The Eleventh Annual Day of Common Learning
MODELING CIVIC ENGAGEMENT
The Day of Common Learning is a campus in-service day during which faculty, staff and students have the opportunity to participate in a learning community outside the regular classrooms. Because of the day's events, all seminars, classes, and labs held before 3 p.m. have been suspended. All classes and labs after 3 p.m. will be held as usual. All events are free and open to the public.
Christian Engagement in a Pluralistic World
Miroslav Volf, PhD
Wednesday, October 10, 2012, 10 a.m.
Royal Brougham Pavilion
The day will begin on Wednesday, October 10, with a public keynote address, "Christian Engagement in a Pluralistic World," by Dr. Miroslav Volf, Professor of Systematic Theology at Yale Divinity School and Founding Director of the Yale Center for Faith and Culture.
Dr. Miroslav Volf's books include A Public Faith: How Followers of Christ Should Serve the Common Good (2011), Allah: A Christian Response (2011), Free of Charge: Giving and Forgiving in a Culture Stripped of Grace (2006), and Exclusion and Embrace: A Theological Exploration of Identity, Otherness, and Reconciliation of the Trinity (1998). A member of the Episcopal Church in the U.S.A. and Evangelical Church in Croatia, Dr. Volf has been involved in international ecumenical dialogues and interfaith dialogues. A native to Croatia, he regularly teaches and lectures in Central and Eastern Europe, Asia, and across North America.
In the afternoon, the Center for Scholarship and Faculty Development will hold two concurrent one-hour sessions of forums, seminars, and panel presentations, led by faculty, staff, and students. All sessions will be offered twice, from 1 p.m. to 1:50 p.m. and from 2 p.m. to 2:50 p.m.
A Common Song: Musical Reconciliation in the Balkans
Ramona Holmes, Professor of Music
Mary Sherhart, Balkan Singer
Michele Anciaux Aoki, Balkan Singer
Nedim Hamzic, Bosnian Musician
Dr. Volf asks, "How should we approach the problems of identity and otherness and of the conflicts that rage around them?" He challenges us to find ways to spread peace and harmony between Christians and Muslims. This session provides music of Muslims and Christians from the Balkans and allows us to listen deeply to cultural identities. Selections from Bosnia, Herzegovina and Macedonia will be performed by local musicians.
American Idols, Caped Avengers, Heroes, and Saints: Overcoming a Failure of the Imagination
Jeffrey Overstreet, Contributing Editor, SPU Response Magazine
Demaray Hall 150
Who gets your vote on American Idol? Who gets your vote for president? Are you on Team Edward or Team Jacob? Team Gryffindor or Team Slytherin? In movies, television, literature, and politics, Americans are obsessed with competition. What is this preference for gladiatorial entertainment doing to our imaginations, to how we engage our neighbors, and to our experience of art? Let's consider The Avengers, The Hunger Games, MSNBC, presidential campaigns, and Christian media. Let's discuss our increasing preference – even in the church – for heroes over saints. And let's consider some stories that stand out as exceptions.
Designing for Service
Melani Plett, Professor of Electrical Engineering
Kevin Bolding, Associate Professor of Electrical Engineering
Adam Arabian, Assistant Professor of Electrical Engineering
Clarence Rieu, Senior Electrical Engineering Student
Eric Olmsted, Senior Electrical Engineering Student
Sergey Kisel, Senior Electrical Engineering Student
Kristian Rubesh, Senior General Engineering Student
Otto Miller Hall 128
This session covers various ways that engineers affiliated with SPU are using technology and creativity for service. Inspired by their Christian faith and love for others, affiliates have designed an innovative, healthy cooking source for the developing world; explored ways for quadriplegics to control a wheelchair with the brain; and helped to produce a cutting-edge prosthetic ankle. This technology provides real service and hope to others. The session will conclude by considering how you too might apply your skills and creativity to serve and offer hope to others.
Do This in Remembrance of Me
Baine Craft, Associate Professor of Psychology and Biology
As a college student, you have 18 or more years' worth of memories that help you make sense of who you are and help guide your future thoughts, emotions, and behavior. That is, your memory is an important and necessary factor that contributes to your psychological experience and well-being. Miroslav Volf argues in The End of Memory that, as Christians, we are called to remember rightly, and by doing so, our memory serves as a gateway to forgiveness and reconciliation. This session will explore how an accurate memory could change both our experience of ourselves and others.
