Wednesday, April 9, 2008
I just returned from Boston College Law School, which hosted the 2008 Spring Conference of Religiously Affilated Law Schools. It was a wonderful two days of discussion. The conference opened with a panel entitled Teaching Through the Lens of Faith, in which the speakers (which included MOJ'er Amy Uelmen) talked about different ways of engaging religious issues in the classroom. It is fair to say that the panelists expressed very different views of the role of religion in public policy discourse and therefore on how religious views are presented in the classroom. The second panel addressed Student Vocational Discernment and featured discussion of the different ways that institutions address the spiritual, moral and professional formation of young adults. I spoke during this panel about some of the retreats and other programs of spiritual formation I have been giving here at St. Thomas over the past year. Other panels included Scholarship Through the Lens of Faith, The Challenge of Inclusion, and Hiring (and Admitting) for Mission. The hiring and admitting panel was the only one I was a bit disappointed with, largely becuase I think it tried to address too many different issues in too short a period of time. I'd like to say a little more about the other panels - especially the one on the Challenge of Inclusion, which raised - well - the most challenging issues, and I will try to come back and say some more on that (after I finish playing catch-up. I'm hoping Mark Sargent or Amy Uelmen will chime in as well.
As is always the case at these gatherings, the meals and fellowship outside of the formal sessions were as valuable as the sessions themselves and allowed for more extended and informal discussion of the issues that came up during the day. It is always good to spend time with old friends and make new ones. And having Greg Kalscheur say mass for the Catholics among us every morning was also a wonderful part of the experience.