Friday, December 7, 2012

Friday miscellaneous (12/7)

It was a rough week in the world of Christian higher education. First, my own alma mater Patrick Henry College issued and hastily retracted a threat to sue a group of students and alumni who have anonymously started a pro-homosexual website. Then the Dean of Liberty Law School all but denied that Muslims have religious freedom. I understand that Christian orthodoxy opposes both homosexual activity and holds that Islam is a false religion. But certainly there's a better way to address these issues.

Instead, consider one pastor’s response to the pro-homosexual group SoulForce. He actually befriended them:
I explained that they were welcome to picket our church, and that if their members were driving a long distance to come, we would provide a meal for them after church. In addition, if SoulForce intended to picket after the evening service and wished to remain overnight, I was positive we could provide for them some accomodations.

They sat with their mouths agape.

Finally, the Vice-President of SoulForce said, "But we don't think you understand. We will be shouting, holding signs, demonstrating against what we believe is "homophopia" in the Southern Baptist Convention. We don't think you will like us coming."

I said, "Look, I have already spent an hour visiting with you, and not only do I like you as people, I love you enough to pray for you the way I pray for my own church family. If you are coming to picket Emmanuel, we will welcome you with open arms. You are my friends. Do what you feel led to do. I can't speak for my entire congregation, but I've been pastor at Emmanuel long enough to know that most of them, and I would hope all of them, would respond the way I am. You are welcome to picket our church. Know that not only are we not afraid of you, we love you."

Astonishment filled the room.
Oh, and discussing social issues, the abortion rate has dropped approximately 5% in recent years.

We were talking about schools. Instead we should discuss education.
But human beings are not riverbeds for pile-drivers to sink concrete piers into.  Data are not information, information is not knowledge, and knowledge is not wisdom.

* * *

Even a dog cannot be well trained without affection.  Dogs, we know, cannot just be inserted into the gaps of a contentment-machine for wealthy professionals.  Dogs need fresh air, exercise, play, the adventure of the Pack.  They should not be kenneled up nine months of the year.  They should not be institutionalized ten hours a day.  I would not do to a child what some people do to their dogs.

Yet we persist in believing that children, because they are intelligent, are more malleable than dogs – notice the word taken from metallurgy.  We will not see that it is just because they are intelligent, that their teaching can never be training, and can never subordinate the personal to the mechanical.  They need the adventure of love.  They need the fresh air of contemplation.  Try to find those in a blockish institution of a thousand people, noisy, stale, and impersonal – with a computer on every desk.
And now for random trivia:

  • Do you know the story behind the Boston Christmas tree? It involves explosives. Lots of explosives.

  • Do you know how much the most expensive Starbucks card costs? (Hint: it’s made out of steel.) $450.00.
  • Do you know how fast the new magnetically levitated train in Japan will go? 310 mph.
  • Do you  know what explorers found when they opened an apartment in Paris that had been locked for seventy years? Unknown artwork and a scandal involving the artist. Do you know why the owner abandoned the apartment? Neither does anyone else.

And finally, we present the real life Pixar lamp. (Curious little fellow, isn’t he?)

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