There are lots of good things in life. Regent College Spring/Summer School is one of those things. Not only is it when the majority of Christianity and the Arts courses are offered, the already-stellar Regent faculty are joined by a great complement of professors from around the world. So although you might never get around to taking courses at Wheaton, Calvin College, Oxford, Notre Dame or the University of Edinburgh, professors from those schools descend upon scenic Vancouver each year to teach for a week or two. Plus there are concerts, film screenings and public lectures… I certainly enjoyed it for both years I participated during my MCS at Regent, and will hopefully be back “under the green roof” for the summer school extravaganza someday in the future.
Rather than list all of the great courses on offer, which you can find at the Regent website, here are my recommendations based on experience (and the assumption that if you are reading my blog, you are probably interested in theology, art and culture). In no particular order:
Roger Lundin, Christ and the Poets: Theology and Modern Literature (July 11 – 22)
The class I took with Dr. Lundin (Wheaton College) was sublime – we covered Emily Dickinson, Dostoevsky, Czeslaw Milosz with detours into Derrida, Bonhoeffer, Faulkner and Szymborska. It was a fantastic, mind-expanding class which impacted me tremendously, and I’m sure this offering will be equally provocative.
Chelle Stearns, Beauty, Brokenness, and the Cross: Exploring Atonement Theology Through the Arts (July 11-22)
Dr. Stearns teaches at Mars Hill Graduate School (soon to change its name to distinguish itself from other, much more conservative Mars Hills) in Seattle. I have a link to her blog in my blogroll, where she connects music, art and theology in ways reminiscent of Jeremy Begbie. I’ve never taken a class with her, but from what I’ve read and her longstanding Regent connection I think this will be a great class.
Scott Cairns, Writing with Scripture: The Gift of Enigmatic Text (Limited Enrollment, July 25-29)
This class is a poetry workshop which looks at the writing process through the lens of the Hebrew practice of midrash. A great forum to write and be critiqued by a renowned, seasoned poet; well worth it just to be able to read Susan Handelman’s book “The Slayers of Moses.” But space is limited!
Hans Boersma, Theology of Culture (May 30–June 10)
Dr. Boersma is a year-round Regent professor best known for his groundbreaking book on the atonement and “hospitality.” He manages to combine both the Reformed tradition with the very best of Catholic nouvelle theologie, the Church Fathers and continental philosophy. I found his Systematic Theology class totally re-oriented my understanding of church and tradition; now I am a lot more comfortable with Christian Neoplatonism, Vatican II and sacramental ontology. If a deeper, richer theological approach to culture is appealing to you, you should definitely take this class.
Maxine Hancock, Devotional Poets of the 17th Century: John Donne & George Herbert (May 23–27)
Another Regent regular, Maxine Hancock is first and foremost a writer, which gives her a unique perspective on poets like Donne. I would say you would be well served by checking this class out if your interests lie in the area of poetry, prose and devotion.
Loren Wilkinson and Mary Ruth Wilkinson, Gardening the City of God (June 5–17)
If you want the real Regent experience, take this course with the Wilkinsons. Loren was one of my thesis supervisors as he teaches a number of great courses year-round on Christianity, imagination and the vocation of the artist. Although this course in particular is about gardening (something I have sworn off of ever since my job at a cemetery), I am sure Loren and Mary Ruth will bring literature, theology and practical knowledge to this “earthy” topic. And hasn’t Andy Crouch reminded us that our true vocation as the church in culture is to be gardeners and cultivators?
Official Regent blurb: Regent College in Vancouver, BC, offers a tremendous range of one or two-week courses during their summer session. Classes some of the foremost evangelical scholars of our day – like Alister McGrath, Bruce Waltke, Marva Dawn and Chris Wright – in the areas of theology, art, missions, spirituality, history, Bible studies, church leadership, marketplace theology and much more. If you’re pursuing a graduate degree, some of these courses may well transfer over – and not just in theology or Biblical studies. If you’re considering a career or vocational change, some of these courses will help you sort through those issues. If you’re simply seeking personal enrichment this summer in one of the world’s most liveable cities, come check us out. See http://summer.regent-college.edu for more course details, registration info, free audio and video of lecturers, and much more.