Gideon Strauss
Associate Professor of Worldview Studies
 
“Many’s the time I’ve been mistaken.” (Paul Simon)
 
“The phenomenological idea of going to the things themselves means to do full justice to the everyday experience, to the lived experience. … ‘Going to the things’ [Husserl] means that, as researchers, we should position ourselves so the things can show themselves to us.” (Karin Dahlberg)
 
“All creation is a burning bush of the Lord God, revealing his just, merciful presence by the praise of countless creatures.” (Calvin Seerveld)
 
“Open my eyes that I may see wonderful things in your law.” (Psalm 119:18 NIV)

How do I make sense of the world, and of myself? How do I find my way in the world? As I live these questions, and reflect on them, I discover myself in three conditions: a state of wonder at the marvel of the things I encounter and at the overabundant love of God to which I believe all these things testify; a state of heartbreak at the evil that vandalizes all things and that I discover (most often as misguided love) resident in myself; a state of hope when I discover that life (sometimes, in some ways) gets better and when I hear the promise in the apocalyptic poetry of the Bible that in the end all will be well for all things. In its depths, I find my life shaped by what I want (the shape and direction of my desires), in interaction with my inherited genetic composition, my childhood experiences in my birth family, and the stories that I have come to believe.

These questions and conditions are also what shapes my work at the Institute for Christian Studies. As Associate Professor in Worldview Studies, my primary assignment is to co-design, co-promote, and co-curate learning experiences for the Wayfinding concentration in our Masters of Worldview Studies program. My research starts out from a Christian phenomenology of desire and explores the relationship between faith formation (or, the personal and communal composition of meaning, or, discipleship) and everyday life (in particular in the contexts of work and citizenship). I offer Your Next Five Years vocational wayfinding workshops on behalf of ICS in partnership with schools, churches, and other organizations.

This term (Winter 2018) I am teaching Vocational Wayfinding in both all-online and hybrid (online and in-person) versions, and I am delighted that the hybrid version is a partnership between ICS and the Toronto District Christian High School (TDCH). I am working on a research project studying faith formation after sixty, in collaboration with Christ Church, the Anglican cathedral of Montreal.

From May to August 2018 I will be in South Africa, working with a research team at the University of Stellenbosch that has been awarded a two-year grant by the Nagel Institute for the Study of World Christianity for a project on Inequality, forgiveness, and political agency: lived theologies among  young adults in post-apartheid South African churches. I will also be curating vocational wayfinding learning experiences in partnership with schools and churches in Stellenbosch during these months.

In the Fall 2018 term I hope to teach two courses in ICS's MWS program, World-Viewing and The Observant Participant: Applying Research Craft to Professional Practice, and one course in ICS's MA program, Black Panther, Afrofuturism, and the Ethics of Liberation. In the Winter 2019 term I hope to teach another two courses in ICS's MWS program, Lead From Where You Are: Making a Difference in the Face of Tough Problems, Big Questions, and Organizational Politics and the usual Vocational Wayfinding. If all goes well ICS should have landing pages available for each of these courses soon.

I am currently reading Sara Ahmed, Nik Ansell, Hannah Arendt, Ruth Behar, Amber Case, Sarah Coakley, Karen Dahlberg, Sharon Daloz Parks, Abbie Day, Ursula K. Le Guin, Jane McGonigal, Maurice Merleau-Ponty, Martha C. Nussbaum, Edith Stein, Bob Sweetman, Sarah Thornton, Natalie Wigg-Stevenson, and Lambert Zuidervaart. 

I’d love to talk with you if you want to come and study with us at the Institute for Christian Studies, if you are interested in my research, if you'd like me to write an article for your publication, or if you'd like to hear more about Your Next Five Years workshops!  Email me at gstrauss@icscanada.edu so we can correspond or set up an online video or phone conversation.