What are you reading, watching, thinking about this week? As usual, here’s a few which have been on our mind. Let us know your thoughts on any/all of them. If you have items you’d like us to consider for the top five, add them in the comments or send them to Tom or Mike.
1. Mary and the Modern University (First Things): In light of the false perception that religion has little to do with thought, R. R. Reno (Theology, Creighton) asks:
What, then, does Christianity add to academic life? What should make teachers and students at Catholic colleges and universities–and other Christian institutions of higher education–confident in the intellectual integrity of their enterprise?
Reno offers the surprising suggestion that we look to Mary’s response to the Annunciation:
When the Angel of the Lord comes to Mary, she is told a truth–the truth of human destiny–that she cannot understand. Her response: “Behold, I am the handmaiden of the Lord; let it be to me according to your word.”
Good stuff. (HT: Kenny Benge)
Photo credit: B Tal via Flickr
2. Vocational concerns in higher education. In addition to the material covered in The End of Philosophy? — check out the Sociology The Satisfaction Gap (Scott Jaschik. Inside Higher Ed. 8/17/2010). The article comes face-to-face with the question of how to prepare students for graduate school. In particular, student formation along with appreciation of student (possibly faculty) fancies/interest doesn’t bring to the attention of students how much research stats comprise the work of Sociology. Comment from Tom: Maybe it also indicates some loss of direction of taking some the bigger picture into consideration when engaged in Sociological research and interpretation. I’ll survey my friends in Sociology. Feel free to also post your thoughts.
Lou Gehrig, international admissions, and Richard Mouw on praying in class after the jump.
3. Research changing how we understand our heroes? In Study Says Brain Trauma Can Mimic A.L.S. (Alan Schwarz. NY Times. 8/17/2010) we learn about new insights regarding
A peer-reviewed paper to be published Wednesday in a leading journal of neuropathology, however, suggests that the demise of athletes like Gehrig and soldiers given a diagnosis of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, commonly known as Lou Gehrig’s disease, might have been catalyzed by injuries only now becoming understood: concussions and other brain trauma.
“Lou Gehrig wanted to know everything possible about his own illness — he got to know his doctors, talked with scientists with obscure approaches, and volunteered himself as a guinea pig to find any way to combat the disease,” Mr. Eig ] said. “He wouldn’t stick his head in the sand and not want to hear about this. If he were around today, he would continue to have that same curiosity, and that burning desire, to help his situation, or to help others.”
Comment from Tom: it is a tragic story. In addition to our lack of knowledge of the affects of concussions “back in the day,” we must also keep in mind that working hard and pushing through difficult situations was a lot different in the 1920’s-30’s, even for athletes in New York City.
4. Graduate-Admissions Offers to Foreign Students Bounce Back (Karin Fischer, Chronicle of Higher Education, 8/19/2010). Welcome! For those from the United States, please extend hospitality (recommendation: visit InterVarsity’s International Student Ministry’s Practical “How-To’s” resource page). Keep an eye out for new friends from China, India, and South Korea. They “account for fully half of all non-U.S. citizens on temporary visas attending American graduate schools.” Although U.S. graduate education has “bounced back” and continues to be valued beyond our shores. Mr. Bell writes in Findings From the CGS. International Graduate Admissions Survey, Phase II: Final Applications and Initial Offers of Admission:
“with continued competition for international students from other countries and an increased capacity for graduate education in some countries, U.S. graduate schools cannot assume we will always remain the destination of choice for students from abroad.”
5. What difference does it make to open classes with prayer? So asks Richard J. Mouw, president of Fuller, at Duke Divinity School’s Call & Response blog. His brief reflection is helpful, as are the comments left there by James K. A. Smith (of our ESN fave Desiring the Kingdom) and Alissa Wilkinson (who ESN interviewed not too long ago). (HT: Tom Trevethan)
Tom enjoys daily conversations regarding living out the Biblical Story with his wife Theresa and their four girls, around the block, at Elizabethtown Brethren in Christ Church (where he teaches adult electives and co-leads a small group), among healthcare professionals as the South Central PA Area Director for the Christian Medical & Dental Associations (CMDA), and in higher ed as a volunteer with the Emerging Scholars Network (ESN). The Christian Medical Society / CMDA at Penn State College of Medicine is the hub of his ministry with CMDA. Note: Tom served with InterVarsity Christian Fellowship / USA for 20+ years, including 6+ years as the Associate Director of ESN. He has written for the ESN blog from its launch in August 2008. He has studied Biology (B.S.), Higher Education (M.A.), Spiritual Direction (Certificate), Spiritual Formation (M.A.R.), Ministry to Emerging Generations (D.Min.). To God be the glory!