The Gift of Sight
In this New Year, I would like Society members to pray for the gift of “sight.” You can call it the gift of insight or, if you like, discernment. I am referring to that special ability to have a deeper perception of our reality.
In this journey of life, we need to see more deeply and understand our roles better. We need this gift to understand our disciplines from God’s point of view. We need it not only in our professional lives but also in our domestic lives.
Often, things happen right under our noses that we do not even notice. We are busy winning laurels in the academic sphere and do not see our marriages collapsing. We don’t notice the yearning in the eyes of our aged parents. We don’t realize that we are becoming strangers to our teenage children. Brothers and sisters in academia, we all need the gift of sight.
“The Lord is in this place, and I didn’t know!” Jacob made this remark in Genesis 28:16 when his senses were divinely activated, and he saw beyond the ordinary. In his attempt to escape the wrath of his brother, Jacob travelled all day without resting. But that evening, when his legs could carry him no further, he had to find a safe place to lie down. He found a stone for his pillow and fell asleep. Then something happened. Jacob saw a strange ladder stretching from the earth to heaven, and the angels of God were ascending and descending on it. God stood above the ladder and addressed him: “I am the Lord God of Abraham your father and the God of Isaac” (Genesis 28:13-15).
Jacob was terrified when he woke up. This place that looked so ordinary was not ordinary, after all. That is why he exclaimed, “Surely the Lord is in this place, and I did not know it.” What Jacob did not know was that, many years earlier, Abraham had twice been in that same location and had built an altar unto God (Genesis 12 and 13). Who knows if the stone under his head was one of the stones from that ancient altar?
Open our eyes, O Lord! We often go through life unaware of intense spiritual activity taking place around us that calls for our attention. Many times God wakes us up in the night to pray for someone in distress, and all we do is look at our watches and go back to sleep. How many times have we stepped into a place and didn’t know God was there? How many times have we embarked on a journey or attended a meeting without perceiving its true significance for the kingdom of God? Too often, we do not pay attention to the promptings of the Spirit. We all need the gift of sight! We need spiritual intelligence!
Every one of us has a deeper purpose. As believers seeking to glorify God in our teaching, research, and service, let us find that purpose this year. Let us ask God to open our eyes and activate our senses to understand the significance of the places where we are located and the role(s) we should play as intellectuals in the kingdom of God. May God grant us the grace to know how best we can use the resources of the Society of Christian Scholars to achieve this purpose.
Meet Executive Committee Member
Dr. Martine Audéoud
| Martine Audéoud grew up in a French family of four children with parents who very consistently and seriously raised them in the Christian faith. She expected to serve the Lord full-time, perhaps as a secretary for a Christian agency or in language translation.|
The Lord, however, decided otherwise! At the age of 23, she ended up in Eastern Congo (Zaire), teaching missionary kids in the middle of the rainforest and learning Swahili. She would spend over 30 years in Africa and Haiti.
Martine has been married for 20 years and, with her husband, adopted one child in Haiti and one child in Niger, West Africa. She holds a Ph.D. in School Administration and Curriculum Supervision and a D.Min in Urban Transformational Leadership. After serving for many years as associate director of the master’s and doctoral programmes in Holistic Development and Transformational Leadership in a theological seminary in Abidjan, Côte d’Ivoire, she relocated to France and now serves as the associate academic dean and Ph.D. programme director for Bakke Graduate University.
Martine’s passion is to help global Christian leaders become increasingly empowered transformational leaders for Christ’s kingdom, serving Him creatively and joyfully. She is an ordained pastor and has served with the Mennonite Missions Network for many years. One of her guiding Bible verses is Micah 6:8: “He has shown you, O mortal, what is good. And what does the LORD require of you? To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God.”
Society Member Addresses Nigerian Naval Officers
| Dr. Grace Etuk, Associate Professor of Sociology at the University of Calabar, Nigeria (and one of our Grant Evaluation Committee members), spoke to officers at Nigeria’s Naval War College recently on emotional intelligence. Thank you, Dr. Etuk, for your service!|
Grant for Chinese Members
The Grant Evaluation Committee of the Society of Christian Scholars invites grant applications for the Sowers Scholarship from Society members who reside in China. This grant, given on behalf of a Chinese donor, will be dispersed from China in RMB. Apply today!
Annual Global Scholars Grant
Application Deadline: February 28!
We are now accepting applications for the annual Global Scholars Grant. The Grant Evaluation Committee will administer approximately ten grants of between 500 and 2,000 USD! The purpose of these grants is to provide funding to help Society members become better equipped to fulfill their calling in academia. Apply today!
Looking for a Resource?
The Society Library is a curated repository of high-quality resources available to help you or your Local Community flourish in your calling as a Christian scholar. Explore Theology, Loving God with the Mind, Growing Spiritually, Vocational Excellence, Interacting with Cultures, and Engaging Unbelief. There is always something new to learn!
Success in Mentoring Relationships
“I was delighted to see the Society of Christian Scholars develop a mentorship programme, because all too often graduate programs offer little by way of helping new instructors with the all-important task of teaching. I was assigned to a young philosophy instructor, Dr. Mengyao Yan, who is teaching part-time at Indiana University-Purdue University [Columbus, Indiana USA]. We have connected via email and Zoom, sometimes on a weekly basis. I have enjoyed offering advice regarding organizing courses, textbook choices, teaching, and problems with students. This is very much a reciprocal relationship, and I am sure I am benefitting as much as my mentee is. It has helped me to feel useful, even in old age!”
Prof. Elmer Thiessen
Retired Instructor of Philosophy, Medicine Hat College
“Dr. Thiessen is exactly the kind of mentor that I prayed for. He helped me settle some worries regarding my calling as a philosopher and the other roles I have. He offered me many very useful suggestions and tips about how to teach philosophy as a Christian. I was also given very good advice on how to study the Bible in more depth, besides the academic guidance. Overall, Dr. Thiessen has been very encouraging, helpful, and inspiring to me. I am very grateful for this mentorship.”
Mengyao Yan, Ph.D.
Indiana University-Purdue University
The Society is very grateful for Prof. Thiessen, and for the other 20 scholar-mentors like him, who are currently serving 12 mentees. Our mentors represent various backgrounds, experiences, languages, and cultures from 8 different countries. Consider becoming a mentor yourself! Though we are taking applications from all disciplines, mentors are especially needed in Systematic Theology, Economics, and English Language Education. Also, we are taking applications for mentors!
| “Blurring Boundaries: A Webinar on Science and Faith in the Asian Context”, Dr. Michael Brownnutt|
Thursday, 26 March 2020 at 1400 GMT
Why does Enlightenment thought struggle to connect facts with values, while Asian thought struggles to separate them? What are the implications for relating faith and science according to these accounts?
Reconsidering the relationship between modern science and faith is crucial if we are to engage in academic discourse in Asia and other contexts that don’t necessarily subscribe to the binaries often associated with the Enlightenment.
Join us on Thursday, 26 March 2020, at 1400 GMT as Dr. Michael Brownnutt, Associate Director of the Faith and Science Collaborative Research Forum at the University of Hong Kong, explores these questions as a physicist trained in the West but living and working in an Asian context.
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