Participants in the Collegeville Institute Seminar Vocation and Faith in the Professions met on June 1, 2016 to discuss each person’s current work on vocation, which included several writing projects. William Sullivan is publishing a study of colleges and universities focused on vocation in Liberal Learning as a Quest for Purpose; Martha Stortz is completing a book on discipleship in John’s gospel; and John Lewis is writing a book, with Jane Patterson, on calling related to their ministry at the Saint Benedict’s Workshop in San Antonio and their research on Paul’s theology of charism and grace.
The Seminar participants joined in a day-long conversation on June 2, 2016 with the five authors of Christian Practical Wisdom: What It Is and Why It Matters and special guests. The conversation focused around what implications practical wisdom has for higher education, both undergraduate and professional graduate programs, and for the churches more broadly. Participants also discussed the theological, biblical, and philosophical perspectives engaged by the book’s authors.
Craig Dykstra, currently professor of practical theology at Duke Divinity School and former executive vice president at Lilly Endowment, Inc., participated in the gathering. He was one of the original participants in the books genesis and supporters of theological work on practical wisdom when at the Endowment. The book is dedicated to him. According to Dykstra, practical wisdom is everywhere in the church and society—we have mostly failed to see it, lift it up for view, and honor it. He noted the way in which the authors in the first five chapters “show” practical wisdom without “showing off.” These portraitures, he stated, recognize practical wisdom on the ground, encourage people to express gratitude to God and others for this wisdom at work in our lives, and presses us to consider how we can form people in a life of practical wisdom.
Other special guests included Mark Schwehn, Professor Humanities at Valparaiso University and Ted Smith, Associate Professor of Preaching and Ethics, Candler School of Theology.