Questions of self-identity are of abiding interest. Contemporary fascination with “identity politics” demonstrates that there are a multitude of significant questions that deserve careful and responsible exploration. Continue reading Who Am I and Who Are They?
“Follow your passion!” This aphorism of self-actualization is often given to college students searching for what work vocations they will do after graduation. This saying can be a well-intentioned antidote to the dull and dubious pragmatism that says, “Wealth (and the job that gains it) makes the man.” But this aphorism can also be misleading and damaging. Its passion-propelled portrait of work can set people up for failure and disappointment instead of helping them find meaning and contentment in their labors. Continue reading Follow Your Passion!
This is the second post of a three-part essay on the vocation of a student.
How can a student serve her neighbor? You might immediately jump to the idea of service projects or mission trips. True, these are ways to love others while being a student. But a person can do those quite apart from being a student. So the question still remains: how can a student love others through her calling as a student? Continue reading How Can You Serve Your Neighbor As a Student?
This is the first post of a three-part essay on the vocation of a student.
What does it mean to be a student? Several responses can be given to this simple, yet complex, question. The place to begin with is the observation that to be a student—like to be a daughter or a son, brother or sister, friend or citizen—is to have a vocation. This is apparent in the fact that a university has accepted a person’s application for enrollment. In doing so the university calls the applicant, placing upon her the honorable and holy vocation of student.
It might sound strange to say that being a student is honorable and holy, but it is. It is much more than, as many people think, a path to a profession or financial well-being. Continue reading What Does It Mean to Be a Student?
This is the first post of a two-part essay on Ovid’s depiction of the limitations of natural and supernatural answers to the human condition.
How many of our undergraduate students are encouraged to find quick comfort in answers scientific because the transcendent is so unknowable? Or—perhaps a problem in our secular institutions to the same degree as it may be a caricature of the most fundamentalist of our church-related institutions—to rely more on the supernatural as a more certain answer to life’s vicissitudes than the natural world can offer? As scholars, we owe it to ourselves and our students always to consider skeptically the limitations of either endeavor—and the ancient world’s greatest poet points up just this problem as well. Continue reading The Limitations of Science and Art
Concordia University Irvine’s Core Curriculum seeks an ambitious vision set forth in the words of Martin Luther: “to develop wise, honorable, and cultivated citizens.” One danger in running with a vision that’s so catchy is that the virtues these words espouse may eventually become confused, diluted, or even meaningless. The hazard is compounded when the word “honorable” enjoys center stage in that vision, a word that for many has eluded a simple definition distinguishable from a kind of vanilla “moral uprightness.” One purpose of this essay, then, is to seek whether clarity can be at least provisionally attained about what we mean by “honor.” To do this we will aim at a discrete delineation along the lines suggested by one core text, Cicero’s De Officiis (“On Obligations” or “On Duties”). Continue reading Negotiating Honor in Cicero’s De Officiis