Monthly Archives: November 2014
24th Week PhD: It’s Up for Debate
This week for our Advanced Worldview class, we had to watch one of two debates and then discuss who we thought won and why. The debates involved Christopher Hitchens, the author of god is not great: How religion poisons everything. He had debates with Dinesh D’Souza and William Lane Craig (who was one of the editors of our textbook for the first Worldview class this summer) on the existence of God. I chose to watch the debate with Craig. After watching the debate, I decided to find out more about Hitchens because I wanted to pray for him. I found out that about a year after the Craig debate, he was diagnosed with Stage IV esophageal cancer. He died about a year and a half after that diagnosis. According to his wife, he stuck to his belief in atheism until the end.
I don’t think I’ve ever met an atheist before and certainly have never heard a debate with one before. I usually do not watch or listen to debates as that word has a negative connotation to me when thinking in a Christian manner. I chose Craig as the winner of the debate, simply because I did not think Hitchens produced a reasonable, coherent, convincing argument to refute the existence of God. Craig’s evidence on the existence of God was sound, convincing, and rang true to me, a Christian (obviously). I have attached the debate here in case you are interested in watching it.
I only have one more reflective journal post left the week after Thanksgiving and then I will have completed three courses (plus one residency) toward my doctorate (a total of 11 hours, about 44 more to go then dissertation). Yay!
Blessings to you and yours.
22nd and 23rd Week PhD: Manuscript and Retreat
The semester is almost done. I have skipped a week or two of blog posts. Last week was reserved for working on our advanced worldview manuscript. My manuscript, as you know from last post, was about comparing and contrasting individualism with a Christian worldview. Even though individualism as a worldview centers on self and self-sufficiency as the solution to redemption, there are a few commonalities with a Christian’s view of the world. Beginning with Luther, salvation was thought of as an individual, personal journey rather than being something that had to be made through the intercession of a priest. An individual’s relationship to God is important. Jesus says, “Love your neighbor as yourself.” If you don’t or can’t love yourself, then loving others is hard. But this does not mean you have to love yourself above others (Philippians 2:3-4).
This past weekend I was part of a retreat that ACU does about four times a year. They invite faculty and staff (about 15) for a 24-hour retreat called StillPoint. The point of this retreat is to come to the quiet and answer the will of God. We learned about creating time for quiet, solitude, and prayer with God just as Jesus did. It was a time of renewal, focus, and peace. The book that was used to create this retreat is Invitation to Solitude and Silence: Experiencing God’s Transforming Presence by Ruth Haley Barton. Finding time for quiet and solitude in this busy world can be a challenge, but when you do, you will find that moving from solitude to community to ministry as Jesus did. This concept was made clear to us by Henri Nouwen in an article from Leadership Journal that explains how Jesus needed time with God in order to be on the same page as his Father (to discover his Father’s will). The same is true for us. Take some time, 5, 10, 15 minutes away from the internet, your phone, bills, television, and even family to spend time with God. He wants to spend time with you. “Be still before the Lord and wait patiently for him…” (Psalm 37:7, NIV).
Blessings to you and yours.
21st Week PhD: Worldview, Manuscript, and Joseph
This week we will be focusing on writing our Advanced Study of Worldview manuscript. We are to choose a competing worldview with a Christian worldview (I chose Individualism), define the competing worldview, describe the impact of the worldview on education, compare and contrast with a Christian worldview, and challenges and opportunities facing faith-based professionals who seek to redemptively engage adherents of such a worldview. Our final manuscript should be about 10-15 pages of content with about 3-5 pages of front and back matter. I haven’t started writing yet, but the articles and books I chose to use in the manuscript are interesting and should provide insight into how to narrow this very broad topic. Individualism as defined by Wilkens and Sanford (2009) “is the belief that the individual is the primary reality and that our understanding of the universe…should be centered in oneself” (p. 27). The Bible is pretty clear of how we should view ourselves as part of this world. Jesus says, “Do to others what you would have them do to you” (Matthew 7:12, New International Version). In other words, treat others like you want them to treat you. Similarly in Phlippians 2:3-4, Paul says, “Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves, not looking to your own interests but each of you to the interests of the others” (NIV). In American life, these can be hard to do sometimes since most of what we do is geared toward individual fulfillment such as education, consumerism, social media, etc. In education, individualism is found in standardized testing and focus on individual accomplishments (valedictorian, honors, etc.). Somehow fitting all of these ideas into a paper will be my task for the next week.
Wilkens, S. & Sanford, M. L. (2009). Hidden worldviews: Eight cultural stories that shape our lives. Downers Grove, IL: IVP Academic.
In the meantime, I am listening to Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat (Donny Osmond version) to boost my writing and academic spirits. You could say that Joseph’s brothers showed signs of individualism in that they thought of a plan to get rid of Joseph to further their own gain (the ideas were collective, but they did individually agree to do them). They even went so far as to plan his murder (until Reuben stepped in) and then covered up the non-murder, lied to their father, and created an even bigger mess than if they had been nice to Joseph. Luckily for Joseph’s brothers, Joseph was nice and ended up forgiving them in the end, but not before playing a tiny trick on them.
My favorite song from Joseph is Close Every Door. Here are some of the lyrics: Close every door to me. Keep those I love from me. Children of Israel are never alone.
Bonus! Below is a clip of figure skater Todd Eldredge (World Champion, 6-time U.S. National Champion, and Olympian) skating to Close Every Door, which is the first time I ever heard the song that consequently led me to buy the CD and listen to it over and over and over.
Blessings to you and yours.