Tuesday, 29 December 2015

The New Winter Semester Begins at ICS!

This month marks the beginning of the new winter semester at ICS. There are five courses starting as well as five distance courses offered this semester:

Democracy and Diversity with Dr Phillip Shadd
Spiritual Exercises as a Christian Philosophy from Augustine to Bonaventure with Dr Bob Sweetman
Interdisciplinary Seminar (IDS): Problem-Historical Approaches to Philosophy, Theology, Psychology and Art History with Dr Bob Sweetman, Dr Jim Olthuis and Dr Nik Ansell
Philosophy at the Limit: Richard Kearney with Dr Ron Kuipers
For the Love of Wisdom: Scripture, Philosophy and Creation Order with Dr Nik Ansell

Winter 2016 distance courses:

Wisdom and Schooling with Dr Doug Blomberg and Dr Clinton Stockwell
In Media Res: Media, Technology and Culture with Matt Bernico
Neon Bibles and Broken Hallelujahs: Soundings in Theology and Pop Culture with Brett Potter
Practising Vocational Wayfinding with Gideon Strauss
Biblical Foundations with Jeffrey Hocking

For course descriptions, please visit courses.icscanada.edu/search/label/W16

Bob Sweetman at the Pontifical Institute in Toronto

Senior Member Bob Sweetman will respond to Gilles Mongeau's brand spanking new volume Embracing Wisdom: The Summa Theologiae as Spiritual Pedagogy from The Pontifical Institute for Mediaeval Studies Publications at an event to be held on 28 January (Thomas Aquinas' saint's day) at the Pontifical Institute for Mediaeval Studies in Toronto.

Joshua Harris' Doctoral pre-thesis examination

Junior Member Joshua Harris will undergo the Doctoral pre-thesis examination process in mid-January, culminating in an oral to be held sometime during the week of 18-22 January. This involves a week in which to craft four essays, two in his major cluster and one in each of his minor clusters as well as a 1-2 hour oral examination using as material for the oral, the four essays, his approved thesis proposal and an exam bibliography of approximately 20 core texts in his major "cluster" and ten or so in each of his minor "clusters" (drawn from the required course bibliographies of his program of study).

Sunday, 27 December 2015

Art and Social Ethics

Senior Member Lambert Zuidervaart has published an article titled “Creating a Disturbance: Art, Social Ethics, and Relational Autonomy” in The Germanic Review 90.4 (2015): 235-46. The article argues that good art is intrinsically ethical, and, precisely because of this intrinsic ethicality, the arts can contribute to other modes of ethical conduct, including politics. Readers can download a copy at the publisher’s website—the first 50 downloads are free.

Saturday, 26 December 2015

Prayer Letter: January 2016

Friday, January 1: As we enter the new year, Adjunct Clinton Stockwell encourages us to remember the plight of displaced peoples, including the homeless and the refugee, remembering that Christ himself was a refugee to Egypt fleeing persecution, and that He was also homeless, “having no place to lay his head.” Let us pray for peace, and let us practice good will as we commemorate the significance of the savior's birth.

Monday, January 4: The first week of classes of the winter semester begins today! This is also the first day for “Democracy and Diversity” with Dr Phillip Shadd, CPRSE Research Associate. We ask for wisdom and strength for all the professors as they teach and mentor the course participants. For Phillip, we ask for God’s encouragement as he begins this work.

Tuesday, January 5: A new course begins today: “Spiritual Exercises as a Christian Philosophy from Augustine to Bonaventure” with Senior Member Bob Sweetman. We pray our Lord will guide seminar discussions in their pursuit of wisdom.

Wednesday, January 6: Today is the first day of “IDS: Problem-Historical Approaches to Philosophy, Theology, Psychology and Art History” with Senior Members Bob Sweetman, Nik Ansell and SM Emeritus Jim Olthuis. This seminar draws on the seminal work of one of the major figures in our tradition, D. H. Th.Vollenhoven, among others. We pray the Holy Spirit will enlighten the hearts and minds of all in this conversation.

Thursday, January 7: “Philosophy at the Limit: Richard Kearney” with Senior Member Ron Kuipers begins today. We pray for wisdom for Ron as he teaches and for intelligent and spiritual discernment for all the participants.

Friday, January 8: Senior Member Nik Ansell's course begins today: “For the Love of Wisdom: Scripture, Philosophy and Creation Order”. We pray for God's blessing on all the participants. We ask for God’s direction for Nik as he teaches and that God’s presence would be evident in the discussion and engagement of the participants.

Monday, January 11: Our five distance courses begin this week. We pray for God's blessing on all the course participants. We are praying for spirited uptake of our distance courses, as we expand our efforts to make our programs more widely available. We pray also for instructors and students alike, as they experience the joys and challenges of this mode of learning. May they build effective learning communities!

Tuesday, January 12: For those of our community who are ill or suffering in any way, or who have family or friends who are facing such challenges, we pray for peace, strength, hope and healing.

Wednesday, January 13: The Academic Council meets this afternoon. We pray for God's wisdom to guide the discussions and decisions at this meeting.

Thursday, January 14: We offer prayers of thanks for the many people who have presented ICS with gifts of prayer, money, and expressions of appreciation, particularly through December and the busy Christmas season. We are deeply grateful for the generosity of spirit of our friends and we pray that God will richly bless and encourage them.

Friday, January 15: Please pray for the continued success of CPRSE's fundraising efforts, as it seeks to work collaboratively with a growing group of non-academic community partners on issues of common concern. After much work, CPRSE has just submitted a funding application for a two-year research partnership with a local mental health care provider that would use a justice lens to explore best practices for helping children and youth with complex needs.

Monday, January 18: Junior Member Joonyong Um will be guiding a teachers' group from Korean alternative schools to Christian schools and universities (including a meeting with Doug Blomberg this afternoon at ICS) in the Toronto/Hamilton area. Please pray for the group's safe travel and their abundant learning from the schools that will produce benefits in Christian schools in Korea.

Tuesday, January 19: Today we pray for blessings for the Friends of ICS Board and all those who are doing advancement work in the US. We give thanks for retiring and continuing members, and welcome new members Marci Fredericks, Brad Breems and Barbara Carvill. May the Lord guide all their deliberations as they continue to build support for the mission of ICS.

Wednesday, January 20: We continue to pray for wisdom and energy for President Doug Blomberg as he manages his many responsibilities and concerns in his leadership role at ICS. We ask too for vision and discernment for the whole Leadership Team as they work together on the strategic initiatives that have been set in place.

Thursday, January 21: We ask God to give energy and wisdom to our Senior Members, Adjunct Faculty and Sessional Lecturers, as they balance reporting, paperwork and course work with their family, congregational, civic and other dimensions of their communal lives.

Friday, January 22: We ask God to give vision and discernment Director Ron Kuipers and Associate Director Allyson Carr as they continue their exciting work with our Centre for Philosophy, Religion and Social Ethics.

Monday, January 25: We are truly blessed by the dedicated work of administrative staff at ICS. We offer thanks to God for the work they are given and for their excellence in response to these sometimes onerous demands.

Tuesday, January 26: This afternoon/evening and tomorrow morning, presidents of the ten institutions constituting the Association of Reformed Colleges and Universities will have their Annual Meeting in Washington. This leads into the conference of the Coalition of Christian Colleges and Universities. Doug Blomberg will participate in the ARCU meeting. Please pray for open and edifying conversations in both settings.

Wednesday, January 27: The presidents of Redeemer University College, The King’s University and ICS will meet today to consider matters particularly germane to these Canadian institutions. Please join us in asking our Lord to guide us in this further opportunity to meet in person, when we will continue exploring possibilities for collaboration and partnership.
The Board of Trustees meets this evening. We ask that God will grant them the wisdom they need as they deliberate on the vision and mission of ICS and its execution.

Thursday, January 28: We ask God's help and guidance for all those who are involved in advancement work for ICS, particularly our Director Pat Webb and Manager of Donor Relations, Vidya Williams. Please give thanks to God for all who support ICS and pray that support continues to grow.

Friday, January 29: As the first month of this semester ends, we ask God's guidance and wisdom for all our Junior Members who are working hard in their courses, and for a sense of balance as they deal with families and jobs as well.

Tuesday, 15 December 2015

Heaven on Earth?

Many of you have read Paul Marshall’s Heaven is not my Home (1999). Some will even remember Al Wolters’ brief article on II Peter 3:10 (and the earth being “found”, not “destroyed”) in ICS’s Anakainosis (www.scribd.com/doc/15502628/Anakainosis-2-4) many years prior; and of course, his Creation Regained. Just a couple of weeks ago, The Banner published an article, “Heaven on Earth”, by Daniel Boerman, a graduate of Calvin Theological Seminary and a buyer for a hardware store. We think this worth drawing to your attention, as it says something fundamental about our reformational eschatological vision. Read it at www.thebanner.org/departments/2015/11/heaven-on-earth

Congratulations, Dr. David Lyon, 2015 SSHRC Insight Award Winner!

