2006 IG Recipients

A Christian Theoretical Framing for the Concepts of Religion, Spirituality and Culture in Healthcare

Barbara Pesut
Project Director
Associate Professor and Chair of Nursing
Trinity Western University
Bart Cusveller
Associate Professor of Ethics and Nursing
School of Nursing, Christian University Ede (The Netherlands)
Marsha Fowler
Professor of Ethics and Spirituality
Azusa Pacific University
Elizabeth Johnston Taylor
Associate Professor of Nursing
Loma Linda University
Sheryl Reimer-Kirkham
Associate Professor of Nursing
Trinity Western University
Project Abstract:

The purpose of this proposed networking project is to establish a Christian theoretical framing for the concepts and intersections of religion, spirituality and culture with a healthcare context.  Issues of spirituality and culture have gained increasing attention in the healthcare literature over the past two decades.  However, with this attention has emerged an increasingly politicized debate about the nature of these concepts.  Religion and spirituality in particular are being re-defined.  Spirituality has become a universal, inherently good, individualized concept while religion has been relegated to external rituals and beliefs, a social product of culture.  What has emerged is a healthcare discourse that has produced vague, contentless spirituality, and a marginalized understanding of religion.
The reframing of these concepts has implications far beyond ideological discourse in the healthcare literature.  Practical assessment and intervention frameworks to address spirituality from this perspective are being created and applied within healthcare contexts.  Likewise, research instruments created within these understandings are being used to construct a knowledge base upon which healthcare is being shaped.  A whole new generation of clinical nurses will be affected by programs and courses in spiritual care based on concepts and methods not necessarily in accord with the Christian worldview.  Scholars have suggested that this "new" spirituality, rather than doing justice to the diversity and richness of spiritual perspectives, is having the reverse effect of erasing distinctions and producing an unintended hegemony in healthcare.
It is important for Christian scholars to respond to this evolving discourse with a Christian theoretical framing of these concepts.  We propose bringing together a group of scholars from Canada, the United States, and the Netherlands with significant expertise in spirituality, religion and culture from a healthcare perspective to create this framing.  We will do this through a series of meetings where we will first construct the framework and then through a small pilot study seek feedback from the broader Christian academy.  This preliminary framework will then be published, but more importantly, will form the theoretical lens for a collaborative research grant proposal for an integrative theoretical work that will explore and analyze these concepts more broadly from the healthcare literature, contrasting them to the Christian theoretical framing.  The work of this group will be groundbreaking in that rather than adopting the common approach of focusing on either religion/spirituality or religion/culture, the intersections of all three concepts will be explored, an area of scholarship that is not well developed in the healthcare literature.
The Forgotten Founders on Church and State
Mark Hall
Project Director
Herbert Hoover Distinguished Professor of Political Science
George Fox University
Daniel Dreisbach
Professor, Department of Justice, Law, and Society
American University
Jeffry Morrison
Associate Professor of Political Science
Regent University
Project Abstract:

Over the last decade political scientists and historians have come to recognize better the important relationship between religion and politics.  With respect to the founding era, they have argued persuasively that religion was far more influential than many twentieth-century scholars understood.  Books like Barry Alan Shain's The Myth of American Individualism: Protestant Origins of American Political Thought have painted a broad picture of how religion impacted the political theory and practices of the founding generation.
By necessity, scholars like Shain paint with broad strokes.  If the role of religion in the founding era is to be more fully understood, students of the era must study individual founders more carefully.  To be sucessful, such an examination requires a combination of critical scrutiny and a willingness to take religion seriously.  This combination has been too rare among students of the founding.  Dreisback, Morrison, and I have each authored such articles and books, and in 2004 we co-edited a collection of essays on the subject entitled The Founders on God and Government.
The Founders on God and Government focused on well-known figures such as George Washington, John Adams, and Thomas Jefferson.  We now propose to bring together a group of scholars to study less-well-known but still significant founders.  We will ask each participant to present a paper on a forgotten founder's view of the proper relationship between religion and politics at a conference to be held at George Fox University in the spring of 2007.  Papers delivered at this conference, as well as two previously published essays and a few additional papers, will be edited by the three applicants and published as a book.
We believe that this volume will meet an even greater need than The Founders on God and Government.  Although students of the era will recognize the names of most of the individuals that we intend to cover, in many cases they know little else about them.  As well, many of our proposed papers/chapters will be original works- often the first extended treatement of the profiled founder's religious convictions and views of church-state relations.  Altogether the conference and edited volume will help expand the scope of the discussion about what the founders thought about religion's place in public life-a conversation that often centers on just two or three individuals.
Good Book and Holy Land: Historical Perspectives on Anglo-American Christians' Critical Engagement with the Bible and the Middle East
Stephen Alter
Project Director
Associate Professor of History
Gordon College
Thomas Kidd
Assistant Professor of History
Baylor University
Timothy Larsen
Associate Professor of Theology
Wheaton College
Sarah Miglio
Doctoral student, Department of History
Notre Dame University
Project Consultants:
Bruce Kuklick
Professor of History
University of Pennsylvania
David Livingstone
Professor of Geography
Queen's University (Belfast, Northern Ireland)
Project Abstract:

The past two centuries have seen steadily increasing interest on the part of British and American Christians in the Middle East.  this interest, in turn, has influenced Christians' self-perception.  Critical Bible scholarship, Holy Land exploration, "Near Eastern" archaeology, foreign missions, and imperial diplomacy-these activities have raised the question of Christianity's identity as a mainly western religion having its historical roots in a far-away region.  Was the Land of the Book a source of ancient light and inspiration for modern Christians, or was it the site of Islamic "other," a major challenge to Christianity as a world religion?  This group of research projects has two foci: the history of Anglo-American Bible scholarship and of American perspectives on the Middle East and Islam.  The common question is: How have Amerivan and victorian British Christian's understanding of their faith and of biblical authority interacted with their perceptions of the Holy Land, its religions, and its on-going history?