The chaplain comes to an important conclusion:
“We don't live our lives in our heads, in theology and theories. … We don't learn the meaning of our lives by discussing it. It's not to be found in books or lecture halls or even churches or synagogues or mosques. It's discovered through these actions of love.”I can think of no better characterization of the vision for and challenge of our work in the Claremont Lincoln University Consortium. From its inception, Claremont Lincoln was envisioned as a different sort of university. It’s a place where we put love to work in the world, where we bring the wisdom of the ages to bear on the problems of today. It’s a place where we ultimately learn the power of love, grounded in our relationships, for the good of the world.
Claremont Initiative for Engaged Ethics at the Claremont Lincoln Consortium. (You can watch a video of the announcement here or read my prepared remarks here.)
What is “Engaged Ethics”? It involves putting faith into action, beliefs in motion, and our ethical convictions to work for the common good. At Claremont Lincoln, it also involves learning by doing and teaching while learning. It collapses the artificial wall between theory and practice, recognizing the importance and interdependence of both. Books and lecture halls are critical, but so is the hands-on education of social engagement.
My hope is that this Initiative will accomplish two goals.
- First, I want the initiative to celebrate the many examples of students, staff and faculty who already exemplify Engaged Ethics in the world. For many among us, Engaged Ethics is already a way of life. And in many ways, this already defines our community.
- The initiative will also provide opportunities for staff, faculty and students who may want to do more in the community to come together in acts of social engagement, to put our collective institutional ethics into action as a community.
Perhaps most important, this initiative sets Claremont Lincoln toward a grand vision: to be the world's premier educational community for Engaged Ethics. Some universities are known for their subject matter, others for their religious affiliations, and still others for their political leanings.
Claremont Lincoln will be known worldwide as the graduate school that puts values to work in the world.
In the everydayness of her life, the chaplain above found what she could not discover in her seminary education alone. My hope for Claremont is that we can learn from this lesson and prepare a new generation of leaders for a world that needs action as much as intellect. Together, we can achieve this important and much needed vision.