Dr. David Lyon is a research chair and director of the Surveillance Studies Centre at Queen’s University, a pioneer and now a leading international scholar in this field. We congratulate Dr. Lyon here because he was also a pioneer in accessible publications forging a Christian perspective on sociology and cultural issues generally. An invited speaker at ICS in the ’70s, he contributed a chapter on secularization to Social Science in Christian Perspective in our Christian Studies Today series, edited by Paul Marshall and Robert VanderVennen. Thank you for your contribution to the common good, Dr. Lyon. Read the SSHRC announcement here: goo.gl/uVAH3j

Junior Member Joshua Harris Welcomes His Son!

Junior Member Josh Harris and his wife Sarah are proud to announce the birth of their first child, a boy, Rowan Wesley Harris, who was born on December 5. They are happy to report that everyone is doing well. Congratulations to Josh and his family! What a wonderful early Christmas gift!

CPRSE Seeks Research Funding for Project about Youth and Mental Health

The CPRSE continues its fundraising efforts, in pursuit of its mission to work collaboratively with a growing group of non-academic community partners on issues of common concern. After much work this fall, CPRSE Director Ron Kuipers and Associate Director Allyson Carr prepared and submitted a funding application for a two-year research partnership with a local mental health care provider. The project seeks to apply a justice lens to the exploration of best practices for helping children and youth with complex needs. Defined as two or more needs that persist simultaneously over an extended period of time, complex needs include street involvement and issues related to mental health.

Saturday, 28 November 2015

Hector Acero Ferrer at Massey College in Toronto

Last month Junior Member Hector Acero Ferrer participated in the panel “Bridging the Divisions: Interfaith Dialogue Through Social Activism”, an event organized by Massey College at the University of Toronto. This panel was an opportunity to discuss diverse ways in which religious traditions approach interfaith dialogue and social justice work. In his presentation, Hector argued that Christianity's understanding of mission is rooted in a call to dialogue and engagement with humanity as opposed to a forceful proclamation of doctrine to non-Christians.

Junior Members in Rhode Island

Junior Members Dean Dettloff and Jonathan Polce will be presenting papers during the weekend of December 5 and 6 at the St. Nicholas of Myra Conference on Catholic Social Thought in Providence, Rhode Island.

Dean’s paper is titled "Catholic Air Conditioning: Laudato Si' and the Overcoming of Phenomenology." Jon will present "Overlooked message: Pope Francis' Call to Transform Hearts at the center of Laudato Si."

Dean Dettloff’s Thesis Defense

Junior Member Dean Dettloff will be defending his MA thesis on December 15. His thesis is titled “From Cynical Reason to Spiritual Creativity: An Exercise in Religious Anthropodicy.” Dean's thesis is an analysis of the thought of Peter Sloterdijk in particular his early description of the emergence of cynical reason as a post critical cultural and theoretical orientation to the world that is inoculated against any and all forms of Enlightenment criticism, and his later turn to religion as the site par excellence in which we human beings give an account of ourselves and our right to be in the world (a project he calls anthropodicy). Dean suggests that Sloterdijk's philosophy of religion would benefit from the spiritual and indeed Christian theory of creativity elaborated by the early twentieth century Russian thinker Berdaev. Indeed he sees real promise in Sloterdijk's notion of anthropodicy when supplemented with the radical religious openness of Berdaev's creativity.

Tricia Van Dyk Dissertation

Junior Member Tricia Van Dyk has successfully completed her doctoral dissertation in the conjoint PhD degree program offered by ICS and the VU University Amsterdam. The dissertation is titled “Narrative Companionship: Philosophy, Gender Stereotypes, and Young Adult Literature.” Tricia will defend her dissertation in Amsterdam on March 17. Her supervisors are Lambert Zuidervaart (ICS) and A. W. (Bert) Musschenga (VU). Congratulations, Tricia!

Friday, 27 November 2015

The Prince of Peace now lives with us!



As we gather with family, friends and strangers to celebrate the coming of Jesus, we remember how greatly God loves the world, and the hope and joy such love brings.

May our Lord fill your life with love, joy, hope, and peace this Christmas–and always!

Hearing God in Scripture

South African Anglican priest Craig Bartholomew, who directs the St. George's Centre for Biblical and Public Theology (Burlington) and is H. Evan Runner professor of philosophy at Redeemer University College, has produced an important new book, Introducing Biblical Hermeneutics, A Comprehensive Framework for Hearing God in Scripture (Baker Academic, 2015, xiv-623).

Bartholomew spent a year at ICS in the mid-90s before he went on to achieve his Ph.D. at the University of Bristol (1997), United Kingdom. He has written numerous other books and articles.

This new book is incredibly rich in scholarship, teeming with apt comments by Augustine, Barth, Bavinck, Bonhoeffer, George Steiner, Gadamer, Habermas, Newbigin, Henri Nouwen, Magrassi and countless others, but the insights are digested and presented conversationally. The truly encyclopedic character of this “Introduction” is subordinated to its key point: biblical hermeneutic scholarly studies should be enveloped in the prayerful reading of the Bible.

Bartholomew challenges theologians and academic analytic interpreters of the Holy Scriptures to ground their work within the simple act of listening to God speak in Scripture and then, first of all, responding on their knees, as it were, while expositing the text. His book is dedicated to Cal and Ines Seerveld.

Craig Bartholomew
Cal Seerveld


Thursday, 26 November 2015

Prayer Letter: December 2015

Tuesday, December 1:  Clinton Stockwell reminds us of the many challenges we see around us, including poverty and violence, often stemming from human alienation and disenfranchisement. He invites us to pray for the in-breaking shalom of God, that faith communities everywhere will remember their deepest roots, that in the world, there will be peace, good will, and compassion for all who have need. Let us combine our deepest understandings with our most authentic practices of compassion and grace this Advent season.

Wednesday, December 2:   We praise God for our ICS supporting community. As we have visited and held get-togethers in different cities across the country, we have been encouraged and blessed by the commitment of these friends to the work of ICS. We have been lifted up by their generous support and thoughtful prayers.

Thursday, December 3:  We thank God for his sustaining grace as we make plans for the outworking of our new initiatives as outlined in the Annual Report. Pray that we will clearly hear his wisdom and discernment as we work together to accomplish these goals.

Friday, December 4:  Junior Members Dean Dettloff and Jonathan Polce will be presenting papers in Rhode Island this weekend. We pray for safe travel for everyone and fruitful interaction among them all.

Monday, December 7:  Junior Member Joonyong Um requests we pray that more brothers and sisters in Christ may come together to support and work for the precious vision of ICS in serving as Christ’s agents in healing and reforming the world.

Tuesday, December 8:   We ask God's help and guidance for all those who are doing advancement work for ICS. Please pray that support for the vision and mission of ICS continues to grow. We pray for blessings for the Friends of ICS Board and all those who are doing advancement work in the US.

Wednesday, December 9:  Kevin Huinink, MA, requests that we pray for other ICS alumni as they forge ahead in the world looking for ways in which to make their learning come alive in their varied professions.

Thursday, December 10:  As the season of Advent continues, we pray for God's grace and guidance as we prepare ourselves to celebrate the birth of Jesus Christ. In Him, God is with us. Praise the Lord!

Friday, December 11:  The fall semester ends next week, but there is still much academic work to be done! Please pray for blessings and stamina for our Junior Members as they finish their course work and write their papers in the weeks ahead, and for our Senior Members as they give them feedback on their papers and prepare for their own teaching in the upcoming semester.

Saturday, December 12:   The 21st Conference of the Parties (COP) climate summit in Paris has concluded. We pray for wisdom and guidance as the countries in attendance implement their individual environmental policies.

Monday, December 14:  On this day in 1935 the Association for Reformational Philosophy was officially founded. Our first faculty member, Senior Member Emeritus Henk Hart, always remembers this date, because he was born on the same day! They both turn 80! We offer prayers of thanks and congratulations!

Tuesday, December 15:  Please join with us in prayer for Junior Member Dean Dettloff as he defends his MA thesis this afternoon. May he be granted a clear mind and the words that fittingly reflect his understanding.

Wednesday, December 16:   Today is the last Academic Council meeting of the 2014 calendar year. We ask that the Holy Spirit’s guidance and wisdom be present throughout all the discussions and the planning and tasks that follow from decisions made.

