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.