For the past 50 years, the Canadian Scientific and Christian Affiliation has facilitated discussions about science and Christian faith in Canada. As part of our 50th-anniversary celebrations, we asked 50 CSCA members to comment on their personal connections to science, scripture, and Canadian scenery. We will share these contributions throughout 2023 in the hope that you will find them engaging and encouraging.
CSCA member of the week: Kathryn Belicki, Professor Emerita, Psychology, Brock University
1. Why did you choose your scientific discipline?
I came to psychology sulking and reluctant. The discipline was too young, too incapable of answering the questions that interested me. But while I struggled to get decent grades in biology and philosophy, I received high As in psychology without trying. Finally, tired of fighting my God-bestowed talents, I accepted that psychology was where I belonged. Once that hurdle was surmounted, I found I loved the field. (This theme has often been repeated in my life. God calls me to a specific task and invariably I resist, pout, complain, and drag my feet. Then I at last capitulate, and the work proves to be a blessing.) At one point mid-career, I was profoundly disappointed with the discipline of psychology, in particular its moral failure to take a leadership role when the reality of child abuse and domestic violence emerged in societal awareness. I enrolled in Wycliffe College thinking I might re-tool as a theologian and switch careers. Yet, in every class, it was as if there was an illuminated sign over my desk—psychologist in the room. It was so depressing. I completed the MTS and through those years of study, reflection, and prayer, found a way to re-embrace my vocation as a professor of psychology.
2. What is one of your favourite Bible verses and why?
“… And what does the LORD require of you? To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God.”
This verse is placed in a passage in which God both admonishes and pleads with his people who are rebelling. Needless to say, I can place myself in those rebellious ranks! But how to be redeemed? Academia nurtures an ambitious, “prove yourself” approach to life. In verses 6 and 7 we read that God does not desire extravagant sacrifices and accomplishments. He wants justice, mercy, and to walk alongside us. What an unimaginable privilege to walk with God. He offers that even to rebellious me.
3. Which Canadian city or landscape do you love exploring and why?
I love Canada’s near Arctic, particularly the Yukon to the west and Baffin Island to the east. The landscapes are primordial, and the primacy of God is unavoidable. In southern Ontario, where I live, we have domesticated and paved over the land, and thereby have become disconnected from God’s creation. When I stand in Auyuittuq park, and the mountains breathe mist from the icecaps behind them, and rocks the size of houses break free and crash down, and everywhere I am surrounded by the sound of rushing rivers that I must cross to proceed down the valley, I know that I can’t bend this place to my will. If I do not respect and work with this land, it will kill me. God’s greatness is evident in every vista.