The Classroom at the End of the World - When Glamour Beckons, Can Benedictine Values Compete?

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"Do you reject the glamour of evil?" This striking question from the Catholic rite of baptism for adults has received surprisingly little attention from theologians. One might summarize all Benedictine values and practices as answering this question by turning from the merelye glamorous toward quieter, deeper joys. The puzzle for Christian educators is how to make such inherently self-effacing joys attractive when the culture of glamour and celebrity competes so well.

Dr. Gerald W. Schlabach is professor of theology at the University of St. Thomas, where he teaches Christian ethics and recently served as chair of Justice and Peace Studies. On sabbatical this year as a research fellow at the Collegeville Institute for Ecumenical and Cultural Studies, Schlabach is currently writing a book on peace theology in the context of Catholic social teaching. He is a member of the American Benedictine Academy, and is one of the co-founders of the grassroots ecumenical group of Mennonites and Catholics, which has its home here at St. John’s Abbey.

Schlabach has been a Benedictine oblate since the late 1990s and a Roman Catholic since 2004. His book Unlearning Protestantism: Sustaining Christian Community in an Unstable Age won praise from Fr. Terrence Kardong OSB, editor of the American Benedictine Review, who called the book “by far the most profound study of stability that I have ever seen.” Schlabach holds an M.A. in Theological Studies from the Associated Mennonite Biblical Seminary, and a Ph.D. in moral theology from the University of Notre Dame.

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