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On Parity

By Timothy R Butler | Posted at 1:28 AM

Often times, I've found people do not know that Lindenwood is a school with a Presbyterian heritage. While the Sibleys desired that the school be “non-sectarian,” it was not to be secular. A proviso that came with Major and Mrs. Sibley's 1831 transfer of control to the Presbyterian Church made this point abundantly clear. A 1940 course catalog explains that the Sibleys “insisted upon [one provision] as a permanent part of the curriculum — the teaching of the Word of God on a parity with other studies in the College.”

I tend to think the Sibleys would be pleased to see where Lindenwood is today. Lindenwood remains a fascinating institution that is anything but sectarian and yet continues to be informed by its heritage. That's a tough tension to live in, but one that the university continues to work through semester by semester. The Religion Department continues to teach strong Old and New Testament courses and, I hope, in other ways as well, the Sibleys would agree that “the Word of God” is treated “on a parity” with other subjects of study.

Lindenwood College II

By Timothy R Butler | Posted at 5:48 AM

Doing some research tonight, I found a fascinating letter from one of Lindenwood's past presidents on the formation of a “second college,” what would be known as “Lindenwood College II.” If you know Lindenwood history, you know that Lindenwood II was the “men's college” created in 1969 to go alongside the original women's college. Perhaps one of the most remarkable elements of the letter from Dr. John A. Brown was his aspiration that both colleges might grow to 750-800 students. Lindenwood now has 17,000 students in different programs.

Times certainly have changed.

With a Bang

By Timothy R Butler | Posted at 6:52 AM

The first day of the semester went wonderfully. I really find “syllabus day” rather enjoyable, because it is an opportunity to start weaving in the basic framework of the course and start the process of getting to know the students. I'm looking forward to day two, come Wednesday.

And, It Starts

By Timothy R Butler | Posted at 7:30 AM

At 1:00 p.m. today, I finally get to resume teaching. While I've been keeping plenty busy with the winter quarter of Ph.D. studies and work around church — so the last six weeks haven't been exactly “downtime” — I have been looking forward to another semester of college teaching. As I told my students last semester, what can be better than getting to spend a semester discussing “great ideas”?

Without further ado, in about twelve hours, it all starts again…

On the Tenth Day of Christmas

By Timothy R Butler | Posted at 7:22 AM

Everyone who has followed asisaid for sometime knows that I make a habit of blogging the 12 days of Christmas each year. That's one of my peculiar holiday traditions, perhaps. But why should I have all the fun? What's one of your more off the wall traditions for the season?

On the Ninth Day of Christmas

By Timothy R Butler | Posted at 7:55 AM

While the decorations come down all around, I was relieved today to find that the seminary still had its decorations — including a very impressive tree made of books in the library — up. I do wonder why people are often in such a rush. Wouldn't it be nice to have the beauty of twinkling lights for more of January?

Remember: we are still three days away from Epiphany (January 6), so the season isn't over yet!

Happy New Year (on the Seventh Day of Christmas)

By Timothy R Butler | Posted at 6:43 AM

Well, here we are in 2012. 2011 was an interesting year for me with lots of interesting twists and turns. Have a happy start to the new year!

Why the Humanities Are Necessary

By Timothy R Butler | Posted at 6:03 AM

Quoth T.S. Eliot:

And he is not likely to know what is to be done unless he lives in what is not merely the present, but the present moment of the past, unless he is conscious, not of what is dead, but of what is already living.

The Master's Phenomenon

By Timothy R Butler | Posted at 5:00 AM

Laura Pappano writes for the New York Times:

He calls the proliferation of master's degrees evidence of “credentialing gone amok.” He says, “In 20 years, you'll need a Ph.D. to be a janitor.”

Among the new breed of master's, there are indeed ample fields, including construction management and fire science and administration, where job experience used to count more than book learning. Internships built into many of these degrees look suspiciously like old-fashioned on-the-job training.

Indeed; this is not necessarily a bad thing, but it does risk blurring the goals of graduate degrees further than they already are:

There may be logic in trying to better match higher education to labor needs, but Dr. Vedder is concerned by the shift of graduate work from intellectual pursuit to a skill-based “ticket to a vocation.” What's happening to academic reflection? Must knowledge be demonstrable to be valuable?

That's a very Newman-esque question and one very much worth asking.

HT: Travis McMaken.

Returning, Finishing

By Timothy R Butler | Posted at 3:58 PM

Well, I think I may have been away from my blog longer just now than at any other time in its almost nine year history. With all the projects swirling around finishing at seminary and trying to line up my next steps, I found I just did not have the inspiration to write anything here. Now, with my time at seminary wrapped up (assuming all the exams went OK, of course), I hope to return to regular blogging.

I have missed posting on here. The interesting thing about blogging is that it provides a creative outlet that is neither as long or involved as writing a column nor as short and quickly forgotten as a Facebook status update. I have a number of ideas of things I want to get to posting here again, so watch out… I am back.

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