24 October 2013

The future of the CRC

Not so long ago, I sat around the table with a bunch of people involved in a Christian Reformed Campus ministry. Much to my delight, we started talking about matters of faith. I discovered that one was searching for community back home, another met God in music, still another wasn't so sure what to say about his faith, another had a history of addiction, another was passionate about having others get to know the hope and strength he had found in God, still another mentioned how faith had changed from being a duty to something more vibrant and living.

Several of these group had not grown up connected to any kind of church. None of them had grown up in the CRC nor had they been looking for the Christian Reformed Church. Yet somehow (even through some of those funny God coincidences like mis-hearing the name of the church), they ended up as part of a Christian Reformed Campus ministry. Someone joked that this unexpected community was the future of the CRC. And that made me smile - because I believe the CRC would do well if these fascinating, intelligent and enthusiastic group are part of her future. It'd be good if some 'old', grown-up-in-the-church types also were part of it, too. I hope that the CRC is a place where these people - new folk and old - can feel at home and continue to flourish.


shelly said...

Hi Brenda,
You don't know me, but we probably have some mutual friends from GR and Calvin Seminary. I'm curious: where are you taking your Phd in Amsterdam? Just curious about doctoral work in religion in Amsterdam: can you tell me a bit about your experience? I am interested in psychology and religion (I did Phd course work in NT at Princeton Seminary several years ago, but stepped down for some time out).
Kind thanks for any help,

Brenda said...

hi Shelly,
I'm doing my PhD at VU University. The University of Amsterdam has some religious stuff, but not so much, especially not in the field of biblical studies, which is what I'm interested in. PhD work here in the Netherlands is good, although one has to support oneself both in terms of money (tuition is free but there are almost no scholarships and no teaching fellowships) and also motivation. So it can sometimes take a long time or not even get done :(
You get accepted into the program, to some degree, on the basis of your dissertation proposal. The other means of getting accepted is completing successfully the second year of a research's master here (assuming you have a master's in theology already). I did the second, as it didn't seem to hurt to have some extra time to get used to the system here and complete a thesis on part of what I hoped to be my dissertation.