Book List for Hilary Term 2017

Oxford Study Centre
Book List for Hilary Term 2017

Our reading list changes a bit from term to term. New books are published, others seem less pressing, and there is a steady stream of articles and chapters on subjects that beg to be included. For the upcoming coming Hilary Term (January-April)—in addition to a selection of articles, essays, and other items—we are using the titles listed below. I have placed them roughly in the order we will read them. (I’ve provided links to Amazon for any who care to chase up the volumes.) Before getting to the book list, permit me a moment to explain the purpose of our course.

oxfordstudycentre.org

 

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The End of Summit Oxford • Launching the Oxford Study Centre

The End of Summit Oxford

(Telos: end, purpose.)

oxfordstudycentre.org

There are times when events present us with significant changes. As such, we have an important announcement to make – several, in fact – as well as much gratitude to express. But first things first.

As of 31 December 2016, Summit Oxford will come to an end. 

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Reflections on the Oxford Study Centre – Chelsia Van Hierdan

Reflections on Oxford Study Centre*
by Chelsia Van Hierdan

Agnosticism — that word plagued my mind like some sort of distasteful acid, unveiling my religion to be little more than a flashy masquerade. I’d never tried to end up there. In fact, my struggle against emerging doubt had been vigorous and unnerving. I felt benumbed, no longer able to maintain the facade I had constructed for so long. Maybe, just maybe, it would be easier to let the whole religion thing go?

My family, since I was young enough to comprehend the English language, had deluged us kids with theology and apologetics. Before my thirteenth birthday I’d watched Del Tackett’s The Truth Project three times over. I already had eagerly written rallying calls summoning Christians to take up arms against secular humanism and relativism. In retrospect, these tirades were agonizingly naive. And yet, they represent the enthusiastic state of my faith at that time.

As time wore on, my enthusiasm for Christian growth developed into harsh dissatisfaction. As I understood it, churches were prone to using as their foundations vague biblical abstractions, which not only resulted in insubstantial theology but also superficial relationships, neither focusing on right thinking nor right action. My own church at the time seemed a confused goulash of divergent and opposed doctrines and denominations and over time its liturgy had been replaced by a painful combination of hip Christian worship and hyper-charismatic invocations. Emotionalism was king, to the depreciation and scorn of the human intellect. After expressing my alienation to a church leader, I was rebutted with, “You need more emotion. You’re doing Christianity wrong.”

The intellectual wasteland of southern Alberta had devoured the last pint of my patience. A month after my eighteenth birthday, I packed my bags and fled for the Oxford Study Centre.

chelsia-acceptance

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The Oxford Study Centre & The Invisible Story

Guest Post: Adriana Hanson attended the Oxford Study Centre* during the autumn of 2015 (the Michaelmas Term). She is a student at The King’s College in New York City majoring in Media, Culture and the Arts and minoring in Creative Writing. As you read Adriana’s reflections do note that we currently are receiving and assessing applications for our upcoming Summer Term (June-August) and the following Michaelmas Term (autumn term; September-December). Visit oxfordstudycentre.org for more information and for an application.

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The Invisible Story

Adriana Hanson

I stepped off of the plane lugging the emotional baggage that sentiment wouldn’t let me leave behind. Eagerness and anxiety clawed at my throat as I made my way through customs. There I was, alone in a foreign country, an adult by name but not by nature, facing off against life’s rising tide one wave at a time.

When I came to the Oxford Study Centre, I expected to gain a new credential for my resume, make some new friends, and have a lot of new experiences; I didn’t plan to see such beauty. Perhaps see is too strong of a word, perhaps I should say glimpse. Behind the glass of my perceptions there lay an image; it was an accident, and the image was blurred, but there was something appealing to me. Through this image, I saw an invisible narrative.

photo courtesy of Adriana Hansen

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Jeffrey Reid on a Term with the Oxford Study Centre

Reflections on My Term at the Oxford Study Centre*

Jeffrey Reid

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Oxford. Hopkins describes it as a…

Towery city and branchy between towers;
Cuckoo-echoing, bell-swarmèd, lark-charmèd, rook-racked, river-rounded . . .

That is a description I love. There isn’t any place I’ve visited quite like Oxford, where history seeps from the stones while beauty blossoms on the trees.

Then there are the lovely and mundane aspects of Oxford: people turning in and out of shops, musicians busking on Cornmarket Street, and the peace and quiet at entering one’s college walls. Reflecting on this list, I am struck by how expected and unexpected pleasures are mixed throughout it. We simply cannot grasp all an experience will be before we are reflecting upon it. Unanticipated treasures are often some of the richest with which we walk away.

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On (Not) Offending Muslims

On (Not) Offending Muslims

Kevin James Bywater

As they say, reality can be stranger than fiction. So it is with people: the realities can be stranger than the stereotypes. And some conversations are just different that usual. Some can strip away preconceptions. Here are snippets from one I had with a Muslim taxi driver in Oxford. He was an amiable chap, about my age.

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We had been quipping back and forth about the traffic when I asked, “Where are you from?”

He chuckled deeply, “Pakistan.”

Really, I wondered to myself, with his clear Oxford accent?

“How long have you lived here in Oxford?” I followed up.

“For over forty years,” he smiled. “I was born here. I grew up here, in Cowley.”

He was born in Oxford. He grew up in Oxford. He is from Pakistan?! 

What strange language is this, I wondered. Then I realized that it sounds about how children of Christian missionaries might answer.

taxi bus london

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Celina Durgin on a Term with the Oxford Study Centre

 

Celina Durgin on a Term with
the Oxford Study Centre

Theimage Oxford Study Centre* does not simply fulfill items on the bucket list of your own small life. Everything about the experience—from the centuries-old cathedrals and cobblestone streets, to evensong after a hard day’s work, to long hours reading classic primary texts, to Kevin’s repeated reminder during discussions that God has always hated idolatry, immorality, and injustice—invites you out of your own little story and into the Great Conversation. Oxford is still dedicated to the best ideas that have been thought throughout all history, and the Oxford Study Centre‘s program is dedicated to these ideas’ context within God’s grand story, which is but history rightly conceived.

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