Tuesday, December 17, 2013

In Preparation for Holiday Hibernation: Highlights from Fall 2013


But when the hard winter comes, the river-animal tamer, then even the most quick-witted must learn mistrust; and verily, not only the blockheads then say, ‘Does not everything stand still?’
‘At bottom everything stands still’—that is truly a winter doctrine, a good thing for sterile times, a fine comfort for hibernators and hearth-squatters.
–Zarathustra in Friedrich Nietzsche’s Thus Spoke Zarathustra, 201.


Thanks, Nietzsche the Grinch, for trying to ruin Christmas peace with your yuletide cynicism.

At the risk of being a “blockhead,” I must admit that I am very much looking forward to hibernating by the fire for a week or two over the holidays. It’s been a successful semester on Ground Motive, and it’s time for some serious hearth-squatting stillness. Before collapsing in a heap of holiday cheer, it’s worth reveling in the accomplishments of the past few months.

Here are some of the high points of the fall semester on Ground Motive.


The DooyAward

I’m excited to announce that the first Herman Dooyeweerd Award for the Best Blog Post (better known as the DooyAward) has been awarded to Stefan Knibbe, author of “Rhetoric, The Other, and Boycotting Ender’s Game.” The award takes into consideration the quality of the content, the effectiveness of tone and delivery, and the overall reach, including shares, views, and comments. Stefan’s article weighs in with some insightful comments on a controversial topic with grace and a respectful tone. Regardless of whether or not you’re interested in Ender’s Game, this post delivers a compelling case for compassion and the power of stories. Congratulations, Stefan!


Honorable Mentions

Outlining some parallels between the great detective’s crime fighting strategies and Gadamer’s hermeneutics, this installment of Ground Motive’s Popular Mythology series seems to have struck a chord with readers and takes the lead on the number of page views. Perhaps this has something to do with the fact that the long awaited third season of the British TV series Sherlock starts up in the new year!

ICS Junior Member and prolific author of the philosophy blog Re(-)petitions Dean Dettloff made an appearance on Ground Motive with beautiful insights from an unlikely place. Posted just in time for Thanksgiving, Dean looked to the hip-hop duo Blackalicious for helpful advice on how to live in gratitude despite our consumerist culture.

Angie Hocking’s reflections on her ongoing street ministry at Church of the Redeemer in Toronto were both thought-provoking and haunting. This guest post holds up the mirror to us as readers in those times when we get too wrapped up in our own world and find it all too easy to forget that we share in a common humanity with all people, regardless of social status, income, or lifestyle.

Hector Acero-Ferrer, ICS Junior Member and born Colombian, shares a unique perspective on interreligious dialogue as a Colombian living in Canada. He explores the question of why Colombian Catholicism sometimes looks so much different from the Canadian variety. What are the hidden forces that shape religious tradition?

This post’s use of Richard Dawkins’ theory of memes and its surprising potential benefits for a robust understanding of human freedom raised a red flag for some readers. Because one of Ground Motive’s primary aims is to spark conversations about important topics in philosophy, religion, and social ethics, a controversial article represents an opportunity. So if you have an opinion on this article, don’t hesitate to add your thoughts in the comments. We’d love to hear from you!

Post with the Deepest Thoughts: What Buddhist Meditation Taught Me About Sin
In a moving reflection on spirituality and embodiment, PhD candidate Joseph Kirby suggests that Buddhist meditation and Christian spirituality might be deepened by one another. Perhaps engaging in such interreligious dialogue makes us realize the profound similarities we share with others by simply being embodied human beings.

Best Post About the Upcoming Conference Are We There Yet? Economic Justice and the Common Good (thereyet.ca): Economic Justice and…family reunions?
Don’t forget to mark your new 2014 calendars for the upcoming conference in Edmonton on May 12 and 13! It’s going to be a fascinating couple of days that will challenge you and make you think. Take a look at this post for some information on why this conference is so important and what makes it unique.

Best Post about Free Stuff: Building a World Where Knowledge is Free
This semester, the Institute for Christian Studies launched their Open Repository, full of previously hidden gems of research and scholarship. In celebration of Open Access Week, this article, along with an interview with ICS’s librarian Isabella Guthrie-McNaughton, highlights the benefits and difficulties of moving towards an open access model of publishing.

Most Thought-Provoking Interview: Don’t Be a Hero
As the first post of the semester, this interview may not have received the airtime it deserved. In this post, Tyler Wigg-Stevenson, author of The World is Not Ours to Save: Finding the Freedom to Do Good, recounts his experiences in Christian activism and cautions against its tendency toward valuing heroism over real-world concern for real people. He goes on to suggest alternate ways of thinking about how to approach Christian activism in this excerpt and in the second installment as well.

*           *           *

Thanks to everyone who contributed to Ground Motive this semester. It has been an exhilarating season of fresh insights and fruitful conversation. As we head into 2014, the Centre for Philosophy, Religion, and Social Ethics eagerly anticipates a new year of innovative research and inspiring ideas.

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