ARTICLES

Michael Kunnen and Clayton Carlson - Deeply Connected to God’s Good World, the Human Microbiome

Advances in DNA sequencing technologies are revolutionizing our understanding of
microbial populations on and within human beings. The goal of this article is to evaluate
some of these discoveries in light of the story of scripture. The early chapters of Genesis
make clear the relational nature of human being in regards to our connections to God, to
each other, and to God’s creation. Research into the human microbiome reveals new levels
of connectedness that could have been expected theologically and the new connectedness
revealed by science can begin to shape our theology. Michael Kunnen is the Coordinator of
the Bridge Street House of Prayer in Grand Rapids, MI and Clayton Carlson is an Associate
Professor of Biology at Trinity Christian College in Palos Heights, IL.

 

Chad P. Stutz - Wisława Szymborska, Adolf Hitler, and Boredom in the Classroom; or, How Yawning Leads to Genocide

Contemporary attitudes toward student boredom have varied greatly. Whereas some have
viewed it as a relatively trivial, even inevitable fact of classroom life, others have sought
remediation through improved engagement techniques. Lost in many of these discussions,
however, is a clear sense of the moral stakes associated with boredom. Drawing upon the
work of Polish Nobel laureate Wisława Szymborska, particularly her poem “Hitler’s First
Photograph,” this essay encourages Christian instructors to reconsider the possible implications
of boredom. Far from merely superficial, ordinary boredom, Szymborska suggests,
may have grave moral and social consequences. For Christian teachers, this view calls for
greater urgency in addressing students’ lack of interest in the classroom even as it highlights
the need for a comprehensive theology of boredom. Chad P. Stutz is an Associate Professor
of English at Gordon College in Wenham, MA.

 

REFLECTION

Eli J. Knapp - Intelligently Designed Discussion: My Journey through Intellectual Fear in Higher Education

This essay chronicles how a freshly minted college professor navigated the many potential
passageways one encounters when teaching biology at a Christian liberal arts college. It
describes a journey of initial idea evasion that eventually led to academic engagement with
students who collectively sought more than just textbook knowledge. In the process, the author discovered how to hold heavily contested ideas in tension without ducking hot-button
issues or pushing ardent seekers away. On one level, it is a story about teaching sound
biological concepts with earnest students. On another, it is about teleology, the purpose of
a Christian college professor in an ever-changing and increasingly complex cultural milieu.
To what extent, the author asks, should a professor divulge his own personal convictions
and biases? And if he chooses to do so, how should he proceed? To answer these questions,
the author examines recent assertions by renowned atheist Richard Dawkins and pits them
against statements made a century-and-a-half earlier by Charles Darwin. The philosophical
approach of both men is contrasted revealing a startling difference both in degree and
in kind. Despite championing all things evolutionary, both men, Dawkins and Darwin,
approached life very differently. Darwin did so hesitantly and carefully. Dawkins does so
brashly and without remorse. Emulating Darwin’s approach, the author suggests, is a good
starting point for engaging today’s students with this ever-absorbing topic. Eli J. Knapp,
PhD, is a Professor of Intercultural Studies & Biology at Houghton College.

 

REVIEW AND RESPONSE

Paul Sullins - Christian Sociology? The Critical Realist Personalism of Christian Smith

Advances in DNA sequencing technologies are revolutionizing our understanding of microbial populations on and within human beings. The goal of this article is to evaluate some of these discoveries in light of the story of scripture. The early chapters of Genesis make clear the relational nature of human being in regards to our connections to God, to each other, and to God’s creation. Research into the human microbiome reveals new levels of connectedness that could have been expected theologically and the new connectedness revealed by science can begin to shape our theology. Michael Kunnen is the Coordinator of
the Bridge Street House of Prayer in Grand Rapids, MI and Clayton Carlson is an Associate Professor of Biology at Trinity Christian College in Palos Heights, IL.

 

Christian Smith - Response to Paul Sullins

 

Paul Sullins - Response to Christian Smith

 

EXTENDED REVIEW

David P. King - Charity Detox—An Extended Review

David P. King is Assistant Professor of Philanthropic Studies and Karen Lake Buttrey Director of the Lake Institute on Faith and Giving at Indiana University’s Lilly Family School of Philanthropy.

 

REVIEW ESSAY

Jeremy S. Stirm - Moral Injury: Narrating Life after War—A Review Essay

Jeremy S. Stirm is a military chaplain and independent scholar and taught most recently as an adjunct instructor for Truett Seminary. He served two tours of duty, one in Afghanistan with Special Forces and one in Iraq as a chaplain.