Integrating our Faith and Vocation
Dr. George Marsden has written a new book which should be required reading for every serious Christian in academia. The book, The Outrageous Idea of Christian Scholarship by Oxford University Press, discusses the need for Christians to give some serious thought to how their faith should be integrated into their work or discipline.
During a visit to Florida for a Veritas Forum, Dr. Marsden said, "I'm afraid that many Christians in academia want to do their classes and research on a PhD level, but want to do their theology and integration of their faith on a Sunday School level."
Although a Christian perspective is not always welcome, the consequences of remaining silent can be devastating. (If you are not sure that a Christian perspective should be expressed in our modern universities, let me encourage you to read Dr. Marsden's book.) The hard work of integration will not always come easily, but then nothing worthwhile ever comes easily.
He suggests that issues we hold dear must have an impact on what we believe and how we view reality. These issues include 1) the fact that our world is created, not a chance occurrence; 2) the incarnation of God in Christ; 3) the spiritual dimensions of life (including morality); and 4) the human condition of sin. These issues, he suggests, should influence our thinking in every discipline, even the hard sciences.
How do we get there? Marsden suggests, "Contemporary Christian scholarship
will not realize its potential unless it can establish a strong
Scripture: I Pet. 3:15 - "But sanctify Christ as Lord in your hearts, always being ready to make a defense to everyone who asks you to give an account for the hope that is in you, yet with gentleness and reverence."
Action Point: Begin now to talk with colleagues inside and outside your discipline on how to think strategically about integrating faith and academics. Perhaps begin a small e-mail network to share ideas and resources.
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