Language can be fascinating and frustrating! For example, not only does the word catalog have two different spellings, it also can be used as two different parts of speech. As a verb, “to catalog” means to enter items in a list. As a noun, a “catalog” is that list now created. So Webster’s Unabridged Dictionary defines a catalog as “a list or record, as if items for sale or courses at a university, systemically arranged and often including descriptive material.”
Before you now, on your screen or in your hands, is the current catalog of Martin Luther College. I suppose some would claim reading a catalog is as tedious as reading a dictionary. It certainly could be. But when you need one or the other, you research diligently. Perhaps you’re writing an important essay for publication. You search for a specific vocable in the dictionary to make sure it’s spelled correctly and used accurately. You want to convey a distinct nuance of meaning to capture your rationale succinctly. It’s imperative for good communication that you’re accurate. So you do your research.
This catalog of academic courses is not often perused until that time you want to make sure. You want to make sure you have all the courses needed to fulfill your program. But gradually you begin to think more analytically. Instead of just checking off courses in a program, you analyze the rationale for including the course in a program of study. It’s especially true also at MLC, the WELS College of Ministry. How does each course contribute to the bigger picture of training gospel servants who demonstrate a consecrated spirit of love for God and his Word? Who are faithful, capable, intelligent citizens in today’s world? Who have acquired knowledge, attitudes, and skills needed for service in the church and for lifelong learning? Who have developed and demonstrated a heart for service in the church, community, and world?
Each course at MLC is taught by fellow Christians who endeavor to “take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ.” It’s the prayer of the faculty that everything they teach is used by the Spirit to craft a biblical and Christ-centered worldview and create the qualifications for ministry listed above. In that sense, then, this catalog is never dry. It becomes a record of the Spirit’s omnipotence unleashed in your life through the Word studied. Then God’s grace is revealed, your faith strengthened, your understanding of the Savior God deepened, and your God-given abilities developed to glorify God and serve your neighbor.
You won’t read this catalog often, but when you do, may you be blessed.
Rev. Mark Zarling
President, Martin Luther College