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why are we reading this

Added on by Matthew Sutton.

Your professor (that’s me) has assigned you several required books because he thinks they will guide you to your goal to be a young intellectual and wisdom professional.

Some speak about this current age as the Information Age because so much information is accessible to so many people. Something new has happened in the history of humanity. Time was, one would need to undergo heroic tasks to acquire the information that is now so readily available to you on your phone, wrist, or glasses. There is something great here for the future of humanity, but most use this Information Age to access stupid information. You know what I’m talking about. Now you know, but did you really need to know?

Your educational path with me means that I hope to train you in becoming a wisdom professional — accessing the galactic nebulae of information, guiding them into sun-forming knowledge (something that you know and that’s not just accessible to you) and then transforming it a proper solar system of wisdom (knowledge that now guides you toward being a better you and guides our culture to being a better culture).

That’s me — forming your mind into a solar system — and that’s why we are reading this.

handing on the faith available

Added on by Matthew Sutton.
Handing on the Faith cover

My new co-edited book, Handing on the Faith, is now available! Edited with William Portier, this book is the Annual Volume of the College Theology Society and collects essays that explore the theme of how theology and catechesis interact. Is theology “handing on the faith,” or is the vocation of the theologian something more/different? What are the challenges and convergences for theology and catechesis in the classroom? This book offers the reflections and analyses of teachers across a broad spectrum of experience, background, and personal convictions vis-à-vis the importance of catechesis in the college classroom.

From the introduction:

Just about mid-way through the four-year commemoration of the fiftieth anniversary of the Second Vatican Council, members of the College Theology Society (CTS) gathered in May 2013 at Creighton University in Omaha for the fifty-ninth Annual Meeting. In a signature passage from the Introduction to Gaudium et Spes, the Council recalled the church’s “duty in every age of examin- ing the signs of the times and interpreting them in light of the gospel …”[1] One of the signs of the times needing interpretation is what Sandra Yocum, in her 2007 history of the CTS, described as a “revolution in theological studies in every aspect from who produces theology to what is produced, from who teaches to who learns, and from where theological studies take place to what is actually taught in the undergraduate college classrooms.”[2] Professors and students are still changing. The “revolution” continues.

Here is the index:

  • “The Gospel and the Education of Our Undergraduates” - Sandra Yocum

Part I: Convergences

  • “The Heart Has Its Reasons: Giving an Account of the Hope That Is in Us” - Robert P. Imbelli
  • “Cardinal Dulles and the New Evangelization” - Anne-Marie Kirmse, O.P.
  • “Giving God the First Word: Spirituality as the Bridge between Catechesis and Theology” - Christopher Collins, S.J.
  • Hans Urs von Balthasar as Source for Teaching Theology in North American Higher Education" - Christopher Hadley, S.J.
  • “No More Time for Nostalgia: Millennial Morality and a Catholic Tradition Mash-Up” - Maureen H. O’Connell

Part II: Teaching Theology

  • “‘For I Handed on to You as of First Importance What I Myself Had Received’: Theologians and Handing on the Faith” - Aurelie A. Hagstrom
  • “Teaching Theology and Handing on the Faith: One Institutional Perspective” - David Gentry-Akin
  • “Handing on the Faith as a Guest, and Teaching Theology When You’re Not Teaching Theology” - Andrew D. Black
  • “‘Turn, Turn, Turn’: Considering Conversion in the Theology Classroom” - Katherine G. Schmidt
  • “Nurturing Aesthetic Sensibility, Religious Imagination, and the Use of Analogy in the Academic Life of Contemporary College Students” - Mary-Paula Cancienne, R.S.M.
  • “Beyond Sunday School: Affirming Faith, Challenging Knowledge in the College Classroom” - Emily Dykman, Michael Lopez-Kaley, and Laura Nettles
  • “Challenges Theologians Face Teaching about Marriage and Family” - Felicidad Oberholzer

Part III: Implications

  • “The True Knowledge of Religion and of the Christian Doctrine: Robinson Crusoe as Catechist and Theologian” - Curtis W. Freeman
  • “A Crisis in Catholic Identity: Lessons Learned from Catholic Relief Services” - Christine Tucker
  • “What We Have Loved, Others Will Love” - Donna Orsuto

It was a real sacrificial pleasure to work on this important project. I hope you’ll consider buying a copy of Handing on the Faith from Orbis Books or Amazon.


  1. Documents of the Ecumenical Councils, vol. II (Trent to Vatican II), edited by Norman P. Tanner, S.J. (London and Washington, DC: Sheed & Ward and Georgetown University Press, 1990), 1070.  ↩

  2. Sandra Yocum Mize, Joining the Revolution in Theology: The College Theology Society, 1954–2004 (Lanham, MD: Rowman & Littlefield, 2007), 4.  ↩