Addenda 3.7 (July 2020)



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The Age of Uncertainty
by Prof. Osam Edim Temple 

I must have been 22 when I first read John Kenneth Galbraith’s The Age of Uncertainty. This book showed how the world moved from the certainty of 19th-century economic thought into the uncertain world of the free market. As I paced the corridors of the University of Ibadan, Nigeria, reflecting on Galbraith’s arguments and trying to grapple with the existential challenges of neo-colonial Africa, I was almost in despair. At some point I found solace in the dialectical materialism of Marx; embraced the audacious theories of Proudhon, Kropotkin, William Godwin and Thoreau; and drank to the full Gandhi’s “Story of My Experiments with Truth.”

With time, the free market proved resilient. Although it created a world of huge inequalities and marginalized peoples, it also opened a wide corridor for social welfare (surreptitiously annexing some of the best ideals of democratic socialism). In the end, the proletariat did not overthrow the system. They rather came to terms with it. The world that emerged was not perfect, but it was fairly certain and predictable. People learnt to live with the virus of inequality.

Today, the world is living with another kind of virus – the 2019 novel coronavirus. It has ushered in another age of uncertainty, and nobody knows how long this will last or what things will look like in the next six months. Within a short period, academic calendars have been disrupted, national borders closed, international and national flights suspended, cities shut down and much of social life dislocated. Although the world is trying to open up, it is doing so with uncertainty, as infection and fatality rates are still high.

In a time of uncertainty, people may fall into despair, fear, impatience, intolerance and even brutality. This season could bring about suspicions and heighten the we-against-them mentality. The age of uncertainty could create a void in the souls of many, giving birth to a new breed of predators and a rebellious generation bereft of faith, hope and love. If Christian scholars do not rise to the challenge, another Marx may emerge to fill the void created in young minds. A Hitler may arise to capitalize on our vulnerabilities and propagate a dangerous ideology. In this season, we should stand as watchmen. We must not allow the world to seize the narrative.

When ancient Egypt was at the threshold of uncertainty, the vision of Joseph and his managerial skills reversed its fortunes. When Babylon found itself on the threshold of uncertainty, Daniel’s deep insights and wisdom were the elixir Nebuchadnezzar needed to flourish. Today, as the world passes through a season of uncertainty, let our presence make the difference. Now more than ever, Christian scholars must define their roles in society. The age of uncertainty challenges us to reflect deeply on our missiological calling. May our lights shine brighter in our academic disciplines and in our communities. Perhaps a message to our students, a prayer, a Zoom meeting with a colleague, an essay in a local newspaper or a word of encouragement could be redemptive. Various resources at our  Society member site can equip us to reach our world more effectively. Especially helpful in these uncertain times is our Curricula Page.

May we pray for the grace to be used by God in this season of uncertainty.

Prof. Osam Edim Temple
Society Executive Chair

 

The Addenda Minute
Brief Reflections on Faith and Scholarship:
Human Flourishing

Human flourishing is predicated on the triune God’s creative, redemptive and eschatological activity and the responsiveness of human beings in faith, hope and love to his activity. It does not entail the diminishing of human agency nor the privileging of health or wealth. Rather, human beings thrive to the extent they are in proper relationship with God, the world, others and themselves (Mk 12:30-31), experiencing the awe, wonder and delight of the Lord while longing for the original goodness of creation.

Flourishing is bound up, then, with God’s presence, characterized in the Scriptures as shalom (Jer 29) and “blessedness” (Mt 5). Such notions are not experienced in their fullness on earth. However, we can get a taste of them as fully alive human beings (Jn 10) embody and communicate the good, the true and the beautiful by participating in the Kingdom of God, seeking his wisdom and following the resurrected Christ in the power of the Spirit in communion with others. How do you understand human flourishing? What might it look like in your own academic and cultural context?

Society Resources

Plan a Video Conference!
Local conferences are a great way to collaborate with colleagues. Currently, because of the COVID pandemic, hosting face-to-face conferences in most locales is not an option. But the Society’s Zoom benefit can help you carry out a conference via video. Are you interested in planning a conference? Invite the Society to partner with you to help make it a success!

