At the start of this new year, I’d like to offer you my selection of online initiatives that you could connect with for inspiration and fellowship on your journey of faithful thinking and research. The following resources give me hope and inspiration for Christian academic work, and share in the spirit of Faith-in-Scholarship.
- Good News for the University: IFES-Europe has partnered with UCCF Research to build a network providing regular themed reading and discussion materials for Christian postgraduates seeking to explore the meaning of Christ’s lordship in their areas of work. If you’re part of a Christian postgrad discussion group, it could join the Postgraduate Association and appear on their map. If you’re not, why not set up a group for your campus? (Let us know too, and we can help you promote the group through our social media channels.) You can also sign up to receive “Research Network” emails with reading and discussion resources – great for personal study even if you don’t have a group.
- Forming A Christian Mind (connected to the above) is a programme of conferences in Cambridge (next one: 23 March), together with a Fellows Programme with regular meetings from January through to June. I think you might still be in time to sign up this year if you click on that link – there’s an opening event on 14 January.
- L’Abri was where Francis and Edith Schaeffer created a ‘shelter’ in the Swiss Alps for young adults searching for meaning and direction in life to spend time living with a missionary family who pioneered a culturally-engaged form of outreach. It was about making connections between different areas of life, guided by the Schaeffers’ conviction that Jesus is concerned with all of human culture. Through open conversations and searching questions, the Holy Spirit transformed many people through that centre and the books that the Schaeffers wrote. Now there are L’Abri centres in various parts of the world, which you can visit. And the English L’Abri runs fascinating Friday-night talks that anyone can join online… look at the schedule and put them in your diary!
- The Kirby Laing Centre for Public Theology has an eclectic range of resources, talks and discussion groups inspired by faith in all of life. The Big Picture magazine provides a beautifully-produced collection of articles on topics ranging from preaching to politics and from cooking to current affairs – why not subscribe?
- Thinking Through the Bible is Dr Chris Watkin’s blog site with resources for Christian students and academics that draw upon Dr Watkin’s acclaimed work in (continental) philosophy: critical theory, postmodernism and theology. Whatever your discipline, you’re sure to find helpful and thought-provoking ideas here… a good place to start is the page about ‘storyboarding your discipline‘.
- Church Scientific, our sister organisation, is developing resources for those working in the sciences. New video resources are planned for this year, so do keep an eye on this one!
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Finally, let me wish you a new year full of good fruit, as we settle into the Vine who spans the whole universe.