Stanley L. Olsen
Stanley L. Olsen

Augustana College
Sioux Falls, SD

Stanley L. Olsen
Chair of Moral Values

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Encouraging book discussion groups
in collaboration with the Bush Committee
1999-2000

The Stanley L. Olsen Chair of Moral Values and the Bush Faculty Development Committee are co-sponsoring and encouraging the formation of book discussion groups as a type of cell group. This relates to the fourth vector of the Bush Grant, pages 17-19 in the proposal on the web site.

What we have in mind is to encourage the formation and activities of perhaps two book discussion groups, which we envision as cutting across lines of faculty, administration, and staff.

Here are several possibilities for books with which a group might begin.

Stephen L. Carter, Integrity, HarperCollins, New York, 1997.

Stephen L. Carter, Civility, HarperCollins, New York, 1998.

Larry L. Rasmussen, Earth Community, Earth Ethics, Orbis Books, Maryknoll, NY, 1996. With this book, Rasmussen won the 1997 Louisville Grawemeyer Award in Religion.

Nancey C. Murphy and George R. Ellis, On the Moral Nature of the Universe: Theology, Cosmology & Ethics, Fortress Press, Minneapolis, 1996.

Karen L. Bloomquist and John R. Stumme, Editors, The Promise of Lutheran Ethics, Fortress Press, Minneapolis, 1998. (Arlen Viste is particularly interested in the contributions of Larry Rasmussen and Cynthia Moe-Lobeda in Chapter 8 and elsewhere. Portions of the book have generated some online discussion on at least one or two listservs.)

Jane Tompkins, A Life in School: What the Teacher Learned, Addison Wesley, 1996. Jane Tompkins is the presenter at the 1999 Fall Faculty Seminar, sponsored by the Bush Faculty Development Committee.

The Bush Committee and/or the Stanley L. Olsen Chair of Moral Values will gladly purchase and supply copies of whichever book the people in a potential discussion group decide that they would like to read and begin to discuss together. We encourage at least beginning with a book which has a connection with ethics and moral values. Since we take a rather broad view of these terms, that should not be unduly restrictive.

For most of 20 years, a number of faculty have been blessed by being involved in an Augustana book group, mostly couples but with some singles, which in its more active phases has met several times a year in homes, typically with a Sunday evening potluck dinner and book discussion. As we recall, several such groups began with a little financial support from the ELCA and/or ALC, aimed at faculty theological development. Don Sneen was one of the conveners. The financial support bought the books. This is an example of a small amount of financial support doing a lot of good.

The Open Windows Project, and cell groups, of the Bush grant potentially span a much broader range of interests and activities than the sort of book discussion groups that are described here. And yet this may be a beginning, and meshes with the concerns of the Olsen Chair.

The Open Windows vector in the Bush grant seems particularly innovative, and we hope very much for its success.

If you might be interested in participating in a book discussion cell group along the lines described, please contact either Arlen Viste or the Bush Committee. The group is welcome to meet in whatever manner it finds congenial - individually or as couples, on or off campus, during the week or on weekends. All Augustana faculty, staff, and administration, and their spouses or friends, are invited and welcome to participate.

 

Book groups during Fall 1999:

Wed 12:00-12:45, in one of the 3 in 1 rooms.
9 members initially.
Larry L. Rasmussen, Earth Community, Earth Ethics, Orbis Books, Maryknoll, NY, 1996.
Wed Oct 6, through p. 37. Beloit Room.
Wed Nov 3.Beloit Room.
Wed Dec 6.Paxton Room.
Bring a sack lunch or go through the line.

Wed 4:30-5:15, in a seminar room.
8 members initially.
Stephen L. Carter, Integrity, HarperCollins, New York, 1997.
Wed Oct 20, GSC 262. Part I, Explanations, through p. 65.
Wed Nov10, MC 252. Part II, Applications, Ch 5-11, p. 69-189.
Wed Dec 15, MC 252. Part III, Ruminations, Ch 12-14, p. 193-242.

Sun evening potluck meal in homes.
10 individuals or couples initially.
Stephen L. Carter, Integrity, HarperCollins, New York, 1997.
First meeting Oct 17. Part I, Explanations, through p. 65.
The group plans to meet monthly.

For further information, please contact Arlen Viste.

 

Book groups beginning Spring 2000:

Wed 4:30-5:15, in a seminar room. First meeting Wed Mar 1.
Gerald Holton. Einstein, History, and Other Passions: The Rebellion Against Science at the End of the Twentieth Century. Addison-Wesley, 1996. Gerald Holton bio. Another bio.

Thursday 10:00-10:45. First meeting Thur Feb 24.
Ray Kurzweil. The Age of Spiritual Machines: When Computers Exceed Human Intelligence. Penguin Books, 1999. Paperback.
Ray Kurzweil bio. Related website: http://www.kurzweiltech.com/

Thursday 10:00-10:45. First meeting Thur Feb 17.
Frank McCourt. Angela's Ashes: A Memoir. Touchstone Books, 1999. Paperback.
Frank McCourt bio. Related website: http://www.angelasashes.com/

Sun evening potluck meal in homes.
Donald J. Sneen. Millennium: Rapture or Jubilee. Kirk House Publishers, 1999.

For further information, please contact Arlen Viste.


Encouraging Book Groups 2000-2001


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