Summer Community Conference

Online June 8-11, 2022

Keynote Addresses

Wednesday, June 8th

Link to Edith van der Boom's faculty page

Edith van der Boom
(5:00-6:00pm EDT)

Decolonizing Christian Education for Human Flourishing

Over the past year, ICS has hosted a number of events to help our community consider important topics such as racism, colonization, and indigenous-settler relations. Within this context, I have lamented my own complicity in systems of oppression and marginalization. As a Christian educator, I believe it is important for me to take responsibility for the part I have played in these systems, and to help to find pathways for restoration and healing. In this session I will highlight some of the history of residential schooling, set up across Canada for the purpose of eradicating the culture and language of Indigenous peoples. I argue that those of us who are settlers, need not only to continue to learn more about Indigenous peoples and their history but we also need to begin the task of decolonization for human flourishing. In responding to this call, I suggest a pedagogical practice that nurtures critical reflection as a means to expose unconscious assumptions, biases, and other forms of injustice.

Link to Ronald A. Kuipers' faculty page

Ronald A. Kuipers
(6:30-7:30pm EDT)

Working through the Failures of Settler Christianity: The Need for Lament

It is not easy to look at the faith one has cherished and, considering the abuses carried out in its name, ask difficult questions of it. Yet our growing awareness of the deep complicity of European settler Christianity in establishing the ideology of white supremacy—an ideology used to justify colonial expansion and the resulting oppression of indigenous and displaced peoples—makes it high time we ask ourselves some very tough questions. At ICS, we have begun to undertake this difficult journey, and in this talk I will share some of what that journey has looked like for me both personally and professionally. Through asking these difficult questions, I have come to see the spiritual need for settler Christians like myself to lament the wrongs done in the name of our faith, so that together we may enter a space of authentic repentance and metanoia. As opposed to despair, which loses all hope, lament is a form of grieving—a working-through process that, although it faces darkness squarely, also helps us understand that the story of our faith need not end in this damaging place. Instead, true lament helps us take leave of a distorted understanding of Christianity that has failed, thereby restoring our hope and trust that a different, redeemed ending to the story of our faith’s influence is still possible.

Thursday, June 9th

Link to Nik Ansell's faculty page

Nik Ansell
(5:00-6:00pm EDT)

The Most Difficult Journey of All: Gethsemane and Beyond (A Re-thinking in Honour of Fred VanderBerg)

If we believe that we are called to follow a non-violent Jesus who reveals his suffering love most clearly on the cross, and if we embrace his way in our own lives and trust that path as the path of God’s redemption, then the widespread idea that God the Father is “behind” this infliction of suffering (whether willing it or purposefully allowing it) means that we are faced with a terrible contradiction: for the redemptive violence of the Father is at odds with the redemptive non-violence of his Son! Not only is this contradiction theologically problematic in the extreme; it is unbearable on every level! This presentation (made in honour of Fred VanderBerg, who wrote an important ICS MA thesis on this very topic) will explore how we might best interpret Jesus’s words to the Father in the Garden of Gethsemane: “yet, not what I want, but what you want” (Mark 14:36 and Matt 26:39); “yet, not my will, but yours be done” (Luke 22:42). After turning to an important thread in John’s Gospel that also reflects on this theme, we will then look at what theologians Dorothee Soelle and Jürgen Moltmann made of Jesus’s cry from the cross, “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?” (Matt 27:46; Mark 15:34). Finally we shall carefully consider Hebrews 1:3 (an important text in the history of ICS) to see whether the claim that this passage sees the risen Jesus, like God the Father, “sustaining” and thus permitting “all things,” is in fact justified.

Link to Rebekah Smick's faculty page

Rebekah Smick
(6:30-7:30pm EDT)

Is It Possible to Listen with Imagination?: A Hermeneutics of Compassion

This session will begin to think critically about the epistemological presumptions of the Western aesthetics tradition in an effort to respond to the challenge of reformulating their fundamentally colonizing structures. It will look specifically at the Western tradition of imagination while also considering the benefits of recovering therapeutic models for the construction of aesthetic objects.