Facebook and Faith: Implications for Public Witness in Our Digital Society
Bruce Baker, Assistant Professor of Business Ethics
Caleb Henry, Associate Professor of Political Science
Otto Miller Hall 127
Our culture sits in a "convergence zone" – social networking, neuroscience, and the financial incentives of big-data analytics in business and government are changing the shape of public discourse. Facebook, the current icon for these trends, serves as our prime example as we consider how these forces are reshaping public expressions of faith and morality. Popular ideas about personal and public faith are moving along reductionist lines, and yet the digital society opens up new opportunities for public witness. We will explore these challenges and opportunities together, as we interact with Volf's 2011 book, A Public Faith.
Hard Core: Visual Art Influence on the Front Edge
Roger Feldman, Professor of Art
While many Christians pay little attention to art, visual art culture enjoys a prominent seat of power at the table of cultural direction. Museums in major metropolitan areas are packed and have become the temples of secular culture. What artists produce in their studios can become trends in popular culture extending the boundaries of what we consume in the marketplace. Cultural engagement in the arts is absolutely necessary if we want to be authentic in who we are, presupposing we have the courage to believe that God is there. Engagement is not running, but sitting and having a conversation, then producing and participating. Come and see how this plays out.
How to Fight Civilly
Don MacDonald, Professor of Marriage and Family Therapy
Few of us know how to fight with friends and loved ones effectively. We operate out of the mistaken notion that we must win, when in fact a win is often a loss – a loss of relationship. Instead, in the face of a disagreement, it is essential to make relationship the top priority and work together to continue and perhaps even enhance relationship. Optimally, preservation of relationship means that everyone involved wins. While change of priority is core, relationship is also served by a number of basic communication skills that help keep the doors to each other's lives open. These skills are easy to learn yet difficult to apply in the heat of the moment. Hence, practice, practice, practice.
How to Talk About Controversial Subjects Without Making Enemies of Your Friends
Ruth Ediger, Associate Professor of Political Science
Mikyung Kim, Assistant Professor of Sociology
Laura Sweat, Assistant Professor of New Testament
Zhiguo Ye, Assistant Professor of History
One of the first steps to modeling civic engagement is being able to have meaningful and productive conversations around difficult controversial topics in politics, religion, race, ethnicity, and historical debate (such as, "Who should apologize for the atrocities of WWII?"). This session will focus on some of our society's most contentious issues and then lay out some guidelines for talking about those issues without alienating others in the exchange.
"Hey! Teacher! Leave Those Kids Alone!": The Question of Faith in Public Schools
Jeffrey Keuss, Professor of Christian Ministry, Theology, and Culture
Robert Drovdahl, Professor of Educational Ministry
Greg Fritzberg, Professor of Education
Eaton Hall 112
The injunction raised by Pink Floyd in their 1979 song "The Wall" – "Hey! Teacher! Leave Thos Kids Alone! – seems relevant as we consider whether public schools should be environments for discussing religious faith. Should teacher "leave those kids alone" on questions of morality and religious faith, or is there still a place (let alone mandate) for educators to engage lived faith and practice? This seminar will be a discussion based on the teaching and curriculum that informs EDU 6085: Moral Issues in Education, which is a core course taught in the graduate program of SPU's School of Education. Faculty teaching the course will share their insights and experience from the course, and they will also share resources to assist further reflections on this vital question of faith in the public square.
Korea, The Last Divided State in the World: Areas for Reconciliation Through Culture, Business, and Economic Exchange
Don Lee, Assistant Professor of Management
McKenna Hall 118
The goal of this session is to search for innovative ways to promote reconciliation in circumstances where a nation state seems to be isolated and has been declared "the enemy." In particular, throughout the decades, North Korea and South Korea have been through volatile turmoil socially, economically, and culturally. Recently, North Korea has been declared "the axis of evil." Interestingly, it has been said that capitalism has infiltrated North Korea among its people and even its regime shows signs of opening up to capitalistic trade and free markets. How should we understand this interesting and perhaps hopeful phenomena while thinking about the "Christian view" of reconciliation with "a foe?"
Life as an Activist: Ron Young and the National Interreligious Leadership Initiative for Peace in the Middle East
Bill Purcell, Professor of Communication
Ron Young, Community Activist
McKenna Hall 111
Ron Young has been an activist his entire life: working in the civil rights movement, working in anti-war endeavors in Vietnam and Central America, and, for the last thirty years, working for peace in the Middle East. What exactly is an activist? How does a person become one? What is the role of religion in being an activist, and how does one work for peace across different religions and ethnicities? Come hear Professor Purcell interview Ron Young on his life's work.
