Wednesday, February 24, 2016

Tragedy is a Thin Place







Last Wednesday (February 17) a man employed by Wabash College, my alma mater, murdered two people in Zionsville, Indiana.  He then went to work like any other day. Just before the police caught his trail, he fled to Indianapolis.  The subsequent manhunt led to the Wabash campus being locked down as authorities swept every building looking for the subject.  Once located in Indianapolis, he killed himself.

That night, Wabash squared off against its eternal rival, DePauw University, on the basketball court.  The next day, Dr. Derek Nelson, a Wabash graduate and faculty member, delivered the following Chapel Talk.  Brief by Wabash standards, "Tragedy is a Thin Place" strikes all the right chords for such a desperate time--at Wabash and elsewhere.  Nelson, following C. S. Lewis' confrontation of continuing liberal arts studies as World War II exploded, traces how such times are precisely when we need liberal studies the most, not least.  Wabash, being an all-male liberal arts college in a small Indiana town, is prone to such self-doubt, never more so surely than last week.  Nelson, graduating almost a decade after me, enjoyed the return of these Chapel talks and a host of other traditions that were reinvigorated between my graduation and his arrival.  I've thus come to enjoy many of these via YouTube.  Nelson's ranks with the best three or four I've ever heard.  It is well worth a listen--not just for us Wabash guys but for anybody who values liberal learning and the pursuit of the true, the good, and the beautiful--things and qualities so needed these days.

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