Churches and university campuses almost universally feature iconic steeples, obelisks, and/or bell towers. Since both institutions’ professed aim is the pursuit of truth, the symbolism of the pointed objects obviously points above, a response to what I believe is man’s instinctive response to the search for a higher power (i.e., obviously, God).
The secular university, of course, in its humanism, cowers from that assertion; the church, however, embraces it. How attractive, then, the concept of the Christian institution wherein the pursuit of truth proceeds from the interaction of faith and reason?
That concept is expressed in the mission statement of St. Edmund Catholic School where I’ll be working this coming academic year as a high school teacher of rhetoric and poetics. From college to high school? Is that a professional demotion? No, for in the pursuit for truth allied with faith and reason resides the highest order of
academic freedom. To borrow the words of a hymn writer, I’m promoted to a “higher plane than I have found; Lord, lead me on to higher ground!”