Last Tuesday, April 24th, the Buetow Auditorium of Concordia University hosted the Annual Poehler Lecture Series at 7:00pm. Speakers Dr. Dale Trapp and the Rev. Dr. Thomas Trapp reflected on Faith and Learning in their lecture titled, "Head to Head! Heart to Heart!" Dr. Dale Trapp is a professor of geology, astronomy, and physics at Concordia University, St. Paul, as well as its chair of the department of Natural Sciences. The Rev. Dr. Thomas Trapp, on the other hand, is a professor of Religion and theology at Concordia University, St. Paul. Instead of focusing on the conflicting ideas of science and religion, the Trapp brothers shared their reflection on how science and religion do not conflict so much as support one another.
Just as the Poehler Lecture Series is focused on faith and learning, one of the most important pieces of the Concordia University, St. Paul Honors Program is its ability and attempt to integrate faith and learning. Again and again, discussions will come back to the centrality of the gospel and what is in the scriptures in relation to whatever subject matter is being discussed. Dr. Thomas Trapp left the faculty with advice to never be ashamed of being Christian, and not to be afraid of mentioning Christianity in their discipline, no matter what that discipline is. It was fascinating to hear Dr. Thomas Trapp explain how he views his life in the context of eternity, because most people find it hard enough to just live day to day.
At first, I did not quite understand how professors of general education courses would be able to integrate faith in learning in the classroom, especially when it is not a theology class, but then I witnessed my history professor doing his best to do so. Although it wasn't necessary to our studies, he described the Christian beliefs in detail, and was able to separate his beliefs and those objective conclusions historians reached. The gospel doesn't have to be shared explicitly necessarily, but professors can share their beliefs at Concordia and share their Christian love with students, and that is enough. I love going to a University where I don't have to be afraid to talk about Jesus Christ, the gospel, God, religion, or theology. Sure, sometimes discussing atheist or other forms of religion outside of Lutheran beliefs might be uncomfortable with certain individuals, but I love the ability that we have to integrate our faith into the classroom.