Library Staff Reflections on the Day of Common Learning

This year’s theme for the Day of Common Learning was Modeling Civic Engagement. Across campus, students, staff, and faculty engaged in seminars, forums, and panels as a form of community learning. Discussions ranged from issues related to human trafficking, orphans, and race issues across the globe, to energy in developing countries, micro-credit as a way of building economies, topics of Christianity in our modern world, and more.

Library staff participated in the events of the day as well. Here’s what some of our colleagues had to say about the sessions they attended:

  • “Dr. Miroslav Volf presented a succinct, yet compelling framework of three principles for Christians’ public engagement in a pluralistic world: allow for equal rights of expression for all; always honor the other, but not necessarily their deeds; focus on using ethical means when pursuing goals. He nicely elaborated on these points during the luncheon that followed as he answered faculty questions. In the afternoon session “Do This in Remembrance of Me,” Dr. Baine Craft, Associate Professor of Psychology and Biology, reviewed current psychological theories about memory in light of Volf’s call, in his book The End of Memory: remembering rightly in a violent world, for Christians to use memories  in ways that facilitate forgiveness and reconciliation. The library call number for Volf’s book is BV 4597.565 .V65 2006.” -Gary Fick, Librarian for the Sciences and Psychology
  • “As Christians, how can we best engage with Muslims? In the session Talking “Grace and Truth” with Muslims, this question was discussed by two speakers, Blake Wood and John Coghlan, one who has spent time in the Middle East, and one who has worked with Muslims in the US. Their answer: Christians can best engage with Muslims by focusing on Christ, and by divorcing the Gospel from Western culture, civilization, and government.  A similar (and more general) discussion can be found in Leslie Newbigin’s Foolishness to the Greeks: the Gospel and Western Culture, which is located in the library with the call number BR115.C8 N467 1986.” –Adrienne Meier, Librarian for Social Sciences and University Archivist
  • “In his keynote address, Dr. Miroslav Volf mentioned two competing ideas of religion from early American history. One was Roger Williams, who founded Providence Plantation in 1636 as a colony in which anyone could worship in the way they chose. Volf contrasted Roger Williams’ view religious freedom with Massachusetts governor John Winthrop’s rigidly Puritan community, which Winthrop described using the well-known image of a “City upon a Hill.” Although Dr. Volf mentioned these two ideas in passing, they are both rich ideas that merit deeper understanding.  he library has a new book that might be of interest for further exploration of Roger William’s ideas, Roger Williams and the Creation of the American Soul: Church, State, and the Birth of Liberty. The call number for this item is BX6495.W55 B37 2012. For a recent treatment of John Winthrop, see this biography: John Winthrop: America’s Forgotten Founding Father, found under the call number F67.W79 B74 2003.” –Natalee Vick, Technical Services Coordinator/Librarian

We hope you also benefitted from the Day of Common Learning! If you’re interested in more information regarding today’s theme, our Librarian for Theology and Philosophy, Steve Perisho, has created an additional reading list of library resources.

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