2005 IG Recipients

Christian Faith and Service Learning: Lessons for the Academy

Judy Hutchinson
Project Director
Director, Center for Academic Service-Learning and Research
Azusa Pacific University
 
John W. Eby
Professor of Sociology and Director of Service-Learning
Messiah College
 
Debra Fetterly
Coordinator for Research and Development, Center for Academic Service-Learning and Research
Azusa Pacific University
 
Kristin Gurrola
Associate Director, Programs, Center for Academic Service-Learning and Research
Azusa Pacific University
 
(To be appointed)
Director, Agape center for Service and Learning
Messiah College
 
Mark Reasoner
Associate Professor of Biblical Studies
Bethel University
 
Jeffrey Dudiak
Associate Professor of Philosophy
The King's University College
 
Project Abstract:
The focus of this research is a two-university pilot project which will make a major contribution to the service-learning knowledge base throughout the academy.  It will network both senior and junior scholars from CCCU member schools as well as senior service-learning scholars from a broad range of Christian and secular academic institutions.
 
This pilot project, formulated as an extended case study, will carry out an in-depth analysis of the contributions of Christian faith to service-learning theory and practice and to student learning outcomes.  It will disseminate those findings in the broad academy.  It will also begin developing a rubric and “best practices” for helping Christian colleges reflect their faith traditions in the service-learning practice and develop a proposal for a major research project to continue that work.
 
The project will provide a platform from which to share our Christian perspectives with the broader academy.  It will create opportunities for dialogue which will make available the insights of faith-based service-learning as a significant resource for improving the quality and impact of service-learning generally.  In CCCU schools such as Messiah College and Azusa Pacific University, faith is an integral part of service-learning.  It serves as a key strategy for implementing our institutional missions and strengthening our faith traditions.  It is a powerful strategy for helping students develop a world view, a perspective on civic and social responsibility and an ethic of service.  These things have particular meanings for Christians, but the Christian perspective is very relevant in the broader academy.
 
We intend to discover and articulate more clearly how our service-learning programs connect our faith traditions to student and community outcomes and share what we learn in ways that will influence and strengthen service-learning in the academy by making Christian perspective more visible.  We will respond to and build on the strong interest in “spirituality” present in the service-learning movement throughout the academy.
 
Kant as Moral Realist: A New Interpretive Approach
 
Benjamin Lipscomb
Project Director
Assistant Professor of Philosophy
Houghton College
 
Karl Ameriks
McMahon/Hank Professor of Philosophy
University of Notre Dame
 
John Hare
Noah Porter Professor of Philosophical Theology
Yale University
 
Andrew Chignell
Assistant Professor of Philosophy
Cornell University
 
Patrick Frierson
Assistant Professor of Philosophy
Whitman College
 
Lee Hardy
Professor of Philosophy
Calvin College
 
Patrick Kain
Assistant Professor of Philosophy
Purdue University
 
James Krueger
Assistant Professor of Philosophy
University of Redlands
 
Houston Smit
Assistant Professor of Philosophy
University of Arizona
 
Rachel Zuckert
Assistant Professor of Philosophy
Rice University
 
Project Abstract:
The Current, most popular reading of Kant features a fundamentally anti-realist, constructivist understanding of his moral philosophy (the view being that we create our moral obligations through rational deliberation).  This reading poses specific challenges for Christians who find aspects of the Kantian view attractive, for it appears to leave little role for God in the moral universe.  A few scholars, however, have challenged this dominant interpretation, arguing instead for a realist interpretation of Kant’s practical philosophy.  Though the arguments of these scholars have not always been overtly religious, it is significant that the most prominent scholars advancing a realist interpretation are Christians (including, notably, Karl Ameriks and John Hare).
 
The aim of this project is to gather together a number of scholars who are sympathetic to a realist interpretation of Kant, including Hare and Ameriks, to explore the extent of their shared commitments and the possibilities for building upon one another’s work.  The interactions of the research team will take the form, first, of an intense, week-long workshop in August 2005, and then, the following April, a nationally advertised conference.  The conviction of the research team is that discussions at the workshop and conference, and informally between, will assist them in articulating and refining a realist interpretation of Kant’s practical philosophy.  Out of the workshop and conference, an edited volume will take shape, intended both to define this alternative (on its own terms and in contrast to anti-realist views) and to situate it within the broader discourse of ethical theory.
 
