Reflections on Graduation 2018 with Dr. Glenn Arbery

May 22, 2018

Wyoming Catholic College graduation was Saturday, May 12. It came with all the pomp and circumstance, academic regalia, and excitement that you might expect. Our speaker was author and scholar Joseph Pearce who was our guest on last week’s After Dinner Scholar.

The evening before the big event, however, was a smaller, more intimate gathering of graduates and their families along with college faculty and staff. That night, at the President’s Dinner, college president Dr. Glenn Arbery reflected on the seniors, their four years of liberal arts education, and their participation in the great tradition of the Christian West.

Dr. Arbery is our guest this week on The After Dinner Scholar.

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Literature, Poetry, and Literary Converts with Prof. Joseph Pearce

May 15, 2018

The Wyoming Catholic College Class of 2018 graduated on Saturday, May 12. Their graduation speaker was author and scholar Joseph Pearce.

Pearce has authored more than 24 books including The Quest for Shakespeare, Tolkien: Man and Myth, The Unmasking of Oscar Wilde, C. S. Lewis and The Catholic Church, Literary Converts, Wisdom and Innocence: A Life of G.K. Chesterton, Solzhenitsyn: A Soul in Exile and Old Thunder: A Life of Hilaire Belloc.

Pearce is a man of books and books figure prominently into his conversion and his life. Joseph Pearce is our guest this week on The After Dinner Scholar.

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Reading and Believing: De Verbum with Prof. Kyle Washut

May 8, 2018

In the second century AD, St. Irenaeus wrote, “We have known the method of our salvation by no other means than those by whom the gospel came to us; which gospel they truly preached; but afterward, by the will of God, they delivered to us in the Scriptures, to be for the future the foundation and pillar of our faith.”

Of course, just how the Scriptures serve as “the foundation and pillar of our faith” is a complicated question. Is it sufficient on its own as most of our Protestant friends believe? Or does it require the hand of the Church and of tradition lest we be led astray? Is interpretation open-ended, subject to the ideas and spirit of every age? Or is there a right and a wrong way (or assorted wrong ways) of understanding the Scriptures?

Professor Kyle Washut has been considering those kinds of questions with our freshmen looking at, among other texts, De Verbum from the Second Vatican Council. Professor Washut is our guest this week on The After Dinner Scholar.

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Dueling Founders: The Federalists and the Anti-Federalists with Dr. Jim Tonkowich

May 1, 2018

October 19, 1781: British General Charles Cornwallis surrendered to General George Washington at Yorktown. The War for Independence was over. Then came the tricky part. It’s one thing for a nation to achieve independence. It’s quite another to have to govern that nation once you’re on your own.

During the Revolutionary War, governing American was catch as catch can. Congress did its best under the Articles of Confederation--our first constitution--to raise an army, pay an army, and conduct foreign policy. Once the war was over, a whole host of problems arose.

That led to drafting the Constitution and the ratification debate between the Federalists and the Anti-Federalists. Dr. Jim Tonkowich provides an overview of that debate in this week's After Dinner Scholar.

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Hunting, Humanity, and the Liberal Arts with Dr. Jeremy Holmes

April 24, 2018

Wyoming, in addition to being a destination for skiing, hiking, backpacking, and rock climbing, has some of the best hunting and fishing in the country. Unlike skiing, backpacking and the like, hunting and fishing involve taking an animal’s life. The trout, salmon, pheasant, deer, elk, or pronghorn we hunt dies. 

How exactly does that fit into Catholic theology and faith? Some might answer, “Not at all.” And yet, with the exception of dairy, regardless of what we eat—be it venison chops or pork chops—something always dies so that we can live. It’s a fact of life from which we typically buffer ourselves, purchasing meat on Styrofoam trays sealed with plastic wrap with little hint of the animal from which it came. But could it be the direct encounter with animals and death and life is good and right? 

To discuss that and other matters related to life, God, creation, and human dominion over creation, we’re joined by Dr. Jeremy Holmes, theologian and hunter.

