Embracing Diversity

Formative Christian Higher Education and the Challenge of Pluralisms

Edited by:
Maureen Miner, Excelsia College
Kirsty Beilharz, Excelsia College

Published 2023

Christian schools and colleges that include spiritual formation and Christian maturity within their mission are facing challenges. The challenge of being a Christian college within a secular society is well-recognized. There are intellectual clashes of secular versus religious worldviews to be negotiated, and clashes of social imaginaries where habitual ways of responding come into conflict. These challenges are difficult enough for staff of a Christian college when most students have a Christian background and there may be a common language and assumptions. Even more difficult are the challenges faced by Christian staff of a Christian college when most students identify with non-Christian religions. What does a college’s mission of forming mature Christians mean when students are largely Muslim, Hindu, Buddhist, Sikh, or other non-Christian faiths? Should staff modify curricula to reduce cognitive clashes? Should teaching practices be changed to reduce the dissonance of different social imaginaries? How can staff draw from Christian values of tolerance and respect to support non-Christian students in their formation of values and ethics while still respecting diversity?

This volume draws together the work of scholars and researchers who have pondered the nature, purpose, and means of formation. It offers an analysis of the scope, context, and methods of formation of mature people without denying or downplaying the difficulties of formation. It offers hope that people who are mature in all areas of life, including the spiritual domain, can be formed and urges educators to encompass all domains in their formative work.

Foreword, Maureen Miner and Kirsty Beilharz. PART I: ADVANCING UNDERSTANDINGS OF FORMATION IN HIGHER EDUCATION. Maintaining Mission in Multireligious Contexts of Christian Higher Education: A Relational Pluralistic Model, Maureen Miner and Sunaina Gowan. Trans-Disciplinary Interpretations of Formation in Christian Higher Education: Navigating Academic Diversity, Cultural Pluralism, and Locating Identity for the Questing Student, Kirsty Beilharz, Christine Carroll, Ian Eddie, Sunaina Gowan, Dion Khlentzos, Maureen Miner, Mark Seton, and Leonardo Veliz. Formational Outcomes for Social Imaginaries, Peter Carblis. Sleeping Giant Awake! Why Restoring Creation and New Creation to the Gospel Can Reform the World Through Our Students, Christopher Gilbert. PART II: STUDENT AND STAFF FORMATION IN DIVERSE CONTEXTS. Plagiarism, Poverty, Paucity, and Pastoral Care: Why Do Students Cheat and How Can We Help Them Not to Become Victims of an “Ecology of Vulnerability”? Kirsty Beilharz, Carissa Henriksson, and Peter Stiles. Abrahamization of Hospitality Services to Achieve Christian Formation of Staff In the Australian Hospitality Workplace, John Ayoub and Daniel Boland. Christian Higher Education Providers and Graduate Attributes: Tokenistic or Purposeful? Jennie Bickmore-Brand, Narelle Coetzee, Jacqueline Greentree, and Craig Murison. PART III: FORMATION THROUGH COUNSELING TRAINING AND THERAPY PRACTICE. Educating Within Christian and Secular Worldviews: Implications for Counselor Training, Dion Khlentzos. Conflicting Frameworks? Christian Faith, Psychological Science, and Contemporary Counseling Practice in a Postmodern World, Samantha Smith. Countering Psychological Consequences of Harmful Christian Formation using Spiritually Modified Schema Therapy: A Case Study of Paradigm Clash, Maureen Miner. About the Contributors.