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It was another really good year for us at Whitworth. I'm especially excited about three things.
The first was teaching a seminar on Karl Barth, Dietrich Bonhoeffer and Søren Kierkegaard. Every Thursday evening in the fall, we discussed primary texts for three hours. Many of the readings were demanding, but the students worked hard, and it was a pleasure to see them struggle with arguments from these great thinkers. If I could encourage anyone reading this newsletter to read one book this year, it would be Søren Kierkegaard's Attack Upon Christendom. It's a compilation of Kierkegaard's polemical writings against the established church of Denmark in the middle of the 19th century. His observations about what it means to be a Christian in a context that has forgotten the true meaning of discipleship are as devastating and illuminating as they are timely. If you read this book, you'll be glad you did.
Another highlight for me is that Josh Orozco and I are planning a Jan Term (or May Term) study program in New York City for 2015. Josh is a philosopher at Whitworth, and we're calling the trip The Meaning of Life. The basic idea is to help students think through the question of the meaning of human existence by exposing them to a wide range of compelling visions of the good life. Since NYC has such a high concentration of talented people and so many cultural and intellectual resources (and because it also happens to be the best city in the world), we thought it would be a great place to have the class. We received a grant from Whitworth's Strategic Initiative Fund that will allow us to take a scouting trip this summer, and we have really high hopes for the program.
Finally, I couldn't be happier that Will Kynes is joining our department next year to teach Old Testament. Will rose to the top of a wildly deep pool of excellent applicants; he's going to do brilliantly at Whitworth, and our students are going to love him.
Take care, and stay in touch,
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