Category: Acton University

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Acton University 2015 Participants

After working in the DC area for nearly twenty years, Judi Niedercorn recently moved to the Northern Appalachian area of New York where she founded the Northern Appalachian Socio-Economic Collaborative (NASEC) and is in the midst of transferring her company, SysTactics. Her company, SysTactics provides technical and managerial consulting services to commercial and government clients. NASEC is a non-profit enabling the communities of Cattaraugus and Allegany Counties in New York to improve the economy and fight poverty. NASEC is a collaboration of civic, commercial, and faith based organizations working together towards long lasting economic improvement in the region. As Judi began a new life endeavor with NASEC, she came upon the Acton Institute and thought Acton University would be a good resource for her work. She certainly found that to be true!

Judi was impressed that all the speakers were top notch in their particular field of instruction. The foundational courses did an excellent job of laying the ground work for a common understanding of “the very foundations of faith, life, and flourishing as well as our responses and responsibilities.” She found that Christopher Brook’s session on “Church, City, and Urban Renewal” was a “bonanza of inspiration.” (more…)

470380_368492526508146_880858769_oMichael Matheson Miller, research fellow at the Acton Institute, presented a course at Acton University a few weeks ago titled, “Poverty in the Developing World.”

The purpose of the lecture was to demonstrate the root cause of global poverty and to analyze the impact of attempts to alleviate poverty through economic aid. Miller was able to draw from the insights he gained during his extensive travels across the globe, and his conclusion was that aid often harms local economies because it crowed out small businesses by under-cutting their prices. He also found that aid often encourages dependency on foreign assistance which prevents long term economic development. However, he went on to clarify that “this lecture is not a critique of aid but a critique of a flawed system and its underlying assumptions of which aid is the main symptom.” (more…)


C. S. Lewis

Silence took the place of applause as the room struggled to manifest a question to the finality of Peter Kreeft’s lecture; unfazed, the professor filled with excitement at the chance to quip the crowd quoting Aristotle: “human beings are curious by nature.” A smirk crept across his face as he both laid forth a potential congratulation for our ascension beyond curiosity as gods or the insult of being beasts below curiosity. With that, the air filled with questioning hands.

A few weeks ago at Acton University 2015, professor of philosophy at Boston College and at the King’s College and a prolific writer of Christian philosophy and apologetics, Peter Kreeft, taught the course: “Good, True, and Beautiful: C.S. Lewis.” Focusing on these three virtues known as cardinal or transcendental that are central to philosophical conceptions of God, Kreeft goes on as any philosopher must to define the three virtues and their place in the world. The cardinal “hinge” role of these virtues is because humanity never grows tired of goodness, truth, or beauty because these are the attributes of perfection, of God. Moreover, “everything God creates is imbued with these attributes to some extent” and Kreeft discussed their manifestation of the works of C.S. Lewis. (more…)

JFKI have an overwhelming desire to connect my passions with positive change. But there are so many things in this world to be passionate about. Passion to make the world a better place. Passion to expand education, uplift the impoverished, and abolish injustice. I find myself stuck; Wanting to do more, but not being capable of such grand plans…

Last week my friend asked: “What can you do today to make a difference for tomorrow?”

Her challenge blew me away.

To begin discovering an answer I interviewed a group of people at Acton University. (more…)


Christopher Dawson

On June 17, 2015, Bradley Birzer taught a course at Acton University entitled “Christopher Dawson and the Dynamics of History” in which he outlined the life and thought of the great historian. Describing Dawson as “an academic’s academic,” Birzer explained that although many people have never heard of Dawson, he nevertheless influenced many popular Christian intellectuals, such as C.S. Lewis, J.R.R. Tolkien, and Flannery O’Connor.

And what was that influence? Christopher Dawson believed his life’s calling was to record the history of the world, but he refused to reduce the task history to the narrow specialization of the archivist. Rather, true history is a poetic endeavor that must take place from within a culture, as opposed to objectifying and deconstructing it from the outside. All cultures contain some aspect of truth that may be missed by others, so the goal of the Church is not to destroy pagan culture but to baptize it and put the truths of that culture in their proper relation to the Truth. Modern ideologies pose such a danger because they single out a truth and pluck it from its broader context in the world over which God reigns. Dawson shows us that we cannot defeat ideology by creating a counter-ideology but only by reconnecting its true foundation to the entirety of truth in a loving manner. (more…)

Fr. Michael Butler offers insight on the recent encyclical from an Orthodox Christian perspective at Acton University 2015:

Acton University 2015 came to a close last night with a plenary address from Rev. Robert A. Sirico. We invite you to view the full address via the video player below.

Self-described “lunatic farmer” Joel Salatin took over the podium last night at the Thursday night plenary session of Acton University 2015 and delivered an engaging and interesting address to the gathered attendees. We’re pleased to share the video of Salatin’s presentation with you below.

Wednesday was the first full day of Acton University 2015, and it ended with a plenary session featuring Gregory Alan Thornbury, the President of The King’s College in New York City. Thornbury’s address was preceded by an introduction by Acton Institute Research Fellow and associate professor of theology at The King’s College, Anthony B. Bradley. We’re pleased to present the evening’s program here on the PowerBlog for your edification.

Acton University 2015 got underway last night with an opening plenary address by Dr. Samuel Gregg on the topic of Truth, Reason and Equality. Gregg emphasized that the pursuit of authentic equality must be rooted in a deep respect for truth, not in “sentimental humanitarianism.” We’re pleased to share his address with you via the video player below.