by Kathleen van Schaijik
Long-time readers are no doubt wondering what gives. Six years after it began serving FUS a steady diet of bracing and habit-forming discourse, the Concourse suddenly vanished without a trace—leaving several fascinating and valuable conversations (plus our readers) hanging in suspense. Now, just as abruptly, we’re back.
It’s a long story, and not a very interesting one. So let’s just sum it up metaphorically by saying that due to an over-draw on the main power supply, a key fuse blew, and before the back-up generators could kick in, the emergency batteries drained completely. We never made an announcement about it, because we could never bring ourselves to declare it defunct. There was always hope of a revamp. Now, finally, all systems are go. We can’t promise there won’t be some sputters and flickers and fits and starts, but we have good hope that once we work up some momentum, we’ll be humming along nicely again.
It’s awkward to re-begin right at the end of a school year, but we had the material, and we didn’t like to wait until September to get it out there. We hope readers will use the long summer to mull over the articles and issues herein, and prepare rejoinders or kudos or fresh angles or new topics or what have you to grace next semester’s pages. Our ability to continue publishing depends on it.
We have one important change to announce. When we began the Concourse in 1996, the editors all lived in Steubenville and were closely connected with the day to day life of Franciscan University. These days we are rather spread out, and (at least some of us) less in touch with the dear alma mater. Two of the editors are now linked to Ave Maria College. Given this, plus the happy historical and cultural ties between FUS and AMC, it seems good to the editors that the Concourse be reoriented to serve both. We also plan to distribute in Gaming, where both AMC and FUS have semester abroad programs, and in Nicaragua, at Ave Maria of the Americas; at St. Mary’s of Ave Maria University, and at Ave Maria Law School, where numerous FUS alumni are now studying.
We are in the process of revising our editorial policies and reconstituting our advisory board, to better reflect our nature as an inter-collegiate journal.
There will be some other changes as well. For instance, in the interest of toughening our intellectual skins, and of placing truth more squarely in the center of our attention, we will no longer discourage anonymous contributions. The editors are ever more convinced that an mistaken stress on things like “affirmation” and “being positive” and “not hurting feelings” is doing serious harm to the vigor of the intellectual life of the Church (responsibility for which belongs properly to institutions such as ours.) We have simply got to learn to be less sensitive and self-preoccupied all the time! Otherwise, how will we cope when we are launched out into a hostile world? “If you cannot race on foot, how will you compete against horses?”
No one should take this to mean that the Concourse is weakening its commitment to courtesy in discourse. Au contraire. Nastiness we deplore as much as banality and bogosity. Wit we love. Satire we will entertain. We will be biting when called for, but also humane. The great Christian controvertialists of the ages are our models in this as in other things.
Our basic aim of being an open forum for intelligent, lively, faith-filled and truth-centered discussion about ideas that are important to university men and women remains what it was. Please do join in.