at Knox College. Please pray this week for safe and speedy journeys, that our two international students will find their immigration process smooth, and that all of them will get settled in quickly and happily.

Monday, September 9 - Friday, September 13:

This is the first week of Fall classes, and it is fitting to begin with one of our Foundational courses: “Biblical Foundations” led by Dr. Nik Ansell. Please pray for lively interaction and edification for all the participants as they 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.

On Tuesday, Dr. Jim Olthuis begins his course “Twentieth-Century Postmodern Theories of (Inter)Subjectivity”. Pray for Jim and the students as they engage the material in an effort to understand the philosophical anthropologies of four 20th Century post-modern Continental philosophers, and how each thinker develops a view of the human self.

On Wednesday, we see the commencement of two courses: “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, with Dr. Bob Sweetman, and “The Divine (at) Risk: Open Theism, Classical Theism and Beyond” which will explore the different ways in which the God of history is viewed by advocates and critics of “Open Theism” with Dr. Nik Ansel.

Once again on Thursday, two courses will begin: “Aristotle, Aquinas and the Scholastic Approach to the History of Philosophy” with Dr. Bob Sweetman. Pray for Bob and the students as together they examine the role that philosophy or theology's history plays in the conceptual constructions of scholastic thinkers, and what they think is truly first and deepest in the history they study. “Beauty: Theology, Ethics, or Aesthetics?” with Dr. Rebekah Smick also starts today so we ask for your prayers for Rebekah and the students as together they examine a variety of subjective and objective views of beauty in the history of Western philosophy and theology from antiquity to the present, and then consider the implications of these views of beauty for the production of the visual arts, music, and literary culture in Western religion and society.

Monday, September 16 - Friday, September 20:

We would appreciate prayers for the Leadership Team as they finalize the draft of a strategic plan for ICS, geared to enhance our academic programming and increase our institutional revenue. Pray for clarity and wisdom for all those who will be involved in the refining discussions in preparation for the final plan to be presented to our Board of Trustees in mid-November.

Please pray for those involved in preparing our Fall issue of Perspective, as authors, editors, organisers, designers, and printers. It is always a challenge to get such a publication ready in a timely manner, and we ask our Lord to guide and uphold all contributors to the process as they aim to mail this issue to supporters in early October.

We ask for your prayers for the three distance learning courses that start up this month: “The Soul of Soulless Conditions” with Dean Dettloff, “Wisdom and Schooling” with Joonyong Um, and “How to Coach a Strong Team” with Gideon Strauss.

Monday, September 23 - Friday, September 27:

We ask for your prayers for Harley Dekker as he prepares for the auditors this and the preparation of the year-end statements this month. Pray for strength and clarity for Harley as he does this in the midst of the many other aspects of administration in which he is involved.

ICS/CPRSE’s regular podcast Critical Faith is starting up again for the school year. Our Communications Coordinator, Danielle Yett, will continue hosting. This academic year she will be joined by two Research Assistants who will be brought on board the podcasting team. We ask for prayer as the team organizes and plans new content for this year’s episodes. The podcast is a great way for us to showcase the kinds of conversations that happen at ICS, so we also pray that those conversations might prove both enjoyable and edifying.

As the academic year begins, CPRSE staff and research assistants prepare to work on a number of exciting initiatives, including publications, institutional collaborations, and community outreach. We pray that CPRSE continues to be a source of life, activity, and inspiration for all members of the ICS community.

Monday, September 30:

On October 3rd, ICS/CPRSE is partnering with Citizens for Public Justice in “Shaping a Just Canada” a gathering promoting a better understanding of key policy issues in preparation for the upcoming federal elections. Please pray that this collaboration might serve as an opportunity for fruitful dialogue about the role of religion in the public sphere, as well as reflection on the responsibility of faith groups in Canadian political life.

Wednesday, 3 July 2019

JM Dean Dettloff Article Publication

Junior Member and PhD candidate Dean Dettloff recently published an article entitled "Žižek’s Ruptured Monism: A Comparative Typological Reading of Less Than Nothing." The article considers whether D.H.Th. Vollenhoven's problem-historical "types" might illuminate the thought of Slovenian philosopher Slavoj Žižekparticularly by enabling the recognition of what Dean calls a "ruptured monism" at play in his work. 

This article stems from Dean's participation in ICS's Winter 2016 Interdisciplinary Seminar, "IDS: Problem-Historical Approaches to Philosophy, Theology, and Art History," which considered the continuing relevance of Vollenhoven's methods for contemporary thought. The article appears in a 2018 issue of the journal Philosophia Reformata (vol. 83, issue 2).

Tuesday, 2 July 2019

Prayer Letter: August 2019

Thursday, August 1 - Friday, August 2:


Please pray for Bob Sweetman as he goes to Boston in order to participate in the Boston College Colloquy in Historical Theology taking place on August 1 through 3. Bob has attended this colloquy twice before and the quality of the papers has been consistently very high. (He is smiling when he says this as he gave a paper at this event in its 2017 iteration.)

Monday, August 5 - Friday, August 9:


Please pray for Gideon this month as he will be contributing to a gathering of the current cohort of fellows of Triga Ventures, a cross-sector training program in South Africa which gives emerging entrepreneurs access to inspiring peers, generous mentors, a global network and value-aligned investors and donors.


Please pray for our president, Ron Kuipers, and the leadership team as they develop a strategic plan for ICS, geared to enhance our academic programming and increase our institutional revenue. Pray for wisdom for all those involved in this process as they lead visioning meetings with faculty, staff and members of the Board and Senate.

