In the many debates currently raging over race in this country, one often hears the claim that the historic, centuries-old wrongs enacted by whites against African Americans still matter. We may not pretend as though slavery did not happen, or that slavery is sufficiently far in the past that we can forget about it. Time does not heal all wounds. Rather, past wrongs ferment like wine and become more potent the longer they sit in the dark.
1. If Early Christians were tempted to Gnosticism, Modern Christians are tempted to materialism.
2. The abiding power and testimony of Early Christian thought and deed (especially martyrdom) suggests that our own materialism is more a problem for us than Gnosticism was a problem for Early Christians.
Parables, somewhat open-endedly defined as “any saying or narration in which something is expressed in terms of something else” (Oxford English Dictionary, 1987), are sticky.
I’m certainly not the first to notice this nor, I’m sure, am I the first to use that word to describe them. But there’s no doubt in my mind: such “sayings” are sticky.
As I embark upon another school year, I often meditate on the internal images that shape how I experience my vocation. For many educators, it is helpful to keep a meaningful image in mind for the purpose of re-orienting ourselves to the immense value of what we do on a daily basis to nourish the image of God in our students. Images pack a powerful punch.
Yesterday my Modern European Humanities class began with their catechism, but not a full recitation. I asked my students to stand, but asked them to not have their catechisms in hand. “Let’s see how much you have memorized already. I will read the longer answers in the catechism and occasionally pause. When I pause, you supply the next word.” Most of the catechism is longer excerpts from the curriculum, including some ornate passages from Burke and St. Paul.
Ponder-worthy wisdom from Edith Schaeffer's The Hidden Art of Homemaking:
You cannot expect to have a close relationship with a teenager who, after all, is still the same person as the two-year-old you stuck crying into bed, the three-year-old you spanked and shoved aside, the four-year-old you wouldn't listen to, the five-year-old you never shared beauty with, the six-year-old you found boring, or you 'trained' never to butt in, but never gave time to make a cosy and beautiful background out of which you could talk to him or her.
Earlier today, I walked into a beer joint looking for a little refreshment. The place was having a slow afternoon. A bartender, myself, and one other customer made three. I had my choice of sixty beers on draught and another sixty in bottles from a cooler. I began talking through the possibilities with the bartender, accepting samples of beers I inquired about. Something from Perennial, something from Dogfish Head, something imported from Munich I had never heard before. The other patron offered helpful and critical comments as we talked through highlights from the menu.
Throughout the course of 2010, my family traveled from our home in Skopje, Macedonia and spent time in eight major European cities in seven different countries. That year my husband almost died, our two-year-old fell and suffered severe mouth trauma, and I gave birth in a developing country to our third child. The highs of that year were exhilarating, and the lows were terrifying.
Generally speaking, teenagers are a selfish and spoiled lot. When they do not like the rules, they complain, and when complaining does not work, they simply break the rules. Teenagers have a hard time comprehending the rather simple idea that they are not yet ultimately responsible for how things turn out, and that this means they don’t get to write the rules. Power and accountability go hand in hand, and the man who is not yet legally accountable for his actions has no place determining the law.
Living in a consumerist society, Americans very rarely have to choose between what is good and what is bad. Truly awful things rarely survive in a free market. However, we do have to choose between the good and the mediocre.