2002 IG Recipients

Spring 2002 Grant Recipients
 
Living as Part of God’s Green Earth
John R. Wood
Project Director
Director of Environmental Studies
Kings University College

Mark Bjelland
Assistant Professor of Geography and Environmental Studies,
Gustavus Adolphus College
 
Steve Bouma-Prediger
Associate Professor of Religion
Hope College
 
Susan Bratton
Chair, Environmental Studies Department,
Baylor University
 
Janel Curry
Dean for Research and Scholarship
Professor of Geography and Environmental Studies
Calvin College
 
Project Abstract:
The key question of this proposed working group is this: How can our understanding of self and our moral understanding be deepened to account for our membership in societies that are embedded in particular places, which are, in turn, embedded within environmental systems? This question reflects the challenge of understanding humans as placed simultaneously within societal structures and within nature in a way that neither negates the uniqueness of humans, created in the image of God, nor denigrates the value of God’s earth. Christian thinking on the environment has come a long way from the time of Lynn White’s classic article, "The Historical Roots of Our Environmental Crisis." Writings on our theological and philosophical understanding of our relationship with creation have grown. Also, our scientific understanding of human impacts and the workings of nature has increased. Thus far, most Christian writings on the environment have tended to be primarily theological. Those that do deal more directly with the earth are limited in that they either take a totally utilitarian or preservationist perspective, or present solutions that remain oriented toward individual lifestyle choices. Careful thinking on the intersection of meaning, nature, and social relations is lacking. We are left with frameworks, provided by secular thinkers, that put humans at the center of meaning.
 
Christian thinking-and environmental thought, in general-needs a deeper understanding of humanity’s relationship with nature as it is lived out in society and in communities-the link between philosophy/theology and the earth. This area of inquiry falls largely into the realm of the social sciences. In contrast to these Christian responses to the environmental challenge, this working group starts with the assumption of the non-reducibility of morality, social structures, and the Earth.
 
This grant would establish a working group of Christian scholars, who bridge disciplines from theology and philosophy to social science and ecology, that would continue to collaborate over the three-year period of the grant and beyond. Their activities, beyond individual writing projects, deepened by the interaction, include plans to:
1) Meet in four working sessions
2) Lead a three-week seminar that incorporates graduate students, practitioners, and other faculty
3) Present our work at the biennial King’s University College Conference on the Environment that is targeted at practitioners
4) Organize and contribute to a joint conference with the American Scientific Affiliation
5) Publish in our own disciplines but also begin a book for a Christian audience

Christian Scholars Redeeming Rhetoric for Writers, Classrooms, and Institutions
 
Elizabeth Vander Lei
Project Director
Assistant Professor of English,
Calvin College
 
Beth Daniell
Associate Professor of English
Clemson University
 
Anne Ruggles Gere
Professor of English and Professor of Education
University of Michigan
 
David Jolliffe
Professor of English
DePaul University
 
Thomas Amorose
Professor of English and Director of Campus Writing
Department of English
Seattle Pacific University
 
Project Abstract:
Recently, scholars in the field of rhetoric and composition have taken intense interest in the relationships between spirituality and writing in general and between Christianity and writing in particular. While Christian scholars may appreciate this new interest in their faith, they also may be troubled by the ways that some of these scholars warp Christian tenets to fit features of current rhetorical theory. The goals of this project are these:
• To foster this interest in Christian rhetoric
• To influence developing ideas about Christian rhetoric and to encourage other scholars to honor the integrity of Christian belief
• To model ways of rhetoric to writers, texts, and contexts for writing
To accomplish these goals, our working group will read in rhetorical theory, in composition theory, and in primary texts by Christian authors. We will consider the ways that Christians have addressed rhetorical concerns and explore the ways that Christian theology can frame rhetorical practice. We will discuss how current pressing questions from the field of rhetoric and composition can be answered in Christian terms by applying central tenets of the Christian faith such as the sovereignty of God; the nature of humans, human intelligence, and human language; the importance of human community; and the power of language to create, to convict, to enact.
 
Because current interest in Christian rhetoric is so intense and because most scholars in secular institutions have few opportunities to discuss the intersections of Christianity and rhetoric, we will disseminate the results of our discussion in three venues:
• A Web Site (to be developed 2002) that offers bibliographies, links, and discussion forums
• A conference (to be held 2004) that offers opportunities for the CCCU team, students (both graduate and undergraduate), and other scholars to read and discuss papers on the intersections of Christianity and rhetoric
• A volume (to be published 2004) of collaboratively written chapters, team member papers, as well as selected papers from the conference
In addition, we expect that each member of the team, informed and mentored by the collaborative work of the team, will publish individually in the discipline.

New Directions in the Dialogue between Theology and Psychology
 
Al Dueck
Project Director
Professor of Psychology
Fuller Theological Seminary
 
Mari Clements
Fuller Theological Seminary
 
William Hathaway
Associate Professor of Psychology
Regent College
 
Cynthia Neal Kimball
Associate Professor of Psychology
Wheaton College
 
Cameron Lee
Professor of Family Studies
School of Psychology
Fuller Theological Seminary

Derek McNeil
Associate Professor of Psychology
Wheaton College
 
Nancy Murphy
Professor of Christian Philosophy
Fuller Theological Seminary
 
Kevin Reimer
Mennonite Brethren Biblical Seminary
 
Frank Richardson
Professor, Dept. of Educational Psychology
University of Texas, Austin
 
Robert Roberts
Distinguished Professor of Ethics
Baylor University
 
Brent Slife
Professor of Psychology
Brigham Young University
 
Randal Sorenson
Associate Professor of Psychology
Rosemead School of Professional Psychology
 
Project Abstract:
This proposal requests funds to network scholars concerned about the dialogue between theology and psychology with the express purpose of exploring new paradigms. Currently, integrative dialogue occurs within commitments to modernist perspectives on research and epistemology, the nature and role of the individual, the nature of interdisciplinary dialogue and the relevance of international perspective on issues such as violence. As a result, we appear to be overly committed to a scientific research program in integrative research with less concern about larger theoretical issues. Both the religious and the psychological communities have neglected the role of church and community in relationship to the individual in understanding both spirituality and emotion. Reductionism has made impossible a genuine dialogue between psychologists and theologians. And finally, such practical and global issues as violence need to be factored into new paradigms we consider. In summary we must address the issues of positivism, individualism, reductionism and provincialism in the new directions we propose.
 
Dr. Nancy Murphy is Professor of Christian Philosophy at Fuller Theological Seminary in the School of Theology. She holds doctorates in both theology and philosophy of science. Dr. Murphy has agreed to present three major papers suggesting new directions. In all, ten scholars have agreed to participate in this colloquium. They represent a diversity of disciplines: theology, ethics, sociology, psychology and philosophy. Team members will be asked to respond to Dr. Murphy’s proposals and to chart new directions themselves. A list-serve will be created where resources and commentary can be shared. After distributing to each other their significant integrative publications and their written presentation, the team members will come together for four days of discussion and dialogue in January, 2003. A course will be organized around the colloquium so as to include students capable and interested in addressing these issues. Also, Murphy’s lectures and portions of the colloquium will be open to the academic community in the area and the larger public. The most important outcomes of this colloquium include the opportunity for a small group of scholars to chart new directions, the publication of an edited collection of the papers presented by the team and the presentation of papers at national conferences.