Monday, August 12 - Friday, August 16:


Please pray along with us for one of our international students who has been facing difficulties receiving a Canadian study permit. We ask that God would smooth the process with the Immigration Office so that he might be able to start school on time in September.


We also want to pray for the various projects on which our Junior Members are working: theses, proposals, reading lists, dissertations, independent research, presentations and coursework. We pray that the summer season has been an opportunity for them to follow through on these projects and that it brings renewed inspiration and vigour for the upcoming school year.


Currently, ICS/CPRSE is exploring new partnership possibilities with other academic institutions and community organizations that share in our spirit of inquiry and engagement. Please pray that CPRSE continues its history of collaboration through innovative research, effective outreach and rigorous scholarship. 


Monday, August 19 - Friday, August 23:


In two weeks time we will welcome our Junior Members, both returning and new. Please pray for all of them as they wrap up their summer projects, academic and otherwise. Please pray especially for our new students as they make their travel plans and all the other personal decisions that are needed to successfully settle into their new home in Toronto. It is always a joyous time as we all start afresh as the ICS community, and we pray that God will once again be present with us


Please pray this week for our Registrar, Elizabet Aras, as she prepares for registration and orientation, as well as the student retreat coming up on September 5th. There are myriad details to take care of so we ask God for clarity and discernment in the planning and implementation of these important events at the start of our school year. 


Please pray this week for Gideon as he travels back to Canada, and quickly takes up once again his teaching and facilitating responsibilities in an intensive course in ICS's MA in Educational Leadership during the Christian Teachers Academy at Hamilton District Christian High.



Monday, August 26 - Friday, August 30:


Please pray this week for two new students from abroad who are flying into Toronto at the end of the month. We ask for safe travels and pray that all goes well with the customs and immigration officials at the border.


We ask for your prayers this week for our faculty and administrative staff as they ensure that all the preparations are in place for the beginning of the school year next week. Pray that they will be encouraged by the largest incoming class in some years and the work that they do. We ask for God’s grace and wisdom as they work together, and for keen discernment in meeting the opportunities and challenges facing ICS at this time. We give thanks to God for sending them to serve the Institute’s mission with commitment and dedication.


As the summer season ends, the ICS/CPRSE team finishes the planning of a number of exciting initiatives that will take place in the new academic year, including publications, institutional collaborations and community outreach. We pray that CPRSE continues to be a source of life, activity, and inspiration for all members of the ICS community and beyond. 


Saturday, 29 June 2019

Prayer Letter: July 2019

Monday, July 1 - Friday, July 5:

On July 4, ICS Junior Member, Ted Avram S.J. returns to his home within the Society of Jesus. He will have managed to defend his MA thesis "The Nature of Belief in the Philosophy of Alvin Plantinga and Bernard Lonergan: A Propaedeutic for an Extended Synthesis" on June 28. He still has two papers to finish before completing the requirements for his MA from ICS. Pray for him as he heads back to Ireland for the next stages of his formation to Jesuit life and finishes off the last requirements of his MA degree.

As we begin this new fiscal year, we give thanks for the forward movement of last year. We are encouraged by the possibilities the Lord will bring our way in the coming months, and seek His wisdom and guidance. We are very grateful for our new home at Knox -- for the comfortable environment it provides to work and study and for the new opportunities this new location presents.

Monday, July 8 - Friday, July 12:

Please pray this month for our Registrar, Elizabet, as she looks after the academic details in preparation for the beginning of the school year in September, such as new courses being approved, registration of students, course schedules, and working with the faculty to get all the course syllabi up on the website. Pray too as she works with the fifteen new students in their application process and decisions around course selection.

The Leadership Team would appreciate prayers this month as they work on formulating a strategic plan that focuses on new program development with an accompanying funding plan. We are encouraged by the opportunities that have presented themselves, particularly the Master of Education Leadership program. Pray that they have wisdom in the development of focused strategies to enhance this opportunity.

Monday, July 15 - Friday, July 19:

Please continue to pray for Gideon Strauss in Stellenbosch, South Africa, where he is concluding a research project on "Inequality, forgiveness, and political agency: lived theologies among young adults in post-apartheid South African churches" in partnership with Nadine Bowers Du Toit at the Faculty of Theology at the University of Stellenbosch. (This project has been supported by the Nagel Institute for World Christianity at Calvin College with funding from the Templeton Religion Trust.)

July being a month in which some of our staff and faculty take holidays, we ask that you pray that their time away will be refreshing and renewing. Some are travelling long distances so we ask God to grant them safe and hassle-free travels.

Monday, July 22 - Friday, July 26:

Just because Gideon is in South Africa doesn’t mean that his work as ICS’s Academic Dean stops. Pray for him as he will be participating via Zoom video meetings and email in the work of ICS's Educational Policy Committee, Academic Council and Senate.

Pray also for Gideon as he once again facilitates a multi-session workshop on vocational wayfinding/life design in partnership with a local Christian community of faith, Stellenbosch Gemeente (SG). This year Gideon will also partner with SG to offer a multi-session workshop on Jamie Smith's book You Are What You Love. SG is also organizing two "long table conversations" facilitated by Gideon, on the relationship between discipleship, citizenship, and ownership in the South African context.

Monday, July 29 - Wednesday, July 31:

Pray for Bob Sweetman and Meg Giordano (VU/ICS PhD candidate) this week as they will be in Wayne, Pennsylvania on the campus of Villanova University for the Annual Aquinas Studium (this year's topic: Friendship). May this event be helpful for their research and writing on Aquinas. Meg is writing a dissertation on the nature of violence and the resistance to violence in the thought of Thomas Aquinas, while Bob is working on finishing a book on the virtues of religion and science in the shape of human flourishing according to Thomas Aquinas.