The Common Good
Redeemer faculty bring Christian influence to bear on sexual violence on campus, apocalyptic literature, and pollution in local watersheds
4 min. read
October 1, 2016

In 2015, the Redeemer Centre for Christian Scholarship began offering Zylstra grants, totalling $25,000 annually, to support Redeemer faculty in creating original Christian scholarship that serves the common good. What are the results of the research of the first batch of recipients? Read on.

2015-2016 Zylstra Grants

EcoAtwood meets EcoChristianity

Dr. Deborah Bowen, Professor of English

Today, as never before, the aims of secular and Christian environmentalists are closely aligned, even if their motivations and worldviews still differ. Dr. Bowen investigates how this overlap is playing out in the Canadian literary scene, employing Margaret Atwood’s dystopian, post-apocalyptic MaddAddam trilogy as a vehicle for exploring our culture’s anxiety over environmental apocalypse and how the Christian story might speak to these concerns.

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Relationship Violence: Are Christian colleges safer?

Dr. Jim Vanderwoerd, Professor of Social Work and Sociology

Hardly any research exists on sexual assault on Christian campuses as a unique population. But what do we need to know to ensure safety for women on our campuses? What could we learn about Christian campuses that makes them different from public ones? Dr. Jim Vanderwoerd has explored these questions, with surprising results.

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2016-2017 Zylstra Grants

Monitoring pollution in Hamilton watersheds

Dr. Edward Berkelaar, Professor of Chemistry & Environmental Studies
Dr. Darren Brouwer, Associate Professor of Chemistry

As winners for the second year in a row, Berkelaar and Brouwer will continue monitoring various streams within the Spencer Creek and Chedoke Creek watersheds that flow into Cootes Paradise. Cootes is the Royal Botanical Garden’s largest and most biologically diverse ecological preserve, an idyllic retreat in the heart of Hamilton. Unfortunately, its biodiversity is threatened by contaminants that drain into the wetland through urban creeks. Berkelaar and Brouwer will bring student researchers alongside as they carry out widespread water analysis, building an important body of data that will, Brouwer believes, “make an impact on the local community and contribute to the common good of our city.”

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The impact of religious faith on desire

Dr. Marie Good, Assistant Professor of Psychology

Many researchers have attributed the fact that religious students participate less often in risky behaviours (such as alcohol/drug use, and risky sex) to the devout having better self-control than their non-religious peers. But does religiosity really guarantee stronger will power? “Humans are notoriously bad at saying ‘no’ to things we really want,” Good explains. “Properly-ordered desires seem to be a much more effective behaviour regulation strategy than efforts to resist strong desires.” Good’s research will explore the relationship between faith and desire in order to better understand how religion affects the decisions students make about risky behaviours.

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Strangers in a strange land

Dr. David Beldman, Assistant Professor of Religion & Theology

Contemporary Christians struggle with the question of how to remain faithful to Christ’s lordship in a postmodern, secular society. How can we bear witness to the issues of our day without compromising our beliefs or retreating into our Christian bubbles? What would our culture look like if Christians took the claims of Christ seriously in the public realm? Beldman is setting to work on a commentary that addresses questions such as these, using the Book of Judges as a surprisingly timely source for public theology.

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