And you had compassion on those who were bound, and you endured with joy the seizing of your goods, knowing yourselves to have a better and an enduring substance.
Do not, therefore, lose your confidence, which has a great reward.
For you have need of patience, so that, accomplishing the will of God, you may receive the promise.
The Letter to the Hebrews
I hope that you are honoring the memory of one of the truly great Americans today. One who, I believe, almost single-handedly kept our nation from exploding into uncontrolled violence.
Two assassinations that truly messed up our country: Abraham Lincoln (if only because it led to Andrew Johnson becoming president) and Martin Luther King, Jr.
"The blow that hurled the modern world on its course of self-destruction was the Great War of 1914-18. It was called great on account of its size rather than for any notable merit. When its sequel broke out in 1940, the earlier conflict was renamed First World War in deference to the second. This was an error, since the European wars of 18C were also world wars, promiscously fought in India and North America and on the five seas. But these, not being wars of peoples, did not threaten civilization or close an era."
From Dawn To Decadence
Assuming you have read the story you are about to teach, an effective way to prepare to teach/discuss it is to list a few choices characters face and be prepared to ask your students what they ought to do.
Should Frodo have put on the ring in Mount Doom?
Should Sam have put it on in the Orc fort?
Should Eowyn have gone to the Battle of the Pelennor Fields?
"My job really was to find my successors. I found them, they are there; their job is to find their successors. So there must be this continuous renewal of talented, dedicated, honest, able people who will do things not for themselves but for their people and for their country. If they can do that, they will carry on for another one generation and so it goes on. The moment that breaks, it's gone."
Lee Kuan Yew
PM of Singapore
"Our past is not merely something to depart from; it is to commune with, to speak with... Remove this sense of continuity, and we are left with the thoughtless present tense of machines. If we fail to see that we live in the same world that Homer lived in, then we not only misunderstand Homer; we misunderstand ourselves. The past is our definition. We may strive, with good reason, to escape it, or to escape what is bad in it, but we will escape it only by adding something better to it."
Standing by Words: page 14
Even in rhetoric, it all comes down to The Way of Repentance.
What is this Way? One might look at it a number of different ways. Here is one: it is leaving behind the voices and anxieties and vainglories that crowd our minds and souls to enter His silence and peace.
It would be unethical not to acknowledge my debt on this day to one of the most influential people of the 20th century who died today. His writings explored deep ideas that were changing the world he lived in and would lead to a post-human future that nobody could desire with integrity (though they might well enjoy it plenty). He was an educator some of whose students are also remembered for their writings.
Today in the rush of events, I tip my hat to Aldous Huxley, author of Brave New World and teacher of George Orwell, who died 50 years ago.
“During the past five years we’ve heard from parents again and again how difficult it has been to get children who have read nothing but pap to focus when the books assigned in class get more complicated. You wouldn’t believe someone who said it didn’t matter what your child ate as long as they ate something, and then fed them candy all day. Reading is no different.”
Let us suppose that we are educating children with an eye to the kingdom of Heaven and with the hope that it might positively affect the culture we swim in. If that is so, it seems to me that we need to