Wednesday, April 06, 2005

article on evolution in the schools

From Edweek, on the evolution debate in the schools

Scientists Offer Ground-Level Support for Evolution
By Sean Cavanagh

http://www.edweek.org/ew/articles/2005/04/06/30evolve.h24.html

Monday, March 28, 2005

college life

Two excerpts from Boston.com. I think the second is rooted in the first.

REASSESSING CHANGE The Brandeis administration has given in to fierce opposition from professors to a plan that would have made deep cuts in some traditional subjects in order tsave money for new priorities. Dean of Arts and Sciences Adam Jaffe had proposed giving up the teaching of Ancient Greek, closing the linguistics major and a music doctorate program, and cutting back in physics and Near Eastern and Judaic studies. But a faculty panel said the plan would be seen as ''a radical shift away from the Humanities," and had left professors so demoralized that some wanted to leave.

A TERRIBLE THING TO WASTE Does college cause brain damage? That's the question addressed in the current issue of Psychology Today, where writer Steven Kotler examines the neurological effects of poor eating habits, heavy drinking, and late-night cramming sessions on campuses. He cites a Stanford University survey that found 80 percent of undergraduates were sleep-deprived, compromising their memories; a Tufts University study that found most students eat too much saturated fat, found to contribute to cognitive decline; and Harvard's College Alcohol Study, which says 44 percent of students are binge drinkers -- a habit that slowed the growth of new brain cells in rat studies. ''It turns out the place we go to get an education may be one of the worst possible environments in which to retain anything we've learned," Kotler writes

Tuesday, March 01, 2005

The Last Tempation

Remember that you are dust,
And to dust you shall return
In all time of tribulation;
in all time of prosperity;
in the hour of death, and in the day of judgment
Good Lord, deliver us
We sinners do beseech thee to hear us, O Lord God;
and that it may please thee to rule and govern thy holy Church Universal in the right way,
We beseech Thee to hear us, Good Lord
That it may please thee to illumine all bishops, priests, and deacons,
with true knowledge and understanding of thy Word;
and that both by their preaching and living, they may set it forth, and show it accordingly,
We beseech Thee to hear us, Good Lord
Wherefore it behooved him in all things to be made like unto his brethren, that he might become a merciful and faithful high priest in things pertaining to God, to make propitiation for the sins of the people. For in that He himself hath suffered being tempted, he is able to succor them that are tempted.
Hebrews 2:17-18

Nobody was ever tempted more painfully than the Lord Jesus. Sometimes we can think that He must have been less tempted than we because He never gave in, so He was stronger. Any weightlifter can tell you what nonsense that is. When He overcame one temptation, another more powerful temptation came along. He had a body. That body had all the normal physical impulses of the human body. It wanted to eat, sleep, and gain strength. It's hard for the more gnostic among us to understand and accept, but his body had a sexual impulse too. The problem, for example, with The Last Temptation of Christ was not that Jesus was tempted to marry Mary Magdalene. It was that he floated around as though he was not subject to the laws of nature. There is no temptation that any of us have ever felt that Jesus did not feel a hundred times more strongly.

I'm sorry the bishops of the Episcopal church can't understand that. May the Lord Christ illumine them.

The Last Tempation

Remember that you are dust,
And to dust you shall return
In all time of tribulation;
in all time of prosperity;
in the hour of death, and in the day of judgment
Good Lord, deliver us
We sinners do beseech thee to hear us, O Lord God;
and that it may please thee to rule and govern thy holy Church Universal in the right way,
We beseech Thee to hear us, Good Lord
That it may please thee to illumine all bishops, priests, and deacons,
with true knowledge and understanding of thy Word;
and that both by their preaching and living, they may set it forth, and show it accordingly,
We beseech Thee to hear us, Good Lord
Wherefore it behooved him in all things to be made like unto his brethren, that he might become a merciful and faithful high priest in things pertaining to God, to make propitiation for the sins of the people. For in that He himself hath suffered being tempted, he is able to succor them that are tempted.
Hebrews 2:17-18

Nobody was ever tempted more painfully than the Lord Jesus. Sometimes we can think that He must have been less tempted than we because He never gave in, so He was stronger. Any weightlifter can tell you what nonsense that is. When He overcame one temptation, another more powerful temptation came along. He had a body. That body had all the normal physical impulses of the human body. It wanted to eat, sleep, and gain strength. It's hard for the more gnostic among us to understand and accept, but his body had a sexual impulse too. The problem, for example, with The Last Temptation of Christ was not that Jesus was tempted to marry Mary Magdalene. It was that he floated around as though he was not subject to the laws of nature. There is no temptation that any of us have ever felt that Jesus did not feel a hundred times more strongly.

