The After Dinner Scholar
“In an Urban Wilderness with Christ in the City” with Dr. Kent Lasnoski

“In an Urban Wilderness with Christ in the City” with Dr. Kent Lasnoski

April 9, 2019

March 23 to 30 was Outdoor Week here at Wyoming Catholic College. And while most of our students were out in what we typically think of as the wilderness, one group found themselves in another kind of wilderness: a wilderness of loneliness.

Christ in the City was founded in Denver to address long-term, chronic homelessness. Young missionaries commit one year to live in community, grow in the Faith, and minister to the needy, bridging the regrettable gap that often separates evangelism from service to the poor.

In addition, Christ in the City provides short-term opportunities during the summer and, for our Wyoming Catholic College students, during Outdoor Week.

Theologian Dr. Kent Lasnoski and his family were part of the team. Dr. Lasnoski is our guest this week on The After Dinner Scholar

College, Community, and Apprenticeship: The Founders’ Scholarship with Dr. Jason Baxter

College, Community, and Apprenticeship: The Founders’ Scholarship with Dr. Jason Baxter

April 2, 2019

Two or three times each academic year two Wyoming Catholic College vans make the five-hour drive to Denver International Airport to pick up two dozen high school seniors to compete for one of our Founders’ Scholarships.

The Founders’ Scholarship is a full tuition scholarship awarded to a student who shows academic excellence, great work ethic and strong communication skills. The College holds two-three weekend-long competitions each academic year. Students tackle assigned readings ahead of time to discuss in seminars, prepare and deliver speeches, and interact with faculty, current students, and one another. In addition to being a competition, the Founders’ Weekend is a great taste of life at Wyoming Catholic College. Win, lose, or draw, most of the students leave having found a college they can love.

Dr. Jason Baxter, our academic dean, is a veteran of Founders’ competitions and is our guest on The After Dinner Scholar.

How High the Moon, How Far the Stars? with Dr. Scott Olsson

How High the Moon, How Far the Stars? with Dr. Scott Olsson

March 26, 2019

A recent news article announced the discovery of 300,000 new galaxies bringing the number to somewhere around 100 billion some 12 to 18 billion light years away. Such numbers boggle the mind as does the notion that we can actually calculate such distances. Yet starting back in about 240 BC in Alexandria, Egypt Eratosthenes managed to calculate with amazing accuracy the circumference of the earth. Once that was done, it was only a matter of time before people calculated the distance to the Moon, to the Sun, and finally to the stars.

How did they do it? Dr. Scott Olsson  has been discussing these matters with our Wyoming Catholic College sophomores. Dr. Olsson is our guest on this edition of The After Dinner Scholar.

How a Medieval Metaphysical Revolution Changed Our World with Mr. J. William Thrippleton, III

How a Medieval Metaphysical Revolution Changed Our World with Mr. J. William Thrippleton, III

March 19, 2019

There are dozens of would-be explanations for the polarization we as a culture and body politic experience today. One plausible explanation we rarely hear about is nominalism as over against realism.

Do the words we use—“cat,” “canyon,” “mountain,” and most important “man”—describe universals or merely particulars? Can we meaningfully talk about human nature and what it means to be one of us? Is human nature something real that is outside of our thoughts or is it merely an internal, subjective construct we apply to many particulars that seem somewhat alike?

While these seem like rather abstract and academic question, Wyoming Catholic College senior Jack Thrippleton argued in his senior thesis and oration, “Realism and Nominalism cannot truly argue against each other, for they do not share enough premises.”

Jack is our guest this week on The After Dinner Scholar.

Christian Fiction and the Rules of Subcreation with Mary Woods, Class of 2019

Christian Fiction and the Rules of Subcreation with Mary Woods, Class of 2019

March 12, 2019

In the fall semester, Wyoming Catholic College seniors write theses and then in the spring semester all classes are canceled for three days as they present their research in the form of a public orations—thirty minutes of lecture followed by thirty minutes of question from a faculty panel and from their peers in the audience.

This and the next edition of The After Dinner Scholar will feature interviews with senior about their theses and orations.

Mary Woods is an aspiring novelist who entitled her thesis and oration “Law, the Soil of Story: Christian Fiction and the Rules of Subcreation.” Mary is our guest this week on The After Dinner Scholar.

