We all recognize the polarization that plagues our current political and religious discussions. Communication is hard. Christians want to stand for the truth but are often unsure how to obey Paul’s command to speak the truth in love. In the end, we all have a lot to learn about speaking as we wish to be spoken to and hearing others as we wish to be heard.
Gutenberg College Summer Institutes are an opportunity to explore a topic while getting some of the “Gutenberg” experience. That is, we discuss readings from important works in our culture and also listen to talks related to the topic. This summer we will read selections from Dietrich Bonhoeffer, Plato, Kierkegaard, and the New Testament, all related to our topic of hearing and being heard. (A PDF file of the a readings for the Summer Institute will be emailed to you after you register.) Attendees can also choose between several talks relevant to our topic.
Join us at Gutenberg College on Thursday and Friday nights August 4th & 5th and all day Saturday August 6th to explore the nature of communication within the context of loving our neighbor.
Last year I had the pleasure of attending the Summer Institute. Having been a loyal but internet-only student of Gutenberg College/McKenzie Study Center for over 20 years, I was very grateful for the opportunity to have finally met and been taught in person by the tutors and instructors of Gutenberg. After 35 years in the education field, I have had a lot of exposure to educators and classes. This faculty and these classes were top notch. The teaching and the discussions were first-rate; full of thoughtful, interesting, and challenging conversations. The Summer Institute far exceeded my expectations.
(More details coming soon.)
Format: Short talks, small-group discussions on selected readings, and a choice of longer lectures.
Venue: Gutenberg College, 1883 University Street, Eugene, OR
Cost (includes 2 light suppers on Thursday and Friday; continental breakfast, lunch, and dinner on Saturday; and snacks):
Before July 4 — $40 individual; $60 couple; $25 student
After July 4 — $50 individual; $70 couple; $35 student
Registration: Call the Gutenberg College office, 541-683-5141, or email.
(subject to revision)
August 4 (Thursday night): • Opens at 5:30 for check-in and light supper • Events: 6:00 PM to 9:00 PM
Introductory remarks by Chris Swanson
Group discussions of the reading: Dietrich Bonhoeffer, Life Together, Chapter Four, “Ministry.”
Talks (choose one):
- Communicating the Art of Natural History and Agriculture to the Next Generation (Charley Dewberry). This talk examines how one generation passes on information and skills to the next generation. The passing of information is largely accomplished by the process of education. However, the transmission of arts and skills from one generation to the next is much more problematic. Examples will include Wendell Berry’s discussion of communicating the art of farming to the next generation and Aldo Leopold’s discussion of communicating the art of natural history.
- Listening (Larry Barber): Effective listening is a skill that underpins all positive human relationships. Without the ability to listen effectively messages can be easily misunderstood, with the result that communication and understanding break down. In the process of human interaction, listening is more critical to the process than speaking. Listening is not the same as hearing. Listening requires intent and focus. Listening means paying attention not only to the story but how it is told, the use of language and voice, and how the other person uses his or her body in the communication of the words. In other words, it means being aware of both verbal and non-verbal messages. It involves seeing. This talk will explore the various components of becoming a good listener.
August 5 (Friday night): • Opens at 5:30 for light supper • Events 6:00 PM to 9:00 PM
Introductory remarks by Eliot Grasso
Group discussions of the reading: Plato, Gorgias (excerpts).
Talks (choose one):
- Socrates on Rhetoric (Kasey Macsenti). In Plato’s Gorgias, Socrates asks whether rhetoric, the art of persuasion through speech, is in fact a moral endeavor. This talk will explore further the issues raised in the previous group discussions of Gorgias.
- Proof or Dialog: The Role of Knowing in Communication (Chris Swanson): Knowledge impacts communication. Knowledge is a set of interconnected beliefs and concepts built over time in an attempt to make sense of the world. Every individual builds their own personal set of beliefs and concepts. As we encounter new information, we actively construct a meaningful interpretation through the filter of our personal knowledge. As we communicate, it is important to keep this view in mind. We should respect listeners and strive to understand their conceptual framework, or we will be misunderstood. Communication is a dialog between people who jointly wish to pursue understanding. The contrast to dialog is proof. The goal of rational proof is to remove personal beliefs from knowledge. A proof attempts to make knowledge purely objective such that every hearer must agree. It ignores the active role of the listener in understanding.
August 6 (Saturday, all day): Opens at 9:00 AM for continental breakfast • Events 9:30 AM to 4:00 PM • Dinner 6:00 PM
Group discussions of the reading: Kierkegaard, selections on indirect communication.
Talks (choose one):
- Indirect Communication (Ron Julian). Kierkegaard had strong opinions about how people should talk to each other about the most fundamentally important issues of life—about Christianity and faith. His call was for indirect communication, but it is quite challenging to understand just what he meant. This talk will explore further the issues raised in the previous group discussions on Kierkegaard.
- Bridges From Art to You: How Art Works and Its Significance (Wes Hurd). In this talk, Wes will present his view of the dynamics at work when art communicates in its unique and often peculiar ways. He will explore how art has changed in the modern and postmodern eras. He will also present his view of how human endeavors in art making change and unfold in human culture over time yet hold the potential to remain “classical” in new ways.
Group discussions of selected New Testament passages:
- Romans 14:1ff,
- Galatians 1:6ff,
- I Corinthians 8:1ff;
- II John 4ff,
- James 3:1ff,
- Ephesians 4:1ff,
- II Timothy 2:22ff
Group Q & A
Dinner & final comments by Tim McIntosh
Presenters / Discussion Leaders
Larry Barber (M.A., Counseling Psychology) is a pastoral counselor who has worked for Charis Foundation since 1994.
Charley Dewberry (M.S. Stream Ecology; Ph.D. philosophy) is the dean and a tutor at Gutenberg College. He is the author of Saving Science and Intelligent Discourse: Exposing the Fallacious Standoff Between Evolution and Intelligent Design.
Eliot Grasso (M.A., Ethnomusicology; Ph.D., Musicology) is a Gutenberg tutor and an internationally known musician.
Wesley Hurd (M.A., Biblical Studies; M.F.A., Painting; Ph.D., Educational Policy) is an artist, lecturer, mentor, and the Director of Education for Watershed Arts Foundation. He founded McKenzie Study Center in 1979 and, until he retired in June 2012, was a tutor at Gutenberg College and the director of Gutenberg’s Art Project.
Ron Julian (M.A., Religion) is a tutor at Gutenberg College, the author of Righteous Sinners, and a co-author of The Language of God: A Commonsense Approach to Understanding and Applying the Bible.
Kasey Pilcher Mascenti (B.A., Liberal Arts) is a graduate of Gutenberg College and the Director of Process Improvement at FDH Velocitel.
Tim McIntosh (M.A., Theology) is a tutor at Gutenberg College. He is also a playwright, screenwriter, and actor.
Chris Swanson (M.S., Physics; Ph.D., Physics) is a tutor at Gutenberg College.