The After Dinner Scholar
Vacation, Leisure, and Philosophy with Dr. Michael Bolin

Vacation, Leisure, and Philosophy with Dr. Michael Bolin

June 11, 2019

Memorial Day has come and gone and with school terms ending, it’s time for vacation. Ah, to get away and… and what? Run from cathedral to museum to monument to scenic vista? Deal with airports, TSA, rental cars, and driving? Work on your golf game? Rise up early to fish? Sit in the beach? Hike in the mountains?  Read? Do nothing? Try hard to avoid the all too common lament that I’ve returned from vacation only to find I need a vacation?

What’s the point of vacations anyway?  Is taking a vacation the same as leisure? If not, what is leisure?

Philosophers take vacations the same as the rest of us and Wyoming Catholic College Associate Professor of Philosophy, Dr. Michael Bolin just returned from a family vacation. Dr. Bolin is our guest on this edition of The After Dinner Scholar.

“Is It Okay to Hate Math?” with Dr. Scott Olsson

“Is It Okay to Hate Math?” with Dr. Scott Olsson

June 4, 2019

The late actor Sir Alec Guinness once commented, “All creative people hate mathematics. It is the most uncreative subject you can study.”

By contrast, the German mathematician, Hermann Weyl asserted just the opposite, “Besides language and music, mathematics is one of the primary manifestations of the free creative power of the human mind.”

So which is it? Is mathematics “the most uncreative subject you can study” or “one of the primary manifestations of the creative power of the human mind”? 

Wyoming Catholic College professor, mathematician Dr. Scott Olsson—well, he is after all a mathematician so you can guess what he might think. The question is, if you’re a skeptic who has never particularly liked math, can he convince you—the way he has convinced many students over the years.

Eastern Church, Western Church with Fr. David Anderson

Eastern Church, Western Church with Fr. David Anderson

May 28, 2019

Most Catholics know only the Roman or Latin Novus Ordo rite of the Eucharist. That’s not a surprise since it’s that rite that is celebrated almost exclusively in most of our churches. But the Catholic Church has not one, not two, but twenty-three different rites falling into six basic families: Latin, Alexandrian, Antiochian, Armenian, Chaldean and Constantinopolitan better known as Byzantine.

Our Wyoming Catholic College community is no stranger to the Byzantine rite. A nearby priest has celebrated that rite, the Divine Liturgy of St. John Chrysostom, regularly. Beginning this fall, however, we will all become even more familiar with the Byzantine liturgy as the college welcomes Fr. David Anderson as a second college chaplain. Fr. Anderson is our guest this week on The After Dinner Scholar.

“Yet”: Wyoming Catholic College from Vision to Reality with Bishop David Ricken

“Yet”: Wyoming Catholic College from Vision to Reality with Bishop David Ricken

May 21, 2019

In 2003 while speaking to a group of lay leaders, Bishop David L. Ricken then the bishop in Wyoming expressed his desire to promote Catholic education for all ages. The might, he mused, mean academic retreats and seminars since “we don’t have a Catholic college in Wyoming yet.” The crowd immediately broke into thunderous applause. In the midst of the clapping, Bishop Ricken turned to Fr. Bob Cook and asked, “What did I say?” Fr. Cook replied, “You said, ‘Yet.’

On Saturday, May 11, the Wyoming Catholic College Class of 2019 graduated. Bishop Ricken returned to Lander to celebrate the Baccalaureate Mass and to speak at commencement. He was also kind enough to reflect on the founding and growth of the college for The After Dinner Scholar.

T. S. Eliot and Life Beyond College with Dr. Glenn Arbery

T. S. Eliot and Life Beyond College with Dr. Glenn Arbery

May 14, 2019

In Wyoming Catholic College's humanities track, the last author our seniors read before graduation is poet T. S. Eliot.

While Geoffrey Chaucer in The Canterbury Tales extolled the loveliness of April when spring fills the earth with beauty and with great joy “people long to go on pilgrimages,” T. S. Eliot called April in our modern, secular age, “the cruelest month.” In his poem "The Waste Land," Eliot described the crowds of commuters with their backs turned to the glad pilgrim road to Canterbury as they slog into London for another work day.