I'm sorry the bishops of the Episcopal church can't understand that. May the Lord Christ illumine them.

Friday, February 25, 2005

Bloody Sweat

Remember that you are dust
And to dust you shall return

By Thine Agony and Bloody Sweat;
By Thy Cross and Passion;
By Thy precious Death and Burial;
By Thy glorious Resurrection and Ascension;
And by the Coming of the Holy Ghost,
Good Lord, Deliver us.

When the Word became flesh, he assumed every element of true humanity. There is no truly human quality that Christ did not possess. He was, said the fathers, “made like us in every way, yet without sin.”

One group of ancient heretics was called the Docetai or Docetists. Their name derived from the Latin “dokein”: to appear. They taught that Christ did not really suffer or die, but only appeared to. Some believed that Simon of Cyrene died on the cross, a rather adolescent attempt to evade the implications of Divine Manhood that the Muslims picked up in some of their apologetic writings.

The honor of God and of Christ are at stake in such a claim. Christ did not deceive us into thinking He suffered. His body felt His agony and His soul felt the agony of His body as much as ours does when our bodies suffer. The bloody sweat poured from the pores of his body after He told His disciples, “My soul is deeply troubled, even unto death.” His mental and physical and emotional agony joined forces to strain the bloody sweat that became the means of my deliverance.

His body hung on the cross where the impassable God experienced the passion of death and genuine sorrow.

His body died. It was laid in the tomb, ready to be honored by an extravagant sacrifice of spices from Nicodemus.

His body that had died every bit as thoroughly as your body and mine will one day die was resurrected, and that same glorified body, the same glorified body that you and I will one day inherit if we “continue in the faith, stable and steadfast, not shifting from the hope of the gospel” ascended into heaven where He intercedes to the Father on our behalf.

And having ascended bodily into heaven and presented Himself as an eternal sacrifice to the Father on our behalf (the Father who was not pleased with sacrifices and offerings that went on endlessly so He prepared a body for His son), He was able to fulfill the promise given to Israel and send His Holy Spirit.

And by that agony and bloody sweat, by that cross and passion, by death and burial, by that resurrection and ascension, and by that Holy Spirit He is able to deliver us!

Isaiah only saw hints, but how apt his words:

As for me, I am poor and needy;
But the Lord takes thought for me
Thou art my help and my deliverer;
Do not tarry, O my God!

Thursday, February 24, 2005

Of His fulness

Remember that you are dust
And to dust you shall return

From lightning and tempest; from earthquake, fire, and flood;
from plague, pestilence, and famine,
Good Lord, deliver us

From all oppression, conspiracy, and rebellion;
from violence, battle, and murder;
and from dying suddenly and unprepareed,
Good Lord, deliver us

By the mystery of Thy holy Incarnation;
by Thy holy Nativity and submission to the Law
by Thy Baptism, Fasting, and Temptation,
Good Lord, deliver us

In John 1:16 we read "And of His fulness we have all received, and grace for grace." The fulness of Christ, which is what John is refering to, includes vs. 4: "In Him was life and the life was the light of men."

Vs. 12, "As many as received Him, He enabled them to become the children of God," is included as well.

Vs 14: "We beheld His glory, the glory of the only begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth" is included as well.

Christ, by the mystery of the holy incarnation, delivered to us the fulness of God. If we deny Him his deity, we rob ourselves of His gifts - for He does not give His spirit by measure. When Christ came, he came "full of grace and truth." He fulfilled the law that had come through Moses, and in so doing He set us free from it. The law could separate Jew from Gentile no more, the law could condemn us no more, the law could demand detailed rituals of sacrifice and offerings no more.

The law had fulfilled its purpose in Christ's submission. It had tutored us and in tutoring us it had brought us to Christ. Now, in Christ - into whom we are baptized because He is God the Son - we are made sons. We have been equipped for all the responsibilities of the mature adult and are no longer under the detailed regulations of the law. Now the Spirit of Sonship is upon us and we act out of love of the Father, fulfilling our duties with joy, carrying on the ancient mission of the family with devotion, bearing one another's burdens with the strength Christ has brought us, bearing our own burdens with hopeful perseverence, knowing that we have been baptized into a new life of freedom. We, by the mystery of the incarnation, have been brought into nothing less than the Sonship of Christ.

The Word submitted to the law for us. The Logos was baptized for us. Christ Fasted for us. The Lord Jesus overcame temptation for us.

And of His fulness we have all received.

