The Anselm House at the University of Minnesota is Hiring an Associate Director of University Engagement

anselm

Back in March 2011, I had a great visit to the Anselm House (at the time it was called the MacLaurin Institute) at the University of Minnesota.  I gave a lecture on the U of M campus, met with campus ministers and members of the U of M History Department, and spoke at a couple of churches.  Brian Bademan, a Notre Dame Ph.D in American history and the director of the Anselm House, hosted my visit.  I blogged about those visits here and here.

I am happy to report that the Anslem House is hiring an Associate Director of University Engagement.  I have posted the ad below.  This looks like a great position for a person of Christian faith who has a passion for promoting Christianity and the intellectual life at a major research university.

Thanks to the generosity of many donors and partnering churches, Anselm House is beginning 2019 from a position of strength, having received more than $347,000 in support from individual donors between July 1-December 31. This outpouring of generosity represents 54% of our June 30, 2019 fundraising goal, putting AnselmHouse’s development efforts ahead of schedule. The study center is serving more students, faculty, and staff at the University of Minnesota than ever before, and this is all due to God’s generous providence working through the Anselm House community. On behalf of our trustees, staff, volunteers, and those whom we serve,thank you for your commitment to advancing this critical mission to the University of Minnesota!

We are also very excited to announce that Anselm House is seeking an Associate Director of University Engagement. This position is funded through a generous three-year grant, and we intend this position to become a permanent part of our team beyond the grant period. Please be sure to forward the announcement below to any family, friends, or acquaintances who may be interested!

The Associate Director of University Engagement will be responsible for developing programs that engage the most promising intersections of the Christian tradition with the research/teaching priorities of the University of Minnesota. This person will work closely with faculty, research staff, and graduate students from a wide range of disciplines. We’re looking for someone who is winsomely Christian, thrives in interaction with a wide variety of people from across disciplines and faith/non-faith backgrounds, and is skilled at giving voice to the breadth of the Christian intellectual tradition in a public university setting. This position will be of particular interest to recent PhDs, graduate students nearing degree completion, and other scholars interested in an “alt-academic” career that keeps them deeply engaged in the academic life of the university.

To see the full description of responsibilities and qualifications, please visit our website. We will begin reviewing applications Jan. 14, and the position will remain open until filled.

Rod Dreher Interviews Alan Jacobs on *How to Think*

ThinkHere is a taste from Dreher’s blog:

I initially thought How To Think would be a basic primer of informal logic. It’s not that at all, but something more interesting. What’s the book about, and why did you write it? 

Last year, when the Presidential election campaign was ramping up here in the U.S., and my British friends were being roiled about by the Brexit debate, I was working on a different book (an academic one), but kept being distracted by all the noise. It seemed to me that everyone was lining up and shouting at everyone else, and no one seemed able to step back from the fray and think a bit about the issues at stake. More and more what attracted my attention was what seemed a complete absence of actual thinking. And then I asked myself: What is thinking, anyway? And what have I learned about it in my decades as a teacher and writer? I sat down to sketch out a few blog posts on the subject, and then realized that I had something a good bit bigger than some blog posts on my hands. So I set my other book aside and got to work.

You write, “The person who wants to think will have to practice patience and master fear.” What do you mean? 

Practicing patience because almost all of us live in a social-media environment that demands our instantaneous responses to whatever stimuli assault us in our feeds, and gives us the tools (reposts, likes, faves, retweets) to make those responses. Everything in our informational world militates against thinking it over. And mastering fear because one of the consequences of thinking is that you can find yourself at odds with groups you want to belong to, and social belonging is a human need almost as important as food and shelter. I’ve come to believe that our need — a very legitimate need! — for social belonging is the single greatest impediment to thinking.

Read the entire interview here. Learn more about How to Think here.

 

Alan Jacobs Teaches Us How To Think

ThinkBaylor University humanities professor Alan Jacobs‘s latest book is How to Think: A Survival Guide for a World at Odds.  Over at Religion News Service, Jacobs talks with journalist Jonathan Merritt about the book and the state of Christian thinking.

