For months, people around the world have been stuck… some literally in their homes and many others stuck in uncertainty and fear.
“This can be a despairing moment, a moment of paralysis,” said Kevin den Dulk, associate provost at Calvin University.
It’s not for lack of information, either… after all it’s a 24-hour news cycle and there’s really only one unifying daily news theme: COVID-19.
But with every news story comes a different angle, a contrasting viewpoint, a new perspective. It often leads to more confusion rather than clarity, and people with good intentions are left overwhelmed and sidelined.
One faithful step forward
“COVID 19 may well be the most significant moment of cultural transformation since the Vietnam War and the Civil Rights Movement of the 1960s,” said John Witvliet, director of the Calvin Institute of Christian Worship. “In moments like these, we need to be engaged in discerning learning together, with trusted guides. Sound bites and webinars aren’t enough.”
After surveying the terrain, fifteen faculty expert guides from both the university and seminary stepped forward to serve as guides for the broader Christian community. They will be charting two dozen fearless paths—courses that will lead participants to discover what it means to be a Christian witness in a world shaped by COVID-19.
From public health to mental health, from politics to organizational decision making, from the role of sport to the challenge of technology and education, the guides will lead participants on three-week adventures focused on a specific sector of society.
See full list of courses.
“Our faculty are well equipped to be these guides because they have a combination of expertise and understanding in all these key areas that people are curious and anxious about at this moment,” said den Dulk.
Diversity and depth of learning
While the creators of the series acknowledge that there are free resources and 1-hour webinars widely available on various topics online, these courses will provide much deeper engagement and lead to much richer learning—also providing academic course credit for learners anywhere in the world, including CEU credit, where applicable.
“What we are doing is taking a three-week deep dive into a specific subject matter and doing so in a classroom that is both cross-cultural and intergenerational,” said Witvliet.
“These are global conversations that require us to see through many lenses,” said den Dulk, “There is tremendous value to cultivating an environment where learners from different cultures, generations, and career experiences, are adding their voice to the conversation.”
The so what of all of it? Moving people from feeling overwhelmed and not knowing what to do to well-informed with the courage and imagination to make positive change.
“These courses are a way of getting us to imagine a way of thinking about a problem of this kind and how we are to act in this world, to act with justice and courage and hospitality,” said den Dulk. “I anticipate we will come away from these classes with a hope-filled vision for action. This can be a despairing moment, a moment of paralysis, but we are people of hope who are called to a very different view of the world.”