Now to Him who is able to do exceedingly abundantly beyond all that we ask or think, according to the power that works within us, to Him be the glory in the church and in Christ Jesus to all generations forever and ever.

Amen.

Wednesday, February 23, 2005

Illud Omnia

Remember that you are dust
And to dust you shall return

From all false doctrine, heresy, and schism;
from hardness of heart, and contempt of thy Word and commandment,
Good Lord, deliver us.

In Luke 10:22 Jesus says "All things were delivered to Me by My Father." Athanasius tells us that Arius, Eusebius and other early heretics used this verse to deny the deity of Christ. "If all things were delivered..., there was a time when he had them not."

What theologians sometimes call "Christological heretics" fulfill Luther's proverb of the drunk on a horse. He falls off one side, then tries to get back on, only to find that he falls off the other side. (We need to be humble about this, however, because it is hardly a trait limited to Christological heretics. We are all inclined to extremes in our thinking that create the illusion of simplicity.)

In the case of Christ, one set of people argue that Christ was God but not fully man. They refer to John 1, Colossians 1, Hebrews 1, and some of the other extraordinary descriptions of His glory. Another group argues that Christ was man, but not fully God. They refer to passages like the one above. For good reason, theologians find it terribly difficult to settle on the idea that Christ is both God and man. We will always find it difficult to believe that a man standing before us is God - at least if we believe in the one true God.

Arius, often called the arch-heretic or heresiarch, held to the latter position. Christ was a man. The Father adopted Him, as it were, into the trinity because Christ was such a perfect man. But the Son was not equal in stature to the Father. He was a lesser god. He was not eternally begotten of the Father.

Athanasius devoted his life to defending the honor of the Son he loved - that is, not his own son, but the Son of God. He loved the bride too - that is, not his own bride, but the bride of the Son he loved. He knew that the identity of her groom was of enormous importance to the bride. He knew the myth of Cupid and Psyche (retold by CS Lewis in Till We Have Faces) in which Psyche comes to doubt the identity of her beloved Cupid and, losing her faith, loses her husband. Perhaps he understood the universality of that dynamic and applied it to the eternal Groom and His most-glorious of brides.

He also knew that who Christ was qualified what He could do. Bishop Allison, in his book The Cruelty of Heresy, reminds us of a famous principle the church fathers held to that kept them from drifting into fundamental errors about Christ: "What He did not assume, he could not redeem." He had to be fully man or he could not fully redeem man.

They also realized that if He was only man, not a new man, not divine, His sacrifice could never be acceptable. If He were not the the only begotten of the Father, then He had to be born of man, with man's fallen nature. But because He was the only begotten of the Father, born of the virgin Mary, He could assume the fulness of human nature without its corruption, without sin.

In short if Christ was not man, He couldn't save man. If He wasn't fully man, He couldn't fully save man. But if Christ was not God, He couldn't save man either. But as God and man, two natures in one person as the fathers put it and as we should constantly be putting it, He could save eternally, making an eternal sacrifice on our behalf, one that always satisfies the Father and doesn't need to be repeated year after year and month after month and day after despairing day.

Here is a groom whose nobility and might must overwhelm thes senses and heart of any bride. May we learn to love Him more, to know Him more to be what He is and thus be delivered from all false doctrine, heresy, and schism - but also from hardness of heart and contempt.

Amen.

Friday, February 18, 2005

Leit-hart on Hart

Peter Leithart writes one of the finest blogs I've seen and yesterday's entry presented a model of thinking about a text that is well worth thinking about. Go to http://www.leithart.com/ to read Hart, Beauty of Infinite, a discussion of Christian rhetoric in the post-modern world.

The Age of False Dichotomies

Remember that you are dust
And to dust you shall return

From all inordinate and sinful affections; and from all the deceits of the world, the flesh, and the devil,
Good Lord, deliver us

The desk calendar at the Y said, "Better a creative mess than stagnant order."

I thought, "Yes, if you have to choose. But why do we constantly limit ourselves to options that don't work?" It's a mental habit of our age that arises from our excessive love of freedom. We hate borders so much that anything that suggests the idea of a limitation is seen as bondage. Adolescents naturally think this way, but calendar publishers shouldn't. Working within nature, within the limits natural to a sphere of thought or being, sets us free; that is, if freedom has any meaning.

God was very creative in Genesis one. But there was no mess. And the order was not stagnant.

Order is the prerequisite for genuine and effective creativity.