Thursday, December 17:   Today is the final day of classes for this semester. We ask you to join with us in thanking our Lord for another period of opportunities in which to learn in Christian academic community.

Friday, December 18:  This is a day of celebration for the gifts God has granted the semester just passed, including those of friendships formed and strengthened, and culminating in our Community Christmas Party! We thank God for a fruitful semester and look forward to an evening of joy, reflection, and humour. As our larger ICS family, will you please remember the on-campus community as we gather together in this informal mode.

Monday, December 21:  Many members of the ICS community will be travelling, some far and wide, over the holiday period. Please pray for their safe travel and for an uplifting and refreshing time with friends and family.

Tuesday, December 22:  We pray for the general well-being of ICS. We give thanks to our Lord and Saviour for our many, many faithful supporters, without whom we would not be able to fulfil our mission here at 229 College.

Wednesday, December 23:  God has provided us with all things richly to enjoy. Let us all give thanks to what God has bestowed as we look back at the marvels of the previous year.

Thursday, December 24:  Our Lord also strengthens and sustains us in times of suffering. We ask for God's help for those who are struggling with cancer, depression and the many other illnesses that may afflict us in this fallen world. We pray for strength, patience and effective treatment.

Friday, December 25:  Today we joyously celebrate the birth of He who is King of All and Prince of Peace, Jesus Christ! We offer prayers of thanks for this miraculous gift and pray that the love of Jesus will be shed abroad in the hearts of all.

Monday, December 28:  With the winter weather bringing colds and flu, please pray for the health of staff, faculty and students at ICS.

Tuesday, December 29:   We ask you to pray along with us that God, in his time and way, will abundantly provide the resources we need to continue our work in Christian higher education. Pray that ICS will find favour as we meet with those who will partner with us in this important mission.

Wednesday, December 30:   We pray for stamina and enthusiasm for Senior and Junior Members alike, who are preparing to start their new courses in January, and for our administrative colleagues whose selfless service enables us to function.

Thursday, December 31:  As 2015 draws to a close, we give thanks for another fruitful year of work at ICS and for all our supporters and friends who made that work possible through their prayers and financial gifts. We pray for God's blessings upon all the teaching and learning that will happen in the next year.





Saturday, 14 November 2015

Autumn Perspective Now Available

Our latest issue of Perspective is now available online. To read, please go to perspective.icscanada.edu

In the Autumn 2015 Issue:

"Healing as Teaching, Teaching for Healing", by ICS president Doug Blomberg.

"Lessons from a Not So Vacant Lot", by Rachel McGuire, ICS graduate and consultant with Colgate Rochester Crozer Divinity School.

"What Are You Doing Here?", six current students on how and why they are studying at ICS.

"The Rose (and God) is Without ‘Why’", by Joshua Harris, ICS PhD student.

"Finding Ways to Give Back", by Matt Bonzo, ICS graduate and Director of the Institute for Christianity and Cultural Engagement, Cornerstone University, Grand Rapids.


Tuesday, 3 November 2015

Annual General Meeting: Tuesday November 24

All ICS members are invited to attend our Annual General Meeting on Tuesday, November 24 at 7:00 pm in the classroom here at ICS. Materials are being distributed.

Meeting God: the Relay Race of Generations

Senior Member Emeritus Cal Seerveld has a two page article titled “Meeting God: the Relay Race of Generations” in the current issue of Christian Courier (no. 3019 October 26, 2015).

Prayer Letter: November 2015

Monday, November 2:   Please pray for the ICS Board recruitment process, that committed and able candidates for Board vacancies will be offered to the ICS membership for approval later this month.

Tuesday, November 3:  Please join with us in thankfulness for the opportunities enjoyed by Director of Advancement Pat Webb and President Doug Blomberg during their trip to Western Canada last week. Doug was able to meet with senior administrators at The King's University and Ambrose University in Alberta, then at Trinity Western University in British Columbia. The purpose of these meetings was to explore possibilities for partnering relationships. These were very hospitable and fruitful conversations.

Wednesday, November 4:  Last week our Director of Advancement Pat Webb flew straight to BC, where she met with a number of supporters one-on-one. Last Thursday evening, Pat and Doug met with twenty enthusiastic long-term supporters gathered at Fleetwood CRC. Very good questions were asked and a vigorous discussion was enjoyed. In conclusion, there was and strong affirmation of the vision and mission of ICS and a call for everyone to be steadfast in prayer for ICS. We thank you that for being our prayer partners!

Thursday, November 5:   Today we pray for the work of Senior Members. Bless their ongoing tasks, both administrative and academic. Give them the relief they need when things pile up.

Friday, November 6:  We offer prayers of gratitude for the many people who have given ICS gifts of prayers, money, concern and appreciation. It is truly a blessing to have the interest and support of so many people.

Saturday, November 7:  This afternoon, President Doug Blomberg represents ICS at the University of St Michael's College Convocation of the Faculty of Theology and Continuing Education. Such gatherings are a wonderful opportunity to interact with representatives of TST schools and other institutions. Please pray for Doug's engagement with colleagues in what we trust will be a joyous time of celebration for all.

Monday, November 9:  We ask for God's blessing on Ed Hayley, Director of Finance and his team, who are planning the Annual General Meeting to be held on Tuesday, November 24. We pray for energy and enthusiasm for all who are involved.

Tuesday, November 10:   We pray for blessings for the Friends of ICS Board and all those who are doing advancement work in the US.

Wednesday, November 11:  Today we observe Remembrance Day in Canada. We are reminded of the wars that continue to rage and the soldiers and civilians who continue to suffer around the world. We pray for peace.

Thursday, November 12:  We pray for stamina and wisdom for Senior Member Bob Sweetman as he continues in his role as Academic Dean.

Friday, November 13:   Many of our Junior Members are working on their their Masters and PhD thesis projects. We pray for our Junior Members and ask that they will have time, focus and wisdom.

Monday, November 16:  We ask God's help and guidance for all those who are doing advancement work for ICS. Please pray that support for the vision and mission of ICS continues to grow.

Tuesday, November 17:  Today we offer prayers for the general well-being of the ICS. We ask for blessings and energy for ICS faculty and staff as they work together.

Wednesday, November 18:  The Academic Council meets this afternoon. We ask for God’s wisdom to guide this meeting.

Thursday, November 19:  President Doug Blomberg will be visiting Dordt College for two days. This afternoon he will speak with two Philosophy of Education classes. Between these sessions, he will meet with supporters at Chancellor John and Sanneke Kok's home. Please pray Doug will interact effectively with students and that there will be a goodly number of supporters in attendance for the latter gathering.

Friday, November 20:  President Doug Blomberg will be visiting with ICS donors this morning. At 4:00 p.m., he will present a public lecture, to be followed by a public reception. We ask the Lord to bless these visits and events and that his return home tomorrow will go smoothly.

Saturday, November 21:  Senior Member Rebekah Smick will represent ICS at the Regis College Convocation this morning. Regis is the Jesuit Graduate Faculty of Theology at the University of Toronto. As noted earlier in the month with respect to the USMC Convocation, this too is a great chance to talk with colleagues from TST schools. Please pray for this significant event and Rebekah's involvement in it.

Monday, November 23:  There is a Board Meeting today. We pray for God’s wisdom to guide this meeting.

Tuesday, November 24:  The Board is meeting all day today. Please uphold Trustee Peter Brouwer in prayer; he is sadly and regretfully unable to join us for this meeting due to a medical condition and we ask you to uphold him in prayer, that the Lord might bring him comfort and healing.
This evening ICS will hold its Annual General Meeting, where members will elect new Board members and conduct the annual required business for ICS. We are extremely grateful for our committed and hard working Board members. Please pray for wisdom and guidance at this meeting.

Wednesday, November 25:  We offer prayers of thanks for all the hard work done by the outgoing Board members. We ask God for wisdom and energy for the incoming Board members.

Thursday, November 26:  Today we pray for God's help for those who are struggling with illnesses. We ask God for strength, patience and for good results from treatment.

Friday, November 27:  We ask God to bless and guide Senior Member Ron Kuipers and Allyson Carr as they continue their work with our Centre for Philosophy, Religion and Social Ethics.

Monday, November 30:  Please pray for the Institute and the continued mission of ICS. To be even more specific, we ask that you pray with us that we have good responses to our donor appeals in the remaining weeks of 2015.

Thursday, 15 October 2015

Hector Acero Ferrer in Salt Lake City

On Friday, October 16th, Junior Member Hector Acero Ferrer will be conducting a workshop titled "Building the Future of the Interfaith Movement: The Evolution of Toronto's 'Youth and Dialogue' Initiative" at the Parliament of the World's Religions in Salt Lake City, Utah. Hector developed this workshop as a way to share the results of a research project he conducted on youth participation in interfaith initiatives in the Greater Toronto Area.

