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Towel and Basin
Teacher as Steward, Servant
Truett’s first week of class is in the books. Seventy new students will participate in my Spiritual Formation I course. For the first time in my life, I am listed as the professor of record in three of our courses. I have taught each of the past two years, but as a co-professor. What a surprise. What an honor. Praise be.
Dean Todd Still offered our convocation address in chapel on Tuesday, which I thought was quite good.
Among the notes Dean Still sounded in his address, I will highlight one: Truett Seminary, like Baylor University, is pro ecclesia, a Latin phrase meaning for the church. Our calling, individually and collectively, is to follow and to serve Jesus Christ, and, by extension, to serve his body.
We equip students, not so that they might receive a degree, though we hope that they do, nor so that they might be placed in a church, non-profit, or other place of employment, though we strive to help them in this regard, but we teach and serve that our students might likewise take up towel and basin, put on humility like a garment, and display that same character that was and is displayed in Jesus himself, by grace, and the Spirit’s power.
I finished Greg Lukianoff and Jonathan Haidt’s The Coddling of the American Mind: How Good Intentions and Bad Ideas are Setting Up a Generation for Failure. The authors make a compelling argument for the causes underlying much of what we see on campus and in the broader culture today, rightly warn of the dangers of discourse that is overly-sentimentalized, the temptation to demonize opponents, concept creep and safetyism, and prescribe principles that could turn the tide against polarization, cancel culture, and perhaps move us toward a more open intellectual discourse.
Lukianoff and Haidt propose that younger generations have been taught three great untruths: the untruth of fragility, the untruth of emotional reasoning, and the untruth of us versus them. They do believe, however, that there is a way out. Their approach requires the identification of ways these untruths are operative and dismantling them through an adjustment of the mind—teaching ourselves new patterns of thought. In the end, they argue for wisdom at all levels of society, and while we would of course benefit from revisiting the great philosophers, Plato, Aristotle, and the rest, there is also a great deal of wisdom in the religious traditions. I’d argue for Christianity.
I am about a third of the way through The Rise and Triumph of the Modern Self by Carl R. Trueman. This isn’t a book for every reader, but for those who are intellectually serious, committed to the Christian faith, and who are seeking to understand why the modern person is the way that they are, I think this book may become indispensable. Trueman shows how expressive individualism has come to dominate the modern consciousness, and how human beings have moved from becoming defined outwardly—by tribe or religious observance—to an inward orientation of the self.
Very soon, I’ll begin Ronald Reagan’s autobiography, An American Life.
Sights and Sounds
It is one thing to contemplate the horror of a nuclear disaster. It is quite another to contemplate the reality of living under communist rule, where no one can tell nor face the truth for fear of reprisal from those in power. For a society to be free, it must be built upon truth.
I posted links to my July and August playlists.
Before I go, standard copy.
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Be well this week. Bless others.
P. S. - The aftermath of a J paint project.