Round Peg, Square Hole???? I Don’t Think So.

Have you ever tried to fit a round peg into a square hole? Me either, however, the concept grabs your imagination and immediately communicates that trying to do so, won’t work well, if at all. Many people have that same impression about the inclusion of a Christian worldview focus in higher education coursework. The thought is that any attempt to incorporate a Christian worldview into such subjects as accounting, business, psychology, etc. is like trying to fit that round peg into a square hole. From my experience working at other universities, some of them Christian, I discovered that perspective is more common than not.

I think what contributes to this perspective is that most faculty have never themselves been exposed to educational experiences which challenged them to defend and articulate faith in relation to their professional area of study/expertise. Because of this lack, I find that sometimes our faculty are hesitant to raise the issue or open the class up to genuine dialogue about the Christian worldview. They feel uncomfortable talking about their own faith and worldview and so it is glossed over. Belhaven’s curriculum is written with the goal of challenging students to think about the intersection of their course content with their faith and be able to articulate a Christian worldview. But, that assumes the active participation of the Instructor for the full benefit to be achieved.

Earlier today I spoke with a recent graduate of our MBA program. She had also been an undergraduate student with Belhaven. As we talked she expressed the impact the discussions on Christian worldview had on her, and how impactful it was in her education and personal development. This isn’t the first or even the fiftieth time I’ve heard such comments from our students and alumni. I’ve heard it enough that I’ve become a full convert to the importance of having these discussions in the classroom, regardless of subject, and the need to challenge our students to self-examination and growth in their personal worldview.

So, round peg in a square hole? I DON’T THINK SO. I think the dicussion of a Christian worldview related to any subject is a perfect fit. If you struggle in this area, let’s get together and discuss ways to make it work and connect with others in your subject area to help with teaching ideas and strategies.

If you feel you do this well, let me know, perhaps we can arrange a webinar or a blog post to share your success in this important area.

2 comments

  1. Deborah J, Thompson

    Dr. Upchurch,

    In my opinion, this is one of the most valuable skills we teach our students and one that translates to their personal as well as professional lives (if we do it well). When they learn to research ANY subject or concept in the Bible, their understanding of the Lord’s Word takes on a deeper meaning and they are able to read the Bible in a fresh, new way.

    I love when I see the “lightbulbs” go off in the minds of students who had previously struggled to articulate their Christian Worldview as it related to their course work. They usually come to class capable of analyzing Scripture and providing meaning. The challenge lies in tying Scripture to the concepts and topics they study in the course material.

    I try to teach them to look at the deeper meaning of the concepts and the values they represent. For example:

    — APA and formatting is really about “order,” which is a biblical value.
    — Customer Relationship Management (CRM) can be understood by studying relationships in the Bible–what values do healthy relationships share? What ruins a relationship? What does God want from us as Christians in relationship to Him and one another?
    — Consumer Decision Making (and its 5 steps–need recognition, information search, evaluation of alternatives, purchase, and post-purchase behavior) is similar to the journey some of us took to become Christians or to go deeper in our faith walk.

    And there are many more choices students can make. The main thing I want them to know before leaving my class is that the Bible is a RICH source of guidance for EVERY facet of our lives. If we are able to teach them to consider what God says when faced with decisions, we will have armed them with the most important skill they will ever learn.

    Thank you for your insightful articles and for supporting our efforts. I also enjoy your perspective.

    Deborah Thompson

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