Chicago Emerging Baptists

This site is intended to allow a forum for those in the NextGen Network of the Chicago Metro Baptist Assocition to continue their dialogue online and produce a resource for those interested in emerging topics.Please join in the conversation.

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Radio Interview:

I was just interviewed on Moody Radio last week concerning an emersion night our church sponsors. This LINK will take you to my blog and you follow the directions to hear the interview!

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Sunday, September 23, 2007

Christian Theater in Wicker Park

Not that all good theater has to be Christian, but it seems like a play with strong messages regarding Divine sovereignty is coming to Wicker Park this weekend. Juliet is showing at the Lafayette Forum Theater on Friday and Saturday. Here's a peek from YouTube.

Monday, September 17, 2007

Submitted by the Next Gen Research Summer Interns

Literature Review

In examining the topic of graduate law students in the Loop of Chicago, it is important to look at scholarship that details law students in general as well as the religiosity of college students broadly and more specifically. In addition, it is important for Christian missiologists who desire to know the issues involving these students’ barriers to a relationship with God to also learn from scholars who have already researched how college students’ religiosity affects their personal outlook and identity. In our survey of this scholarly literature we identified six common themes: the impact of lawyers in the world today, the reasons students choose a graduate program in law school, the unique personality traits of law students, the emotional well-being of law students, the religiosity and spirituality of college students, and the researched effects of introspection on identity, morals, and values.

The Impact of Lawyers on the World Today

Many authors believe that areas concerning lawyers’ influence through their job seem to be an important source of power to initialize an impact for good. For example, author Brennan suggests, “Take these three years to learn how to do law well; even more, learn that the point of doing law well is to do good; still more, learn that doing good through law is about using power to achieve love’s ends” (2002, p.19). Brennan also believed that instead of talking about where law can rule good and evil or for life or for death, the place law has in love or vice versa should be talked about (2002, p.20). On a more practical note, author Lindholm seems to focus on the belief that lawyers will “influence the nature and quality of society for many years to come” (2006, p.510). Brennan concludes that law that does good is looked at as very beneficial even to a diverse population (2002, p.21).

The Reasons Students Choose a Graduate Program in Law School

We have found studies that show that many students have a variable amount of reasons for choosing such law schools and some have no idea whatsoever. Schleef mentions that, “Students’ accounts of their decisions to attend elite professional schools, although typically couched as preferences, actually reflect deep-class related constraints” (2000, p.155). Schleef also believes they chose their degree for reasons such as “professional status, intellectual interest, and an upper-middle class lifestyle” (2000, p.155). This study also found that some students choose law school as a way to discover if they really want to have a career in law (Schleef, 2000, p.158). Some students studied by Lindholm do have an idea and clear understanding for why they went to law school and mention there reason to be “an interest in issues of justice, as well as a desire for intellectual growth” (2006, p.514). Lindholm has also found that most students that had a desire for money and position lost sight of the intellectual gain from the law school experience. For example, “those who choose legal careers primarily for purposes of material gain and prestige tend also to be least motivated by intellectual aspects of the work” (Lindholm, 2006, p.515). This study also found motivations for one’s job seemed to differ with gender. Lindholm writes, “Women legal career aspirants are generally less materialistic or prestige oriented, favoring instead a commitment to public service” (2006, p.515).

The Unique Personality Traits of Law Students

When researchers have studied and compared law and pre-law students to other graduate tracks, certain traits and characteristics have been highlighted to be unique to law students. Some of these characteristics are also unique within the category of law students in that there are notable differences between gender and minorities. Lindholm noted a study that found that female law students had a stronger ethic of care than male students (2006, p.515). Male law students were found to lean towards rights and focus on “objectivity, principles, personal beliefs, and freedom of expression” (Lindholm, 2006, p.515). Overall, scholarly literature supports the claim that students enter law school with “altruistic aspirations” (Lindholm, 2006, p.516). Another study reported that pre-law students were generally resistive to subordinate roles and desired leadership roles (Lindholm, 2006, p.516). Law students were also found to be “more extrinsically motivated” (Lindholm, 2006, p.516).

The emotional well-being of law students

We found in a study that there are four major emotional complications among law students that cause abnormal predicaments. The four complications are alienation, dissatisfaction, anxiety, and depression.