This project is of particular importance for Christians both because it will, if successful, bring to light and develop a rich source for Christian ethical reflection , and because the project will involve, in one of its dimensions, renewed attention to the relationship between Kant’s writings on religion and on ethics.  Anti-realist readings of Kant have achieved the dominance they enjoy, in part, by bracketing or marginalizing Kant’s religious writings.  In short, the aim of the project is to develop and refine an alternative to the dominant interpretation of Kant’s practical philosophy, and to bring this alternative to the attention of scholars both in Kant studies and in contemporary ethical theory, prompting new reflection and perhaps, new openness to a moral outlook common to Kant and much of the Christian tradition. 
 
Saint Paul’s Secular Destinies: A Critical Engagement
 
Douglas K. Harink
Project Director
Associate Professor of Theology
The King’s University College
 
Alexandra R. Brown
Professor of Religion
Washington and Lee University, Lexington, VA
 
Jeffrey Dudiak
Associate Professor of Philosophy
the King's University College
 
Chris Huebner
Assistant Professor of Theology and Ethics
Canadian Mennonite University
 
P. Travis Kroeker
Professor of Religion
McMaster University
 
Mark Reasoner
Associate Professor Biblical Studies
Bethel University
 
Gordon Zerbe
Associate Professor of New Testament
Canadian Mennonite University
 
Project Abstract:

The apostle Paul has recently become the subject of serious study by a number of important Continental philosophers, among them Jaboc Taubes, Stanislaus Breton, Alain Badiou, Giorgio Agamben and Slavoj Žižek.  While these philosophers do not all share Paul’s theological convictions (although Breton is a Catholic philosopher; Taubes is Jewish), each finds in Paul’s mission and message something of critical, even constitutive, significance for the largely secular philosophies which they are developing.  Paul is appropriated to address philosophical themes such as ontology, the ‘other,’ the ‘event,’ the nature of truth, the human subject, and the concepts of the apocalyptic and the messianic in political philosophy; and to engage socio-political themes such as social theory, the state, the market, capitalism, democracy, empire and globalization.  Each of these philosophers write significant books and articles on the apostle (Badiou, Breton, Žižek), and even philosophical commentaries on Paul’s letters (Taubes, Agamben), as a way to give shape to their philosophies.
 
This project gathers a team of philosophers, theologians and Paul scholars for a critical engagement of this recent development in philosophy.  Our aims are several:
 
  • To accurately describe and map out the various philosophical and political appropriations of the work of Saint Paul, displaying common themes and sometimes sharp differences among them, and exploring connections to other historical and contemporary interpreters of Paul.
  • To engage the readings of Paul by the philosophers from the perspective of current biblical scholarship on the apostle, asking 1) in what ways the Paul(s) of the philosophers are similar to and different from the Paul(s) of biblical scholarship; and 2) in what ways biblical scholarship on Paul might confirm, expand, deepen or reshape the readings of the philosophers.
  • To explore how secular philosophical and political readings of Paul might provide Christian scholars with unexpected, valuable, even indispensable perspectives on the apostle which would further deepen and reconfigure Christian understandings and appropriations of Paul in contemporary philosophical and political discourse.
  • Most importantly, to make our own fundamental contribution to the discourse among secularists, Christians and Jews over Saint Paul’s ongoing relevance for philosophical, social and political life in the modern worlds.  We do so from en explicitly Christian perspective which affirms and participates in Paul’s own theological convictions.
We propose to meet these aims through team meetings, seminars with graduate and doctoral students and faculty, and, if further funding becomes available, a seminar/conference for the wider scholarly public.  Results will be disseminated primarily in an edited volume published by a major university or other scholarly press.  Conference papers, refereed publications, and possible other monographs are also envisaged.