Wednesday, 14 October 2015

Navigating the Crisis of Movement

Junior Member Dean Dettloff has published an article titled "Navigating the Crisis of Movement: Rupture, Repetition, and New Life" in The Other Journal. To read Dean’s article, visit http://tinyurl.com/pqev3qc

Tuesday, 13 October 2015

Reminder: Day of Encouragement in Ancaster on October 17

There is still time to register for the Day of Encouragement to be held in Ancaster on Saturday October 17. CPRSE Director and ICS Professor Ron Kuipers and Steve van de Hoef, ICS alum and CRC Justice and Faith Project Coordinator, will be leading a workshop which will explore themes related to the CPRSE's partnered research project on Justice and Faith, including a viewing of the one-act play Just Faith? To learn more and to register, visit http://dayofencouragement.ca/

Tuesday, 29 September 2015

Day of Encouragement in Ancaster: October 17

On Saturday, October 17, CPRSE Director and ICS Professor Ron Kuipers will be leading a workshop on justice and faith with Steve van de Hoef, ICS alum and CRC Justice and Faith Project Coordinator. The workshop is part of the CRC Day of Encouragement in Ancaster, Ontario, and will explore themes related to the CPRSE's partnered research project on Justice and Faith, including a viewing of the one-act play Just Faith?

Junior Member Baby Boom!

Junior Member Joe Kirby and his wife Nanako welcomed their first child, a son, Akito, born on Sunday September 6. Everyone is thrilled and doing well!

Junior Member Timothy Skulstad-Brown and his wife Lara have a new addition to their family. Joshua Arne Skulstad was born on Friday September 18. Both Lara and Joshua are healthy and doing well. Big sister Dania has been greeting her new brother with great joy and curiosity.

Prayer Letter: October 2015

Thursday, October 1:  As the second month of the fall semester begins, we ask God's guidance and wisdom for all our Junior Members who are working hard in their courses and for a sense of balance as they deal with families and jobs as well.

Friday, October 2:  Today the ICS Centre for Philosophy, Religion and Social Ethics (CPRSE) is co-sponsoring a symposium with the Centre for Ethics at U of T and the Institute for Global Prosperity (Baha’i). We pray for blessings on everyone who attends.

Monday, October 5:  We offer prayers of joy for Junior Members Joe Kirby and Timothy Skulstad-Brown and their families. Both families welcomed new baby boys last month. We thank God for these wonderful new lives!

Tuesday, October 6:   Please pray for the ICS Board recruitment process, that committed and able candidates for Board vacancies will be offered to the ICS membership for approval this fall.

Wednesday, October 7:  We pray for energy and enthusiasm for those who are involved in working on the next issue of Perspective.

Thursday, October 8:  Today, ICS Manager of Information Technology and Communications Daryl Kinsman will be undergoing surgery. Please pray that the Lord will bring healing through the surgeon’s hands and that Daryl’s recovery will be comfortable and complete.

Friday, October 9:  We pray for blessings for the Friends of ICS Board and all those who are doing advancement work in the US.

Monday, October 12:  Today is Thanksgiving Day in Canada. As we celebrate and give thanks for the bounty of the harvest, may we reflect on the grace of God and the rewards of our labour. We are grateful that ICS is sustained by both God's grace and the dedicated work of its support community, administrative staff, and Senior and Junior Members.

Tuesday, October 13:  As the Thanksgiving weekend ends, we offer prayers of gratitude for the many people who have given ICS gifts of prayers, money, concern and appreciation. It is truly a blessing to have the interest and support of so many people.
The Board meets this evening. Please pray for God’s wisdom to guide this meeting.

Wednesday, October 14:  We pray for stamina and wisdom for Senior Member Bob Sweetman as he continues in his role as Academic Dean.

Thursday, October 15:  We ask for God's blessing on those who are planning the Annual General Meeting to be held in November. We pray for energy and enthusiasm for all who are involved.

Friday, October 16:  Today we offer prayers for the general well-being of the ICS. We ask for blessings and energy for ICS faculty and staff as they work together.

Saturday, October 17:  The Day of Encouragement will be held in Ancaster, Ontario today. We pray for blessings on everyone attending.

Monday, October 19:  We continue to pray for blessings and energy for ICS President Doug Blomberg, as he manages his many responsibilities.

Tuesday, October 20:  Today we pray for God's help for those who are struggling with illnesses. We ask God for strength, patience and for good results from treatment.

Wednesday, October 21:  The Academic Council meeting meets this afternoon. We pray for God's wisdom to guide the discussions and decisions at this meeting.

Thursday, October 22:  We ask God to bless and guide Senior Member Ron Kuipers and Allyson Carr as they continue their work with our Centre for Philosophy, Religion and Social Ethics.

Friday, October 23:  We ask God's help and guidance for all those who are doing advancement work for ICS. Please pray that support for the vision and mission of ICS continues to grow.

Monday, October 26:  Reading Week begins today! Please pray that our Senior and Junior Members will be able to use this break from classes to catch up, get ahead, or use the week for whatever they may need to help them in their studies.

Tuesday, October 27:  Many of our Junior Members are working on their their Masters and PhD thesis projects. We pray for our Junior Members and ask that they will have time, focus and wisdom.

Wednesday, October 28:  As Reading Week continues, please pray that it will be a fruitful week for the academic body at ICS as many Senior and Junior Members have projects they are working on beyond normal class work. Whether these are publications, papers for conferences, or other scholarly activities, pray that this week will afford extra time to make progress in these areas.

Thursday, October 29:   Today we pray for the work of Senior Members. Bless their ongoing tasks, both administrative and academic. Give them the relief they need when things pile up.

Friday, October 30:  Please pray for the Institute and the continued mission of ICS. To be even more specific, we ask that you pray with us that we have good responses to our donor appeals in the remaining months of 2015.

Tuesday, 15 September 2015

Oct. 2: Religion and Citizenship in a Post-secular Society

On October 2, 2015 the ICS Centre for Philosophy, Religion and Social Ethics (CPRSE) is co-sponsoring a symposium with the Centre for Ethics at U of T and the Institute for Global Prosperity (Bahai). ICS senior member Ronald A. Kuipers, Director of the CPRSE, will be one of the speakers.

The purpose of this symposium is to inquire into the ethics of citizenship in a post-secular society. The term ‘post-secular’ refers to the apparent failure of secularization theory’s prediction that the influence of religion in public life would steadily diminish to a vanishing point. The continued flourishing of public religion raises new questions about the ongoing role of religion in society. These questions include the ways in which religious and secular citizens are to engage each other in public discourse on matters of common concern. How does a new consciousness of a post-secular society influence thought and practice regarding citizenship? In an increasingly diverse society, what are the sources of our shared identity, and what are legitimate means of promoting them? How should we consider the ethical potential present within religion to promote social and political participation? What can we learn from religious and secular practices of inclusion and solidarity extended to minority populations, non-citizens and refugees? How can they deepen a prevalent culture of human rights in society at large? Furthermore, when religious and diaspora communities are connected through transnational ties, what new pressures are placed on citizenship as it is understood and practiced?

Despite the possible benefits offered by a ‘multi-faith’ approach to this inquiry – which underlines differences and distinctions made among traditions of thought – we propose to pursue areas of convergence or commonality. That is, we wish to look within religious and secular traditions to develop new ways of thinking about social and political membership that can contribute to the creation of new resources for solidarity amidst religious (and other) differences.

Fri, Oct 2, 2015
09:00 AM - 05:00 PM (Lunch and refreshments provided)
Room 200, Larkin Building
15 Devonshire Place, Toronto

Registration is free but seating is limited. Go to
ethics.utoronto.ca/events/233/religion-and-citizenship-in-a-post-secular-society/

Speakers:
Prof. Simone Chambers (University of California, Irvine)
Prof. Phil Triadafilopoulos (University of Toronto)
Prof. Ronald A. Kuipers (Institute for Christian Studies)
Prof. Ingrid Mattson (University of Western Ontario)
Prof. Howard Adelman (York University)
Dr. Mary Jo Leddy (Regis College; Romero House)
Dr. Benjamin Schewel (University of Virginia)

Keynote lecture:
Prof Armando Salvatore (McGill University)
“Religion, citizenship, and the challenge of transnationalism: Historical roots, convergences and divergences”

Symposium sponsored by:
Centre for Ethics, University of Toronto
The Institute for Studies in Global Prosperity
Centre for Philosophy, Religion, and Social Ethics, Institute for Christian Studies
Trudeau Foundation

• Get the Programme

Genesis begins on October 1

There's a little time left to register for the first module of our Thursday evening continuing education series: the module that will focus on the book of Genesis. Although there are no prerequisites for any module in the series, this first module is not one to miss if you can make it.

