The Cost of Christian Scholarship: Dietrich Bonhoeffer
Prof. Osam Edim Temple
| Bonhoeffer was a brilliant scholar and a man of deep spirituality. His career was promising until 30 January 1933, when the Nazis rose to power. The nationalism they brandished carried the hallmarks of idolatry. Bonhoeffer therefore delivered an address warning Germany of the danger of the rising cult of the Führer (leader). In doing so, he put his life at great risk.|
What is the role of a Christian scholar in the face of an idolatrous government? While Bonhoeffer stood out as the voice of truth, the world witnessed the complete failure of the German Protestant church. Bonhoeffer travelled briefly to the United States but chose to return to Germany to suffer along with the Church, arguing that Christians should not retreat from the world but act within it. He saw these events as an opportunity of renewal for Christianity. During this time, he wrote The Cost of Discipleship.
When the day came for Bonhoeffer to be with his Lord, he was led naked into the execution yard to be hanged. Someone wrote: “I saw Pastor Bonhoeffer … kneeling on the floor praying fervently to God. In the almost fifty years that I worked as a doctor; I have hardly ever seen a man die so entirely submissive to the will of God.”
As we reflect on the life of Bonhoeffer, let us be thankful for the peace we enjoy and pray for our colleagues who live under severe restrictions. For every Christian, the wilderness will surely come. We must continue to watch and pray because we never know when the Holy Spirit will make tough demands on us. Let us consider this question deeply: does every Christian need a philosophy of sacrifice and martyrdom? For Paul, and equally for Bonhoeffer, “To live is Christ and to die is gain!”
Meet a Society Library Curator
Nita Kotiuga, Ph.D.
Director of Spiritual Formation
Bakke Graduate University
Society members have access to a library full of resources designed to help us flourish as Christian academics. This library is curated by an international team of scholars, one of whom is Dr. Nita Kotiuga, Director of Spiritual Formation at Bakke Graduate University.
Beyond serving as a Society Library Curator, Dr. Kotiuga is also a pastor at Westview Bible Church in Montreal, Canada. Dr. Kotiuga lived her first two years in Iran and then in Morocco until age fifteen. Growing up in a multicultural environment taught her how to adapt quickly and find commonalities rather than focusing on differences. Difference, though, became a place for curious exploration and learning about others.
Dr. Kotiuga entered academia as a means to love God with all her heart, soul, mind and strength. She sought to enrich her understanding of Christianity through the study of the early church, especially “early church fathers and mothers”. She attained an expertise in the spirituality of St. Ignatius of Loyola and now desires to help academics become self-aware and God-aware, placing a personal relationship with Jesus Christ as their foundation.
Academia, in her estimation, is in dire need of spiritual formation because it is important to engage the whole person, deepening our understanding of the world, God and ourselves. Western understandings of the mind, which often trumpet human rationality and autonomous subjectivity, hinder such formation. Therefore, Dr. Kotiuga desires to help academics embrace the spiritual life by placing their minds under the direction of the Holy Spirit so that they can fully function as God intended, following the Holy Spirit into all truth.
Meet Our Partner: Focus Kenya
| The Society of Christian Scholars partners with Focus Kenya, an umbrella body linking and networking Christian unions from different universities and colleges in Kenya. Their aim is to facilitate mutual support, inter-campus sharing of ideas, and sharpening of leadership capacities for effective Christian work within their affiliated institutions and more generally in the world of work.|
Focus Kenya upholds strong Christian principles of accountability and shared leadership. Its mission is to reach and equip students at institutions of higher learning and associates for effective Christian living. Learn more about Focus Kenya.
Call for Journal Articles
The International Network for Christian Higher Education (INCHE), a Society partner, is calling for article submissions to the International Journal of Christianity and Education for two upcoming special issues. The first special issue (with a May 2020 proposal submission deadline) will focus on the character of the university, and the second (with a November 2020 proposal deadline) will concentrate on “The Study of Historical Pedagogues and Their Importance for Christian Education”. Explore this opportunity further at pedagogy.net.
| 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.
April Webinar: Academic Excellence and Family Priorities
Is pursuing academic excellence in your teaching, research and administration inconsistent with family priorities? How do we balance the demands of academia with the demands of family life?
Join us for this webinar, co-hosted with InterVarsity-USA, on Thursday, 23 April 2020 at 1600 GMT as Dr. Erik and Sharon Carter share their thoughts on some of their struggles, tensions and joys of integrating family life with academic life.
Dr. Carter serves as the Cornelius Vanderbilt Professor of Special Education at Vanderbilt University (USA) and Sharon is pursuing a graduate degree in spiritual direction.
Please join us for this important conversation as we endeavour to think holistically about our calling to academia.
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