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.


Tuesday, 25 June 2019

Glory to God in the Kitchen: an Art Exhibition by ICS Graduate Ann Post

Still Life with Copper Pot (2018) by Ann Post 

"Sharing the beauty and mystery of art with others has always brought me tremendous pleasure and satisfaction. During the course of my life, I have loved looking at art, making art, displaying art, teaching art; as well as writing about it. In my experience, art connects with every aspect of life: spirituality, nature, people, places, and objects. There is virtually no end to what art can do to enrich and to enhance life. Art has felt like a religious calling or 'vocation' for me. And I believe that art is not meant to be greedily hoarded only for one’s own personal pleasure or monetary gain as a commodity. Rather, it is to be shared with others in this world which God has made and has so freely and graciously given to us. We have been made in the Divine Creator’s image. There is a natural rhythm built into our nature; to give and to take; to make and to share."  

- excerpt from Ann Post's project reflection
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In the fall of 2018, recent ICS graduate Ann Post (MWS, 2019) put on her first solo exhibition of still life, landscape, and floral paintings in Mount Vernon, New York. This exhibition was hosted in the gallery of the Mount Vernon Library and was a great success. The exhibition was the culmination of work that Ann began earlier in 2018, and continued to work on during the summer while attending ICS's ART in Orvieto program with Rebekah Smick in Orvieto, Italy. 

Her time spent in the Artists' Workshop in Orvieto gave her the time and space to focus her artistic efforts on creating a series of still life paintings inspired by the aesthetics writings of Calvin Seerveld—specifically, a chapter in his Rainbows for the Fallen World (1980) with which her exhibition shares its title: "Glory to God in the Kitchen."

As part of her final project for her MWS degree, Ann described the intersection of reflection and practice made apparent to her through the process of creating her exhibition. She highlighted these influences and put careful consideration into the craft of developing this particular art exhibition with special attention to the audience, the space and logistics, the various interactions of the individual pieces, and the overall desired outcome of displaying her work for others. All these various aspects of her project came together to solidify her desire to make her own experiences of the "gift" of art available to others in her community—to bring it into contact with people in the midst of living their everyday lives. 

ICS is grateful for the time Ann has spent studying and exploring her artistic vocation with us, and we eagerly look forward to keeping an eye out for her future work!




Monday, 24 June 2019

Richard Middleton Elected President of the Canadian Society of Biblical Studies

ICS Alumnus Richard Middleton, Professor of Biblical Worldview and Exegesis at Northeastern Seminary, has been elected President of the Canadian Society of Biblical Studies (CSBS), the oldest academic humanities society in Canada, founded in 1933. Middleton was elected Vice President/President Elect at the 2018 CSBS annual meeting at the University of Regina; he became President on June 1, 2019, during the annual meeting at the University of British Columbia.

Originally from Jamaica, Middleton immigrated first to Canada (where he studied at the ICS and received his PhD from the joint ICS/VU program), then moved to the United States to take up a faculty position. He became a member of the Canadian Society of Biblical Studies in 1992 and has presented seventeen academic papers at CSBS over those years (as well as twenty-three papers at other academic societies that meet as part of the Congress).

Richard has also published a blog post on being both a Kuyperian and a Wesleyan (originally written as the Foreword to a book on Christian Worldview for Brazilian Christians).
See: https://jrichardmiddleton.wordpress.com/2019/06/12/reflections-of-a-kuyperian-wesleyan/

Wednesday, 5 June 2019

Graduates and Undergraduates Talk God and Politics in 2019 Workshop and Joint Course

On May 23-25, 2019 ICS hosted its third annual Undergraduate Workshop that invited undergraduate students from all over to join us in Toronto and to get a taste of graduate education. This year, we were joined by ten undergraduate presenters from the following institutions in Canada, the U.S., and Qatar: Greenville University, Canadian Mennonite University, Cornerstone University, The King's University, Memorial University Newfoundland, and Georgetown University in Qatar. 

Undergraduate participants presented their own research
to the group and fielded questions
These students presented their own academic research as it related to the theme of this year's workshop: God & Politics: Religion and Public Life in the 21st Century. Paper topics ranged from a deep engagement with Indigenous writers thinking about the practice and possibility of "nation-to-nation" sovereignty in Canada today to a historical narrative study of the work and life of Saint Oscar Romero from El Salvador; from a critical study of the Minjung liberation theology movement in Korea to a thorough exploration of Immanuel Kant's reading of the ethical and moral implications of the story of Abraham and Isaac. 

Dr. Ronald A. Kuipers welcoming everyone
to the workshop
The undergraduates' papers received formal responses from ICS Senior Members, Junior Members, and alumni, with each response being followed by extensive group discussion. Each of the undergraduates displayed a remarkable depth of research ability and an admirable aptitude to respond to hard-hitting questions. ICS was proud to host these talented students and wishes each of them well in their ongoing academic work.

Dr. Jeffrey Dudiak introducing prevalent themes
for the workshop and course
The Workshop occurred in conjunction with another undergraduate-graduate joint event: a summer intensive course titled “To the Unknown God”: Paul and Some Philosophers. ICS and The King's University joined together to offer this course, which included a preparatory reading portion, participation in the Workshop, and an intensive one-week in-class portion following the Workshop. During the course, students read a number of philosophers who consider the writings of the Apostle Paul and their relevance to contemporary political questions. The course was led by ICS President and Senior Member in Philosophy of Religion Dr. Ronald A. Kuipers and King's Professor of Philosophy Dr. Jeffrey Dudiak.

Outside of class time, students explored the new ICS location, the University of Toronto campus, and the city of Toronto. King’s alum and ICS Board Member Lynnette Postuma also hosted a dinner with students and professors to celebrate the joint efforts of the two universities to offer this engaging course in Toronto. We at ICS are thankful for the chance to work alongside The King's University, and for the participation of the students who took up the challenge with aplomb, and we look forward to future shared learning opportunities like this one.

Visiting course participants enjoying a dinner hosted by
King's alum and ICS Board member Lynnette Postuma

Course participants taking a tour of campus

Participants in the ICS-King's joint course
"To the Unknown God": Paul and Some Philosophers


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Both the Workshop and the course were graciously hosted at Regis College by the Msgr. John Mary Fraser Centre for Practical Theology. ICS would like to extend its thanks to both Regis and the Centre for their hospitality during these events.