Connections Review #7, Fall 2013

We are continuing with the new format for this courier, which better fits the software we are presently using.  Note the Connections Review Archive link just below the above title line and and next to that the link to the previous issue.

Connections Review is a publication of Academic Connections, International.

Now to this latest edition…

Connections Review


The Semi-Annual ACI Courier 

For Academic Connections Internationalwww.academicconnections.gcm.org

Issue #7 Summer/Fall 2013


     Inside this issue we will begin by talking about our need for preparation with the fall upon us, follow that up with a much needed meditation on a passage from the Sermon on the Mount (in Luke), and on page 2 we will share a "nearly" true story about the experience of a student coming to the university for the first time.  Page 3 will provide links and resources for faculty who wish to start or advance Christian faculty communities on their own campus.  On page 4 we will include categories, as we have in the past, that  link to matters such as: legal issues, faith and scholarship resources and conferences.  All of that to keep you efficiently and effectively caught up and in the know.

Before that, a couple of formalities:

     If you wish to be removed from this mailing list, please go to the bottom of the page, click on the provided link and type "remove" on the title line.

     Please note: inclusion of links in the body of this courier does not imply an ACI endorsement (unless specifically mentioned), they are meant as food for thought.  Neither are they meant to imply that those cited would endorse us or what we are doing as a ministry.

On your Mark:

     Summer has been good although hot at times, but that is not our focus just now.  The beginning of the academic year is before us all.  Regardless of where you exist in the academic food chain you’re likely prioritizing what needs to be done right now to get off to a good start for the fall.  Who isn’t?

     Getting off to a good start has a lot to commend it and can produce a few good side effects like promoting our personal and family's sanity.  It requires awareness of what your goals and objectives are, what are the means to those goals and what sort of preparedness you can muster in the time being.  We need to pay special attention to those things deemed "mission critical."

      Of course, short term goals and objectives make the most sense if they are stitched together in such a way that we end up accomplishing the bigger goals we have for our lives, for example things like: flourishing in our most important and intimate relationships, flourishing in our vocation, and seeing our community flourish.

      We all have the same amount of time available to us and typically we actually do what we want to do with it—we just seldom are able to do all of what we’d like to do.  We will always have more things to do than time will allow, so we have to prioritize and stick to it.  The good news is that ceteris paribus when we have definite goals and prioritize the activities to reach them, we increase our chances for success and in the process increase our chances for a fulfilled life—if our goals and objectives were morally good ones in the first place.  

Meditation:

Luke 12:23 Life is more than food, and the body more than clothes.

Luke 12:24 Consider the ravens: They do not sow or reap, they have no storeroom or barn; yet God feeds them. And how much more valuable you are than birds!

Luke 12:25 Who of you by worrying can add a single hour to his life?

Luke 12:26 Since you cannot do this very little thing, why do you worry about the rest?

Luke 12:27  ¶ “Consider how the lilies grow. They do not labor or spin. Yet I tell you, not even Solomon in all his splendor was dressed like one of these.

Luke 12:28 If that is how God clothes the grass of the field, which is here today, and tomorrow is thrown into the fire, how much more will he clothe you, O you of little faith!

Luke 12:29 And do not set your heart on what you will eat or drink; do not worry about it.

Luke 12:30 For the pagan world runs after all such things, and your Father knows that you need them.

Luke 12:31 But seek his kingdom, and these things will be given to you as well.

     I don't know about you, the more I think about what needs to be done--here I'm thinking about the start of things in the academic world coming this fall--the more the adrenaline flows.  Having your adrenaline flowing 24/7 over a long period of time can cause death and other harmful side effects.

     That reminds me of a local TV cable advertisement that with the appropriate wording and visual changes would run something like this: when school is about to start your adrenaline starts to flow; when your adrenaline flows too much you take Karate; when you take Karate you realize you want to become the action hero "Fists of Justice;" when you become the action hero "Fists of Justice" you run over the top of buildings and when you run over the top of buildings you fall through skylights and onto dinner tables.  Don't fall onto dinner tables.  Don't let your adrenaline flow too much.

     That's sage advice if I've ever seen it, if only you can avoid letting your adrenaline flow too much.  That's easier said than done.

     The passage in the gospel of Luke above, which comes from Jesus'  Sermon on the Mount, suggests a possible way to help curb that enthusiasm.  For example, it asks us to consider that by worrying we can cannot add a single hour to our lives.  The term "worrying" as it's used here seems to be more like the kind of worry one has by excessive worrying or compulsively fretting.  Certainly we should be concerned about the consequences of our choices and actions, but if the way we stew on it makes us sick, that itself is a bad choice. 

     To handle the "over" worry and the fretting that seems to spin us around and inhibit both our sanity and long-run productivity, Jesus asks us to consider how God takes care of the rest of His creation.  He suggests that in light of His care for things that are NOT NEARLY as valuable as you are, that we focus our heart on something else.  

     That is, he asks us to focus or prioritize our lives so that we are focused on seeking His Kingdom.  What does that mean?  I think it means establishing a priority of getting beyond just our own interests, so as to include His interests and what interests Him.  

     It's an excellence or virtue that expresses itself through our habitual focus.  That just might be our meditation assignment:  Consider what are the interests of God and His Kingdom at the university--what interests Him?  We do have interests that need to be addressed, but we also need to ask ourselves what are His interests that we cannot neglect?  What are the habits of life and mind that we need to nurture in order to more fully experience His grace and provision and, thereby, avoid falling onto dinner tables?

     When I was a teen-ager in high school I often drove our '65 Chevy Malibu (that dates me).  I loved the Malibu but it had a funny thing about it.  When it reached about 50 miles an hour the front wheels began to vibrate violently and I had to either speed up to get past it or slow down.  The problem was that the beloved Malibu was in serious need of a front end alignment.  

