The Voice: Spring 2003

The Voice

Bakker earns Vander Stelt essay award

Matt Bakker, a senior from Winnipeg, Manitoba, was recently presented with a $250 cash award for his entry in the 2002 John C. Vander Stelt Essay Competition in Theology and Philosophy.

Using the contest topic, “Reforming the Reader” as his title, Bakker says he took “a deliberate look at the act of reading—to give consideration to its practice and to uncover some of the principles that must underlie a mastery of the art.” Much of what passes for “reading,” he believes, misses entirely the depth of engagement and participation that should be brought to the text. Different forms of literature require the development of distinct habits and skills, but all literature requires an active mind that will engage the material and respond to it conversationally.

The contest is open to all Dordt College full-time students and is named after long-time theology and philosophy professor Dr. John C. Vander Stelt. The competition was set up at his retirement with an endowment fund honoring Vander Stelt’s work. Its goal is to encourage student essays that develop a Reformed Christian perspective on a range of issues. Each year a new topic is chosen by members of the theology and philosophy departments.

Bakker received his award at the start of the spring semester, since he was off-campus participating in an environmental studies program in Belize during the fall semester.