When I take students to the Met and the Cloisters in New York, I try to avoid asking interesting questions. I do not initiate deep conversations. At the end of a long day of enjoying Rembrandt and Vermeer, I do not ask students to offer up reflections on what they have seen. I do not take students to New York to teach them anything. We go to New York to be enriched.
No writer in the Western Tradition has conceived a more terrifying vision of Heaven than Dante, for Dante believed a man actually had to want to go to Heaven in order to get there. Granted, Dante’s God will ultimately requite even the smallest fraction of desire for the Divine, but some desire must actually be present in the soul of a man by the moment he dies. If not, the man gets what he wants, and what he wants is Hell. “Broad is the path which leads to destruction,” teaches Christ, a claim which Dante would likely take to mean, “Most people prefer Hell.” C.S.
While a consumerist society may have given Americans a better selection of beer and cheese to choose from, it has done our sense of the sacred no favors. Most Americans, myself included, maintain a certain taste in piety. I like 20th century Catholic fiction, and I like Baptist preaching, and I think no one has bested the Anglicans so far as hymns are concerned, especially Christmas hymns. I say this not exactly as a confession, for I do not know if I really had a choice in the matter, growing up where and how I did.
Taken from "Split," a short story.
A great many chapters had passed in Sylvia’s life between the last time she described herself as a Lutheran and the first time she described herself as “agnostic” on a Minnesota census form— the latter event, wherein Sylvia blackened a circle scarcely bigger than an ovum, prefaced by nearly an hour of pacing barefoot and refilling a wine glass.
While attending conferences this summer, there are two very particular kinds of teachers you are likely to meet around the coffee carafes and book tables. While there are far more than just two kinds of teachers, I want to talk about just two. Let us call them Glad Man and Sad Man. Here is what either of these teachers will say as you are looking for the creamer.
Many rookie teachers are tempted to hold a hardline view on some theological issue which “the average Christian just can’t handle.” The rookie teacher believes the average American Christian is too intellectually weak to handle the real truth about pacifism, spanking, total war, double predestination, liberalism, Catholicism, monarchy, eschatology, socialism, race relations, wealth and poverty, slavery, liturgy, prayer for the dead, God’s exhaustive sovereignty, universalism, apostolic succession, nuclear war, taxation (is theft!), the Crusades, democracy, and so forth.
Step 1. One week prior to final exam, inform students the final exam will be profoundly difficult and very long.
Step 2. Five days prior to exam, purchase fifteen pounds of flour, jar of yeast, pink sea salt. Add water. Mix together. Let bread dough sit in fridge three days.
Step 3. Remind students again of how difficult the final exam will be. “You may bring all the books you read this year, though you will not know until the day of the test which of the books will be useful to you.”
Yesterday, I said this:
"What I have to say, I have to say to the fellows. But ladies, you should eavesdrop.
At noon, during lunch, the friends of a certain high school junior extend an invitation to do something wicked together after school. The junior in question responds, “I don’t know. Let me think about it,” and his friends, who are intent on wickedness, reply, “Let us know after school if you are coming.” For the next three hours, a certain junior will undergo temptation.
In the ongoing series of events which constitute The End of Western Civilization®, mankind’s latest dare for the Almighty to have done with us is nowhere as brazen as smart phones or reality television, though it still needs to be stamped out post-haste. Now joining the ranks of bottle flipping and dabbing, fidget spinners are officially a 2016-2017 school year hot annoying trend.