The Paradox of Courage with Dr. Glenn Arbery

January 30, 2018

In the book Orthodoxy, G. K. Chesterton wrote about courage: “No quality has ever so much addled the brains and tangled the definitions of merely rational sages. Courage is almost a contradiction in terms. It means a strong desire to live taking the form of a readiness to die.”

Courage is vital in facing battle, persecution or martyrdom, sickness, and death. It is central to spiritual battles and speaking the truth of the Gospel to our neighbors. Relationships with others—husband/wife, parent/child, friend and friend—often require courage. And among successful executives, managerial courage in decision making is a sought-after trait.

At the same time, the word courage is used to cover up all sorts of questionable behavior and prudence requires that we know the real thing from its counterfeits. That’s why the topic of the 2018 Wyoming School of Catholic Thought—June 10-14 here in Lander, Wyoming—is “The Paradox of Courage.”

This week to give us a foretaste of the school,  our guest is Wyoming Catholic College President Dr. Glenn Arbery.

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A Universal Language for a Universal Church with Dr. Scott Olsson

January 23, 2018

While vernacular languages will continue to be our normal way of communicating and doing business, there is something fitting about a universal Church, a Church comprising “every tribe and tongue and people and nation” having a universal language: Latin.

At Wyoming Catholic College, we invite our undergraduate students, our podcast listeners, and participants in the Wyoming School of Catholic Thought into the great conversation that is Western civilization. Since much of that conversation in the world and in the Church occurred in Latin, it makes perfect sense that we would encourage—and with our undergraduates require—Latin as a read and spoken language.

Our guest this week, Dr. Scott Olsson is Associate Professor of Mathematics and the Natural Sciences at Wyoming Catholic College. At the same time, he has an abiding passion for Latin, a passion he passes on to his students and to his children.

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Angels and Demons, Blessing and Blindness, Hope and Exile: The Book of Tobit with Dr. Kent Lasnoski

January 9, 2018

The story of Tobit takes place during the exile in Assyria. When Nebuchadnezzar’s Babylonian army took the people of Judah and Jerusalem into captivity, the people went with God’s promise of return. Two hundred years earlier, when the Assyrians captured Israel, that is, the Northern Kingdom, the people went into exile with no such promise or hope of returning. The so-called “ten lost tribes,” already thoroughly paganized in their religion, simply assimilated into Assyrian society.

But not Tobit. Though exiled, living in Nineveh, and working for the king, he had not apostatized like his fellow Israelites. He followed the Lord wholeheartedly and kept His commands carefully. Like Job he was brought low and like Job he finally saw his vindication.

Dr. Kent Lasnoski taught Tobit to Wyoming Catholic College freshmen during the fall semester.

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Sir Gawain and the Green Knight, Part 3 with Dr. Ben Lockerd

January 2, 2018

“The answers to the errors of modern times need to be given in philosophy and theology,” wrote Dr. Benjamin Lockerd, “but it is essential that our students also experience the truth imaginatively.”

This is the third and final installment in our podcast series on Sir Gawain and the Green Knight the Wyoming Catholic College 2017-18 Book of the Year. It’s a book that highlights the Catholic intellectual tradition and the liberal arts and one we especially recommend that you read and study.

Our guest on this third podcast is Dr. Benjamin Lockerd, Professor of English at Grand Valley State University in Grand Rapids, Michigan. Dr. Lockerd is a member of the Wyoming Catholic College Catholic Scholars Advisory Board.

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Sir Gawain and the Green Knight, Part 2 with Dr. Kent Lasnoski

December 26, 2017

Wandering lost in a wild land on Christmas Eve, Sir Gawain prayed, “I beg of you, O Lord, and Mary, that most merciful of mothers, and most dear, find me safe lodgings in some house, devoutly to hear Mass, and then your matins tomorrow morning. I meekly ask you, and to this purpose I promptly pray my Pater and my Ave, and Creed.”

Last week we looked at the fourteenth century poem Sir Gawain and the Green Knight from a literary point of view. Our college president Dr. Glenn Arbery helped us understand the story, its structure, and its context.

But the anonymous author of the tale about Sir Gawain was interested in more than telling a good story. He had a clear theological and spiritual purpose as well. Sir Gawain and the Green Knight is an intensely Christian poem. To help us understand how that’s the case, our guest this week is theologian Dr. Kent Lasnoski.

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Sir Gawain and the Green Knight, Part 1 with Dr. Glenn Arbery

December 19, 2017

It was Christmas time, and King Arthur and his Knights of the Round Table gathered to celebrate the courted Camelot. Amid the merriment and mirth of New Year's Eve, a huge knight rode into the festive hall. He was clad in green armor that perfectly matched his green hair, green skin, and green horse. With him, he brought a holly branch, a huge battle ax, and a strange game.