     In the same way, sometimes as we head down the road of life we do so with a wobble of our own and what we need is a front end alignment in our spiritual lives.  This passage is suggestive that part of that fix involves a change of focus and the habits to keep it aligned.  Of course we don't focus on His interests just to feel better.  We focus on His interests because it better aligns us with reality…as a side effect, paying attention to His priorities just turns out better for us in the long run.

Page 2

A Nearly True Story?

     Imagine what the students are like who are coming to the university for the first time.  We have some idea of what their lives may be like--after all we once hiked that trail ourselves.  Let's take a minute to think about one life that came to the university and get a sense of what was going on underneath the "hood."   Here's the link to that "nearly true" story and an explanation of why it's called that.

Page 3

     Are you the lone ranger Christian professor on your campus?  We have some ideas that can help you bring together some of your colleagues and help you start a vibrant Christian community of professors at your university.  We also have resources to help you sustain and advance such a community if you already have one.  Besides these resources our staff are in many cases willing to travel to meet with you on your campus to consult with you and help you reach your goals.  Here's a link to a set of resources we use as we do face-to-face consulting with professors like yourself.

Link:  http://www.academicconnectionsgcm.org/Gateway/Gateway/Gateway.html

You can contact our ministry by email: cookj3@mac.com

or by phone: 303.808.6245

Page 4

    In case you missed it, below are links of possible interest and for discussion with your colleagues.  What do these trends mean and how will they affect you and the progress of His Kingdom?

Legal Issues:

Some Supreme Court rulings this summer relevant to academe: 

  1. AND http://chronicle.com/article/Fisher-v-Texas-Where-the/139985/?cid=pm&utm_source=pm&utm_medium=en
  2. AND http://www.cnn.com/2013/06/24/politics/scotus-texas-affirmative-action  
  3. AND  http://usnews.nbcnews.com/_news/2013/06/24/19119553-supreme-court-ruling-encourages-supporters-and-opponents-of-affirmative-action?lite  
  4. AND http://www.insidehighered.com/views/2013/06/25/essay-supreme-court-ruling-affirmative-action
  5. AND http://usnews.nbcnews.com/_news/2013/06/24/19115041-supreme-court-raises-bar-for-affirmative-action-in-college-admissions?lite
  6. AND http://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2013/06/24/us/annotated-supreme-court-decision-on-affirmative-action.html?_r=0
  7. AND http://www.pbs.org/newshour/rundown/2013/06/supreme-court-makes-narrow-affirmative-action-ruling-to-start-blockbuster-week.html
  8.  AND  http://www.latimes.com/news/politics/la-pn-affirmative-action-supreme-court-ruling-20130624,0,5865889.story
  9. AND  http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/answer-sheet/wp/2013/06/24/reaction-to-supreme-court-ruling-affirmative-action-in-college-admissions/


Faith and Scholarship

Check out our updated Faith and Scholarship Gateway website that includes our recently published introduction to the project of integrating your faith and scholarship in a nuanced manner.

One for Your Bookshelf--Book Recomendation:

The Two Tasks of The Christian Scholar: Redeeming the Soul, Redeeming the Mind

edited by William Lane Craig and Paul M. Gould, Wheaton, Ill: Crossway Books, 2007.  

Amazon link for this book:  http://www.amazon.com/The-Two-Tasks-Christian-Scholar/dp/1581349394/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1374827296&sr=8-1&keywords=the+two+tasks+of+the+christian+scholar

CR Editor--a book every Christian scholar should have, read and re-read. (Disclosure: this is an unsolicited recommendation and we recieve no kickback of any kind for this deed.)

What others have said about the book:  

"Readers will come away strengthened in their faith and in their ability to use the mind faithfully for the service of God. Read, ponder, and read again."
Mark A. Noll, Francis A. McAnaney Professor of History, University of Notre Dame

"This is a wake-up call that should be read by all Christians interested in the world of ideas and apprenticeship to the Lord Jesus."
J. P. Moreland, Distinguished Professor of Philosophy, Talbot School of Theology, Biola University

"Every Christian professor in every academic discipline should read every essay in this book."
James W. Sire, Author, The Universe Next Door and A Little Primer on Humble Apologetics

"An excellent job of describing the current status and dreams of the Malik vision."
Henry F. Schaefer III, Professor of Chemistry and Director of the Center for Computational Quantum Chemistry, University of Georgia

"This does justice to the dignity and brilliance of Malik and to the greatness of Jesus Christ as our world's only hope."
Kelly Monroe Kullberg, Author, Finding God at Harvard

"An outstanding group of scholars offer stimulating insights and interesting nuances on the Two Tasks."
Ronald S. Wallace

"This generation must take Malik's challenge seriously. Then we will fulfill Malik's call and this volume's challenge."
Daryl McCarthy, President, International Institute for Christian Studies

"Readers will be inspired to give their lives to integrating faithful Christian living and witness."
Gregory E. Ganssle, Lecturer, Department of Philosophy, Yale University, Rivendell Institute

"Read this call for courage, and may God's scholars take up the charge in our generation."
Lon Allison Director, Billy Graham Center; Associate Professor, Wheaton Graduate School


Upcoming Conferences of Possible Interest

Society of Christian Philosophers

Eastern Region


Evangelical Theological Society


Evangelical Philosophical Society 


Best Regards,

James A. Cook

Editor, Connections Review


To be removed from this mailing list, click on the link and type "remove" in the title line:  cookj3@mac.com


aconnectionsi@gmail.com  Sp© Academic Connections, International