Connections Review #2, Summer 2011

Connections Review 

The Semi-Annual ACI Courier

For Academic Connections, International :

Issue #2, Summer 2011

In this Review:

Features inside this issue include a short essay on the value of being in a Christian community on the campus where you serve, references and links to books, articles and presentations of relevance to Christians in academe and much more.  For example, some of those references will include links to faith and science issues, legal issues and conference notices.  

Remember our policy: including of a link or reference DOES NOT constitute an endorsement.  They are meant to be food for critical thought informed by the scriptures and worldview.

Christian Communities in Academe?

Everybody is busy these days, what else is new?  Many Christian faculty are so busy or at least think they are so busy they don’t make time to meet with their Christian colleagues on campus.  Besides, they may think, I go to church and my spiritual needs are met there.  Why should I go out of my way to be involved in a Christian faculty community on my campus?

Good question.

This is installment #1 for an ongoing discussion that Connections Review wishes to engage.  Right now we are not (technically) equipped so we can handle a conversation about it; that will come later when we are more technically up-to-speed.  But you can use the issues raised here for impetus for having further conversation with your Christian colleagues.

No doubt everybody is busy and no doubt spiritual needs can be met at church.  But are there any good reasons for being involved in Christian community on campus that deserve consideration?

One is that there is good reason to think that your job in academe is more than just a way to make a living.  For Christians it is much more.  Theologically it is what the root of vocation implies, calling.  Vocational calling for a Christian is a deeply theological matter.  And if God calls you to a particular vocation you are likely gifted for it and will discover that gifting either before or as you practice your craft.  

But we must also remember that this sort of vocational calling in the secular academy almost always involves being “in” a secular community that has its own idiosyncratic and characteristic norms and practices, which often do not nicely cohere with that of a follower of Christ.  No one is suggesting you should withdraw from that academic community, but without the support and critical thinking that might be fostered in a Christian community within the academic community, do we not run the risk in some way of being socialized in misleading ways?

Of course, it is not just having a Christian community that is needed, but also the right kind of Christian community.  That is, what is needed is a healthy Christian community that fosters engagement and critical thinking about everything including our faith and our work in the disciplines.  And if you do not yet have one like this, wouldn’t it be wise to start one?   Surely there’s more to say, but we’re saving that for later.

Installment #2 of “Christian Communities in Academe?” coming in the next issue….

In Case You Missed It, By Category:

Articles and links do not necessarily entail or imply endorsement; they are food for thought and further research.

Science & Faith

1.  The latest issue of the journal, Philosophia Christi, Volume 13, Number 1, 2011 pays a great deal of attention to the mind/body problem and human nature.  (Editor: I found it a very useful resource for conversations I am currently having about these issues.)  Even if you are not a substance dualist, there are good reads to be had within.  Articles include, among others: “Intentionality and the Substance of the Self” by Dallas Willard, “Substance Dualism and the Argument from Self-Awareness” by J.P. Moreland and “The Ontological Argument From Reason” by Angus Menuge.

2.  “Do Robots Have Feelings” featuring a video of Dr. Rosalind Picard of MIT as a part of the Veritas Forum at Rice University.  Link:

3.  Faraday Institute Trailer (video), “Test of Faith”:

Michael Ruse (self-proclaimed atheist) on the “New Atheism”:

5.  “New Atheist” Christopher Hitchens receives treatment from Dr. Francis Collins:  

6.  “Does Islam Stand Against Science?” :

Legal Issues & Faith

  Here’s an article of possible interest to you (Editor: part of the “how we got where we are” and “where from here” literature) written by Penn Law professor David Arthur Skeel, S. Saumel Arsht Professor of Corporate law, on “The Paths of Christian Legal Scholarship.”  To locate it use this link and scroll down the page until you see the appropriate article

  “…U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit ruled ….”:

  Arizona House Bills & the Courts:

  High Cost of Free Speech:


1.  Gordon College’s Jerusalem & Athens Forum, be sure to check their selected reading lists in left column.  And be sure not to read those books alone!:

Mark A. Noll’s essay on, “The Place of Scripture in the Modern Christian University”:

  Article on the Humanities (two places)



4.  “When God Comes To the Office” (Princeton University):

5.  Documenting early Christianity (archeology):


Check it Out: Notices and Conferences of Possible Interest to Christian Professors

1.  66th Annual Meeting of the American Scientific Affiliation at North Central College, July 29 – August 1, 2011:

2.  You may want to check out the results of the Oxford Conference (held at the McDonald Centre for Theology, Ethics & Public Life) entitled, “Christian Ethics and Peter Singer”:

See also the Conference Archive videos:

Best regards,

James Cook


For Academic Connections


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