The After Dinner Scholar
Through the Gate of Lodore with COR Missionary Bob Milligan

Through the Gate of Lodore with COR Missionary Bob Milligan

July 14, 2020

“The canyon of Lodore is twenty and three-quarter miles in length,” wrote Major John Wesley Powell who was the first to descended the Green River through the canyon in June 1869. “It starts abruptly at what we have called the Gate of Lodore, with walls nearly two thousand feet high, and they are never lower than this until we reach Alcove Brook, about three miles above the foot. They are very irregular, standing in vertical or overhanging cliffs in places, terraced in others, or receding in steep slopes, and are broken by many side gulches and canyons.”

Powell and his men found the river from the Gate of Lodore very tough going with multiple long portages around rapids and the loss of one of four boats along with a great deal of supplies and scientific instruments in what he named “Disaster Falls.”

Of course those were the days before nylon, gor tex, polyester fleece, and good strong river rafts, the kind used by the recent COR Expeditions rafting trip down the Green River. Bob Milligan, a 2018 graduate of Wyoming Catholic College now on COR staff led the trip.

For more information about COR Expeditions visit the COR website.

Believing in Beauty by Dr. James Tonkowich

Believing in Beauty by Dr. James Tonkowich

June 30, 2020

The well-laid plan was to fly to Maine for vacation, but it became clear that the travel restrictions there would make for a terrible vacation. So instead, Jim and Dottie Tonkowich drove north.

Their vacation trip of about 1,675 miles went from Lander to Cody, Yellowstone National Park, Three Rivers, Montana, Whitefish Lake, Montana, Glacier National Park, and back home via Butte, Montana, Yellowstone and the Tetons. If you’re thinking to yourself, “That must have been beautiful,” you’re on track with the topic of this podcast.

Beauty just may be the way to save our troubled world.

The Liturgical Music of the Christian East with Prof. Christopher Hodkinson

The Liturgical Music of the Christian East with Prof. Christopher Hodkinson

June 16, 2020

In the past Wyoming Catholic College’s Byzantine chaplain, Fr. David Anderson has been a guest on The After Dinner Scholar so you know that our students are able to attend Byzantine Divine Liturgy regularly.

What you may not know is that while in the Western liturgical tradition, Mass can be celebrated without singing, in the Eastern rites, singing is mandatory.

Assisting Fr. David musically has been Prof. Christopher Hodkinson, Instructor of Music and Fine Arts who is also our Director of Music and our guest this week.

“Better is One Day in Your Courts”: Rethinking Sunday with Dr. Kent Lasnosk

“Better is One Day in Your Courts”: Rethinking Sunday with Dr. Kent Lasnosk

June 9, 2020

“Many people simply cannot believe that there can be a large, leisurely center to life where God can be pondered” wrote the late Dr. Eugene Peterson. “They doubt they can enter realms of spirit where wonder and adoration have a place to develop, and where play and delight have time to flourish. Is all this possible in our fast-paced lives?”

That 1994 article by Eugene Peterson was ironically entitled “The Good-for-Nothing Sabbath.” It had a profound influence on the way I thought about not only Sunday, but rest and leisure in general. It also served as the one of the first critiques I read of the modern American concept of time that sees each Sunday and holiday as nothing but “a day off” in the service of returning to work.

Dr. Kent Lasnoski here at Wyoming Catholic College has spent a good deal of time considering and writing about the Sabbath. And his concerns have only been amplified by the enforced fast from Sunday Mass and the sacraments due to COVID-19. We may have formed or enhanced some bad habits.

Into the Lenten Desert: 7) “How to Perform Scripture: Lectio Divina and Reading with the Heart” by Dr. Jason Baxter

Into the Lenten Desert: 7) “How to Perform Scripture: Lectio Divina and Reading with the Heart” by Dr. Jason Baxter

April 9, 2020

St. Jerome famously said, “Ignorance of the Scriptures is ignorance of Christ.” Thus knowledge of the Scriptures is knowledge of Christ and the more we know Scriptures—assuming that our hearts are right—the more we will know Christ.

While reading through the Bible is of great value and scholarly study of the Bible is also of great value, the Medieval Masters developed a method of reading the Bible they called lectio divina—and it’s not just for monks in the Egyptian desert. It’s a mystical practice for all of us.

Dr. Baxter explains more addressing “How to Perform Scripture: Lectio Divina and Reading with the Heart” in this final session of “Into the Lenten Desert: Learning to Pray with the Medieval Masters” from Wyoming Catholic College. 

 

Sickness, Separation, Grief, and Holy Week by Prof. Kyle Washut

Sickness, Separation, Grief, and Holy Week by Prof. Kyle Washut

April 6, 2020

Writing at TheCatholicThing, scholar David Bonagura, Jr. writes about Passion Sunday and the blessing and receiving of palms. It’s what we do, he says. Then he goes on, “But not this year. We will not be present to receive our palms, to hold them as the Gospel of Jesus’ triumphal ascent into Jerusalem is read, to make crosses out of them, to thread them through our crucifixes upon returning home. It is a Palm Sunday without palms.”

