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Religious Studies.

Robert W. Jenson's Doctrine of God. Jack D. Kilcrease, Aquinas College

Robert W. Jenson (1926-2017) was one of the most important and influential Protestant theologians of the second half of the twentieth century. Although a Lutheran, his theology was read and appreciated by scholars and theologians from a wide variety of backgrounds. This paper focuses on his doctrine of God and some of its strengths and weaknesses. These strengths and weaknesses find their origin primarily in Jenson's reliance on the philosophy of G. W. F. Hegel's philosophy as mediated to him by post-WW II German Protestant theologians. Ultimately, because Jenson's God must use creation and history as a means of actualizing his being, the purely gratuitous nature of God's dealing with the world is compromised. This leads to a contradiction of the Reformation principle of sola gratia which Jenson held to be so important.

The Functionality of Intercessory Prayer: Laws of Nature and an Unseen Order. Sarah Battiston, Grand Valley State University

Colton's wife is in the hospital fighting cancer. He prays to his god to ask for divine intervention to heal his wife. However, his request fails upon his wife's death. In many religions, spiritual practice is used by insiders to try to reach a stabilizing end goal of order, hut is there order if the prayer doesn't receive its outcome? The "Study of the Therapeutic Effects of Intercessory Prayer in Cardiac Bypass Patients" by Herbert Benson and Jeffery Dusek tested the effects of intercessory prayer on the outcome complications of CABG patients. This research funded by the Templeton Foundation, observed the probability of intercessory prayer benefits and if it had an effect on complication rates. Intercessory prayer is a spiritual practice in which the insider attempts at communication to a higher power for an end goal, in which the deity intervenes with the profane world in response. This essay takes an outsider view to tackle the question of the functionality of intercessory prayer in an insider's reality. Intercessory prayer functions to re-establish a sacred unseen order within the profane reality. This order encases the chaos that erupts within it when the prayer's goal was not achieved.

Activists and Non-Activists: Clergy, Congregants, and Communication. Seth Davis, Alma College

This qualitative study addresses four research questions: (1) how is immigration discussed during church service or mass, if at all?; (2) are clergy members and congregants willing and able to have a conversation about immigration with each other?; (3) how knowledgeable are members and clergy on immigration legislation and doctrine in the United States and for their specific church?; and (4) what hesitations do individuals have that could dissuade them from addressing immigration-related topics in their church? Based on an analysis of interviews and surveys from four local, mid-Michigan clergy members and their congregants, this study seeks to create an Activist/Non-Activist typology to explain how clergy members and congregants can better understand one another and better address topics of interest in their congregations and parishes.

Pitfalls and Potentials: A Framework for Neuroscience and Religious Studies Collaborative Research. Fiona Dougherty, Western Michigan University

In the past few decades, there has been a growing interest in the use of neuroscience to test the effect of contemplative practices on the brain, as well as the efficacy of such practices on mental and physical health. However, this research has been largely uninformed by religious scholars. By analyzing the tools of measurement used in such research, and synthesizing the terminology, I evaluate the relationship between neuroscience and religious studies, creating a framework in which future research will be better informed. Using textual and archival-based data from scientific authors as well as the perspective of religious studies scholars Craig Martin and Louis Komjathy, I construct the history of the discussion, findings, and point out potential weaknesses within the field that could benefit from further research, namely soteriology. This project takes a comprehensive look at the ways in which researchers investigate, quantify, and analyze a wide range of religious contemplative practices. By evaluating terms, data, and truth claims on both sides, the results of this study aim to point out pitfalls and potentials of such research, in order to better understand complex issues within this burgeoning field.

The Modernization of Islamic Art in the Realm of Architecture. Rinad Al-Shboul and Shinming Shyu, Eastern Michigan University

The aim of this qualitative study is to explore the modernization of Islamic art in the realm of architecture through a select number of case studies that represent traditional and modern mosques from an architectural and decorative perspective. By examining published materials and research papers pertaining to the selected artifacts as well as analyzing their architectural and decorative features, this study attempts to answer the following questions: how has Islamic art entwined with architecture evolved along with time and modern technologies? what new trends have aided in the evolution of this art? and how have culture and religion influenced the evolution of Islamic art and continued to play a major role in its modernization?

This paper conducted comparative studies between paired artifacts according to their chronological timelines and geographical locations in order to explore the evolutionary development that took place. The findings showed that the emergence of social media and the advancement of digital technologies aided in the evolution of this art. In addition, trends of minimalism, symbolism, and the notion of isolation became apparent. Culture and religion continue to empower the evolution; however, it appears that there are multi-cultural influences in the wake of globalization.

Ummah: A Community within a Community. Reem Abou-samra, University of Detroit Mercy

One of the most misunderstood communities in the current political climate is the Muslim community, the ummah. It is assumed to be an exclusive community of believers. However, this understanding is problematic and not rooted in religious text. The purpose of this paper is to advocate for a context-based translation and usage of the word ummah in the discourse, both among scholars and laity. The paper will address the following question: What does the word ummah mean as understood in the various contexts of the Quran? The paper is organized in the following way: First, a basic introduction to Tafseer (interpretation) and the methodological approach. Second, a discussion of the word ummah in the lexicon. Third, an explanation of why the translation as "nation" and "people" is problematic as an umbrella definition/translation. Fourth, the thematic interpretation of ummah and the terminology that describes the concept of ummah in the Quran based on my analysis. Fifth, the meaning of the word ummah as understood by Muslim scholars in brief. Sixth, the meaning of the word ummah as understood by contemporary scholars. Lastly, a discussion of the word ummah as a stepping stone to a global community, cosmopolitanism, and plurality.

Remarriage after Divorce. Erhard Gallos, Andrews University

Both the Old and New Testament of the Christian canon discuss the question of divorce and remarriage. Is it acceptable for a person to divorce? If so, what are the reasons for a legitimate divorce? Already the rabbis of Jesus' day raised those questions and debated the legitimacy or illegitimacy of divorce. In Matthew 19:3, the Pharisees came to Jesus and asked, "Is it lawful for a man to divorce his wife for any and every reason?" Those following the stricter interpretation of rabbi Shammai, claimed that divorce and remarriage were acceptable only in the case of adultery. The more lenient interpretation of rabbi Hillel asserted that divorce was acceptable for almost any reason, even the burning of a meal. Some time later, rabbi Akiba went so far as to allow for divorce if a man found a more attractive woman to marry. All of these teachers appealed to the same passage, Deuteronomy 24:1.

The purpose of this paper is to address contemporary questions about which the Bible is rather silent. Based on Biblical principles, is it legitimate to divorce and remarry in the case of physical and emotional abuse, "incompatibility," and marital or emotional neglect?
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Title Annotation:Rober Jenson's theology, spiritual healing, clergy politics
Publication:Michigan Academician
Article Type:Report
Date:Sep 22, 2018
Previous Article:Psychology.
Next Article:Rhetoric & Composition.

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