The overall program will work through much of the Old Testament and New Testament, paying special attention to three key themes: the evocative-provocative call of wisdom, the meaning and significance of gender, and the nature of power and violence.  Sessions will be a mix of lectures, presentations and group discussion, and last approximately two hours each.

Click here for more information and registration.

Friday, 28 August 2015

The New Fall Semester Begins at ICS!

This month marks the beginning of the new fall semester at ICS. There are seven courses starting next week:

Reformational Philosophy with Dr Bob Sweetman

Aristotle, Aquinas and the Scholastic Approach to the History of Philosophy with Dr Bob Sweetman

Beauty: Theology, Ethics, or Aesthetics? with Dr Rebekah Smick

Biblical Foundations with Dr Nik Ansell

20th-Century Postmodern Theories of (Inter)Subjectivity with Dr Jim Olthuis

The Divine (at) Risk: Open Theism, Classical Theism and Beyond with Dr Nik Ansell

Charles Taylor and the Religious Imaginery with Dr Ron Kuipers

Plus, four distance courses are offered this semester:

Curriculum: Organizing the World for Learning with Dr Doug Blomberg and Elaine Brouwer

Christianity and the Ecological Crisis with Chris Allers

"They Looked for a City": Biblical, Theological and Sociological Perspectives of the City from Ancient Times to the Global Era with Dr Clinton Stockwell

Meaning and Method with Dr Gideon Strauss

For course descriptions and timetables, please visit www.icscanada.edu/academics/

Nik Ansell Describes Continuing Ed/ge Series

Senior Member in Theology Nik Ansell describes the new Continuing Ed/ge series in a nine minute video on the ICS Youtube channel using examples that illustrate the three key themes of the series: the evocative-provocative call of wisdom, the meaning and significance of gender, and the nature of power and violence.

View the video and find more information about the series on its home page at www.icscanada.edu/continuing-edge

Lambert Zuidervaart in Allendale MI

Senior Member Lambert Zuidervaart will speak on the topic of truth as part of the Philosophy Colloquium Series at Grand Valley State University in Allendale, Michigan. Lambert will present his paper, titled “Propositional and Existential Truth in Edmund Husserl’s Logical Investigations,” at 3:00 pm on Friday September 25.

On the Varieties of Religious Rationality

Junior Member Joe Kirby’s paper "On the Varieties of Religious Rationality: Plato (and the Buddha) versus the New Atheists" has been published at Cosmos and History: the Journal of Natural and Social Philosophy". You can read Joe’s paper here

Thursday, 27 August 2015

Prayer Letter: September 2015

Tuesday, September 1:  We pray for guidance and energy for all those participating in the Registration and Orientation Week and the annual ICS community fall retreat later this week.

Wednesday, September 2:  Today we pray for safe travel for all new and returning Junior Members who are coming to study at ICS this fall.

Thursday, September 3:  We offer prayers of thanks for the addition of nine new Junior Members to the ICS community this fall. Please continue to remember them in your prayers as they make the final preparations and transitions this summer in order to begin their program studies here next week.

Friday, September 4:   We thank God for all of our Junior Members and ask God to bless them as they begin another year of studies at ICS.

Monday, September 7:   As another academic year begins, we thank God for Christian education in our world, and thank God for ICS's unique position in that sphere.

Tuesday, September 8:   We pray for blessings for the Friends of ICS Board and all those who are doing advancement work in the US.

Wednesday, September 9:  We continue to pray for blessings and energy for ICS President Doug Blomberg, as he manages his many responsibilities.

Thursday, September 10:  This is Registration Day for all our Junior Members. As the students arrive, we ask God to help with energy and flexibility for their back-to-school transition.

Friday, September 11:  Today is ICS's Community Fall Retreat. This event has traditionally served as a wonderful start to another year of our life together at ICS and we pray that this year will be no exception.

Monday, September 14:  The first week of classes begins today! The first course of the new academic year starts today: "Reformational Philosophy" with Senior Member Bob Sweetman. We ask for God's blessing on all the course participants.

Tuesday, September 15:  Two new courses begin today: "Aristotle, Aquinas and the Scholastic Approach to the History of Philosophy” with Dr Bob Sweetman and “Beauty: Theology, Ethics, or Aesthetics?” with Dr Rebekah Smick. We offer prayers for God's blessing on all the course participants.

Wednesday, September 16:  Today is the first class of two new courses: “Biblical Foundations” with Senior Member Nik Ansell and “20th-Century Postmodern Theories of (Inter)Subjectivity” with Senior Member Emeritus Jim Olthuis. We pray for God's blessing on all the course participants.
Today is the first Academic Council meeting of the 2015-2016 academic year. We pray for God's wisdom to guide the discussions and decisions at this meeting.

Thursday, September 17:  Today is the first day of two new courses: "The Divine (at) Risk: Open Theism, Classical Theism and Beyond” with Senior Member Nik Ansell and “Charles Taylor and the Religious Imaginery” with Senior Member Ron Kuipers. We pray for God's blessing on all the course participants.

Friday, September 18:   We offer prayers of gratitude and give thanks to you, the many supporters who have presented ICS with gifts of prayer, money, and expressions of appreciation, especially during the quieter summer months. We truly value our relationship with you, as we are constantly blessed with your interest and support.

Monday, September 21:  Three distance education courses begin this week: “Curriculum: Organizing the World for Learning” with Senior Member Doug Blomberg and Elaine Brouwer, “Christianity and the Ecological Crisis” with Chris Allers, " 'They Looked for a City': Biblical, Theological and Sociological Perspectives of the City from Ancient Times to the Global Era" with Dr Clinton Stockwell, and “Meaning and Method” with Dr Gideon Strauss. We pray to God to bless all the course participants.

Tuesday, September 22:  We ask God's help and guidance for all those who are doing advancement work for ICS. Please pray that support for the vision and mission of ICS continues to grow.

Wednesday, September 23:  Please pray for the ICS Board recruitment process, that committed and able candidates for Board vacancies will be offered to the ICS membership for approval this fall.

Thursday, September 24:  Today we offer prayers for the general well-being of the ICS. We ask for blessings and energy for ICS faculty and staff as they work together to manage their many responsibilities.

Friday, September 25:  We pray for stamina and wisdom for Senior Member Bob Sweetman as he continues in his role as Academic Dean.

Monday, September 28:   Today we pray for God's help for those who are struggling with illnesses. We ask God for strength, patience and for good results from treatment.

Tuesday, September 29:  We ask God to bless and guide Senior Member Ron Kuipers and Allyson Carr as they continue their work with our Centre for Philosophy, Religion and Social Ethics.

Wednesday, September 30:  We pray for energy and enthusiasm for those who are involved in planning the next issue of Perspective.

Thursday, 13 August 2015

Summer Reading in Ground Motive

If you're running out of things to read this summer, our online forum Ground Motive might help fill that gap. The two most recent articles will surely whet your appetite for more!

In his article "Sleepless in Ferguson, Waking Up in Toronto" ICS junior member Dean Detloff reflects on the anniversary of Mike Brown's death in Ferguson, Missouri, an event which, according to Dean, "transformed my orientation to philosophy, religion, myself, and my world."

In "The Gesture of Blogging", guest author Matt Bernico gives a bit of a sneak preview into the kinds of questions that will be discussed in the distance course he will be teaching for ICS in January of 2016, "In Media Res: Media, Technology, and Culture"

Read these and many other great articles at www.groundmotive.net

Continuing Ed/ge "Genesis" module begins Oct. 1

This is a reminder that the first module of our new Continuing Ed/ge series begins October 1. If you can't make it on that date it may be repeated on another if there is demand. To register, or request information about a possible repetition of the first module, please go to www.icscanada.edu/continuing-edge

Registration is $240 for non-members and $200 for members.

Tuesday, 28 July 2015

Full video of the play Just Faith? now available

The play that was such an important part of the Justice and Faith Research Project's community forums is now available for everyone to view online. The play was performed on May 28 at Redeemer Christian High School in Ottawa by the MT Space Theatre Company of Kitchener, Ontario. Videography was provided by Adam Langlois, Extremeline Productions, Ottawa. Funding for the performance and video came from an SSHRC Connection Grant that the CPRSE successfully applied for.

Along with the script of the play and community dialogue guidelines, this video will be part of the congregational toolkit for communities interested in hosting their own forums. The video and other resources related to the Justice and Faith Research Project are available on the project website at www.icscanada.edu/cprse/justice-and-faith

Monday, 27 July 2015

Prayer Letter: August 2015

Monday, August 3: Today is our Civic Holiday in Canada. We pray that it will be an enjoyable time for rest and relaxation with friends and family.