Thursday, February 17, 2005

Home schoolers win at Oxford

Remember Oh man that Thou art dust
And unto dust thou shalt return

From all blindness of heart; from pride, vainglory, and hypocricy; from envy, hatred, and malice; and from all want of charity,
Good Lord, deliver us

The following link was sent to me by a writing workshop alumna in Texas. It tells the story of a team of home schoolers who went to Oxford and won a debate tournament.

http://www.worldnetdaily.com/news/article.asp?ARTICLE_ID=42498

Wednesday, February 16, 2005

The humble humor of humus and humans

Remember that you are dust
And to dust you shall return

From all evil and wickedness; from sin; from the crafts and assaults of the devil; and from everlasting damnation,
Good Lord, deliver us

We are the dust of the earth, otherwise known as humus. When we catch on, we develop a sense of humor, which is another word for earthiness. This keeps us humble, which is to say, mindful of the fact that we are made of dust.

But when the Word became flesh, he humbled Himself, taking on dust, and redeemed us by bringing us, with His flesh, into His person, and lifted our sense of humor into a fulfillment of glory. He restored humans from fallen humus to the humble humor of eternal glory!

Tuesday, February 15, 2005

Kids need purpose

Remember that you are dust
And to dust you shall return

Remember not, Lord Christ, our offenses, nor the offenses of our forefathers; neither reward us according to our sins. Spare us, good Lord, spare Thy people, whom Thou has redeemed with Thy most precious blood, and by Thy mercy preserve us forever.
Spare us, good Lord


For the second time in a month I lost a blog entry to the ethernet. I am looking for a new blog service. Any suggestions?

The Indy Star ran an article on how affluent kids are wasting their lives more than ever with some sensible suggestions to prevent it. Take a look through this link:

http://www.indystar.com/articles/0/221725-7910-021.html

Monday, February 14, 2005

Leadership Institute

Morton Blackwell has influenced the strategic thinking of conservative organizations as much as any other living American. Recently his organization, the Leadership Institute, began emphasizing the need for a conservative voice on the American campus. If you are a conservative college student or know conservative college students who want to be a part of something more than a spit into the wind, these links will interest you.

Please pass the word to conservative students you know. They should contact LI for help in organizing independent conservative student groups on their campus.
http://www.campusleadership.org/contact-us.html
If you would like to help with the cost of organizing and training conservative students on campus, please click here:
https://www.leadershipinstitute.org/secure/contribute/contibute.cfm
Visit CLP’s website for more stories:
http://www.campusleadership.org/

Christo

Remember, Oh man, that thou art dust
And unto dust thou shalt return

O God the Father, Creator of heaven and earth
Have mercy upon us

O God the Son, Redeemer of the world
Have mercy upon us

O God the Holy Ghost, Sanctifier of the faithful
Have mercy upon us

---

There's a Yiddish joke about this lady who gets on a crowded bus. She sees a girl sitting down and says to her, "If you knew what I had you would give me that seat."

The girl gets up and gives her the seat. Then she, the girl, starts waving a fan in front of her face. The lady says, "If you knew what I had you would give me that fan."

The girl gives her the fan. The bus drives for a while, when the lady says to the driver, "If you knew what I had, you would let me off here."

The bus driver pulls over and lets her off. As she is stepping down, the driver says to her, "So lady, what is it you have?"

"Chutzpah" she replies.

For an elaborate case of the Chutzpahs, take a look at the work of Christo and Jeanne-Claude, namely "Gates" the joke they've played on New York's Central Park. I love the double irony. For a long time, artists have been dwelling in a realm of insight and importance from which they look down on us, the unrefined and inexperienced, with scorn and disdain.

But the time has arrived when we are on to their game, and we let them play it for our amusement. We'll pay the ticket to watch them perform. And they'll think they're producing art, and we'll know that, in fact, they are! What a shock that will be to them when they realize we realize that they know what they are doing and we like it.

Roger Kimball has an amusing assessment in his blog at http://www.newcriterion.com/weblog/armavirumque.html

go to 2/13/2005.

Thursday, February 10, 2005

Plaxo

If you read this you probably received an invitation from me to update your contact information with Plaxo. I have often considered using this software, but finally took the plunge last week or so. I'm a sceptic when it comes to technology, but when it comes to data bases we need not doubt its immediate beneficence in principle. So far I am pleased with Plaxo. It makes it much easier to stay current on contact information. Now I need to see how it links to Outlook and other software. I'll let you know what I find out.

