Dennis L. Sansom - The Security of the Self: The Bazaar Versus Contemplation

This paper by Dennis L. Sansom examines and compares the ideas about the nature of the
self in the twelfth-century theologian St. Peter of Damaskos and the twenty-first-century
philosopher Richard Rorty. Peter understands the self as a flexible reality defined by a person’s
ability to orient intentions, desires, and beliefs toward ever increasingly important
ontological relationships. Rorty understands the self to be completely self-made through a
continual effort to recreate oneself by applying the relevant metaphors proper to living in
an utterly contingent society and disenchanted world. The paper’s conclusion shows that
Rorty’s goal fails to secure a self for the modern person trying to live without any foundations
or hopes but that Peter’s goal succeeds in securing a self through the contemplative
search for God. Mr. Sansom is Professor and Chair of Philosophy at Samford University,
Birmingham, Alabama.


Keith E. Starkenburg and Mackenzi Huyser - Christian Perspective on Belonging: A Case Example of a Gentrifying Urban Neighborhood

When neighborhoods gentrify, residents can be physically displaced as well as psychologically
displaced. This psychological displacement can occur even if the resident is not
physically displaced. In this article, Keith E. Starkenburg and Mackenzi Huyser explore
the significant impact that neighborhood changes have on one’s attachment to place as
expressed through the concept of Christian belonging. They develop a theology of place,
rooted in Christian perspectives on belonging, that informs thoughtful conversation and
action in gentrifying neighborhoods. Keith E. Starkenburg is Professor of Theology at Trinity
Christian College, and Mackenzi Huyser is Executive Director of Chicago Semester.


George Yancey and Michael O. Emerson - Having Kids: Assessing Differences in Fertility Desires between Religious and Nonreligious Individuals

Although it is empirically established that traditional religion enhances fertility, how it
increases childbearing is not clear. This paper is an exploratory qualitative study investigating
how religion influences decisions about intended fertility and family size. Most
specifically, Michael Emerson and George Yancey ask how, if at all, do the religious understand
children and family differently. Data from two online surveys with open- and
closed-ended questions indicated that while the desire for children by the religious is tied
to family expectations and an emotional desire for children, the desire of the nonreligious
is tied to the individualistic obligations toward the new humans they bring into the world.
They postulate that differing conceptualizations about the meaning of community whereby
the religious focus on local communities and the nonreligious focus on global communities,
lead to contrasting actions, including the higher fertility patterns of the religious. Their findings
have important implications for American Christians as these findings explain more
than family patterns but also provide insight into the modern culture war. Polarization
between Christian conservatives and secularists in the United States may be partially tied
to the differences in the communities where the two groups live. Dr. Michael O. Emerson
is the provost of North Park University, and Dr. George Yancey is a professor of sociology
at the University of North Texas.




Jack Mulder Jr. - A Response to Van Kuiken on the Immaculate Conception

Jack Mulder Jr. is Associate Professor of Philosophy and Chair of the Philosophy Department at Hope College.




Mark A. Peters - Advancing Mariology—An Extended Review

Mark A. Peters is a professor of music at Trinity Christian College.




Rebecca C. Burwell - Families Living on the Margins— A Review Essay

Rebecca C. Burwell is a faculty member at Chicago Semester, where she teaches courses in race, social justice, and vocation.