Alex Sosler is Assistant Professor of Bible and Ministry at Montreat College and Assisting Priest at Redeemer Anglican Church in Asheville, NC. He is also author of Learning to Love: Christian Higher Education as Pilgrimage (Falls City Press) and editor of Theology and the Avett Brothers (Fortress/Lexington).
I’ve found that in perplexing or challenging circumstances, “why?” is a boring question. We like why. The leadership guru Simon Sinek asks us to start with why. It’s a popular question. I’m not against finding your why. I just think it’s overrated. Particularly in suffering or pain, I’m not sure “why?” works.
Contemplation of God is paying attention to what demands one’s attention—more than information discovered or expression felt. Contemplating art can be a means, a sort of preparatory practice, of contemplating the Beautiful One from which all beauty is derivative.
Alex Sosler compares online and in-person education. Paradoxically, when we embrace the limits of our embodied existence and learn with and from particular classmates in a particular place from a particular teacher, affections develop. Imagination stirs.
The main posture of a liberal arts education is slowing down, rest, seeing. But if we just train students to only strive, reach, stretch for something more, then suffering will come as a wasteful, meaningless interruption.
Robinson presents us with an encounter: a participatory, embodied experience; a blessed and broken reality; the sacraments. And from this encounter, we receive courageous eyes to see the precious things that have been placed in our hands and to honor them accordingly.
The whole mode of online education screams that now I must be the source of attraction. But I’m not entertaining. In fact, I’m pretty unentertaining. If you ask most of my students, they may even say I’m boring.