Rivendell and the Riven Side

Remember, Oh Man, That Thou art Dust
And Unto Dust Thou Shalt Return

The old hymn drew the picture presented in the ancient Psalms:
Rock of Ages, cleft for me
Let me hide myself in Thee
Let the water and the blood
From Thy riven side which flowed
Be of sin the double cure
Cleanse me from its guilt and power

Jesus, before subjecting Himself to public ministry, was driven by the Holy Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted by the devil, and there He fasted for forty days. He did not hate His body. I find it hard to imagine how much He must have loved His body, knowing what He was going to do with it, why He had taken it on. But for forty days He beat His body into submission. Forty days He felt, first the mild hunger pangs of the first day, then the freedom of the third and fourth day, then the weakness of the second week. He felt the tiredness and the desire of the third and fourth week. He grew hungry in a way that few living or dead have felt and in almost every sense that hunger can be felt.
Not only the hunger of the belly, but the hunger of the eyes.
Not only the pangs of the stomache, but also the feeble limbs.
Not only the dryness of the mouth, but also the tightness of the chest.
He submitted to hunger to be prepared for ministry. He was going to become obedient unto death in short order. He practiced by becoming obedient unto hunger. He died every day, so that when it came time to die it was one final coup de grace.

This morning the song above was going through my mind when my wife asked me how to spell Rivendell (she isn't a Tolkien fan). It dawned on me what Tolkien was saying in that name. Here was the last homely house. Here was the last known place of rest before the journey began in earnest. Plans for the saving of the world were drawn up here. Power to continue was found here. And where is here?

Rivendell - the dell where the mountain is riven - where it is split in two.
Just as the riven side of Christ is our place of rest, where the world is saved, where power to overcome sin is found.

May you and I live off His life, poured from His riven side, and find our joy and rest in Him who is our food - the very bread of heaven.

Wednesday, February 09, 2005

Is it time for Firefox?

Like every healthy red-blooded American I resent the nastiness of the Darwinian and monopolistic practices of Microsoft and the carelessness with which they developed Internet Explorer. So I did my patriotic duty and downloaded Mozilla Firefox.

So far so good. It is a much more secure program (we found some 9000 spyware files on our home computer). But I have a couple caveats: I can't blog or work on my web site on Mozilla and when I go to my home page the hits counter is always the same. It is saving the last visit a bit too tightly. If anyone knows why it does that and what it means let me know. It's also a little bit slower.

Thus, if you use the internet, you should go to the Mozilla web site and download Firefox, but don't get rid of MS Explorer just yet. Here's the link. It's free.

http://www.mozilla.org/products/firefox/central.html

Ash Wednesday

Today is Ash Wednesday, one of the most important holy days in the church calendar. Last night my family and I rejoiced in the insuperable superabundance of the goodness of God by pigging out on chocolate and candy. What a time of focused gratitude!

Today we enter into the 40 days of fasting that our Lord passed through in preparation for His ministry. We too will fast. From sweets. For 6 days a week. It's the slightest of mortifications, but every time the hand reaches for a sweet, we will be reminded of how much our Lord, who didn't consider equality with His Father something that His hand should reach for and cling to, gave up for us. We will also be reminded that the sweetness of candy and chocolate and cake is a borrowed sweetness - a subsistent sweetness a theologian might call it. It is the sweetness of God embodied in candy as a symbol to us of the true sweetness of His presence.

And we intend to seek His presence over this lenten season.

I'd love to discuss lent with you. Why not stop by the forum and let us know, where appropriate, what mortifications and disciplines you will be practicing over lent? I need instruction and discussion on these ancient practices.

Tuesday, February 08, 2005

Wanna get learned how to teach?

David Larrabee of Standford isn't impressed by his own profession. But it's not their fault. It's the system. Read this review of his book The Trouble With Ed Schools. http://www.edweek.org/tm/articles/2005/01/01/04books-1.h16.html

And ask yourself where you are getting your teachers.

Character Education

I have proclaimed from the beginning of my ministry that education is the cultivation of wisdom and virtue. In the public arena, they speak of character education. Education Next has a fascinating article on-line about a group of charter schools called The Hyde Schools. It shows indirectly how much of what Christian schools do is rooted in mistakes made by the public schools in the 50's and 60's. This article gives us a lot to think about. It's called The Moral Imperative. Click on this link to see it:

http://www.educationnext.org/20051/22.html

Education Next is a publication of The Hoover Institute, a more or less conservative, in the democratic sense, think tank based at Standford University. To see what they are about, visit this link:

http://www.hoover.org/research/

It's good they're focusing on character in this age of infinite seduction. Little girls are getting into the alcohol thing at younger and younger ages, according to this article in the KC Star: Fruit Flavored Alcohol Pulls in Teens. http://www.kansascity.com/mld/kansascity/news/10435518.htm?1c

But how do you teach the virtue of temperance in an age where it's been redefined into an extreme?