Category Archives: Worldview
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.
18th and 19th Week PhD: Naturalism and Respite
I didn’t post anything this past week because we were out of town in Lubbock, and I didn’t plan ahead and think of posting before we left. Anyway, last week we discussed whether Naturalism (Methodological Naturalism) is consistent with a Christian worldview in the Advanced Worldview course and we discussed how well a doctoral dissertation in higher education we were assigned to read aligned with our Research Design textbook. The dissertation aligned well with our textbook even though our textbook has a copyright date of 2015 and the dissertation has a publication date of 2003. The author did not use our textbook for her research design, but consulted other texts that were either assigned or recommended to her by her professors. So, her research methods and design were perfectly reasonable for a dissertation.
I chose the belief that a worldview of methodological naturalism is not consistent with a Christian worldview. Methodological naturalism, or science for that matter, by itself, is not competing with a Christian worldview. However, if science or naturalism becomes the foundation of a belief system, then that is where there are inconsistencies with a Christian worldview. Even though science tries, it cannot explain everything that happens in the world, especially what is in a person’s heart and soul (thoughts, ideas, consciousness, subconsciousness, morals, ethics, etc.).
This week is our fall break, and I plan on doing lots of relaxing! Blessings to you and yours.
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.
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.
12th Week PhD: Stories and Shalom
This week in the Advanced Worldview course, we were asked to discuss two questions: “Why is the concept of narrative important to a Christian worldview?” and “What are practical ways we can communicate hope in our professional environment?”
Narrative is the bread and butter of Christianity. The Bible is a narrative of creation, sin, redemption, and eternity. Jesus was a master storyteller, using parables to send powerful messages about how we are to act and treat one another (Parable of the Prodigal Son and the parable of the Good Samaritan). The Ethiopian eunuch listened to Philip tell the good news of Jesus and immediately believed and was baptized (Acts 8:26-40). Peter told the crowd in Jerusalem about the redemption story and “three thousand were added to their number that day” (Acts 2:41, New International Version). Narrative paints pictures when mere words are not enough.
Shalom, according to Plantinga (2002) “means far more than just peace of mind,” since in the Bible it means “universal flourishing, wholeness, and delight” (p. 15). Delight as a definition of shalom is powerful. Plantinga (2002) entitles one section “Hoping for Shalom” in reference the Holy Spirit’s influence to use Jesus as hope for all mankind (p. 12). Hope only for ourselves is selfish. When we hope for others, we are “enlarged by the Holy Spirit” (Plantinga, 2002, p. 12). When we hope for shalom, we are hoping for a brighter future for others, not only ourselves. We are hoping for shalom as Jesus did for us on the cross.
Blessings to you and yours.
Eleventh Week PhD: Advanced Study and Research
Hello fellow bloggers and blog readers! This is my eleventh week in the PhD program and my respite is over. This semester will be long, but in the end it will be worth the many hours of discussion, reading, writing, and researching. My two classes this semester are Advanced Study of Worldview and Research Design and Analysis. More on Research Design and Analysis in a bit. The first impression of Advanced Study of Worldview is there will be a lot of reading, I get to write a book review, and I get to read “God is not great: How religion poisons everything” by C. Hitchens. I am really not looking forward to reading the last book, but I am pretty sure it will challenge me, and I am always up for a good challenge.
As a librarian, I live for research. I research everything–buying a new phone, a new car, a new stove, a new computer, couches, desks, books, hotels, activities, etc. I help students research. I help faculty research. I teach how to research. I research for the fun of it. The textbook for this class (as seen in the photo) is “Educational research: Planning, conducting, and evaluating quantitative and qualitative research” by J. Creswell (5th ed.). The textbook is full of information, a lot of which I know, a lot of which I don’t. One little thing that bothers me about this book in chapter 3 is a section on how to conduct research in the library. This edition was updated this year–the copyright date is actually 2015–and it is only available in a loose-leaf version. However, the information on library resources is a tad outdated. I am sure some academic libraries (somewhere) still use CD-ROMs to access databases (there could be some). Creswell (2015) even suggests that a researcher “go to the bookshelves” and “scan the table of contents of education journals from the past 7 to 10 years” (p. 82). I might possibly do this while working on my dissertation so that I leave no stone un-turned, however it would only be if my library (I have access to two wonderful academic library resources) did not have electronic access to what I needed or if the only copy of a journal was in print. This scenario is highly unlikely since most academic libraries (including the one in which I work) have removed some print journal copies (given away, donated, sold, etc.) if available elsewhere electronically to make room for other collections, services, or partners, etc. in the library. I realize that not everything is available electronically and in those cases, yes, I will use the print copy to browse the table of contents, but it is only as a last step (depending on my topic).
The author fails to mention the most valuable resource a doctoral student will need–WorldCat–the catalog of almost every book known in the world in every kind of library imaginable, most of which are connected to a lending system. He does mention the Library of Congress, which is a wealth of information (especially their online collections), but it is not primarily a lending library. There is one mention of interlibrary loan which is also of utmost importance to a doctoral student, or any graduate student really. Try as it might, there is not one academic library that can purchase every single database, book, resource, media, etc. in the world. Interlibrary loan covers this by creating a lending library of thousands of libraries across the world–not only for books, but for journal articles, too. I think Creswell should have consulted a librarian on this chapter because this librarian is not impressed.
So, off my soapbox, I am excited for this new semester to begin. Reading, discussing, networking, writing, and researching will be the thing for the next few months.
Blessings to you and yours.
Creswell, J. W. (2015). Educational research: Planning, conducting, and evaluating quantitative and qualitative research (5th ed.). Upper Saddle River, NJ: Pearson Education.
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