Society News

The Addenda Is Now Public!
The Addenda, which just a few months ago was only for Society members, is now available to everyone. Please encourage your colleagues to benefit each month from all it has to offer! Simply forward this email and invite them to subscribe today.  

116 of you offered Feedback …  Thank You!

Much appreciation to the 116 of you who took the time to offer feedback via our member survey. Four participants, chosen at random, received $25 USD gift certificates for their efforts. We look forward to implementing your input to make our Society better. 

Upcoming Events and Webinars

Webinar:”The Outrageous Idea of Christian Teaching”
Dr. Perry Glanzer, Ph.D.

Thursday, 16 July 2020 at 1400 GMT

Thousands of Christian educators exist. But how does the fact that they are Christians, or even certain kinds of Christians, shape their teaching?
On Thursday, 16 July 2020 at 1400 GMT, Dr. Perry Glanzer, Professor of Educational Foundations and a Resident Scholar at the Baylor Institute for Studies of Religion, answers these questions by first exploring the actual responses of Christian professors to questions asking how their faith tradition informs their teaching.

Drawing on a survey of over 2,300 Christian professors, Dr. Glanzer illuminates the wide range of wisdom that contemporary professors offer about how they go about this endeavour.  The second part of the webinar explores how knowing these different approaches can help faculty develop their own approach to Christian teaching.

See Dr. Glanzer’s recent book, The Outrageous Idea of Christian Teaching (Oxford University Press, 2019) for a detailed introduction to the webinar.

Join us for this exciting webinar! Register below and share the URL with your colleagues!
https://zoom.us/webinar/register/WN__MsLXIXYSd28A_7S1yOOLw

Webinar: Community Cultural Wealth and the “Glory and Honor of the Nations”: A Biblical Model of Cultural Diversity
Thursday, 20 August 2020 at 1400 GMT

Some within the global Christian community shudder at the term “diversity”, believing that it implies moral relativism in a secular context. Dr. Robert Chao Romero, Associate Professor in UCLA’s César Chávez Department of Chicana and Chicano Studies, who is trained in both history and law, will explore a biblical model of cultural diversity during a webinar on Thursday, 20 August 2020 at 1400 GMT.

Romero’s model places Revelation 21:26-27 in conversation with the highly influential education theory of community cultural wealth. In his presentation, he will compare and contrast the biblical framework of “the glory and honor of the nations” with Dr. Tara Yosso’s definition of community cultural wealth as “an array of knowledges, skills, abilities and contacts possessed and used by Communities of Color to survive and resist racism and other forms of oppression”. Romero is author of Brown Church: Five Centuries of Latina/o Christian Social Justice, Theology, and Identity (IVP Academic, May 2020).

Join us for this intriguing webinar! Register below and share the URL with your colleagues!

Register here: https://scshub.net/webinars/community-cultural-wealth-and-the-glory-and-honor-of-the-nations-a-biblical-model-of-cultural-diversity-thursday-20-august-2020-at-1400-gmt/

Christian Witness in a COVID-Shaped World
A Summer 2020 Professional Development Opportunity

From late May through mid-August 2020, members of theInternational Network for Christian Higher Education (INCHE) members and institutional partners (including the Society of Christian Scholars) are invited to select a section in a special mini-course: IDIS 170, Christian Witness in a COVID-Shaped World. The course has beens designed by Calvin University and Calvin Theological Seminary to give students of all ages an opportunity to reflect on the meaning and implications of this global phenomenon for our Christian lives. The INCHE network has received a special-purpose grant that allows members to participate for a modest co-pay. Depending on the economic capacity in your region, financial aid may reduce visitor fees to less than $50 USD and no more than $200 USD.

Each course section is:

  • Online and asynchronous
  • Limited to three weeks.
  • Focused on a topic area such as church, health, citizenship, family or youth.
  • Available in English with three Spanish-language options.
  • Supplemented by online small-group discussions unique to INCHE participants.

The remaining courses will start in the fourth week of June and in late July. For further information: https://inche.one/events/2020/5/6/christian-witness-in-a-covid-shaped-world

For more events: https://inche.one/events

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Addenda Volume 3.7 (July 2020)
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