While not great literature, Yonge’s best-selling novel is nevertheless compelling in that it is suffused with faith in Jesus Christ as mediated by the institutional church. Even as the characters navigate the intricate proprieties of Victorian England and incur guilt through various sins of commission and omission, the church is there for them, making up the mostly implicit backdrop for all their activities.
While Christendom has fallen into disrepute in recent decades, there can be no doubt that something has been lost in its decline. We can no longer hold our neighbours to the standards of a gospel to which they do not adhere, except in so far as its teachings continue to exert a vestigial influence on them. Our society validates the authentic self and the personal quest to find it, irrespective of the damage it may inflict on our communities and interpersonal relationships. If Christendom has declined, it has not made our society any less religious. Instead, it remains deeply religious, with its allegiance now focussed on the socially fragmenting idol of the ego and its desires.
29 October 2021
28 October 2021
The typical research university today is a multiversity that sees scholars virtually imprisoned within the confines of their respective disciplines and methods, incapable of understanding the larger reality of which these are part except in terms of that discipline. Not only is cross-disciplinary dialogue not encouraged at such institutions; it may be implicitly discouraged as scholars keep ploughing within their respective ruts, unaware of what their colleagues are doing elsewhere. As such, it is not surprising that an entire discipline may be captured by an ideological vision while other disciplines remain blithely unaware of it. The humanities may be in the grip of a postmodern historicism, while the social sciences may pay homage to behaviourism.
A biblically Christian worldview is well positioned to compensate for the compartmentalization we see in the secular academy. After all, our most basic confession as Christians is that our world belongs to God, which has huge ramifications for our task as academics. If God has brought into being an orderly creation subject to his laws and norms, we can come to our respective fields of scholarly endeavour confident that they find their place within an integral whole sustained by God himself through Jesus Christ.
26 October 2021
Last week I was privileged to be a part of an online Global Scholars conference, "Friendship That Makes a World of Difference - A Cross-Canada Virtual Conference", subtitled, "Exploring Faith and Friendship in the Academy." My colleague at the University of Lethbridge, John von Heyking, presented a keynote address, titled, "Christian Faith and Friendship in the Academy." John's address and my response have now been posted below:
25 October 2021
Next month I will be revisiting my work with Brazil at an online event sponsored by the Oak Centre for Studies in Faith and Culture. The announcement follows:
Inklings Conversations – Fall 2021
(Wednesday Nov 10th from 4:00 – 5:30)
Serving God in a Global Academy:
An Update on Developments in Brazil
A conversation with David T. Koyzis,
Global Scholar, Politics & International Affairs
Join by Zoom
21 October 2021
20 October 2021
When I was in elementary school in Illinois, my grade five teacher organized a letter-writing campaign to soldiers then serving in Vietnam. Whether all of them wrote back to us I can no longer recall more than half a century later. But I recently found the letter my GI had sent me, dated May 1, 1966, and I've posted it below:
13 October 2021
When the U.S. invaded Afghanistan in 2001, many of us had hoped that the U.S. had learnt its lesson from a quarter century earlier. And what was that lesson? Make sure that any foreign military involvement clearly defends legitimate American interests, know the country and its people where your troops are stationed, and keep the goals realistic. Among other things, this rules out nation-building.
Unfortunately, the George W. Bush administration, once its troops were on the ground in Afghanistan and later Iraq, succumbed to idealistic dreams of reshaping these countries into stable constitutional democracies. Unfortunately, a successful democracy is dependent on two major factors: first, a cohesive sense of nationhood, and second, supportive political traditions. Both were absent in the two countries. This practically guaranteed that the wars would become quagmires with no easy exit.
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