Quality with Soul: How Six Premier Colleges and Universities Keep Faith with Their Religious Traditions

Quality with Soul: How Six Premier Colleges and Universities Keep Faith with Their Religious Traditions

Quality with Soul: How Six Premier Colleges and Universities Keep Faith with Their Religious Traditions

Quality with Soul: How Six Premier Colleges and Universities Keep Faith with Their Religious Traditions

Synopsis

This book demonstrates that, despite much evidence to the contrary, there are still Christian colleges and universities of high academic quality that have also kept their religious heritages publicly relevant.

Respected scholar Robert Benne explores how six schools from six different religious traditions -- Calvin College, Wheaton College, St. Olaf College, Valparaiso University, Baylor University, and the University of Notre Dame -- have maintained "quality with soul." These constructive case studies examine the vision, ethos, and personnel policies of each school, showing how and why its religious foundation remains strong.

Excerpt

I have always held the conviction that the Christian faith provides an account of all of life, not just of “private” or “spiritual” life. This belief has led to my interest — if not obsession — in relating Christianity to those many “non-religious” facets of human life — economic, political, social, and cultural. Sometimes such efforts seem futile, since much of the modern Western world’s way of understanding and shaping those facets has little to do with the Christian account. Indeed, many of those understandings are intentionally neglectful or outrightly hostile to Christian accounts. Such attitudes, along with other powerful dynamics, have led to the widespread secularization of modern life, which I take to mean the gradual removal of religious control and influence from the sectors I mentioned above.

That secularization is most dramatic and shocking in the very institutions that churches created and shaped through direct control or pervasive influence. As churches tried to answer human needs according to their own vision of human flourishing, they established orphanages, hospitals, schools, colleges, seminaries, homes for the elderly, camps, and other social service agencies. At their founding and through their early lives, these church institutions were often controlled and almost always pervasively influenced by that Christian understanding of human flourishing.

But a strange thing happened on the way to the forum. Those institutions themselves have been gradually secularized, many fully and irretrievably so, some to a lesser degree, while a few have maintained a strong relation to their Christian heritage. Nowhere is this more evident and in-

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