Tuesday, August 4: The Finance Committee meets tonight. Please join us in thanking our Lord for the dedicated members of this committee and asking for God's wisdom to guide their discussions.

Wednesday, August 5: Senior Members often spend much of the summer developing course curriculum and giving attention to research projects. We are extremely grateful for the work of our Senior Members and ask for God's blessing on them.

Thursday, August 6: Summer is here and many people are planning vacations. Many members of the ICS community will be traveling in the summer months to spend time with family and friends. We pray for safe journeys and that the time spent with loved ones will be rich and refreshing.

Friday, August 7: We offer prayers of thanks for our most valued partners—our supporters. Our ICS mission is sustained by your prayers and generosity, personal notes and emails of appreciation and encouragement throughout these quiet summer months. We are truly blessed to have your partnership of continued faith and commitment to our work.

Monday, August 10: ICS Alumnus Andrew Van’t Land is moving to Kentucky and starting studies there. We pray for a smooth transition for Drew and his family.

Tuesday, August 11: We pray for blessings for the Friends of ICS Board and all those who are doing advancement work in the US.

Wednesday, August 12: Today we think of our Junior Members who are trying hard to find the right balance between their calling as students of philosophy or theology, their joy and responsibility their feel as parents. May they have the energy and the resilience to maintain such a delicate balance successfully.

Thursday, August 13: We ask God's help and guidance for all those who are doing advancement work for ICS. Please pray that support for the vision and mission of ICS continues to grow.

Friday, August 14: We pray for stamina and wisdom for Senior Member Doug Blomberg as he continues in his role as ICS President.

Monday, August 17: ICS is exploring partnering relationships with a number of institutions in Canada. This is one of our strategic priorities. Please pray that the conversations already commenced will continue fruitfully and that other contacts we have initiated will lead to further such discussions.

Tuesday, August 18: The summer months are often a time when Junior Members can give sustained attention to their thesis projects. We pray for energy and wisdom for our Junior Members and ask for God's blessing and guidance on their research and writing.

Wednesday, August 19: We pray for Director of Advancement Pat Webb and her work with ICS and its needs.

Thursday, August 20: We celebrate the addition of nine new Junior Members to the ICS community this fall, and we remember them in our prayers as they make the necessary preparations and transitions over the summer in order to begin their studies here in September.

Friday, August 21: For all the Senior Members who are busy with the final preparation for their fall classes, we pray for energy and guidance.

Monday, August 24: We pray for safe travel for all new and returning Junior Members who are coming to study at ICS this fall.

Tuesday, August 25: The FICS Board meets today. We ask God to guide this meeting.

Wednesday, August 26: We ask God to bless and guide Senior Member Ron Kuipers and Allyson Carr as they continue their work with our Centre for Philosophy, Religion and Social Ethics.

Thursday, August 27: We ask for energy as we prepare for the nine new Junior Members who will be joining us in September.

Friday, August 28: Today we ask for God's help for those who are struggling with illnesses. We pray to God for strength, patience and for good results from treatment.

Monday, August 31: We pray for guidance and energy for all those participating in the preparations for Registration and Orientation Week and the annual ICS community fall retreat next week.

Wednesday, 15 July 2015

A Graduate's Story

A little while ago we asked ICS MWS graduate Dr. Clinton Stockwell to tell us the story of his studies at ICS. Clinton is Executive Director Emeritus, Chicago Semester, as well as one of our distance education instructors. Of his time as a student at ICS Clinton had this to say:

I now regard the Master of Worldview Studies program at the Institute of Christian Studies as the "crowning" achievement of my academic career as a student.

Clinton's full story is a little long for this space. If you are interested please read it online at www.icscanada.edu/support/story-clinton-stockwell

Thursday, 2 July 2015

Richard Middleton Wins "Word" Award

Richard Middleton, ICS/VU PhD graduate and Adjunct for Theology at Roberts Wesleyan College, has been given the 2014 Word Guild Word award in the biblical studies category for his book A New Heaven and a New Earth: Reclaiming Biblical Eschatology (Baker Academic).

Richard has been a frequent contributor to ICS events. Most recently he led the first of our Scripture, Faith and Scholarship Seminars for 2014-2015.

Monday, 29 June 2015

Just Faith? video available

A short video about the play Just Faith? is now available for viewing on Youtube. Using interviews with people involved in the Justice and Faith project as well as those who created and performed in the play, this "trailer" video illustrates both the experience of the play and the aims of the project for which it was commissioned.


"The reactions have been incredible...just hearing people feel something instead of analysing it...and then we can have a discussion because they now understand it in their bodies."
—Julia Krauss (performer)

Ron Kuipers in Liverpool

Senior Member Ron Kuipers will be giving a paper at the conference Political Theology: The Liberation of the Postsecular? at Liverpool Hope University in Liverpool, UK on July 11.Ron’s paper is titled "'The holes of oblivion do not exist': Tracing the Messianic in Arendt via Benjamin and Agamben".

Cal Seerveld at CIVA in Michigan

At the recent CIVA (Christians in the Visual Arts) conference held at Calvin College in Michigan, Senior Member Emeritus Cal Seerveld was part of “The First Generation” opening panel plenary session, chaired by Nick Wolterstorff, with Marleen Hengelaar (Hans Rookmaaker’s daughter), and earlier presidents of CIVA Ted Prescott and Sandra Bowden. They discussed how Christian artists and the Church interacted 35 years ago, what has changed, and how are things now. The next day there was a Q&A time for persons to ask questions and make comments.

On the last evening of the conference at the concluding Arts Festival Cal was surprised to be given an award by CIVA President Cam Anderson, the Johnson Founder’s Award. It was very meaningful to Cal because he had interacted with Eugene Johnson back in 1979 when Patmos was ending in Toronto after ten years of existence, and he was beginning CIVA with colleagues at Bethel College, Minnesota. Cal was a plenary speaker for the CIVA conference when it was held at McGill University in Montreal, Quebec, in 1997. That address, “From Ghost Town to Tent City: Artist community facing Babylon and the city of God” is printed in his book Redemptive Art in Society (Dordt Press, 2014).

Sunday, 28 June 2015

Joonyong Um Leads Parenting Seminar

Last month ICS Junior Member Joonyong Um led a seminar session in the Second Christian Parenting Seminar at the Korean Mil Al Church, Toronto. The lecture was titled "Christian Parents and Public School Education" and was hosted by the Korean Diaspora Christian Education Institute.

Prayer Letter: July 2015

Wednesday, July 1:   Today we celebrate Canada Day. Let us thank God for the many blessings we receive due to our good fortune in living in Canada. Also, while we are grateful for our lives here, we also pray for those people living in countries plagued by poverty and war.
Art in Orvieto commenced on June 29 and continues throughout July. This four-week residency in Italy is exploring the relationship between art, religion and theology. We ask for blessings on everyone involved in this course.

Thursday, July 2:   Last month ICS Alumnus Dr Samson Makhado was involved in a car accident in South Africa. Although he sustained no physical injury, he will still have to be monitored. We pray for a full recovery for Samson. Unfortunately the other driver did not survive. We pray for God’s comfort, peace, and strength for the family during this very difficult time.

Friday, July 3:  We pray for our most recent graduates--Dianne Bergsma, Rachel McGuire, Carolyn Mackie, Stefan Knibbe, and Joanna Sheridan--as they move into the next stages of their lives. Whether going back to old positions only to find out that they are not where they are being called to serve, or wondering how to build on the success of their degree program and thesis at ICS they are all in discernment in one way or another and are worth our thought and a prayer.

Saturday, July 4:  To all members of the ICS community in the United States, we pray for blessings as you celebrate Independence Day.

Monday, July 6:  The Leadership Team meets today. We pray for God’s wisdom to guide this meeting.

Tuesday, July 7:   We offer prayers of thanks for our most valued partners—our supporters. Our ICS mission is sustained by your prayers and generosity, personal notes and emails of appreciation and encouragement. We are truly blessed to have your partnership of continued faith and commitment to our work.

Wednesday, July 8:  Summer is here and many people are planning vacations. Many members of the ICS community will be traveling in the summer months to spend time with family and friends. We pray for safe travel and that the time spent with loved ones will be rich and refreshing.

Thursday, July 9:  We pray for blessings for the Friends of ICS Board and all those who are doing advancement work in the US.

Friday, July 10:   Today we offer prayers of thanks for a job well done by Shannon Hoff as she transitions from life as a Senior Member in Social and Political Philosophy at ICS to her new position in Philosophy at Memorial University in St. John's Newfoundland and Labrador.

