Integrating Faith and Practice

“One of the most unique things I've experienced in this group is the intentional and consistent focus on the integration of faith and work. It's been a crucial part of the group's identity ...[and] offers a forum to think deeply, discuss vibrantly, and learn from mentors about how we are to bring faith into that academic life and have our academic work inform our faith.” Jung Bae, Ph.D. Economics at OSU

We take seriously our calling both as Christians and as academics in our chosen field. We regularly talk about what it means to be a Christian in our specific disciplines - beyond just being fair to students and colleagues, but asking what it means to be called as a Christian in our specific disciplines with it's questions and influence on society. We also frequently have faculty or alumni speakers tell us their story, and have a training and opportunity for graduate students to give their own "Integration Talks." We enjoy hearing from each other as we represent diverse discplines such as physics, economics, engineering, sociology, music, children's literature, entomology, genetics, and more! Below is a sample of some questions we ask as we think through our own disciplines in light of our faith:

  1. Where do you see God in your work?

  2. What are some big questions you have about the connection between God and your work?

  3. What is something you’ve learned about God through your work recently?

  4. What is the truth that you see in this?

  5. Is there a scripture or biblical principle that comes to mind when you think of this incident/thing

  6. Is there anything about your work that conflicts with scripture?

  7. Where/what in my field needs the redeeming love of Christ? Where is God already at work?

  8. What aspect of God does your work illuminate?

  9. What does your work have to offer to the Church?

  10. What are the challenges of being an ambassador of Jesus in your context?

We have had the opportunity to take our training to other Universities such as Carnegie Mellon, and recently one of our student's talk was recorded and used as an example at Hope College. This was a professor's comment on our student's talk:

"I like that he references empirical challenges, uses graphs, talks like an economist, but that he (importantly) integrates his faith especially in finding motivation for his broad interests and thinking about how economics can be applied to questions that should be important to Christians. It's also neat to hear some of the conversation afterwards, because students can learn what it sounds like for peers to ask questions of each other/offer feedback. There are many nuggets of wisdom in his talk and even implicit lessons in his delivery and the group interaction. I think my students would benefit from all of it!" Professor of Economics at Hope College.