Dr. Glenn Arbery, in addition to being our college president, has been teaching senior humanities. He is our guest this week on The After Dinner Scholar.

Questions of Life and Death with Dr. Kent Lasnoski

Questions of Life and Death with Dr. Kent Lasnoski

May 7, 2019

In the old cowboy movie, "The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance," once Valance is on the ground with a bullet in him, someone calls for the doctor. The doctor turns the body face up with his boot, looks at the corpse, and says, "Dead." One hundred or more years ago, life and death were relatively simple, but they're not any more.

While there are good reasons to rejoice in modern medical technique and technology, questions of life and death have grow in number and complexity.

Dr. Kent Lasnoski ended his moral theology course with Wyoming Catholic College seniors by moving from the philosophical and the theological to the conundrums force on us by medical and biotechnical advancements. Dr. Lasnoski is our guest on this week's After Dinner Scholar.

From the World of Shadows to the Light of Truth: Plato’s Cave with Dr. Pavlos Papadopoulos

From the World of Shadows to the Light of Truth: Plato’s Cave with Dr. Pavlos Papadopoulos

April 30, 2019

“Make an image of our nature in its education and want of education, likening it to a condition of the following kind” said Socrates in Plato’s dialogue The Republic. “See human beings as though they were in an underground cave-like dwelling with its entrance, a long one, open to the light across the whole width of the cave. They are in it from childhood with their legs and necks in bonds so that they are fixed, seeing only in front of them, unable because of the bond to turn their heads all the way around. Their light is from a fire burning far above and behind them. Between the fire and the prisoners there is a road above, along which see a wall, built like the partitions puppet-handlers set in front of the human beings and over which they show the puppets.”

The quote is the opening of Plato’s famous analogy of the cave. It’s an image of alienation and of exile from ourselves, from truth, from reality, and ultimately from God.

The analogy of the cave also serves as an introduction to all of Plato’s thought. And so our freshmen read it as the final work and capstone of their first year of humanities. Dr. Pavlos Papadopoulos, an expert on The Republic has been their teacher and is our guest on this edition of The After Dinner Scholar.

St. Thomas Aquinas on the Resurrection of Jesus with Dr. Jeremy Holmes

St. Thomas Aquinas on the Resurrection of Jesus with Dr. Jeremy Holmes

April 23, 2019

The Catechism of the Catholic Church declares, “Easter is not simply one feast among others, but the ‘"Feast of feasts,’ the ‘Solemnity of solemnities,’ just as the Eucharist is the ‘Sacrament of sacraments’ (the Great Sacrament). St. Athanasius calls Easter ‘the Great Sunday’ and the Eastern Churches call Holy Week ‘the Great Week.’ The mystery of the Resurrection, in which Christ crushed death, permeates with its powerful energy our old time, until all is subjected to him.”

In his Compendium Theologiae, St. Thomas Aquinas reflected on the meaning of the resurrection. This Easter Week, Dr. Jeremy Holmes explains how Thomas understood the resurrection of Christ and its relationship to our resurrection.

The Grand Sweep of Western Civilization with Dr. Wilfred McClay

The Grand Sweep of Western Civilization with Dr. Wilfred McClay

April 16, 2019

The one-semester undergraduate course's reading list included Augustine's Confessions, The Brothers Karamazov, Moby Dick, four Shakespeare plays, nine operas, and even more requiring about 6,000 pages of reading.

It was a course designed and taught by poet W. H. Auden at the University of Michigan in 1941. While the course is no longer one semester and the syllabus has undergone some revisions, the spirit of Auden lives on at the University of Oklahoma.

One of the professors behind the course is Dr. Wilfred McClay, the university's G. T. and Libby Blankenship Chair in the History of Liberty. Dr. McClay came to Wyoming Catholic College this past weekend to deliver a lecture and is our guest on this edition of 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