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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Falling Inward: Humanities in the Age of Technology with Dr. Jason Baxter

March 13, 2018

“I begin this book, on the humanities,” writes Wyoming Catholic College Associate Professor of Fine Arts and Humanities, Dr. Jason Baxter, “with a description of travel, because I think the experience of being immersed in a world of surprises, like I was in Ischia, and the experience of reading a ‘great book’… is fundamentally analogous.”

Dr. Baxter goes on to write that his just-released book Falling Inward: Humanities in the Age of Technology is an answer to the question, “How is the profound sense of travel like the experience of reading?” Both are fundamentally the experience he calls “falling inward.”

To discuss his book and the meaning of its title, Dr. Baxter is our guest this week on The After Dinner Scholar.

Order Dr. Baxter's book, Falling Inward from Cluny Media or Amazon.

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Restless and Rational: The Traveler’s Heart in Philosopher’s Terms with Elizabeth Meluch

March 6, 2018

“The world is a book,” wrote St. Augustine of Hippo some 1,600 years ago, “and those who do not travel read only one page.” 

The idea of reading page after page of the book of the world is not unique to St. Augustine. We are all homo viator, human travelers both in the sense that we are pilgrims in earth moving toward our eternal homes and in the sense that as embodied beings, we are naturally drawn to explore the world of places that we inhabit. Something in us wants to know what’s over the next hill and over the next hill and beyond that river.

Wyoming Catholic College senior Elizabeth Meluch certainly had a sense of that when she began writing her thesis and the accompanying oration she delivered last week on the subject of travel. Miss Meluch is our guest this week on The After Dinner Scholar.

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“The Four Causes of Obedience” with Jason Kirstein, Wyoming Catholic College Class of 2018

February 27, 2018

In order to graduate from Wyoming Catholic College, each student writes a thesis during the fall semester of senior year and then in the winter presents the topic of the thesis as a thirty-minute lecture, taking questions from the audience for another thirty minutes. The audience includes their classmates and other students, parents who arrive for the week or are there via Skype or Facetime. Oh, and there’s a panel of three faculty members armed with the first round of questions.

This week and next, The After Dinner Scholar will feature two of our seniors fresh from their orations.

This week, our guest is Jason Kirstein, who wrote his senior thesis on "The Four Causes of Obedience: A Love that Trieth the Path to the Terram Visionis [the Land of Vision]."

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St. Thomas Aquinas’ “On the Perfection of the Spiritual Life” with Dr. Kent Lasnoski

February 20, 2018

St. Thomas Aquinas is known primarily as a great thinker. And indeed his works still under gird a Catholic understanding of God and the world. But for St. Thomas, thinking, teaching and writing about Sacred Scripture, theology, and philosophy were never ends in themselves. His academic work—and indeed from his point of view all his work and rest—served a higher purpose.

That higher purpose animates St. Thomas' short work, “On the Perfection of the Spiritual Life.”

“Since certain persons, knowing nothing about perfection,” he began, “have presumed to speak follies concerning the state of perfection, our purpose is to treat of perfection: what it is to be perfect; how perfection is acquired; what is the state of perfection; and what befits those who take up this state.”

Theologian Dr. Kent Lasnoski has been working through “On the Perfection of the Spiritual Life with our Wyoming Catholic College seniors. Dr. Lasnoski is this week’s guest on The After Dinner Scholar.

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