Monday, July 13:  We pray for stamina and wisdom for Senior Member Doug Blomberg as he continues in his roles as ICS President.

Tuesday, July 14:  Doug Blomberg meets with Dr. Hubert Krygsman (President, Redeemer University College) and Dr. Carl Zylstra (Executive Director of the Association for Reformed Colleges and Universities and Coordinator for the Global Summit Network of Presidents of Reformed Colleges and Universities). This meeting is to plan for the gathering of the Network in southwestern Ontario next year (23-25 June), which RUC and ICS are co-hosting. Please pray that their deliberations will be fruitful, serving the mission of Christian higher education around the world and building further the collaboration between member institutions.

Wednesday, July 15:  Today we pray for energy and wisdom for our Junior Members who are working on their theses over the summer. Dean Dettloff is finishing a first draft of his MA thesis on the critical theorist Sloterdijk and the Russian Christian Berdaev and is hoping to have it finished by the end of July. Caleb Ratzlaff is putting the final touches on his MA thesis and Ethan Vanderleek and Hector Acero Ferrer are also working at their MA theses this summer.

Thursday, July 16:  We pray for safe and pleasant journeys and we pray for rest and renewal for the Senior Members and Administrative Staff who are enjoying vacations this month.

Friday, July 17:  We pray for Director of Advancement Pat Webb and her swift adjustment to ICS and its advancement needs. We are like any other small non-profit entity odd in odd ways. May our oddity conceal deposits of grace as well as the inevitable mysteries of a place that has been built helter-skelter out of a hunger to make available a spiritual centre for thinking through the cosmos wide implications of the kingdom of God.

Monday, July 20:  The Leadership Team meets today. We ask God to guide this meeting.

Tuesday, July 21:  At time of writing, the Board of Trustees has a meeting tentatively scheduled for this evening. Whether or not this meeting proceeds, this is an opportune reminder to pray for the Board, which meets regularly by video conference to deliberate on the furtherance of ICS's vision and mission. Board members from across Canada and the northern United States give freely of their time and insights to ensure good governance as representatives of our membership. Please ask the Lord to bless and guide them in their deliberations.

Wednesday, July 22:  We ask God to bless and guide Senior Member Ron Kuipers and Allyson Carr as they continue their work with our Centre for Philosophy, Religion and Social Ethics.

Thursday, July 23:  Junior Member Helena Hoogstad, her husband Willem and their children are adjusting to a new life in Saskatchewan. We pray for her ability to sustain research focus and energy in her new situation.

Friday, July 24:  Today we pray for blessings for ICS Alumnus Jonathan Weverink who will be marrying Sheila Dykstra in Kemptville today.

Monday, July 27:   Senior Members often spend much of the summer developing course curriculum and giving attention to research projects. We are extremely grateful for the work of our Senior Members and ask for God's blessing on them.

Tuesday, July 28:  The Finance Committee holds its quarterly meeting tonight. There are always weighty issues to consider, as you well understand. Their expertise is vital to our ongoing mission. Please join us in thanking our Lord for the dedicated members of this committee, who carry great responsibility, and asking that God's wisdom be bestowed on them, as details and decisions are weighed.

Wednesday, July 29:  Today we ask for God's help for those who are struggling with illnesses. We pray to God for strength, patience and for good results from treatment.

Thursday, July 30:  We pray for our American Junior Members like Joshua Christianson who as students at ICS are no longer eligible for U.S. federal student loans. May they find creative ways of dealing with the extra financial strain that their situation imposes, so as to be able to give themselves to their study in ways that allow them to flourish as young scholars. We think also of our other visa students who face similarly immediate pressures.

Friday, July 31:  We celebrate the addition of nine new Junior Members to the ICS community this fall, and we remember them in our prayers as they make the necessary preparations and transitions over the summer in order to begin their studies in September. We ask for energy as we prepare for the arrival of our new Junior Member.

Friday, 12 June 2015

New Issue of Perspective


Better late than never! We had a couple of things to report that couldn't really wait until the autumn issue of Perspective so we decided to delay the spring issue so we could be sure of the facts about those things before reporting them.

The first of those things is reported in this issue's lead article "Master of Worldview Studies: to New York and Beyond". This article describes our plan to offer courses that operate in both distance and intensive seminar modes (with those seminars taking place in both New York and Toronto) and discusses how MWS enrolment forms an important part of our "fiscal pyramid".

The second thing is our new continuing education program called "Continuing Ed/ge: Biblical Studies With a Difference", which begins operating on October 1, 2015. If you've been looking for something from ICS available in "adult ed" or "continuing studies" form, this is it!

In addition to these two timing-sensitive articles we are pleased to include a report from long-time supporter Bert Witvoet on a seminar delivered by Shannon Hoff at Jubilee Fellowship Christian Reformed Church. Bert's article, "Philosophy in a Church Basement", both describes the experience of the seminar and reminds us of how important it is for ICS to nourish the community that has nourished the institution for so long.

Finally, this issue of Perspective is rounded out by seven reports on the academic accomplishments of our junior members (including a lovely photo from this year's convocation) and an update on how our institutional repository continues to enhance global access to the research produced at ICS.

Those of you who receive paper copies of Perspective can expect them over the next few weeks. It is at the printer right now. Those of you who prefer to read it online can find it at perspective.icscanada.edu

Thursday, 11 June 2015

Continuing Ed/ge: Biblical Studies With a Difference

Ever wondered why the good creation included the serpent of Genesis? Or whether God really called for the Canaanite genocide? Or knows what it is like to give birth? If you have—or if your curiosity is aroused—Continuing Ed/ge may be for you!

This new ICS program is for anyone who wants to engage Scripture in an “adult ed” or “continuing ed” setting. There are no prerequisites and no formal assignments (other than reading biblical material ahead of class). You can take one or all of the modules. The sessions will take place in the evenings.

The overall program will work through much of the Old Testament and New Testament.  For full information and registration visit www.icscanada.edu/continuing-edge

Creation Regained author Al Wolters interviewed in Comment

30 Years Ago!
Creation Regained: Biblical Basics for a Reformational Worldview

by Al Wolters

This brief but powerful and highly influential book will be known to many of our readers, of course – probably the majority. On the occasion of its 30th anniversary ICS Master’s graduate, Brian Dijkema, interviewed Dr. Wolters for the Cardus publication, Comment. Many of you are no doubt also readers of Comment, but for those of you who missed it, here is the link:

    www.cardus.ca/comment/article/4452/creation-regained-at-thirty

Dr Wolters was Senior Member in Philosophy at the ICS from 1974 to 1984. He taught Prolegomena to Philosophy, an introduction to the neo-Calvinist tradition and Dooyeweerdian philosophy. Creation Regained had its genesis in this course, designed to explore “the connection between Christian faith, the Bible, and this philosophy.”

Thursday, 28 May 2015

Just Faith?, the Play, Featured in Christian Courier

The one-act play Just Faith?, a product of the CPRSE's research partnership with the Christian Reformed Church, has been featured in The Christian Courier. In an editorial entitled Pray for Justice?, Nandy Heule explains how the community dialogue following the performance helps people explore the role justice plays in their identity as people of faith: "Participants suggested churches can intentionally make justice part of their church's vision. They said we can do better when it comes to staying informed. Try to listen to those who experience injustices, they proposed. Others said we need to start with action.... In short, now is the time to pray for God's strength to stay focused on faith as a source of hope and motivation to do justice."

To date, the Just Faith? play and community forum has been held in five different locations: Maple Ridge, Abbotsford, Agassiz, Toronto, and Ottawa. Plans are underway to for similar forums to take place in Edmonton and Calgary in the fall. Communities interested in hosting their own forum can contact ICS to receive a congregational toolkit that includes the play script and community dialogue guidelines.

Cal Seerveld in Grand Rapids

Senior Member Emeritus Cal Seerveld will be participating in a panel at the Christians in the Visual Arts Biennial conference, to be held at Calvin College in Grand Rapids on June 11 to 14. The conference topic is how to build bridges between the Church and the current art world.

Ethan Vanderleek in Surrey

Ethan Vanderleek, Junior Member in the MA program, has recently begun his new position of Christian Chaplain at the Multifaith Centre of Kwantlen Polytechnic University in Surrey BC. He is already grateful for his education at ICS in a practical way as important discussions of religious pluralism and religious 'neutrality' have come up in Multifaith Centre discussions. His chaplaincy blog offers some spiritual and theological reflection on the questions he is encountering: christatkwantlen.blogspot.ca The job looks to be an exciting way to implement some of the education he enjoyed at ICS.

