The Christian University

That’s the title of my latest entry over at The Catholic Thing. It is adapted from my September 23, 2011 talk at the installation of Myron Steeves as Dean of Trinity Law School. Here’s how it begins:

As is evident by where and how we mark this event – in a church, accompanied by prayer and song – Trinity Law School, and the university of which it is a part, is Christian. “Christian” may seem a mere adjective that modifies “university” or “law school” in the same way that “regional” or “California” might.  This temptation arises from a belief – widely held, though rarely challenged, in contemporary culture – that a Christian school is just a secular school except with idiosyncratic accouterments, such as mandatory chapel, rules about personal moral conduct, and a commitment to a list of religious dogmas to which its faculty must subscribe. Although these differences are of no small consequence, they are not, or ought not to be, at the heart of an institution that considers itself seriously Christian.

Let me offer for your consideration the following thesis: A Christian school regards theology as a legitimate academic discipline that informs and illuminates, and is organically connected to, all the other disciplines of the university in the same ways that those other disciplines are connected to each other.

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