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October 09, 2013

Baumanisms

Baumanisms

“A Christian must be the sworn enemy of nonsense.”  It’s hard to think of a more apt description of Dr. Michael Bauman.  Hailing from Hillsdale College, Dr. Bauman didn’t mince words in his self-introduction when he told us he would be a devil’s advocate.  From the start, we knew that our thoughts and musings would be subject to ruthless cross-examination.

             Dispensing valuable information and profound questions, Dr. Bauman utilizes a teaching style that is unique, intimidating, and frequently frustrating (the revelation of your own stupidity is not the most pleasant experience).  He does not permit us to depend on his opinion as truth; rather, he forces us to think well independently.

            Our courses, which have been in session for approximately three weeks, have covered English literature, church history, and politics.  In the short amount of time that I have spent under Dr. Bauman, my thinking has already improved.  His querying methods are contagious and are engraining themselves in my own mind.

Before we started class, I expected to be made aware of my errors, but I did not realize how little I have thought about some of the beliefs that I adhere to.  My mental sparring with Dr. Bauman often leaves me without a good response – or any response at all for that matter.  Instead, I am left with an assertion or objection to mull over.

            We have passed some of our time discussing questions such as “What is beauty?”, “Can man come closer to God through philosophy?”, and “What entitles someone to the truth?”  Finding the answers to these difficult questions is an arduous task. 

            On a lighter note, my classmates and I have already started developing a list of “Baumanisms”, such as “Chickens are the freshmen of the animal world.” and “Doesn’t the thought of dying tick you off?”

Dr. Bauman may be abrasive in class, but I know that he truly does care for us.  Part of one evening was spent listening to him read selections from his autobiography to us, an uncommon action for a professor.  Even though he is a man who dislikes travel, he splits his time between us here in Pagosa Springs and his other students in Hillsdale, Michigan. 

In a strange way, I truly do appreciate his brutality.  Summit Semester is a training ground for life.  This is a place for me to be free to make errors and, more importantly, correct errors in my thinking and doctrine.  Here, I learn how to think, and the more thoughtful I am, the better I can represent Christ and His Church.

            It is a wonderful privilege for me to be here, living with new and amazing friends in the sublimity and grandeur of the San Juan Mountains. Together we live, love, reflect, worship, and laugh. 

Hunter Smith is passionate about God, people, and languages.  He is nearly fluent in Spanish and has a goal of being fluent in multiple languages.  Later in life, Hunter is considering work in Bible translation, so that cultures will have an opportunity to read and hear the gospel message in their native tongue.  While at Semester, Hunter desires to “grasp and apply abstract spiritual and philosophical concepts [and] understand my purpose in life as a human being and as a Christian.” Seeking and discovering truth is a core part of his being. In 2014, Hunter plans to begin training to be an airborne cryptological linguist in the United States Air Force


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  • October 16, 2013 // 09:58 pm //  # 
    Randy Smith's avatar Randy Smith

    So glad to see my son growing at such an awesome place. Thanks Summit for taking these young adults and preparing them for the future. Hunter I love you and am very honored to have you as my son, stay true to God. We love you.
    Dad

  • November 17, 2013 // 07:56 pm //  # 
    Jody's avatar Jody

    Mr. Smith, thanks for sharing your son with the Summit community! I enjoyed meeting all of the students this weekend on my visit to Pagosa, and had a particularly enjoyable talk with Hunter and some of his friends.

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