Author Carrington states, “The essential attitude of the alienated student is disinterest or disengagement” (1977, p.890). He also mentions that the student that feels alienated does not value his association with fellow law students and doubts that they even enjoy their company (Carrington, 1977, p.891). The study indicated that sex, age, ancestry, political science, family type, and family income had no correlation as a cause of alienation (Carrington, 2007, p.891). Carrington writes, “Focusing on the immediate consequences of alienation, we can say with greater confidence that the presence of much alienation in law students does detract from the quality of life at the law school” (1977, p.892). In an updated article, Carrington implies that students who were highly alienated did not feel accepted or active in a caring association (1978, p.1036). Studies presented two aspects of alienated students as impatience with academic presentations of law and a negative outlook on fellow peers at law school. Carrington describes the first aspect as, “highly alienated students in our surveys expressed impatience with academic presentations of the law that did not clearly relate to their own vocational needs” (1978, p.1040). Carrington says, “Alienated students see their peers as markedly more negative and cynical than is actually the case. The alienated believed that their peers would lie to secure financial aid or would alter their transcripts to get a better job” (1978, p.1040).


Studies insinuated that students that feel dissatisfied often feel the pressure to be successful law students as a hindrance and eventually rebel and resist the responsibility. Carrington implies, “At base, dissatisfied students seem to be resisting the pressure that they feel is placed on them to measure up to some abstract standard of performance in law school” (?). We also found a significant tendency for dissatisfaction to fade over time, and by doing so the third-year students appear to be distinctly less dissatisfied than first-year students (Carrington, 1977, p.894). Also a huge encounter in this reading was that Carrington mentioned, “ It appears that dissatisfied students are more likely to consume larger amounts of mind-altering substances” (1977, p.895).


We found that studies signified anxiety among female law students to be higher than among male law students (1978, p.60). To summarize how anxiety is correlated with law students Carrington says, “While law students appear to have somewhat elevated anxiety prior to law school, levels are even higher among samples of law students in school. Across studies and measurement instruments, law students almost always reported higher levels of anxiety than comparison groups, including medical students” (1978, p.63).


Carrington’s study shows that there is no difference in depression among female and male law students, but instead third-year law students reported more depression than first-year law students (1978, p.65). Carrington concludes depression data among law students as a replication to the anxiety data that was gathered. He stated that the results suggest that self-reports of depression by the law students tend to be higher than the comparison groups and even medical students (1978, p.67).

The Religiosity and Spirituality of College Students

Multiple works were found that described the degree of religiosity and spirituality of graduate and undergraduate students. One study was carried out by Hunsberger in the late 1970’s to determine if the frequently reported liberalization trend in college was true (1978, p.159). The only finding that the study could statistically support was that seniors attended church less frequently than freshmen (Hunsberger, 1978, p.163). A more recent paper headed up by Lindholm addressed the notion that religiosity’s declination during the undergraduate years has been well documented empirically (2006, p.513). However, spiritual growth has been found by some to increase for traditionally aged college students (Lindholm, 2006, p.513). In a study specifically done on graduate students, it was believed that church attendance during graduate years would follow a u-curve (Greeley, p.36). In a paper written and led by Cook, the perceived differences in the definitions of religiosity and spirituality were studied. The researchers believed that it is also important to understand what college students mean when speaking of these two terms (Cook, 2000, p.136).

The Researched Effects of Introspection on Identity, Morals, and Values

Many authors have supported the study of religious beliefs and how they affect a student. Others have concentrated more on how looking introspectively and contemplating existence would affect a student. One study by Greeley examined the effects of students’ religiosity on their academics (1965, p.35). The study did not find evidence to support a conflict between the students’ beliefs in science and religion (Greeley, 1965, p 36). They also did not find evidence of emotional strain on students that proclaimed religious beliefs (Greeley, 1965, p.38). Lindholm noted a study in the paper that supported the idea that “the intensity with which individuals pursue answers to existential questions could be directly linked to overall mental and emotional health” (2006, p.512). They defined this existential pursuit as a spiritual quest in searching for acceptance or rejection of religion (Lindholm, 2006, p.512). It is also stated that how serious these students view spiritual quest affects positive identity development as well (Lindholm, 2006, p.513). In addition, research has shown that:

Developing people’s abilities to access, nurture, and give expression to the spiritual dimension of their lives impacts how they engage with the world and fosters within them a more meaningful sense of connectedness that promotes altruism, social justice, and individual passion. (Lindholm, 2006, p.513).


Brennan, P. M. (2002). To Beginning Law Students. First Things : a Monthly Journal of Religion and Public Life. (128), 19-20.

Carrington, Paul D., & Conley, James J. (1977). The Alienation of Law Students. Michigan Law Review. 75(5/6), 881-889.

Carrington, Paul D., & Conley, James J. (1978). Negative Attitudes of Law Students: A Replication of the Alienation and Dissatisfaction Factors. Michigan Law Review. 76(6), 1036-1043.

Cook, Stephen W., Borman, Patricia D., Moore, Martha A., & Kunkel, Mark A. (2000). College Students’ Perceptions of Spiritual People and Religious People. Journal of Psychology & Theology. 28(2), 125-137.

Greeley, Andrew M. (1965). Religious Behavior of Graduate Students. Journal for the Scientific Study of Religion. 5, 34-40.