Lent: A Time of Sacrifice, Growth, and Joy with Fr. Paul Ward

Lent: A Time of Sacrifice, Growth, and Joy with Fr. Paul Ward

March 5, 2019

“Lent,” wrote New Testament scholar Dr. N. T. Wright, “is a time for discipline, for confession, for honesty, not because God is mean or fault-finding or finger-pointing but because he wants us to know the joy of being cleaned out, ready for all the good things he now has in store.” 

And even if we already knew that, well… discipline and sacrifice come hard to most of us. As Pope St. John Paul II noted, “Our age, regrettably, is particularly susceptible to the temptation toward selfishness which always lurks within the human heart. …The spirit of the world affects our inner propensity to give ourselves unselfishly to others and drives us to satisfy our own particular interests.”

Lent is the needed antidote and our Wyoming Catholic College community takes Lent very seriously. Guiding us—students, faculty, and staff—through Lent is our college chaplain, Fr. Paul Ward. Fr. Ward is our guest this week on The After Dinner Scholar.

The Being, the Goodness, and the Providence of God with Dr. Michael Bolin

The Being, the Goodness, and the Providence of God with Dr. Michael Bolin

February 26, 2019

“Are not two sparrows sold for a penny?” told Jesus the fearful, “And not one of them will fall to the ground without your Father’s will. But even the hairs of your head are all numbered.” (Matthew 10:29-30)

God governs the vast reaches of space, the hosts of angels, the rise and fall of nations. And yet, little birds don’t fall to the ground dead “without your Father’s will.” And as your hair falls out, God keeps track of how many hairs remain.

This is a great mystery. It is the doctrine of God’s providence. “All things,” wrote St. Thomas Aquinas in his Compendium Theologiae, “are ruled by divine providence. “All things”? That’s quite an extravagant claim and, in our world of woe, it’s also quite a controversial claim.

Theologian, Dr. Michael Bolin provides some insights on this mystery on this edition of The After Dinner Scholar.

Learning and the Dies Irae with Prof. Kyle Washut

Learning and the Dies Irae with Prof. Kyle Washut

February 19, 2019

The Dies Irae, a hymn from the 12th century, speaks about the second coming of Christ and the Judgment Day. In addition to that, the Latin text just happens correspond with the Latin Wyoming Catholic College sophomores are learning right now.

It is, in fact, a powerful and challenging combination of poetry, theology, spirituality, and Latin grammar.

Noticing all that, Prof. Kyle Washut and Prof. Eugene Hamilton integrated a bit of second year Latin with second year Trivium. Prof. Washut is our guest this week on The After Dinner Scholar

Hard Texts and Charitable Reading with Dr. Tiffany Schubert

Hard Texts and Charitable Reading with Dr. Tiffany Schubert

February 12, 2019

That nineteenth century German philosopher Friedrich Nietzsche’s point of view is incompatible with the vision, values, and mission of Wyoming Catholic College should come as no surprise to anyone. And the same can be said of thinkers such as Jean Jacque Rousseau, Sigmund Freud, Martin Heidegger, and Michel Foucault.

Yet Wyoming Catholic College students read all of them and more. And that makes sense since no one can understand our modern culture without confronting those thinkers.

Which brings up the question of how to read them—how to read any thinker with whom we disagree.

Dr. Tiffany Schubert has spent a long time thinking about how to read charitably, receiving even harsh and abrasive authors with kindness and sympathy.

The Medieval Mind of C. S. Lewis with Dr. Jason Baxter

The Medieval Mind of C. S. Lewis with Dr. Jason Baxter

February 5, 2019

Before C. S. Lewis was a novelist, spiritual writer, or Christian apologist, he was a scholar. Lewis served as a Fellow and Tutor in English Literature at Oxford University from 1925 until 1954 when he was made Chair of Medieval and Renaissance Literature at Cambridge University. That is Lewis’ primary calling was as a university professor and literary scholar.

His scholarly studies influenced all of Lewis’ writings from Narnia to the Space Trilogy from Screwtape to “The Weight of Glory” from The Abolition of Man to The Great Divorce and Till We Have Faces. Lewis’ popular books while speaking forcefully to our modern era are Medieval to the core.

Wyoming Catholic College Academic Dean Dr. Jason Baxter is, like Lewis, a student and scholar of Medieval and Renaissance literature. He has for years been reading over Lewis’s shoulder, studying the same books and authors.

This winter Dr. Baxter will be teaching a free distance learning course on “The Medieval Mind of C. S. Lewis.” To register, visit our website.