Living Our Trust in the Face of Death

The resurrection of Our Lord that we celebrate at Easter marks our deep trust in the love of God. All the barriers that separate us from life-giving communion with our Maker, Redeemer and Enabler—they are all unmade by God’s surpassing love. We just know it in our bones, or wished we did, be it beyond all expectation, all calculation. No computer algorithm could be counted to pick that kind of love out from the jumble of ordinary existence, or allow us to predict the lengths that God’s love would go to remove the barriers splitting us off from God, leaving us bereft and love-lorn. The symbolic barrier of barriers, of all this absence-making, is Death herself: she whose varied movements are woven like threads into the very fabric of our existence. Death in such an image is that implacable, inextricable, last barrier between ourselves and the God who is Life. Her opposition to Life is powerful and persevering, life-long one is minded to say. Maybe that is why Paul’s witness to the surpassing love of God in Christ bespeaks a poet’s exaltation at Christ’s Easter triumph. “O Death where is your victory; O Death where is your sting”—whether sung or declaimed the words are dead familiar, buried deep within the loam upon which we stand in God’s living Presence.

“Halleluia!” we all sing in Eastertide, and “Halleluia!” we mean. But Christ’s victory does not mean our lives become all larks in the shadow of Death. We may fear no evil, or wish we did, but Death as I said is woven like threads into the very fabric of our existence. She is so much a part of us that St. Francis of Assisi urged us to think of her as “Sister,” and so to love and cherish her as one of us, she too a child of the God of Life. Thomas Aquinas did not often turn his hand to such poetic metaphors, but he knew what Francis meant. We are our bodies; creatures made of and made to walk the earth: mudmen and women, Spirit-breathed. Indeed, our bodies were fearfully knit together of all the elements of our earthborn universe, a delicate harmony of opposites held in productive tension, able to act as a whole, to love or hate, feel, understand, and all the other things that a body does. We are that delicate harmony. We are creatures whose beauty, whose original very goodness, is fragile. In and of ourselves, we are mortal. Our harmonies are all bound by time and thus only for a time. Everlasting life is not ours by right, as if by virtue of our constitution. The glory of endless communion to be received in Joy can only come as gift. For Thomas Aquinas, the gift was so huge and unimaginable within the confines of our present existence that he couldn’t even imagine it as Grace. No it had to be an even greater thing: surpassing love wrung from the very heart of Glory. We can put his intuition quite dramatically: But for God’s glorious extravagance we would live with Death woven into our sinews even to the end of the age.

The point is this. On some level death and life go together. In the eyes of Eternity it may be they go together like wheat and tares, but woe betide you if you try and separate them here and now. It is as if we living souls live our lives in Death’s embrace. Her kisses are cold, made from icy sorrow, wrung from our hearts like tears and prayers. She is a barrier, a last barrier separating the living from the dead and yet she is thread woven into the fabric of our mortal frame. There is no way of coming into God’s living triumph except through her. Nevertheless . . . “Halleluia!” We people of faith persist in our witness every Easter that God’s love in Christ refuses to accept that stubborn, last barrier; Christ’s resurrection manifests the potency of this divine refusal. Death is conquered, we sing, warmly, year in and year out. I have had cause to remember and trust in that love this past Easter Monday as I joined with my family and friends to reflect on the life of one of our own, newly and shockingly dead, marking our place between trust and sorrow with the sounds and sights of our prayers and tears.

I wonder if that experience doesn’t lay bare the very site of Joy in this life. We live in the Presence of God to our great Joy, but ever in the Face of Death. That is, we find ourselves somewhere between trust and sorrow in a gratitude marked by prayers and tears. It is not an easy place to be, but we are not alone or without help. May we all remember this in all that we are and do, at ICS, to be sure, but honestly wherever the Spirit leads us.

Bob Sweetman

Prayer Letter: June 2015

Monday, June 1: The annual Senate and Board meetings were held last month. We are grateful for all the work these people do for ICS, and for the talents and experience they bring us.

Tuesday, June 2: We offer prayers of celebration for the successful completion of the academic programs of six Junior Members, each of whom were recognized and honoured last month at ICS's Convocation ceremony.

Wednesday, June 3: We ask God to bless Patricia Webb, our Director of Advancement, as she manages her many responsibilities.

Thursday, June 4: The FICS Board meets today. We ask for God’s guidance and wisdom for this meeting.

Friday, June 5: Today we ask for God's help for those who are struggling with cancer and other illnesses. We pray for strength, patience and for good results from treatment.

Monday, June 8: We pray for God’s blessing for our alumni association. We ask that God will make it an instrument of his will.

Tuesday, June 9: There is a Board meeting this evening. We pray for God’s wisdom to guide this meeting.

Wednesday, June 10: We ask God to bless Senior Member Ron Kuipers, Director, and Allyson Carr, Associate Director of our CPRSE as they continue their work.

Thursday, June 11: Today we offer prayers for energy for our Senior Members as they enter what is often a busy time of grading.

Friday, June 12: Senior Member Emeritus Cal Seerveld will be at a conference in Grand Rapids this weekend. We pray for a safe trip and wisdom for the task.

Monday, June 15: We offer prayers of gratitude for the generous spirit that is always shown by you, our many supporters, who have encouraged ICS with gifts of prayer, money, and expressions of appreciation. We are constantly blessed with your interest and support.

Tuesday, June 16: We offer prayers of praise for the talents of Junior Member Ethan Vanderleek, whose chaplaincy position in Surrey is off to a great start.

Wednesday, June 17: Today we pray for blessings for the Friends of ICS Board and all those who are doing advancement work in the US.

Thursday, June 18: Today we pray for the general well-being of the ICS. We ask for blessings and energy for ICS faculty and staff as they work together to manage their many responsibilities.

Friday, June 19: We celebrate Father's Day on Sunday! We ask for God's blessing on all fathers, that they may spend a wonderful day with their loved ones.

Monday, June 22: Summer is arriving and many people are planning vacations. Many members of the ICS community will be traveling in the summer months to spend time with family and friends. We pray for safe and pleasant journeys.

Tuesday, June 23: The summer months are often a time when Junior Members give sustained attention to their Masters and Ph.D. thesis projects. We pray for our Junior Members and ask for God's blessing on their research and writing.

Wednesday, June 24: We ask God's help and guidance for all those who are doing advancement work for ICS. Please pray that support for the vision and mission of ICS continues to grow.

Thursday, June 25: Senior Members often spend much of the summer developing course curriculum and giving attention to research projects. We are extremely grateful for the work of our Senior Members and ask for God's blessing on them.

Friday, June 26: We pray for blessings for Doug Blomberg as he continues in his role as ICS President.

Monday, June 29: We thank God for all the applicants to our programs. We pray that the successful applicants will be able to join us in our mission.

Tuesday, June 30: We ask God to grant our Junior Members the time, focus and wisdom they need to complete their coursework for this semester and to complete their Masters and PhD thesis projects.

Wednesday, 20 May 2015

Just Faith?

You are invited to a lively evening of drama, discussion, and spiritual discernment on the role of justice in Christian faith and life. What does God’s call to “do justice and love mercy” (Micah 6:8) mean in our own lives and congregations? This one-act play and discussion is part of a collaborative partnership between the Institute for Christian Studies and the Canadian Ministries office of the Christian Reformed Church in North America.

Mark your calendars for:
Thursday May 28, 2015, 7 – 9 pm
Redeemer Christian High School, 82 Colonnade Road, Ottawa, ON
Please register by Monday May 25, 2015 to Sheila Murphy at sheila.murphy@sympatico.ca or 613-838-3835.
Space is limited, register early to avoid disappointment.

Thursday, 14 May 2015

ICS Presidential Inauguration and Convocation

The ICS community gathered this past Saturday afternoon in St. Joseph Chapel at Regis College to inaugurate our President, Dr. Doug Blomberg, and to hear his presidential inaugural address

"The earth will be filled with the glory of God": Christian scholarship confronting injustice and suffering.

• Watch Dr. Blomberg's address on Youtube.

• Download & read Dr. Blomberg's address.

We also gathered to recognize and celebrate the academic achievements of six of our Junior Members. Degrees were conferred upon Rachel McGuire (ICS PhD), Dianne Bergsma (ICS-VU Conjoint PhD), Matthew Johnson (MA), Stefan Knibbe (MA), Carolyn Mackie (MA) and Joanna Sheridan (MA). Congratulations to all our graduates!

• Download & listen to the closing prayer by Rev. Dr. Rachel McGuire.



Back Row:
Bob Sweetman, Doug Blomberg (president), John Kok (chancellor), Jim Olthuis, Shannon Hoff

Front Row:
Stephan Knibbe, Ron Kuipers, Rachel McGuire, Carolyn Mackie, Dianne Bergsma, Joanna Sheridan