Hunsberger, Bruce. (1978). Religiosity of College Students: Stability and Change Over Years at University. Journal for the Scientific Study of Religion. 17(2), 159-164.

Lindholm, J.A., Goldberg, R., & Calderone, S. (2006). The Spiritual Questing of Professional Career Aspirants. Seattle Journal for Social Justice, 4(2), 509-560.

Schleef, D. (2000). "That's a Good Question!" Exploring Motivations for Law and Business School Choice. Sociology of Education. 73(3), 155-74.

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Submitted by Next Gen Research Summer Interns

Literature Review - Art Students in the Loop


In reviewing research on the “arts culture” among graduate students in the Loop, we focused on three main topics: students in the Loop area, the “art culture,” and the influence of postmodern philosophy. We thought it important to include research on the influence of postmodern thought because of the degree to which it has penetrated liberal, academic thought. Within each of our topics, we identified specific themes that occurred in the literature.

Students in the Loop

The Role of Colleges in the Loop

The Loop is consistently viewed as one of the most influential locations of higher learning in the Midwest. Research by Fuechtmann, McLaughlin, and Kelly (2005) say that Chicago’s Loop is the “largest college town in Illinois” (p.2). More than 50,000 students attend institutions throughout the Loop that occupy nearly 7.5 million total square feet of building space (Fuechtmann et al., 2005, p.2). Fuechtmann, quoted by Bagnato (2005), says “These institutions … educate the next generation of business, community, and civic leaders” (p. 12). Loop colleges are home to a diverse student community, drawing students from all over the world to pursue a wide array of disciplines. Tony Jones, the President of the Art Institute of Chicago, says that 75% of Loop students are from outside Illinois and the neighboring states (Sharoff, 2002, p.10).

In addition to large, multidisciplinary universities, specialized institutions of business, law, and arts situated in the Loop enable students to pursue their career dreams (Fuechtmann et al., 2005, p.8).

Students’ Involvement in Loop Culture

Gauging the level of students’ involvement in the Loop outside class proved to be difficult. Only 20% of Loop students live in the Loop (Fuechtmann et al., 2005, p.3). However, Loop colleges have built several new student housing complexes and significantly increased the amount of student housing available in recent years (Sharoff, 2002, p.10). In addition, many students work in the Loop. Of the 60% of Loop students who are employed, 40% work in the loop (Fuechtmann et al., 2005, p.3).

Many cultural events and programs sponsored by colleges liven the Loop culture outside of business hours. These events are attended by nearly 500,000 people annually (Fuechtmann et al., 2005, p.2).

The Art Culture

More than 6,000 Loop students attend art-oriented schools (Fuechtmann et. al., 2005). Many of these students are part of an ‘art culture’ that shares similar personalities and vision.

Devotion to Art

According to Maksymowicz and Tobia (1982), people who are striving to be artists are generally more modest, individualistic, and spiritual. Tom Willett, an artist advocate, defends artists’ call to a single-minded pursuit of pure expression (Maksymowicz & Tobia, 1982). This freedom is not without sacrifice. Willett says “Self denial is a central dynamic of both life and art” (Maksymowicz & Tobia, 1982). Maksymowicz and Tobia (1982) further claim that an artist’s devotion to the arts parallels a Christian’s devotion to Christ. Possibly because they doubt their adequacy for such a lofty calling, artists are generally more pessimistic and experience self-doubting (not unlike what many Christians experience when contemplating the call to Christ likeness) (Whitesel, 1978). However, artists’ natural tendency to be motivated by the praise of others may counteract their devotion to their art. Eiduson (1958) says that “motivation components seem to be at work in artists when they look to artistic achievement to provide personal recognition” (p.25).

Sensory Processing

Whitesel (1978) stated that artists tend to process ideas in sensory ways as opposed to verbal and logical thinking. Research done by Eiduson (1958) also supports the concept of artists as sensory processors. Indeed, Eiduson (1958) claims that it is primarily in their ways of thinking and perceiving that artists show the most striking differences from nonartists. She asserts that artists place an emphasis on the elaboration of fantasy and “seek out the subtle and delicate in impressions” (Eiduson, 1958, p.25). Eiduson (1958) also states that artists have the “ability to loosen controls in thinking without resulting disorganization of the personality,” and have “tendencies toward regrouping of customary perceptions into new combinations” (p.25).

Independence and Unconventionality

According to Eiduson (1958), “artists have fought as much as possible against stereotypy and the highly patterned” (p.24). Whitesel (1978) found that artists have “tendencies toward original thinking and overturning conventional ways of doing things” (p.58). She states that artists “seek to avoid conventionality in thought and action” and describes them as strong-willed, competitive, and inhibition free (p.60). Whitesel (1978) also characterizes them as “having low tolerance for extended social contact” and “independent with no need to seek or sustain numerous personal friendships or to exploit their relationships with others to gain desired ends” (p.62).

