Thursday 29 June 2017

Ron Kuipers: "From the Roots"

Last January, Ron Kuipers, Director of the CPRSE gave a talk at The King’s University at their Interdisciplinary Studies Conference “Glorious and Free”?! Generous Citizenship for the Next 150. Listen to Ron’s talk titled “From the Roots: Religion and the Public Life of the Liberal Democracy”.

Cal Seerveld: "Advice to Recent Art Graduates"

Senior Member Emeritus Cal Seerveld has a short article, “Advice to recent art graduates: Helping your neighbour see surprises,” included in an IVP Academic volume, Contemporary Art and the Church (2017), edited by W. David O Taylor and Taylor Worley. This book holds the major addresses of the 2015 CIVA conference (Christians in the Visual Arts). Seerveld distinguishes “Church” and “City of God,” and calls for jesters (artists) and ventriloquists (art critics and historians) to take up their promising tasks.

Prayer Letter: July 2017

Monday, July 3 and Tuesday, July 4:  This confluence of national holidays in the two countries where most of our supporters live (and we do not forget those beyond the borders of Canada and the US!) gives occasion to thank God for the many gifts and mercies bestowed on us, over the course of our shared histories. But we do not forget the first immigrants to come to North America, so many years ago, who suffered from the depredations of immigrants more recent. We pray for ongoing reconciliation with the former, and a continuing welcome to those who continue to come to our shores, most especially those who find refuge from tyrannies and terror in lands across the seas.

Wednesday, July 5:  We achieved a budget that was close to balanced by the end of the 2016-17 Fiscal Year. The reduction of salaries across the board, and of some positions, were difficult matters to deal with, particularly for those office-bearers with primary responsibility for these decisions and the person charged with operationalising these, Doug Blomberg. We honour all who endured sacrifices, and pray for their ongoing well-being. As we begin this new year, we continue to face many challenges. At the same time, we are encouraged by the possibilities the Lord will bring our way, and seek His wisdom and guidance. People might plan the way, but the Lord will direct their paths (Proverbs 16:9)

Thursday, July 6:  Please pray for our students as they work and study (and take vacations!) during these summer months to prepare for September, and especially for those who are entering new work opportunities and other life transitions. We remember in particular PhD candidate Joshua Harris, who, with Sarah and Rowan, will be moving to Providence, RI later this month to begin a new chapter in their life together. We pray for the Lord’s richest blessings on them as they make this significant transition, and Josh takes up a teaching position at Providence College.

Friday, July 7:  Please continue to pray for our Director of Finance, Harley Dekker and two long-term friends of ICS who have volunteered to assist the Finance Committee on the prudent and strategic investment of the proceeds from the shares in 229 College.

Monday, July 10:  Today Doug Blomberg will learn the results of a biopsy for a growth removed from his scalp two weeks ago. We give thanks for the doctors consulted and the healing hands and medical knowledge Jesus has gifted them. Naturally, please pray for a positive outcome.

Tuesday, July 11:  Please pray today for our Board of Trustees as they meet tonight, and particularly for John Valk (Chair) and John Kamphof (Vice-chair) as they lead the board in its deliberations. Pray for wisdom and clarity in their discussions around the significant concerns facing ICS, such as the partnering negotiations with King’s, and the leadership transition at ICS. As well, please pray for the ongoing search for new board members and new members for the Finance Committee.

Wednesday, July 12:  July being the month that a number of our staff and faculty take holidays, we ask that you pray that their time away will be refreshing and renewing. Some are travelling long distances so we ask God to grant them safe and hassle-free travels.

Thursday, July 13:  On Saturday, the Art in Orvieto summer semester will end and the students and faculty will return home. We have heard from Rebekah Smick, who is leading the event, that the program has gone very well. She says there was a really lovely group of participants who have been great and some very gifted artists to boot. Our two students (Danielle and Julia) are impressing everyone. As everyone returns home, pray that all will have safe journeys, and give thanks for the blessing this has been for all who have been privileged to participate in this wonderful learning opportunity.

Friday, July 14:  We are gearing up for the transition to a new location, which we expect and hope to be Knox College on St. George Street. Please pray that the many details needing to be addressed will be settled expeditiously, and that we will enjoy our inclusion in the Knox community as they warmly welcome us. This then is more than a mere change of location, but the start of a new partnership. And it places us at the heart of the University of Toronto campus, which is not to be discounted.

Monday, July 17:  Scott McNaughton has been diagnosed with a tumour in his bladder. Surgery is scheduled for today. The more prayers, the better! We are hoping for a benign diagnosis when the biopsy is completed.

Tuesday, July 18:  Bob and Rosanne Sweetman’s new grandchild is due tomorrow. Please pray for a safe delivery for Adrienne and child, and give thanks that another image-bearer has been gifted to the world, to honour God in a life of service and praise.