This year, Palm Sunday without palms will lead to Holy Thursday without our receiving the Eucharist, Good Friday without waiting on line to kneel and to kiss the crucified, and Easter without gathering in the dark to await the light and the resurrection. It is a strange and sad situation.

Here at Wyoming Catholic College, the sadness extends to the loss of our close-knit school community. Great gatherings for Easter brunches and Easter dinners will be limited to immediate family and groups of ten.

Last Friday, our academic dean, Prof. Kyle Washut spoke from his heart to the experience of our students, faculty, and staff. In doing so, he also, I suspect, speaks eloquently to you experience during this Holy Week. Here is what he had to say.

Into the Lenten Desert: 6) “Praying with the Whole World: Evagrios and ‘Natural Contemplation’” by Dr. Jason Baxter

Into the Lenten Desert: 6) “Praying with the Whole World: Evagrios and ‘Natural Contemplation’” by Dr. Jason Baxter

April 2, 2020

“The man who truly prayers,” wrote the fourth century monk Evagrios, “is the man who sees the place of God. This is what it means to be a theologian.”

This is lecture six in Wyoming Catholic College’s distance learning course “Into the Lenten Desert: Learning to Pray with the Medieval Masters” with Dr. Jason Baxter.

Following the example of St. Anthony, a steady stream of monks and hermits made their way into the Egyptian desert to seek God. Evagrios was among them, a so-called “desert father.”

In this lecture, Dr. Baxter looks at the writings of Evagrios and the sayings of the desert fathers in order to explain: “Praying with the Whole World: Evagrios and ‘Natural Contemplation.’”

Into the Lenten Desert: 5) “Dionysius the Areopagite and the Darkness of God” by Dr. Jason Baxter

Into the Lenten Desert: 5) “Dionysius the Areopagite and the Darkness of God” by Dr. Jason Baxter

March 26, 2020

It's been said that God created man in his own image and man kindly returned the favor.

While the Scripture tells us that God saves with his strong arm, most of us understand that this is metaphorical language. God has no arms, legs, hands, feet, eyes, or ears. We know God by analogy because God in His Being is beyond our comprehension. He remains a mystery.

The mystic wants to know God not merely by analogy, but to experience Him in His Being and thus in the darkness of mystery.

In this lecture, “Dionysius the Areopagite and The Darkness of God,” Dr. Baxter explores the mystical tradition of the via negativa.

Into the Lenten Desert 4) “Augustine’s Restless Heart and the Inward Turn: What Augustine Learned from the Pagans” by Dr. Jason Baxter

Into the Lenten Desert 4) “Augustine’s Restless Heart and the Inward Turn: What Augustine Learned from the Pagans” by Dr. Jason Baxter

March 19, 2020

“And men go abroad to admire the heights of mountains, the mighty waves of the sea, the broad tides of rivers, the compass of the ocean, and the circuits of the stars,” wrote St. Augustine of Hippo in his Confessions, “yet [they] pass over the mystery of themselves without a thought.”

In Confessions, Augustine explores how for years he passed over the mystery of his own self until he began actively exploring that mystery. Why do we behave as we do? What’s the appeal of sin? What’s the appeal of holiness? Why are we so restless? What is truth?

In this fourth lecture in the distance learning course "Into the Lenten Desert: Learning to Pray with the Medieval Masters," Dr. Baxter explores “Augustine’s Restless Heart and the Inward Turn: What Augustine Learned from the Pagans.”

“Only on the bright edges of the world”: Man and Landscape in Willa Cather’s Death Comes for the Archbishop with Ms Catherine Stypa

“Only on the bright edges of the world”: Man and Landscape in Willa Cather’s Death Comes for the Archbishop with Ms Catherine Stypa

March 17, 2020

“One afternoon in the autumn of 1851, a solitary horseman, followed by a packmule, was pushing through an arid stretch of country somewhere in central New Mexico. He had lost his way, and was trying to get back to the trail, with only his compass and his sense of direction for guides....Under his buckskin riding-coat [the traveler] wore a black vest and the cravat and collar of a churchman. A young priest...and a priest in a thousand, one knew at a glance. His manners, even when he was alone in the desert, were distinguished. He had a kind of courtesy toward himself, toward his beasts, toward the juniper tree before which he knelt, and the God whom he was addressing.”

Those first lines from Willa Cather’s Death Comes to the Archbishop set the stage for the entire novel. A young priest riding through the middle of the varied landscapes of New Mexico.

Wyoming Catholic College senior Catherine Stypa chose Cather’s novel as the subject of her senior thesis this past the fall and her senior oration earlier this winter. Catherine Stypa is our guest on this edition of The After Dinner Scholar.