Modeling Christian Calling in the Field of Medicine
Joseph Rathkey, Instructor of Biology and Chemistry
Kathy Stetz, Professor of Nursing
Otto Miller Hall 118
Although extensive discussion has focused on the compatibility of the teachings of Christianity and the claims of science and medicine, considerably less discussion has explored the role of the Christian within the discipline of medicine. Inherent in the field of medicine are unique challenges and opportunities to extend the grace and love of Christ. Here we investigate the manner in which Christians engage practically in the medical field, determining how the general calling of the Christian faith – loving God and loving others – can be applied to this specific venue.
Offering Intellectual Hospitality, Building Mutual Understanding, and Fostering Human Flourishing in the Science Classroom
Amy Robertson, Assistant Professor of Physics
Lane Seeley, Associate Professor of Physics
McKenna Hall 117
Dr. Volf calls on us to promote hospitality and human flourishing; to love our neighbor; and to foster mutual understanding in a pluralistic society. What might this look like in a science classroom? In this interactive session, we will discuss videos of two different conversations among participants in a physics workshop to specifically examine how and if opportunities for hospitality, mutual understanding, and human flourishing occurred. Participants will have the opportunity to brainstorm connections between these examples and our own participation in science learning communities.
Reconciliation Is Like Hugging: Reconciling Engagement Through the SPU John Perkins Center
Owen Sallee, Coordinator for Global and Urban Involvement, SPU John Perkins Center
SPU John Perkins Center Student Leaders
Library Seminar Room
Dr. Volf's Exclusion and Embrace explains the complex social and theological concept of reconciliation in the simple terms of sharing an embrace. This seminar will outline the four steps of reconciling embrace, incorporating examples from Scripture and stories from students and SPU staff members engaged in cross-cultural reconciliation and service through the John Perkins Center at SPU. Group discussion will invite attendees to consider their own process of embrace and reconciliation, involving openness, waiting, embrace, and release.
Responses to the Religious Pluralism of John Hick
Tom Trzyna, Professor of English
Martin Abbott, Professor of Sociology
Maci Eisenhower, Senior Math Student
Katie Pitt, Senior Nursing Student
Camille Wylie, Senior Nursing Student
Our travels, study, and work increasingly bring us into contact with a religiously diverse world. John Hick is well known for asserting the view that all religions are equally useful spiritual paths toward whatever ultimate reward we can expect. What does Hick argue, and what are the responses one can make to his views? This panel discussion will explore a variety of positions to demonstrate civil dialogue and strengthen participants' abilities to articulate their own positions.
Talking "Grace and Truth" With Muslims
Blake Wood, Lead Pastor, First Free Methodist Church
John Coghlan, Community Guest
This session will focus on interactive learning around a handful of principles for grace-filled and truth-saturated engagement with Muslims, principles that are found in a position paper endorsed by dozens of ministry leaders. The facilitators will share both local and global experiences where they have effectively, and ineffectively, engaged Muslims using these principles, and they will discuss the lessons they learned. If time allows, a discussion of Jesus' encounter with someone from another faith background will be mined for insights for our encounters with Muslims.
"Umuntu Ngumuntu Ngabantu"
Nyaradzo Mvududu, Associate Professor of Education
This session will discuss what the Zulu phrase "umuntu ngumuntu ngabantu" means. What is the essence of being human? As humans we are inextricably bound to each other. Bishop Desmond Tutu reiterated this point in an interview when he said, "The only way to survive and prosper...is together." For Christians this is more than just a practical reality – it is a mandate. What are the implications for how we should live our lives? How does this relate to civic engagement? What impedes our efforts to engage? We will attempt to answer these questions together.
What I Learned From Filipinos: Flexibility as a Strategy For Peacemaking
Miriam Adeney, Associate Professor of World Christian Studies
Spanish, Americans, and Japanese colonized the Philippines for 400 years. Today conflicts continue – Muslims versus Christians, Marxist farmers' movements versus government forces, wealthy land grabbers versus small tribes. One tenth of the population works abroad, vulnerable as aliens. We will explore, with Christian case examples, how the resilient balance between protest and "pakikisama" (a core Filipino value meaning "togetherness") enables Filipinos to survive and thrive. The session will provide eyewitness accounts of martial law, of People's Power peaceful revolutions, of peace building communities in volatile Mindanao today, and of constructive activities of Filipinos in the Arabian Gulf. This is one face of global Christianity working for peace.
Steve Perisho, Librarian for Theology and Philosophy, has created a list of library resources related to the theme of this year’s Day of Common Learning.