FRED’S THANKS FOR FREDSTOCK – “Student – Teacher: Knowledge and Meaning Dialogue”

November 3, 2011

Ruth and I wish to express our thanks for the wonderful cooperative effort by so many making Fredstock a successful and fun evening. Academy lads from 1962-1968, especially the class of 1966 who suggested the scholarship with the  leadership of  their classmate Dr. Daniel Kriefall.  The Alumni Office served most helpfully in fielding captains who contacted alumni from the Academy, various College and University groups,  such as social science  and history majors, MTEPS , CSAL,  and degree completion programs.. We thank all for their efforts.  Finally it is our children who with imagination and hard work brought Fredstock and the championing of the scholarship to reality. All six children had their assigned roles and effectively worked together. No doubt they inherited their mother’s organizational skills.  I am sure the siblings would agree that Stephanie (which means crown in Greek) exhibited an extraordinary effort and effective coordination and leadership. Anastasia, on her part, built the The Bartling Scholarship web site that has effectively kept her father off the streets with blogging duties.  Love and God bless to all.

Fifty years as teacher and professor at Concordia Academy, College, and University has been a journey affording great joy and happiness in vocation.  The Fred and Ruth Scholarship will provide assistance for students in the future. What can be more satisfying for Ruth and myself.  We  feel singularly honored and are most appreciative for gifts that make this scholarship a living  legacy aiding students iin their academic journey.

The following is essentially my address at Fredstock. Speaking from rather complete notes I have attempted to reconstruct the essentials of that brief address. It expresses my joy in vocation and sharing with the student on one end of  a balanced log and the teacher on the other end of that log. My joy and pleasure to have had that dialogue with my students over the years.

“Our children’s childhood home  was  a wonderful three story frame house – an attic room as hideaway for the children and an attached study to the home for the teacher father. Father’s sanctuary provided bookshelves  filled with books and academic necessities.  Challenging to choose from that library one book for my preacher self and another for my teacher self  what would I choose?

Preacher self – Einar Billing, OUR CALLING, purchased 11/17/49 at Concordia Seminary Book Store as a twenty-one year old second year seminarian.  Most amazing the continued impact  this study has had on  my theological stance. A product of the Swedish Luther Renaissance the small pamphlet sized book discusses the relationship of Christian faith to Christian living.  Christian vocation lived in society is exercised through the ministry of the laity.  Billing states:  “:never believe you have understood a thought of Luther before you have succeeded in reducing it to a simple corollary of the forgiveness of sins.”  Through GRACE  Christian life is where Christ is hidden in ” the priesthood of all believers”  It is through the grace-filled  life in Christian vocation in the world that God continues to create and Christ continues to redeem.  Finitum non capax infiniti  – the finite cannot comprehend the infinite – not true!  Finitum est capax infiniti – the finite can contain the infinite through my life  and vocation as a teacher. The Christlike virtues are brought to life when my teaching and life witnesses to  JUSTICE, FREEDOM, EQUALITY, LIBERTY.

Teacher self – Winthrop Jordan,  WHITE OVER BLACK:  AMERICAN ATTITUDES TOWARD THE NEGRO, 1550 – 1812.    Published in 1968 it treats the history of slavery and the origins of racism.  Jordan makes an analysis of English perceptions and attitudes with first contact with the negro in the 16th century,  such as color, Christian manners, sexuality, and social hierarchy. An “unthinking decision”  resulting from the transatlantic slave trade crystallized in the late 18th century into race based justification for chattel slavery.  Jordan made a profound impact on my  understanding of both slavery and racism.


The  educator, in the very process of teaching a particular discipline,  must critically analyse educational aims and methodological approach to learning. This process must occur in relationship to the teacher’s personal quest for knowledge, self-fulfillment and a meaningful relationship with his/her  fellow humans. These educational aims and methodological approach the teacher applies to students as well.  The teacher is appraising the quality of the student”s search for knowledge and meaning consistent with the maturity of the student. The teacher is placing a value judgment upon the quality of the student’s personal search for knowledge, self-fulfillment, and a meaningful relationship with the student’s fellow humans.

Education may be defined as that enterprise which involves the “drawing out” of internal powers and potential; as the supplying of knowledge of the external universe;  or finally, fostering a more meaningful relationship with the physical and social environment. Education so defined pertains to both teacher and student. The educator must constantly reevaluate beliefs by critical and philosophic analysis. The same applies to the teacher’s students in creating a coherent philosophy of life drawn in part from the teacher’s discipline.  It too must withstand analysis and criticism.

A good teacher is the kingpin of the educational task.  One end of the log will do for the  artful teacher – the other end belongs to the student. Granddaughter Paige in conversation with grandpa stated simply: “the good teacher tries to develop the best in each student.”  In terms of potential, hopefully, the teacher’s student will attain the apex of value in the educator’s discipline Teacher and student are engaged in dialogue in  mutual quest for knowledge and meaning in life.”

Published by profbartling1

Retired professor Concordia University, St. Paul, Mn. Taught mainly American History. Also taught in other areas of history, philosophy, and theology,

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