Friday, April 27, 2007

The Birth of Ambrose

The college I arrived at as an arrogant 17 year old, and later taught at, has changed its name. I could not be more pleased about the change, and its connection to 'the Great Tradition.' Many years to Ambrose University College!

From the press release:

"Ambrose University College is named after Ambrose of Milan, a fourth-century Christian who was called in 374 A.D. from a successful career as a governor to become head of the Christian church in Milan, Italy. Ambrose left his mark as a hymn writer, preacher, pastor, and an educator; he is best known for leading Augustine to faith and for his strong defense of orthodox Christology.

Ambrose stands as one of the great Christians of his generation who made an outstanding contribution to church and society. In adopting his name for our university college we underscore our commitment to prepare students for service and leadership in church and society in keeping with our historic Christian faith."

And here's a good one from the man himself:

"When we speak of wisdom, we are speaking about Christ. When we speak about virtue, we are speaking about Christ. When we speak about justice, we are speaking about Christ. When we are speaking about truth and life and redemption, we are speaking about Christ."


Blogger Matt said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

6:54 PM  
Blogger Matt said...

You're honestly the first person I've heard say anything good about the name change. Some of us (including myself) have been too deeply involved in the process at one time or another to be anything but cynical about it.

While I'm slowly warming up to the name, my informed instinct is that the decision had nothing to do with Ambrose as a person or influence in Christian history but was simply the result of an intensely soulless, focus-grouped process and the school's existing ownership of the auc domain name and trademark.

While I'd certainly not criticize any real attempt to reclaim the Fathers, this just seems so artificial to me--a "using" of the Fathers rather than a real reclamation and love for Ambrose.
(I mean really, you have the coming together of two schools arising out of the Holiness tradition, so obviously the most natural person to name it after is ... St Ambrose of Milan????)

Sorry for my cynicism and grumpiness about the issue. There IS certainly much to like about the name. I just wish it was grounded in a real desire to embody the great saint's spirit and theology, rather than a name chosen because market research said it would be attractive in the Calgary marketplace and with the school's target demographic.
At the end of the day, it's a heck of a lot better than the previous names they've decided on (Canadian International College? [for all your ESL-for-business needs???] Arnel University College [an acronym for Alliance-Rocky-Nazarene, plus the Hebrew word of God ::cough::])!!!

Okay. Rant over. Sorry! I now return you to your regularly scheduled blogging pleasure.

Go Lions.

6:55 PM  
Blogger Matt said...

Okay, me again. Sorry for clogging the comment board!

I'd like to add that I really really wish I could be as thrilled with the name as you are. Ambrose is a wonderful name and a wonderful patron and I'm sure he'll be interceding on the school's behalf whether they know (or like) it or not ;o). And, I'm very fully aware that God does and often has done wonderful things through messy, all-too-human processes.
It's really just my own immaturity showing through that prevents me from seeing past the ridiculous and artificial process to its results, which can only be considered to be delightful by tradition-loving Christians.

Lord, have mercy.

"O Ambrose, wonderworker and champion of the Church,
Godbearing Hierarch;
thou didst work miracles by thy faith and love for God;
therefore we the earthborn glorify thee and cry out:
Glory to Him Who has glorified thee; glory to Him Who has crowned thee;
glory to Him Who through thee works healings for all."

7:16 PM  
Blogger Eric said...

I think it's a good name. I'm happy with it. I never was happy with the name, "Nazarene".

Also, the named is more important than the naming. That process will fade away into oblivion in short order. But, Ambrose University College will find time to discover the significance of it's title.

He's one of my favorites, and if we have enough, my second or third son will be named Ambrose.


12:09 AM  
Blogger Martyn said...

Matt Francis, bless you for your good-naturedness....

Seems like a ridiculous name change, for a lot of the reasons that matt offers, above.

Do you really think they care about the Tradition? (And if so, where's the "St" part of his name?)

1:31 AM  
Blogger kimberley francis said...

ah... is that Matt Wood?

Calgary can be a tricky place with it's newness and coporate branding sort of nuances...but God bless Ambrose College and all the goodness that God will bestow upon it. Alot of good families got their beginnings there...

while i didn't attend. our sister Pam met her husband there...back in the late 80's.

8:02 PM  
Blogger Matthew Francis said...

Hello all,
Well, I never expected there to be SIX comments on this post! (I expect this must be Matt Root commenting here)...

Looking at it now I realize the importance of naming, and probably Eric is right. The bad process will be forgotten and the name will endure.

I probably feel good about the name because I had nothing whatsoever to do with it. I never expected that the naming process here was at anything other than the focus-group slog you describe. I know enough from my days at CNC/NUC to know what to expect from the process, and I'm of course glad I had nothing to do with it (as when I left the College it was not at all a fun place to be, despite the many academic gifts I received there).

My curiousity was piqued to see that Ambrose was never called "Saint" in any of the materials, but this should be no surprise coming from the Christian streams these Colleges do.

Anyway, I like the name "Ambrose" a heck of a lot better than "AUC-NUC," and I wish them well.

7:52 AM  
Blogger kme1 said...

What is in a name...for a rose by any other name would smell as sweet? A name will not change a place from the inside out. But perhaps it will change from the outside in. Calling a rose a daisy will not change the inner true aspect of the rose. At birth we are given a name. Over the span of our lives we sometimes wonder where our name came from and how our parents came to name us that certain name and why, etc. But what really matters is that we have a name by which to be called. Sometimes, at first, the grandparents, aunts and uncles and friends may have varying opinions of the name...but the fact remains that is their name.

What I mean in my coded message above is that although the process of acquiring and giving a name can be rather gruelling at times and even the aftermath takes some adjusting...something to be thankful for is that a decision was actually reached and hopefully the work of our Lord continues to shine forth from this University College as I'm sure it will. And as long as it does, then the name really is a bit trivial. Luckily with this name, it happens to rise above being trivial and actually has depth and allows for people to look further into the name if they wish. Another neat thing is that by looking into this name, we find the fathers and a Christ-like example to follow.

The Lord knows our true name and nature.....may he continue to bless this university college in Calgary whether it be AUC NUC, Ambrose university college or any other name (but hopefully this name lasts awhile :), for by any other name...would smell as sweet?

I also think that it is neat that this is a saint from the early church, before there was any split.

Through the prayers of St. Ambrose, may there be unity in the church, and may this university college continue to grow and do good works. In the name of our Lord, God and Saviour, Jesus Christ!


12:33 PM  
Blogger Sandra said...

All a bit too trite, really, and loaded with the pick-and-mix of post-modern evangelicalism. "Hey, let's have a bit of that early church mysticism stuff!"
And of course, an Ambrose by any other name would have to have begun with an "A", as this Ambrose did, in order to keep the "AUC" internet address.

12:04 AM  
Blogger Sandra said...

That wasn't Sandra who wrote that last bit, but her husband on her computer. As an alumnus and former teacher at CNC, Sandra probably has a different opinion. She's certainly less of a cynical b*stard.
ps. I suggest that they rotate the name every couple of years. Next up: Augustine, Athanasius, Anselm, Anthony, etc. (Or maybe just: "All Saints"; or "All Saints that begin with A")

12:10 AM  
Blogger Sandra said...

(pps. I think Krista is right, though, the name should be irrelevant)

12:15 AM  
Blogger Ken said...

Me? I prefer Andrew. Wasn't he one of the first to bring folks to Jesus, viz. his brother Peter?

12:59 PM  

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