The end of the year calls us to take up, once again, our traditional positions on a whole host of arguments about holidays, holy days, and the calendar. When is the proper time to begin listening to Christmas music? Is Black Friday shopping demoralizing and degrading? Has Christmas become overly commercial? Was Jesus Christ actually born on December 25th? Was Christmas simply a Christian attempt to co-opt Saturnalia? Is there really a war on Christmas?
“You will smile here at the consistency of those democratists, who, when they are not on their guard, treat the humbler part of the community with the greatest contempt, whilst, at the same time, they pretend to make them the depositories of all power.”
-Edmund Burke, Reflections on the Revolution in France (1790), p. 56,
Little has changed in the last 200 years.
“What do you mean you don’t teach Augustine’s Confessions?”
This is an adaptation of a lecture I recently gave to the students at Veritas School in Richmond, VA.
Several weeks ago, I bought a Beach Boys CD for my daughters and heard, for the first time ever, “Be True To Your School.”
When some loud braggart tries to put me down,
And says his school is great,
I tell him right away,
“Now what's the matter buddy?”
Ain't you heard of my school?
It's number one in the state.”
So be true to your school
Just like you would to your girl or guy
Several students recently approached me about starting a morning Bible study once a week before school. Having been rather open in the past about my lack of enthusiasm for what typically passes as a Bible study these days, especially a student-led Bible study, I was happily surprised they asked me to help them establish the parameters of the study. While the inclination to read the Scriptures is good, a great many student-led Bible studies involve very little Bible and even less study.
I have been involved in hundreds of parent-teacher conferences, some of which have been genuinely productive. However, in a fifteen-minute parent-teacher conference, both sides have a strong tendency to generalize. I would wager that more than half of my conferences over the years have gone something like this:
Parent: So, how is my son doing?
Gibbs: He’s doing fine.
Parent: He likes your class a lot. He likes soccer more, but he does really enjoy your class.
Recently, on Twitter and Facebook, I promised to write an 800 word essay on any subject for readers willing to write a 100 word review of my book How To Be Unlucky on Amazon. The first person to capitalize on this promise was Greg Wilbur, who asked for an essay on harmony in the classroom.
You are not a visual learner. "Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God." All men were made to see.
You are not an auditory learner. "How can they believe in the one of whom they have not heard?" All men were made to hear.
You are not a tactile learner. "Taste and see that the Lord is good... Touch me, and see, for a spirit hath not flesh and bones, as ye behold Me having." All men were made to taste, to hold, to touch.
After lately delivering a lecture to my students on the benefits of staying close to your parents, close to your teachers, and not having the kind of hobbies and habits which must be protected by lies, a group of young men asked me, in essence, “How then shall we live?” and they really meant it.
Of course, such a question might be answered in many ways. I might have directed them to read their Bibles more often or to pray more often or to talk less, but I am in the regular habit of encouraging students in such things, and I sensed that the young men needed an uncommon answer.