Beginning this year, Wyoming Catholic College will select a book of the year, some work that highlights the Catholic intellectual tradition and the liberal arts. This year's book of the year is the anonymous 14th century masterpiece, Sir Gawain and the Green Knight.

Sir Gawain and the Green Knight, wrote JRR Tolkien, “Is a romance, a fairy tale for adults, full of life and color.” In this, the first of three podcasts on the poem, Dr. Glenn Arbery, president of Wyoming Catholic College introduces us to this strange tale.

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Conscience, Rights, and the Moral Imagination in The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn with Dr. Virginia Arbery

December 12, 2017

December 15 is Bill of Rights Day and when we asked political philosopher, Dr. Virginia Arbery if she’d be willing to talk with us about the Bill of Rights, she said she’d be happy to talk about rights, but rather than the Bill of Rights, she suggested we discuss Mark Twain’s novel, The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn.

Twain’s story about the friendship and travels of Huck, a runaway boy and Jim a runaway slave explores right and wrong, freedom and bondage, conscience rightly formed and conscience poorly formed, rights and responsibilities.

Dr. Arbery is Associate Professor of Humanities at Wyoming Catholic College.

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Poetry, Praise, and “Pied Beauty” with Dr. Jason Baxter

November 21, 2017

Fr. Gerard Manley Hopkins, a Jesuit, was born in 1844 in Essex, England and died in 1889 in Dublin, Ireland. And while none of his poems were published during his lifetime, when they were published beginning in 1918, he was immediately heralded as one of the greatest poets of the Victorian Era.

Each year Wyoming Catholic College freshmen memorize, among other poems, Hopkin’s “Pied Beauty” and with him give thanks to God “for dappled things.”

Their enthusiastic, poetry-reciting professor is Dr. Jason Baxter who is our guest for this Thanksgiving edition of The After Dinner Scholar.

Wyoming Catholic College Poetry Anthology:

  • “To an Athlete Dying Young,” A. E. Housman
  • “On First Looking into Chapman’s Homer,” John Keats
  • “God’s Grandeur,” Gerard Manley Hopkins
  • “The world is too much with us,” William Wordsworth
  • “Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening,” Robert Frost
  • “What a piece of work is a man,” William Shakespeare
  • Sonnet 116, William Shakespeare
  • “Spring and Fall,” Gerard Manley Hopkins
  • “Pied Beauty,” Gerard Manley Hopkins
  • “Ozymandias,” Percy Shelly
  • “To Lucasta, Going to the Wars,” Richard Lovelace
  • Holy Sonnet XIV (“Batter my heart”), John Donne
  • “Love III,” George Herbert
  • General Prologue to The Canterbury Tales, Geoffrey Chaucer
  • “The quality of mercy is not strained,” William Shakespeare
  • “Sonnet 94,” William Shakespeare
  • “For once then, Something,” Robert Frost
  • “The Tyger,” William Blake
  • “The Lake Isle of Innisfree,” William Butler Yeats
  • “When you are old,” William Butler Yeats
  • “Because I could not stop for death,” Emily Dickinson
  • “Fire and Ice,” Robert Frost
  • “The Second Coming,” William Butler Yeats
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Shakespeare, Caesar, Culture, and Politics with Dr. Khalil Habib

October 17, 2017

Behind the personal conflicts in in Shakespeare’s Julius Caesar, says Wyoming Catholic College board member Dr Khalil Habib, the bard is making the case that “politics always swims downstream from culture.”

Just as Caesar believes that he is driving changes in Rome, so, too, Brutus, Cassius, and their fellow conspirators believe that they are driving changes by murdering him. In fact, it is the changing Roman culture that drives the events much more than the men involved. Rome changed from the days of the Republic to the eve of the Empire. Killing Caesar cannot and does not undo those changes.

In addition to being Associate Professor of Philosophy and Director of the Pell Honors Program at Salve Regina University, Dr. Habib is a member of the Wyoming Catholic College Board of Directors and our guest on this week’s After Dinner Scholar.

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Dionysus, Apollo, and the Challenge of Deep Knowing with Dr. Thaddeus Kozinski

October 10, 2017

“What is good?" asked Friedrich Nietzsche, "The Anti-Christ. Whatever augments the feeling of power, the will to power, power itself in man. What is evil? Whatever springs from weakness. What is happiness? The feeling that power increases—that resistance is overcome.”

Thus it seems curious that Sean Steel, a member of the education faculty at the University of Calgary, should use Nietzschean categories--the Dionysian, the Apollonian, the anti-Dionysian--to propose a rather congenial understanding of a good education.

The Wyoming Catholic College faculty read and discussed Steel’s article “Schooling for ‘Deep Knowing’” during a recent symposium. Our Academic Dean, Dr. Thaddeus Kozinski, led our discussion and is our guest on this week’s After Dinner Scholar.

Sean Steel's article, "Schooling for 'Deep Knowing'" can be found here.

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