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C is for critical thinking

What does the “C” in TCU mean? Religion Instructor and Assistant to the Dean of Admissions Jim Atwood ’70 weighs in.

C is for critical thinking

What does the “C” in TCU mean? Religion Instructor and Assistant to the Dean of Admissions Jim Atwood ’70 weighs in.

To me, the “C” in TCU calls to mind many things. The historic and ongoing relationship between this university and a particular faith community, the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ), is symbolized by that letter. I believe that the “C” in TCU represents the fact that Disciples roots continue to serve as a major resource as TCU articDisciples have long stood for a reasoned — which is not to say rationalistic — faith. It seems that the basic approach of Disciples (but not only Disciples) to developing intelligent, compassionate persons and communities serves as a fitting backdrop for what a university ought to be: A place where women and men are encouraged to think critically and to embrace firmly the need for ethical reflection and moral life.

On a related front, it seems that the “C” is also emblematic of a certain challenge, really a set of challenges facing TCU. In our time, the word “Christian” is used in many different ways, a fact that produces no small amount of confusion. For some, Christian means a uniform, narrow, and inflexible approach to faith and practice required of all who would call themselves true believers. Some colleges called Christian use the word with just such connotation. Texas Christian University, of course, does not. Hence the conundrum: How to claim the name Christian but not the restrictive, particularist baggage that many attach to the word.

TCU is Christian, but in a different way, a way that embraces diversity not uniformity, inclusiveness not exclusiveness, dialogue not monologue. Encouraging and communicating this distinctive understanding and the type of university environment that it helps to foster remain important tasks for the entire TCU community.