Posted by: gcarkner | July 28, 2022

Do We Still Have High Ideals and Hopes?

In Search of a Few Good Adventurers/Interlocutors

Some see this as such a cynical age that they wonder whether ideals and the pursuit of excellence have currency anymore. We want to protest. As a ministry to graduate students at UBC and beyond, in Graduate Christian Union and the Graduate & Faculty Christian Forum, we are diligently on a quest. It is not an easy, safe or superficial desire. Quite the contrary, we are looking to find and nurture the next generation of culture- and nation-shapers, builders of the literary imagination, institution-shapers, breakthroughs in science and medicine. We are looking for the future apologists, justice-seekers, politicians who care about the common good and the weaker members of society, peace-negotiators, international relations adjudicators, advocates for the poor.

Show us the new prophetic voices who will shape public policy towards a more fair, merciful and just society, musicians captivated by beauty, medical people with an ear to their patients as persons, educators and thinkers with vision to make a more human world. We adjure you; step up into your calling wise counsellors and healers of broken hearts, leaders with moral depth, substance  and self-awareness. Become people who can benefit from the wisdom of history and pursue robust vision for a more compassionate world–even when the going gets tough.

Let’s inspire the world, new artists and writers, telling great stories. Let us capture the heart of human pain and struggle, be conscientious stewards of creation, people who want to leave a positive environmental legacy. Together we can be problem-solvers, engineers and architects who craft a more accessible, just, and compassionate world. Young scientists and technologists, you care about ethics, you are bullish on mapping the human and creational benefits of your work. Truth-seekers, don’t stop with superficial conclusions, instead, think through and pursue the point rigorously until you get fully clarity and logical turpitude. Young lawyers, maintain your moral compass, fight for the common good, maintain a strong concern for justice and democracy, fairness and holiness. Young philosophers, examine the evidence, fathom the logic of the case, lead us into wise reflection and wise life decisions. Help us to recover ethics and virtue. Build towards reconciliation.




Young business entrepreneurs, maintain an environmental conscience and a strong stewardship priority. Be generous, build useful and good businesses that add social value. Priestly people, develop your theological acumen and your art of soulcraft. Keep your integrity and lead by example.

Postgraduate and professional students, refuse to permit ‘technique’ or utility, consumption, power or profit to be the final word, or the defining posture. Understand how modernity has shaped you negatively, stolen your soul, and fight against it. Be willing to think differently and sense the need to explore how you can shape and contribute creatively to late modernity in fresh ways, to build a new narrative which is life-giving, creative and constructive. Don’t just copy old templates and parrot ideologies that can grind you down and lead you into the trap of nihilism and anomie. Young professors, focus on the flourishing of your students. Mentor them with diligence and care. Champion their successes. Point them in positive directions.

Truly, this is an exciting trajectory, a high privilege and a robust calling. Is it too idealistic? No indeed. Nothing is more pressing than the creative improvement of our world, healing broken hearts, and paving a way to a better future. We need leadership, peace-makers with courage today like never before, integrity and substance, well-roundedness and hope. Many have travelled before us through the halls of academia with such high ideals, people who refused to be sheep and decided to be thoughtful servant leaders with emotional intelligence, focused on developing those who worked for them. We all can do our part for the greater good, take responsibility for others and especially for our own actions. Below are some of the speakers who have inspired us at UBC in past years:

GFCF Visiting Scholars have helped us produce excellent dialogue. They have also modelled incarnational spiritual culture at UBC for some thirty plus years. Here are some of our top participants: Ray Aldred, Dennis Alexander, Stephen Barr, Jeremy Begbie, Francis Collins, Sy Garte, Brad Gregory, Owen Gingerich, Malcolm Guite, Deborah Haarsma, Ian Hutchinson, David Livingstone, Simon Conway Morris, Alister McGrath, Tom McLeish, Bill Newsome, Alvin Plantinga, John Polkinghorne, Jennifer Wiseman.  These gifted and gracious people have made a huge difference, embodying the love and wisdom of Christ. They have travelled from afar to extend an invitation to dialogue on faith and culture from within each of their fields: the humanities, social sciences, hard sciences, medicine, art and music. They have provided a significant witness for Christ and Christianity in the Academy, embodying a beautiful combination of academic excellence and philosophical/theological wisdom.

https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCl4NgIg_ht8IZCRIhho4nxA Lectures & Webinars GCU & GFCF

Don’t let grad school make you cynical. GCU and GFCF are in pursuit of moral and intellectual goods. We are rooted in a strong consciousness of transcendence, combined with incarnational relevance (faithful presence). We are an ongoing conversation that has existed here at UBC for three decades, building out from a core position of faith, hope and love. We seek to build constructive community networks of like-minded scholars and scientists. We mentor, inspire and resource students.

Together, we grapple with the transformative impact of delving deeply into the Christian narrative of meaning and purpose, to take on the full mantle of its redemptive, society-healing heritage–agape love. GCU & GFCF want to introduce you to some exemplars and great resources during your academic career. We believe that the Christian faith has never been more relevant to a hurting world. [Visit ubcgfcf.com]

~Dr. Gordon E. Carkner, Meta-Educator with UBC postgraduate students, author, blogger, YouTube webinar producer.

John O’Malley, Four Cultures of the West.

Alister McGrath, A Fine-Tuned Universe.

David Bentley Hart, The Experience of God.

Curt Thompson, The Anatomy of the Soul.

James K. A. Smith, You Are What You Love.

Francis Collins, The Language of God.

Tim Keller, God and Reason.

Radcliffe Camera Library Oxford

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