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I Lift My Eyes to the Hills: COR Expeditions with Dr. Tom Zimmer

April 17, 2018

Throughout the Scriptures men and women encounter God in the wilderness and the mountains. Think of Abraham traveling through the wilderness to that land God would show him. Think of the people of Israel in the desert with Moses receiving the Law on Mount Sinai. People swarmed out to see John the Baptist in the wilderness. Jesus spent forty days and forty nights in the wilderness. St. Paul after his conversion “went away into Arabia.”

This week at Wyoming Catholic College is Outdoor Week. Our students are in the wilderness encountering God (we trust) as they rock climb, go canyoneering, mountain bike, canoe, raft, and backpack.

Dr. Tom Zimmer runs the outdoor program at the college and, beyond the college, directs COR—Catholic Outdoor Renewal. COR’s mission is: “To provide transformative wilderness experiences which renew the hearts (cor being Latin for heart) of those who participate.”

Dr. Zimmer is out guest this week on The After Dinner Scholar.

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Religious Liberty: A Right to Be Wrong? with Dr. Kent Lasnoski

April 10, 2018

The Edict of Milan signed by Emperors Constantine and Licinius in AD 313 granted the Roman people freedom to choose any religion they wished including previously outlawed Christianity. Then in 380, Theodosius outlawed everything except the Christianity.

And so it was for much of the sixteen-hundred years since Theodosius. Catholic Christianity was the state religion of every state in Europe and even after the rise of Protestantism, the formulation cuius regio, eius religio—“Whose Realm, his religion”—was the order of the day.

Religious freedom was still a new and novel idea when it became part of the US Constitution. And as the idea spread, it was also a controversial idea.

Dr. Kent Lasnoski has been leading Wyoming Catholic College seniors into the conversations about religious freedom in the Catholic Church and is our guest this week on The After Dinner Scholar.

Suggested Readings:

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A Beginner’s Guide to Dante’s Divine Comedy with Dr. Jason Baxter

April 3, 2018

Dante’s descent into Hell in Inferno, begins on Good Friday in the year 1300. He sojourns in that place of pain, despair, and noise emerging appropriately at dawn on Easter. Then in the days following Easter, he climbs Mount Purgatory and is swept up to the heights of Heaven.

Dante’s Comedy tells an amazing tale, but perhaps just the thought of tackling Dante is overwhelming. Maybe you’ve tried to read it or thumbed through only to quit discouraged. Or perhaps you read all the words, but with little real satisfaction.

What you need is a guide and Wyoming Catholic College professor Dr. Jason Baxter, after guiding many of our students through Dante has a brand new book aptly titled, A Beginner’s Guide to Dante’s Comedy. To tell us about the book, Dr. Baxter is our guest on this edition of The After Dinner Scholar.

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Holy Week: “My Night Knows No Darkness” with Dr. Thaddeus Kozinski

March 26, 2018

In his sermon entitled “My Night Knows No Darkness,” twentieth century theologian Fr. Karl Rahner asked about Lent, “How is such a time relevant for us today with our many needs, our hopelessness with regard to this world, our bitter hearts, our sense that we would be willing to fast as long as it did not mean going hungry?”

In the sadness of modern life, why add more sadness and sober contemplation about our lives? What good does it do us? Why not jump to the joy of Easter and leave it at that?

Wyoming Catholic College Academic Dean and Associate Professor of Humanities and Philosophy Dr. Thaddeus Kozinski has been reflecting on Rahner’s sermon during this Lent and shares with us some insights during this Holy Week next on The After Dinner Scholar.

Fr. Rahner's sermon "My Night Knows No Darkness" (available here) will be among the readings at The Wyoming School of Catholic Thought, June 10-14 in Lander, Wyoming. Sign up today.

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Faith v. Science: The False Dichotomy with Dr. Michael Bolin

March 20, 2018

Faith and science, we've been told, are at war so choose your side. Will you be a modern man or woman or will you hang onto outdated and disproved dogmas?

And too often Christian young people believe in the war and choose to side with science.

But the faith versus science dichotomy, however, is as false as it is overblown and pernicious.

Wyoming Catholic College Associate Professor of Philosophy Dr. Michael Bolin works through the arguments each year with our students as they consider the question of evolution. Dr. Bolin is our guest this week on The After Dinner Scholar.

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