Wednesday, July 19:  We bring before our Lord our continuing negotiations with King’s with respect to a partnering agreement. Please uphold all those involved: the Boards of both institutions and their representatives. On behalf of ICS, Vice Chair John Kamphoff, President Doug Blomberg and the Acting Provost will play a major role.

Thursday, July 20:  We are in the midst of planning our 50th Anniversary celebrations, culminating in a gala event in the Toronto region. Prior to this, Doug Blomberg will be meeting with supporters in a number of locations in western Canada and the US, to thank them for their enduring faithfulness to the vision embodied in ICS. Pray especially for Pat Webb, Vidya Williams, Doug and the larger committee, as they give much attention to the preparations for our Jubilee!

Friday, July 21:  Please pray for our Board as they are in the process of making some important decisions on a number of fronts that will give shape and direction to ICS in the coming months, and beyond. These decisions include the hiring of an Acting Provost to ensure a smooth leadership transition as Doug Blomberg approaches retirement of the ICS Presidency.

Monday, July 24:  We continue to pray for Associate Contract Librarian Hilary Barlow as she learns the ropes of our rather complex collection and suite of services. May she already feel welcome in our community, receiving all the support needed and possible. This is a relatively quiet period, with many Junior Members away from Toronto or at least from ICS, now that classes have finished.

Tuesday, July 25:  As we come to the end of this fiscal year, we offer prayers of gratitude for our donors who continue to demonstrate their steadfast commitment through prayers and financial gifts for our work here at ICS.

Wednesday, July 26:  Please uphold our Master’s and Doctoral candidates before the throne of God, as many of them hunker down to plan or write their theses, prepare for upcoming examinations, and continue reading and reflecting. Two of Ron Kuiper’s MA students are working hard to finish their theses so they can defend in the fall. Both also have been accepted into PhD programs at McMaster and Carleton Universities.

Thursday, July 27:  We continue to dialogue with Redeemer and Tyndale around ways in which we can partner together in the development of an MA in (Educational) Leadership. Pray for discernment and clarity about the many issues that need to be resolved in such an initiative.

Friday, July 28:  Our new fiscal year 2017/18 is soon underway which brings with it the need to plan the year’s advancement and communication schedule. Pray for wisdom for the Leadership Team as they determine priorities for funding, and for Pat Webb, Vidya Williams and Doug Blomberg as they put the communication plan to our constituency in place.

Monday, July 31:  Please pray for Doug Blomberg as he prepares for a significant life-transition: stepping down from the Presidency at the end of October and then beginning a twelve-month sabbatical, for which he has a major book project in view, and a number of smaller projects. There is much to work through these next few months, as he and Heather plan for their future. Pray also for the Board, the faculty and staff, as they too grow into another way of working together.

Friday 16 June 2017

Video Now Available: Philosophy, Truth, and the Wisdom of Love

2017 Convocation Address by Dr. Lambert Zuidervaart, Professor of Philosophy Emeritus, ICS

• Watch the Video on Youtube

Are we now in a "post-truth" era, as the Oxford Dictionaries seemed to suggest when choosing that phrase as the International Word of the Year in 2016? Are appeals to emotion and personal opinions really replacing factual truth? Has truth become irrelevant? Tracing our Western conception of truth to its pre-Socratic origin as a godlike search for that which is uncreated and indestructible, Lambert says a philosophy in line with the Jewish and Christian wisdom traditions would see truth instead as a way of life, as something we do rather than merely assert.

The importance of this endeavour is readily apparent in these times of "alternative facts" and "fake news". A conception of truth rooted in what is good rather than mere theoretical immutability would help us work together to live in the truth, indeed in faithfulness, rather than taking uncertainty as our cue to discard the possibility of truth altogether. But what then of our longtime servant "factual truth"? In this inspiring and intriguing address, Lambert displays the biblical underpinnings for his ongoing work on a new theory of factual truth, within a broader conception of truth that we may summarise as the call to love God above all, and our neighbours as ourselves.

Truth in Husserl, Heidegger, and the Frankfurt School

ICS is happy to announce the publication of another book by Professor Emeritus Lambert Zuidervaart, titled Truth in Husserl, Heidegger, and the Frankfurt School: Critical Retrieval. Published by the MIT Press, the book is dedicated to Merold Westphal, a leading Christian scholar in continental philosophy, and to the memory of Johan van der Hoeven, Lambert’s PhD supervisor at the Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam. In this new book, Dr. Zuidervaart takes up the most important writings and authors in recent German philosophy in order to propose a new and comprehensive idea of truth. The book has received strong endorsements from scholars in the field. They say it “adroitly moves beyond the sterile isolation” between continental and analytic philosophy (Daniel Dahlstrom) and “takes important steps toward … a more comprehensive conception, in which truth, intersecting with goodness, calls for societal transformation” (Maeve Cooke). They also describe the book as “meticulously researched and elegantly written” (James Gordon Finlayson) and as a “timely must-read for anyone interested in truth” (Barbara Fultner). For more details about this path-breaking book, be sure to visit the publisher’s website.