All posts tagged: college

The Problem of Experience

Many people keep a box of mementos from their childhood and fill it with things that help them recall fond memories or important moments from their youth. When young adults head off to college or start their first real job, a new phase of their life begins. At this point, nothing more is likely added to that box of memories and it is stored away as a new experience begins. Thus, this cycle often continues and each experience is compartmentalized until one’s life becomes a stack of metaphorical containers, separate and unique, but not wholly unified. How often do we hear the exclamation, “What a great experience”? The word “experience” is often used to refer to something that has occurred in the past or will conclude, something that can be summed up and added to a plethora of other experiences. But have we really considered how these experiences shape us as persons – as sons and daughters, as friends, as future spouses and perhaps fathers and mothers, etc. – or do we become so caught …

The Excellence of the Cross

The Feast of the Holy Cross is one of my favorite to celebrate each year. In the Office of Readings, we encounter St. Paul’s glorious praise of the Cross: As for me, the only thing I can boast about is the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom the world is crucified to me, and I to the world. It does not matter if a person is circumcised or not; what matters is for him to become an altogether new creation. Peace and mercy to all who follow this rule, who form the Israel of God. (Gal 6:14–16) These words have particular meaning in the context of debates about Catholic higher education in the United States. Most Catholic institutions of higher learning have taken up the word “excellence” and run with it. We are to be “excellent” in undergraduate education. We are to be “excellent” in research. We are to be “excellent” in commitment to social renewal. We are to be excellent in all things that we can be excellent in. And in some of the …

Family, Careers, and Sexuality: Spiritual Trends in College Men of Faith

Where are the men? How do we get more men involved and engaged in our ministries? I hear these questions time and time again from people across the country in my travels as an educator, minister, and scholar. I hear them from every population: priests, nuns, brothers, pastors, lay ministers, catechists, parishioners, teachers, and coaches. I hear them in every context: parishes, churches, colleges, high schools, and parachurch organizations—even ministries focused specifically on men, from faith-sharing groups to retreats and conferences. Catholics and Protestants alike are struggling to get men (lay and religious) through the door and to keep them there. Everyone is looking for a silver bullet—a quick fix for a complex and enduring problem—only to be disappointed when an initiative or program that may have worked in another context does not work in their own, or when a program has a strong opening and then loses momentum. The truth is, there is no one-size-fits-all approach. Every context has its own sets of unique challenges and opportunities for engaging men in their faith. So …