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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
December 5, 2017
St. Athanasius was born in Alexandria, Egypt to Christian parents in about AD 298. From the time he was five until he was fourteen, he lived through the great and final persecution of Christians by Imperial Rome. As one scholar puts it, “All through the most impressionable years of his childhood he had not only learnt the Christian faith, he had seen it in action [in the lives of martyrs]. He had faced the possible of martyrdom himself; and he had made his own the faith for and by which the martyrs died….”
Athanasius, insofar as he is known at all, is remembered most for being the great polemicist who defended the Trinity and the deity of Christ against the wildly popular Arian heresy that denied both. Athanasius contra mundum, Athanasius against the world. Yet when he was a young man, before the advent of the theological controversy with the Arians, Athanasius wrote a delightful little catechetical book for his friend Macarius, On the Incarnation.
During this the first week of Advent, theologian Dr. Jeremy Holmes joins us to discuss that delightful and accessible book.
October 31, 2017
“The saints have no need of honour from us,” preached St. Bernard, “neither does our devotion add the slightest thing to what is theirs. Clearly, if we venerate their memory, it serves us, not them. But I tell you, when I think of them, I feel myself inflamed by a tremendous yearning.”
Each year on November 1, we celebrate the Solemnity of All Saints, remembering those brothers and sisters in Christ who lives demonstrated heroic virtue and faith. Perhaps by happy providence, perhaps by professorial cunning, Wyoming Catholic College professor Kyle Washut is teaching the Vatican II document Lumen Gentium to our seniors coming to chapter seven, “The Eschatological Nature of the Pilgrim Church and Its Union with the Church in Heaven” just in time for All Saints Day. Professor Washut is our guest this week to share what he and his students have been discussing.
October 3, 2017
From the very beginning of Wyoming Catholic College--ten years ago--creation, nature, the outdoors, has been a crucial part of our vision of a liberal arts education.
Freshmen arrive nearly a month before classes begin for a three-week backpacking expedition—the first three weeks of their ten-week wilderness requirement for graduation. In the wilderness, they experience the wonder that comes from an encounter with God’s creation, they grow spiritually in the solitude, they form strong friendships, and learn new confidence and leadership skills.
Dr. Tom Zimmer received his Ph.D. in outdoor education from the University of Utah, has untold weeks of wilderness experience, directs the Wyoming Catholic College outdoor program, and is our guest on this After Dinner Scholar.
August 22, 2017
Over the past week, the administration and staff at Wyoming Catholic College have met to discuss The Power and the Glory by Graham Greene. It’s an historical novel set in the 1930s in the Mexican state of Tobasco. The Catholic Church had been outlawed and churches including the cathedral were torn down. Priests were arrested as enemies of the state and promptly shot. In that setting, Greene gives us his paradoxical portrayal of service to God, love for neighbor, and holiness in the life of the last remaining Catholic priest, a character known to us only as “father’ or “the whisky priest.”
Dr. Glenn Arbery, president of Wyoming Catholic College led the discussion and is our guest this week on The After Dinner Scholar.
August 15, 2017
Anyone who has read Flannery O’Connor’s stories knows that she was convinced that "the repugnant distortions of modern life" appeared far too natural and normal to her audience and she was quite willing to use “ever more violent means” to point that out.
Her short story “Revelation” exemplifies her dictum that “to the hard of hearing you shout, and for the almost blind you draw large and startling figures.”
This summer Dr. Kent Lasnoski assigned “Revelation” to high school juniors and seniors during Wyoming Catholic College’s PEAK Program. Dr. Lasnoski is our guest on this edition of The After Dinner Scholar.