Here is a taste:

RNS: What do you see is the core problem with many “thinkers?”

AJ: It’s hard to name just one thing — there are so many problems! So much bad thinking! But if I were forced to name one universal one it would be a lack of awareness of our own motives and incentives. A failure to realize that there are forces at work on and in all of us to discourage thought or even prevent it altogether.

RNS: What about American Christians, generally speaking? Are they good thinkers?

AJ: Ummm … not so much.

RNS: How can followers of Jesus become better critical thinkers? Give us one or two points that come to mind.

AJ: Christians of all people ought to be attentive to our own shortcomings, and the ways our dispositions of mind and heart and spirit can get in the way of knowing what’s true. After all, we’e the people who are supposed to believe that “all have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God,” and “the heart is deceitfully wicked above all things” and that sort of stuff. If we want to think better, then the first step should be to take those beliefs as seriously as many of us say we do, and to turn a ruthlessly skeptical eye on ourselves — before we turn it on our neighbors. There’s a line about specks in our neighbors’ eyes and logs in our own that applies here.

There’s a lot more to say, obviously, but I think self-skepticism is the place to begin.

Read the entire interview here and find out why Jacobs think it is impossible to
“think for yourself.”

Some Early Tweets on Alan Jacobs’s Essay “The Watchmen”

Jacobs

Alan Jacobs

As many of you know by now, Alan Jacobs has written an excellent essay on Christian intellectuals in the current tissue of Harper’s Magazine.  It is titled “The Watchmen: What Became of the Christian Intellectuals.”  I hope to do some posts on the piece very soon here at The Way of Improvement Leads Home.  Stay tuned.

Twitter has been abuzz with commentary on Jacobs’s article and Jacobs himself has joined the conversation. I have Storified as many tweets as possible here. (They are listed in chronological order and I have not commented on any of them in the story.  I did my best to capture some of the key threads, but my collection is certainly not comprehensive).

Some of the tweets are helpful.  Others are snarky.  Some are disrespectful.  Others are wise and insightful.  I will let you decide which tweets fit into which category! 🙂

Greg Garrett: A Christian View of Obamacare

I really like Greg Garrett’s thoughts on how Christians might think about the Affordable Care Act.  I applaud his efforts to reflect Christianly (and not just politically) on the meaning of the act.  Here is a taste:

How might Christians have a conversation about Obamacare that isn’t simply about political talking points and dueling statistics?

In Faithful Citizenship, I argued for the importance of identifying what we’re really talking about when we talk about politics, and discussed how we might make ethical decisions from our Christian core, not our secular culture. We often reason from the standpoint of freedoms and liberties, important American ideals, but they’re not necessarily preeminent for us as people of faith. While certainly we extrapolate an absolute value for each human being by the way Jesus loved and valued everyone, these rights and freedoms are book-ended for people of faith by responsibilities.

Liberty is always balanced, in the life of Jesus, against the needs of others, and his actions throughout the gospels show a continuing pattern: Jesus ministers to others; he goes up on a mountain alone or with close friends and takes care of himself; he comes back down and ministers to others; he takes—or tries to take—some time for himself. Jesus does have some boundaries—notice how he perceives when someone touches the hem of his garment seeking healing in Mark 5—but he also is on Earth intentionally doing selfless things on behalf of those who need his help: healing, feeding, teaching, casting out unclean spirits.

Taken together, these consistent actions of Jesus suggest a Christian attitude toward the issue of health care; if we take his life and teaching seriously, Jesus seems to indicate that healing and taking care of the needs of those who cannot take care of themselves are supreme Christian values. Jesus is a force of life and hope who empowers—and requires—his disciples to heal and feed and teach and restore people to their right selves. All of this argues that we may, as Christians, be called to uncomfortable places when we begin to serve our brothers and sisters, a place where our secular boundaries and values would call us to stop short.