The Blog

Summer Institute 2014: What We Have Learned

July 31 to August 2
A Celebration of Gutenberg College’s 20th Anniversary

2014 Summer InstituteGutenberg is celebrating its 20th year! Summer Institute 2014 will be a time for celebration and reflection. Tutors who began the journey with Gutenberg when its doors opened in 1994—David Crabtree, Jack Crabtree, Charley Dewberry, Ron Julian, and Chris Swanson—will share some of what they have learned along the way.

And, in keeping with Summer Institute tradition and the spirit of Gutenberg, participants will discuss selections from four Great Books—this year chosen by Gutenberg alumni.

A performance night and banquet will add to the celebration.
We hope alumni and those who have been part of the Gutenberg community over the years will gather to help us celebrate. And we welcome anyone interested in Gutenberg to help us celebrate at Summer Institute 2014 and, we hope, profit by what we have learned.

Institute Details

Format: Two “tutor talks” will open the Institute on Thursday night. All the tutors’ talks will be on the topic of “What I Have Learned.” On Friday and Saturday, tutor talks will alternate with discussions of readings. Unlike previous Summer Institutes, the readings will not necessarily relate to the talks. In recognition of the students who have passed through Gutenberg’s doors in twenty years, this year’s readings will be selected by Gutenberg alumni. Lunches, dinners, and breaks will provide plenty of time for participants to interact with one another.

Venue: Gutenberg College, 1883 University Street, Eugene, OR

Cost (includes lunch and dinner on Friday and Saturday):
By July 1: $35/individual; $45/couple
After July 1: $45/individual; $55/couple

Participants will be emailed a PDF of the readings after they register. Please note that late registration will allot less time to read the assignments.

Housing: Inquire at the Gutenberg office.

Registration & Information: Call the Gutenberg College office, 541-683-5141541-683-5141, or email.


(subject to minor revision)

Thursday Night, July 31st

6:30 p.m.: Check-in

7:00–7:45: First tutor talk: What I Have Learned

7:45–8:30: Second tutor talk: What I Have Learned

Friday, August 1st

8:30 a.m.: Doors open

9:00–10:00: Third tutor talk: What I Have Learned

10:15–11:45: First Discussion (Reading TBA)

11:45–1:00: Lunch (cold lunch provided)

1:00–2:00: Fourth tutor talk: What I Have Learned

2:15–3:45: Second Discussion (Reading TBA)

5:30–6:00: Dinner (provided)

7:00–9:00 p.m.: Performance Night (more about this later)

Saturday, August 2nd

8:30 a.m.: Doors open

9:00–10:00: Fifth tutor talk: What I Have Learned

10:15–11:45: Third Discussion (Reading TBA)

11:45–1:00: Lunch (cold lunch provided)

1:00–2:00: Fifth tutor talk: What I Have Learned

2:15–3:45: Fourth Discussion (Reading TBA)

7:00–9:00 p.m.: Banquet & Talk by David Crabtree (“Where We Are Headed”/CAPS Presentation)



David CrabtreeDavid Crabtree (M.A. classical Greek; Ph.D. history) is the president and a tutor at Gutenberg College. He is also a co-author of The Language of God: A Commonsense Approach to Understanding and Applying the Bible.

Jack CrabtreeJack Crabtree (Ph.D. philosophy) is a tutor at Gutenberg College, the author of The Most Real Being: A Biblical and Philosophical Defense of Divine Determinism, and co-author of The Language of God: A Commonsense Approach to Understanding and Applying the Bible.

CharleyCharley Dewberry (M.S. stream ecology; Ph.D. philosophy) is the dean and a tutor at Gutenberg College. He has authored two books, Intelligent Discourse: Exposing the Fallacious Standoff Between Evolution and Intelligent Design and Saving Science: A Critique of Science and Its Role in Salmon Recovery.

Ron JulianRon 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.

Chris SwansonChris Swanson (Ph.D. physics) is a tutor at Gutenberg College.


The Ethics of Sex in the Teaching of the Bible

Jack CrabtreeGutenberg tutor Dr. Jack Crabtree will explore what the Bible has to say about the right and wrong of sexual behavior: What is right? What is Wrong? And Why? Particular attention will be given to contemporary questions and issues.

The class will meet at Gutenberg College on Wednesday nights from 7:00 to 8:30 p.m. for six weeks, from April 30 to June 4. There is no charge for this class. Donations to Gutenberg College are welcome.

This class may be available for streaming. Check back for information before the class begins on April 30.


Financial Aid for International Students

A young man who grew up in poverty in Mexico has applied to Gutenberg for the fall. Despite having been abandoned by his parents as a small child and experiencing abuse and great hardship while growing up, he became a Christian and developed a love for the classics. His writing sample analyzed Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein and whether or not morality can be learned without God. And he observed about the classics: “They pictured a different world, showing the possibility of beauty and sublime ideas. Eventually, they inspired me to believe that I did not have to be a victim. I could be a victor.” He discovered Gutenberg last year: “Based on my research, I believe Gutenberg College is one of few campuses where honest intellectual inquiry is encouraged. I want an education, not just a diploma.”

Gutenberg wants to give international students like this young man the opportunity to study at Gutenberg. But these students face many obstacles, a major one being financial. To acquire the necessary student visa, international students must be able to show the source of funds to pay for college ($15,000 to $16,000 a year to cover tuition, books, fees, and room-and-board at Gutenberg), and visa rules severely limit their ability to work to pay for their education while attending school.

