Monthly Archives: September 2014

16th Week PhD: Individualism and Consumerism

Another week gone, and still there is much to do! Also, my mom is doing better after surgery and continues to recover. Thank you to all of you who are keeping her in your thoughts and prayers.

This week the focus for me was on the discussion post for the Advanced Worldview class regarding the prevalence of individualism versus consumerism in our world in general and in education. According to our textbook, written by Steve Wilkens and Mark L. Sanford in Hidden Worldviews (2009), individualism is “the belief that the individual is the primary reality and that our understanding of the universe and lifestyle should be centered in oneself” (p.  27). From the same textbook, consumerism “absolutizes consumption by believing that we can find fulfillment by accumulating wealth and everything that comes with it” (p. 45). In the case of the world in general, I believe individualism (selfishness) is more prevalent since individualism causes consumerism. Finding fulfillment usually means our own fulfillment, which is just a form of individualism. James 3:16 says, “For where you have envy and selfish ambition, there you find disorder and every evil practice” (NIV). Adam and Eve ate from the tree of life in order to be like God (Genesis 3:5-6). Individualism, the desire to be put “in the God-position” has caused “every evil practice” (Wilkens & Sanford, 2009, p. 42).

Consumerism is rampant in education, especially higher education. Students are now viewed as consumers or customers. Making a profit is the goal for most institutions. Building better buildings, better programs, attracting more students are all incorporated into vision and mission statements without actually being stated. Too often the intrinsic value of higher education is lost in the sea of consumerism. Investing in buildings that are already there, students that are already there, and faculty and staff that are already there would seem to be the most profitable by being good stewards of what God has already given. Luke 12:48b (NIV) says, “From everyone who has been given much, much will be demanded; and from the one who has been entrusted with much, much more will be asked.”

Blessings to you and yours.


15th Week PhD: Life Happens

During residency, several professors explained to us that throughout this program “life happens” regarding work to be done, time management, and emergencies. This has been a week of emergencies and deadlines. My mom went to the emergency room on Monday complaining of severe abdominal pain. After looking at tests, the ER doctor called her surgeon who performed emergency surgery that night (about 10:00pm). One of my assignments, a book review, was due at 10:59pm that day. Fortunately, I was almost finished and only had a few edits to do. The surgery went very well and my mom is still in the hospital, but is free from pain in her abdomen. God is good. I turned in my paper at approximately 10:40pm. God is good.

We can never predict when life will happen–as in “life happens”–and when plans are interrupted due to unforeseen circumstances. My mom will not get to go on her trip to see her granddaughter’s first birthday this week. However, she will be able to go in the future. If she had not gone to the emergency room, her situation might have been different. The Bible has many examples of plans that get diverted, changed, postponed, or reversed. Job’s life didn’t go as he had planned, yet God blessed him with new plans. Proverbs 19:21 (NIV) states, “Many are the plans in a person’s heart, but it is the Lord’s purpose that prevails.” The prophet Jeremiah sent a letter to the exiles in which it states, “For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future” (Jeremiah 29:11, NIV). God tried to encourage the exiles with the fact that he had their backs and not to worry about their future. God did this for them after many years through his gift of Jesus, which is now our gift. So, when “life happens” remember God has your back.

Blessings to you and yours.

14th Week PhD: Doctrine of Vocation

This week we did not have any discussion questions to post since there is a book review assignment due in the Advanced Worldview course on Monday, and there is tons of reading to do in the Research Design course (6 chapters of research design in 2 weeks). As part of our reflective journal in the Advanced Worldview course, we were asked to answer one of two questions (or both). The one I chose is “How can the doctrine of vocation affect the way that we view Monday through Friday (and, for many of us, nights and weekends as well)?” This question relates to an article we were assigned to read by Veith called “Arenas of Service” in WORLD magazine. This question also fits in nicely with the last chapter of our Plantinga text (Engaging God’s World), “Vocation in the Kingdom of God.” The Latin origin of vocation is “calling” and in the Oxford English dictionary online, vocation is defined as “divine influence or guidance towards a definite (esp. religious) career.” Veith describes vocation as not only a job or career, but working “side-by-side with God” and serving others by what we do. Vocation is 365 days a year, 24/7. Second Peter 1:3 says, “His divine power has given us everything we need for a godly life through our knowledge of him who called us by his own glory and goodness” (New International Version). Knowing God has called us to Him gives us reason to carry out our vocation every day of the week, serving God by serving others.

Blessings to you and yours.

Veith, G. E. (2010, August 28). Arenas of service. WORLD Magazine.  Retrieved from

Vocation. (2014). In Oxford English dictionary online. Retrieved from

13th Week PhD: The Dissertation Transformation

For my two classes this week, there was a lot of reading and a lot of posting in discussion boards (and even more of that to come). In one class (Research Design & Analysis) we were required to read the first two chapters of a dissertation and see how it aligned with what our textbook says about how to structure research. In the second class (Advanced Worldview) we were required to read two more chapters in our textbook plus two articles that have opposing viewpoints to the Christian worldview concept and discuss them in relation to their legitimacy and educational transformation. Instead of telling you what I wrote for the assignments, I will just leave you with this: “Be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is–his good, pleasing and perfect will” (Romans 12:2).

For the first time in 13 weeks, I am tired of thinking. Although my husband and I took a mini-vacation last weekend to celebrate our anniversary (which was fabulous!!), my brain is tired from reading, thinking, writing, thinking, writing, reading…and staying up until 2am probably didn’t help either.

I will press on, get some rest and transform my mind in preparation for the big “D” (Dissertation!).

Blessings to you and yours.

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