Interdisciplinarity and Christian Theism ~ A Speculation

TL;DR

The freedom of Christian theism, practiced by scholars open to and eager for subject-centered, communal scholarly inquiry, leverages interdisciplinarity's capacity to produce deep, satisfying, and useful knowledge about a central subject.

Topics

   Since Christ is Creator and Lord of all, Christian theism brings maximal freedom to scholarly inquiry, opening all subjects for consideration.
   Since subject-centered inquiry welcomes various informed perspectives around a shared concern, it provides a framework for working through internecine barriers and creating a shared scholarly culture.
   Since Christian theism is interested in an infinite range of disciplines, interdisciplinarity carried out in that context has the capacity to produce a richer description of the subject than might otherwise be possible.
   Since Christian theism provides scholars with the freedom to bring their whole selves to an exploration, interdisciplinarity practiced in that context has the capacity to deepen scholarly satisfaction.
   Since Christian theism provides an infinite range of perspectives within which to integrate the theoretical and practical, it broadens the practical impact of interdisciplinary scholarship.

 

The Freedom of Christian Theism

Since Christ is Creator and Lord of all, Christian theism brings maximal freedom to scholarly inquiry, opening all subjects for consideration. In the beginning, God created the stuff and shape of all things, and the New Testament tells us that Jesus, the Word, is the one through whom all was created (Genesis 1; John 1). Everything in nature proclaims God's glory, divinity, and power (Psalm 19; Romans 1), and Christ himself is the maker, sustainer, and Lord of everything (Colossians 1; Hebrews 1). Therefore, he is concerned about everything. Just as Christ is concerned about everything, so also should his people be concerned about everything. This means that every subject is open to and benefits from scholarly inquiry from a Christian perspective. Every discipline in the academy and every topic under discussion in the world is open to inquiry for Christian scholars.


The Community of Subject-Centered Scholarship

Since subject-centered inquiry welcomes various informed perspectives around a shared concern, it provides a framework for working through internecine barriers and creating a shared scholarly culture. Subject-centered scholarly inquiry welcomes a variety of perspectives into the process of exploration, welcoming any and all who are interested in the subject and equipped into interdisciplinary dialog. This welcoming, subject centered-conversation is similar to Parker Palmer's (2017) idea of the great thing in the center of teaching in Courage to Teach. Placing a third, great thing in the center of a scholarly conversation prevents narcissistic focus and provides a standard that measures all participants. This third thing holds all parties in the conversation accountable. Focus on the subject in the center also reduces internecine squabbles, making for more productive and enjoyable interdisciplinary conversation. This possible reduction of squabbles and barriers aligns with the results of Strober's study (2010), which found that leadership is key to healthy and productive interdisciplinary conversation. Leaders provide both structure and space for participants to uncover differences, form bonds, and explore the subject from their sundry perspectives. They maintain the group’s focus on the purpose of the conversation and point ahead to its significance. They have a part in selecting participants who are competent regarding the subject and have a capacity to admit their own weaknesses and acknowledge the strengths of others. Leaders are also competent in the subject and collegial relations and have the respect of the participants. So, in a subject-centered interdisciplinary conversation, the leader's task is to convene and facilitate a community of scholars from several disciplines in conversation around a shared concern that is kept in the center of the community.


Deep Knowledge and Rich Description

Since Christian theism is interested in an infinite range of disciplines, interdisciplinarity carried out in that context has the capacity to produce a richer description of a subject than might otherwise be possible. Approaching the central subject with a clear idea of one's own perspective and an openness to hearing the perspectives of others brings more dimensions to the table, allowing for a rich description of the subject and increasing the opportunity to discover connections among the perspectives surrounding the subject.


Scholarly Satisfaction

Since Christian theism provides scholars with the freedom to bring their whole selves to an exploration, interdisciplinarity practiced in that context has the capacity to deepen scholarly satisfaction. Setting aside pieces of ourselves in an effort to be objective goes against the nature of reality. Reality is complex, interconnected, and relational. We see these characteristics in human social gatherings, ant colonies, and entangled Quantum particles. Cutting an entire line of inquiry in order to do scholarly work properly is both ridiculous and impossible. Our assumptions and prior experience always filter what we perceive and shape what we conceive. When those filters are acknowledged by us, confronted by others, and made to respond more closely to reality, amazing things can happen.


Useful Knowledge

Since Christian theism provides an infinite range of perspectives within which to integrate the theoretical and practical, it broadens the practical impact of interdisciplinary scholarship. Such a context welcomes all interested and capable persons around the table, bringing their whole selves to the inquiry. In this holistic interplay of unity and diversity, the possibility of recognizing practical applications and links to life becomes more likely. The mutual flow of ideas among persons, especially those having different perspectives, exposes blind spots to information and incorrect assumptions to correction. It increases the breadth of experiential knowledge and wisdom within which the subject is explored and into which the rich description might be applied.

References

Palmer, P. J. (2017). The Courage to Teach: Exploring the Inner Landscape of a Teacher’s Life (Kindle). Jossey-Bass.

Strober, M. (2010). Interdisciplinary Conversations: Challenging Habits of Thought (Kindle). Stanford University Press.

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(C) Laura Springer
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Musings of a peripatetic wannabe-sage by Laura Springer is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License..

The set path brings freedom



culture shock abounds
in life. filled mind soon forgets:
protocol must guide.

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(C) Laura Springer
Creative Commons License
Musings of a peripatetic wannabe-sage by Laura Springer is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License..