The guest speaker at this year’s annual Poehler Lecture was Dr. Steve Stohlmann, who gave a presentation entitled What Comes After Easter. Dr. Stohlmann kept his focus on the importance of continuing to integrate the Christian Gospel within academics and the ensuing dialogues, especially in regards to Concordia. His main points consisted of the fact that the whole of human life (the physical and the spiritual) is dependent on the Word of God, and because of this, the academic pursuit of knowledge and truth is incomplete if it isn’t in the context of Christian Gospel. What comes after Easter is the restored sense of wholeness and peace with the Lord that we receive through faith; we’re set free to explore and search for truth and reality which is all a part of God’s truth. “There is no true academic pursuit of knowledge which is not a resurrection empowered academic pursuit of knowledge.” Dr. Stohlmann’s concern was that as Concordia grows and becomes more diverse that we’re headed in the wrong direction and losing the centrality of the faith and Gospel in our midst.
To me, Stohlmann’s lecture tonight connects to the underlying theme of what the Honors curriculum has been trying to accomplish this semester: integrating our faith in regards to addressing our responsibilities to the marginalized. Among other factors, our Christian faith compels us to help those in need; we love because Christ first loved us, we get to help because Christ first helped us, and we follow his example of humility and caring for the marginalized that others would consider beneath them or undeserving, for we are all God’s children. Although there are reasons to help the marginalized that are not based off of religious principles, when issues are taken within the context of the Christian Gospel (which, as Dr. Stohlmann pointed out, should be because that is what created and sustains us) everything takes on a deeper value and meaning.
I really enjoyed Stohlmann’s lecture tonight because it was something that I had recently been discussing with my mom. In addition to this, the topic of this being a Christian college had come up among my friends when discussing the new gossip column in The Sword. I really enjoyed Stohlmann’s lecture because I completely agree with his main point: “There is no true academic pursuit of knowledge which is not a resurrection empowered academic pursuit of knowledge.” Every person has something, some sort of values or beliefs, that they base the decisions of their life off of. As Christians, we base our beliefs, morals, values, and ethics of the Gospel, and we believe that it is the power of this Gospel and the word of God that enables, creates, and sustains all living beings. Therefore, to me it makes perfect sense to integrate faith with learning, because one without the other is incomplete.