Theories on Reaching the Artist

Several scholars felt that in order to reach the art culture, we must accept them as they are and not try to place traditional constraints on them. Tom Willett, a contemporary artist advocate, says “Our focus should be to create an open and inclusive fellowship, with no pressure to conform to some idealized evangelical personality” (Atterbury, 1994, p.32). Despite the cultural barriers, Maksymowicz & Tobia (1982) say “we remain hopeful that one can be both an artist and a Christian” (p.18).

The Influence of Postmodern Philosophy

Lack of Absolute Standards

Leffel (2007) claims that “The rhetorical power of postmodern terms like "tolerance," "openness," and "inclusion" effectively disguise a more destructive objective -- the end of all absolutes” (Understanding the postmodern shift section, para. 5). Pless (2000) describes Postmodernism as the belief that “meaning, morality, and truth have no objective existence” (p.1). It then logically follows that each culture constructs its own reality (p.1). Thus, pluralism of truth and morality is seen as the future of society (p.1). Absolute truth is not only rejected, but seen as a means to acquire power. The postmodern philosopher Michel Foucault says “We cannot exercise power except through the production of truth” (Leffel, 2007, Postmodern constructivism section, para. 5). The natural conclusion is that “in postmodern culture, the person to be feared is the one who believes that we can actually discover ultimate truth” (Leffel, 2007, Postmodern constructivism section, para. 5).

The Supreme Virtue of Tolerance

Pless (2000) said that this rejection of absolutes leads to a belief that ‘tolerance’ is the supreme virtue; tolerance being defined not as respect of others viewpoints but as the necessity of accepting all views as equal (p.1). Leffel (2007) pointed out that “radical subjectivity leads to the dangerously arrogant inference that no one can ever be wrong about what they believe” (Personal beliefs define truth, para. 4). Furthermore, those who attempt to define an absolute standard are excluded from this acceptance. According to Pless (2000), “Those who question the postmodern dogma that ‘there are no absolutes’ are excluded from the canons of tolerance” (p.1).

Postmoderns and Spirituality

According to available literature, postmodernists’ rejection of absolutes does not necessarily correspond to a rejection of spirituality. Pless (2000) says that postmodernists value spirituality as a way of asserting their own role in a pluralistic culture (p.1). However, this does not necessarily mean that they are more open to religious beliefs. In 2000, researchers at Texas Tech and Auburn found that college students see religion as “more external or superficial than spirituality” (Cook, Moore, & Kunkel, p.135). Furthermore, postmoderns are likely to see the absolute claims of Christ as incompatible with a pluralistic mindset. Leffel (2007) says “On the one hand, we see more openness to spirituality than in several decades as naturalistic, materialistic dogma has fallen into disfavor in many quarters. On the other hand, the kind of spirituality people are open to is decidedly anti-Christian” (What’s going on, para. 1).


Atterbury, A. (1994). The Artist as Activist: conversations with An Artist Advocate

and a social Activist. Transformation, 11, 30-32.

Bagnato, K. (2005). My Kind of College Town, Chicago Is. Community College Week,

17 (14), 3-12.

Cook, S., Borman, P., Moore, M., & Kunkel, M. (2000). College Students’

Perceptions of Spiritual People and Religious People. Journal of Psychology & Theology, 28 (2), 125-137.

Eiduson, B. (1958). Artist and Non-artist: A Comparative Study. Journal of

Personality, 26, 13-28.

Greater State Street Council and the Central Michigan Avenue Association.

(2005). Higher Education in the Loop and South Loop: An Impact Study. Chicago, IL: Fuechtmann, T., McLaughlin G., & Kelly J.

Leffel, J. (2007). Understanding Today’s Postmodern University. Retrieved June 21,

2007, from

Maksymowicz, V. & Tobia, B. (1982). The Dilemma of Being Christian and Artist.

The Other Side, 135, 16-18.

Pless, J. (2000). LCMS Campus Ministry Staff Conference: Apologetics on the

Postmodern Campus. Fort Wayne, Indiana.

Sharoff, R. (2002, December 4). An Urban Attraction for Students. New York

Times, p.C10

Whitesel, L. (1978). Personalities of Women Art Students. Studies in Art

Education, 20 (1), 56-63.

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Friday, September 14, 2007

Our brothers at Reformed Blacks of America have posted an excellent article by Dr. Anthony Bradley on the dearth and need for sound theological education amongst black Christians here. Bradley is a very clear communicator and has been helpful to me in thinking about race and culture issues. He also contributes to the World Magazine blog and appears with the boys at the Resurgence.

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Ramadan starts tomorrow for Muslims worldwide. I came across a resource that can help us and our churches pray more intelligently for Christ's kingdom to pervade those regions where his light seems suppressed. See

HT: Justin Taylor