Gutenberg helps international students as much as it can, but more help is needed. Help could be a one-time donation and/or on-going contributions to a scholarship fund. (If you are a regular Gutenberg donor, please consider this help a special project rather than diverting your regular gifts to fund this need.) If you or someone you know (a company or foundation perhaps) would be interested in helping international students like the young man from Mexico attend Gutenberg, please contact provost Peter Wierenga ( or 541-683-5141541-683-5141) as soon as possible. We cannot finalize any admission arrangements without having a good idea of how to help with funding. Thank you.


Books on Our Nightstand

Below are some of the books that Gutenberg’s tutors read during the last year. Amazon links are included if you would like to learn more about these books.

Post below the books on your nightstand.


Dick Booster: The Law by Frederick Bastiat

Written two years after the French Revolution of 1848, The Law appeals to the French people reminding them of the proper sphere of the law and government.


David Crabtree: In The Garden of Beasts by Erik Larson.

Tells the story of an American ambassador escaping from Nazi Germany with his family. A page turner from the same author as Devil in the White City.


Jack Crabtree: The Character of Nations: How Politics Makes and Breaks Prosperity, Family, and Civility by Angelo M. Codevilla.

In this cross-cultural study, Codevilla illustrates that as people shape their governments, they shape themselves. Draws broadly from the depths of history, from the Roman republic to de Tocqueville’s America, as well as from personal and scholarly observations of the world in the twentieth century.


Tim McIntosh: Failure of Nerve by Edwin Friedman.

Friedman’s thesis is that our public problems are not intellectual, but emotional. We live in a time that rejects strong, decisive leadership. Leaders ought to recognize that good leadership demands “differentiation,” the ability to maintain emotional strength despite inevitable sabotage from our “leadership-toxic climate.”

Eliot Grasso: Art in Action  by Nicolas Wolterstorff.

Eliot writes: “This was the best book I read all year because it not only explained clearly many issues I’ve wanted to voice about institutionalized art, but it also offered a better way to think about art in the world using a Christian philosophical framework. In short, Wolterstorff disagrees with the idea that art is defined by the fact that it is a mere object of contemplation. Rather, Wolterstorff argues that art is an instrument by which we achieve other actions.”


Charley Dewberry: Principles of Political Economy by John Stuart Mill.

A classic in which Mill discusses the desirability of sustained growth of national wealth and population, the merits of capitalism versus socialism, and the suitable scope of government intervention in the competitive market economy.


Catherine the Great and Absolute Power

Catherine the Great was the Empress of Russia from 1762 to 1796. During her reign she exercised nearly complete control over all aspects of Russian government. She epitomized absolute power in a way that many other monarchs of the period could only dream of. There was no legislature to check her will. She was the final arbiter of appointments and advancements within the government and military. She worked tirelessly to direct both domestic and foreign policy involving herself in many levels of decision making. Furthermore, she was nearly immune to revolts, attempted coups, and uprisings within her borders. Given the level of power and control she exercised, the question arises as to why she was so successful.

I believe her success was due to her recognition that she ruled alongside the people rather than against them. Even though her power was absolute, it was never independent of the people. This is clearly shown in her attempt to bring about “enlightenment” reforms early in her reign. In her youth, she was enthralled by the ideas of equality and liberty that were popular in Europe at the time. She wanted to reform the unjust treatment of the serfs in Russia. She wanted to create a new, modern code of laws that was more coherent and just. However, when she assembled an enormous commission made up of representatives from all the parts of the Russian social order, no consensus could be adopted. The various social groups were unwilling to compromise or give up what they had. At that juncture, Catherine could have tried to force implementation of the reforms that she thought would be “good” for her country. Instead, she decided that she must give up on many of her goals and ideals and rule in accordance with what is possible, rather than what is ideal.

Not every Russian monarch was as wise. Her immediate predecessor was her husband Peter III, and her immediate successor was her son Paul I. Both of these men attempted to institute drastic changes in many areas of the political and social order. Peter III was deposed after six months, and Paul I was assassinated after five years.

Catherine’s decision to rule alongside the wishes of her advisors and people was carried on throughout her reign. It is perhaps best shown in a quote from the biography Catherine the Great by R. Massie. After her death, one of her former administrators was explaining this to her grandson, Emperor Alexander I.

The subject was the unlimited power with which the great Catherine ruled her empire. … I spoke of the surprise I felt at the blind obedience with which her will was fulfilled everywhere, of the eagerness and zeal with which all tried to please her.

“It is not as easy as you think,” she replied. “In the first place, my orders would not be carried out unless they were the kind of orders which could be carried out. You know with what prudence and circumspection I act in the promulgation of my laws. I examine the circumstances, I take advice, I consult the enlightened part of the people, and in this way I find out what sort of effect my laws will have. And when I am already convinced in advance of good approval, then I issue my orders, and have the pleasure of observing what you call blind obedience. That is the foundation of unlimited power. But, believe me, they will not obey blindly when orders are not adapted to the opinion of the people.”

Catherine’s understanding and use of power is illustrative of all governmental power. There is a relationship between the people and the government, no matter what type of government exists. We may think that a monarchy is not subject to the will of the people in the way that a democracy is. This is partially true, but not completely. No ruler or party or aristocracy can rule contrary to the people’s will for long. Even brutal despots cannot maintain power without some level of acquiescence.

In our day, we may lament that our own government goes against the will of the people. Perhaps there is some truth to that. But I think it is more to the point that our government reflects only too accurately exactly what the people really want.


You can get these blog posts sent to your email.




Please consider supporting the college as you are able. Even small donations help. Thank you.

Donate Online