Tuesday, March 30, 2004

This may be one of the best websites I've ever seen. Canon Dale Owen is a genius. A progressive genius, might I add. Go, and read his website. Read his blog of peace, too. If only we could all be more like Canon Owen, this world would be a better (and more groovy) place.

Here's a sample of his enlightened thinking:

Today I saw a flower. It was a little flower, smaller than all the rest. I knelt down before it and said, "Hey there, little flower. God is groovy." The flower waved in the soft breeze and I felt a glow of self-awareness. Not just the flower was groovy. I was groovy. Look at what I had done! How many people notice a flower and speak to it? How many people take time to smell the roses, let alone commune with them? The wonderful thing is this. . . you too can be groovy. You too can speak to the flowers and learn to be groovy.

And one more sample:

Today I heard a young man say, "You don't understand me" to his mother in the grocery line. This lad wanted some candy. The mother stood there over him with all the authority given to her by years of oppressive culture and said, "No." How I dread those words! I went forward in the line and put a gentle hand on the lad's shoulder, "Here, young person. Here is your candy. God wants you to have it." He looked at me with tears streaming down his face, "Thank you, mister." he said. "No thanks to me," I said. "God never says no to you."

The lady in line began to become upset. "You will spoil the boy!" she cried. "Yes," I said, "just as God spoils us with rainbows, roses, and kittens." She looked at me with incomprehension and took away the candy. "No." she said. The boy understood. He began to cry. How I wished I could have helped him, but the state protects abusive parents.

So my message to you today, gentle reader: Go eat the candy. Eat it all. Eat until you are sated. There is no heavenly Mommy saying, "No." Our warm Earth Mother Below says, "Eat and be gods."

Amen and amen. Canon Dale Owen is my hero.

(Of course, you should definitely click his links JMNR: The Satan and Why We Fight as well...)

Friday, March 26, 2004

I sometimes feel as though the world is crumbling about me. Will everything that I hold to be true fall? Can the Truth fail? Dr. Reynolds spoke of the twilight of the West, but with people like Phillip Johnson, Michael Behe, Nancy Pearcey, J.P. Moreland... I thought it couldn’t happen. Not really. But perhaps it is happening after all.

And what shall I do? He trains my hands for battle, that my arms may bend a bow of bronze… but what am I trained for, really? I’m just a college student studying the violin in Massachusetts. I want to fight… for truth, for life, for marriage, for justice, for goodness, for right. But all I really can do is practice my violin each day, do my homework, tell my family that I love them, study for exams, work hard in rehearsals.

September 11, 2001. I am awakened by a phone call. The twin towers have fallen from a terrorist attack. I feel numb; life seems surreal. I pray, and read Plato and write Pull Questions.

2001. 2002. 2003. Osama. Iraq. Afghanistan. War. War! I have never lived in a time of war. People I know are being sent. My cousin goes. War. There are angry people, too, and protests. After a while, I sometimes forget to pray about it all. I practice my violin.

2002-2003. A beautiful young girl is snatched from her bedroom in the middle of the night. People are frightened, worried, devastated… but still hoping. Her parents won’t give up the search. Months of fear and uncertainty pass. In the meantime, I pray, study, and practice my violin. The searches lessen. A new story replaces this one on the daily news. People are beginning to forget.

March 12, 2004. Nine people, all my age and younger, are dead in a house in Fresno. Some of them are just babies. I cry and call my Mom. I pray, and do homework, and practice.

2004. Gay marriage. Crisis and division in the Church. I don’t know what to do. I do my homework and practice my violin. But I want to do more. What can I do? Something...there has to be something more.

I think I feel a bit discouraged about…everything. The world.


March 12, 2003. The reports come pouring in… I can hardly believe it… I had almost forgotten… but now, Elizabeth Smart has been found and returned to her family! She’s alive! She’ll be okay! My heart swells within me.

December 14, 2003. “Ladies and Gentlemen, we got him!” Wow.

That swelling of my heart within my chest… that feeling of something grand and wonderful in spite of terror and sorrow in the world… it’s hope.

Tuesday, March 23, 2004

Today in music theory I gave a presentation on neoclassicism. I think it went well. My professor said a lot of nice things afterwards. Including that I should think about being a professor someday.

Sometimes someone tucks a dream into your mind and expands your horizons and makes you feel like they believe you can really do things. It's nice when that happens.

I'm happy.

Saturday, March 13, 2004

"Final Roar"

"Even though there is an element of isolationism inherent in the whole concept of a Christian college, I believe the concept can be justified, both for the church and for the nation. It can be justified if, and it is a very big "if," the graduates of Christian colleges can go out and make very special, very positive, and very measurable impact on our society by being able to offer distinctively Christian solutions at every level of that society.... The bar for Christian college graduates must be set very high because the investment in them is very high....

"When one understands that these colleges [speaking specifically of those in the Coalition of Christian Colleges and Universities] graduate more than thirty thousand seniors each year, one can begin to understand the level of their potential effectiveness and influence. Thirty thousand each year! This amounts to a not-so-small army of some of the best and the brightest minds of the American churches' young people. They are sent out each year to do battle for "truth, justice, and the American way," after four years of what should be the best education, the best training, and the best motivation the churches' schools can give them....

"Really, the only way for these thirty thousand yearly graduates of the Christian colleges not to disappear or concede defeat is for them to become deeply involved in a meaningful cause--to break away from the mundane and the trivial and to venture out into the exhilarating atmosphere of risk. Theodore Roosevelt said it so well almost a hundred years ago: 'Far better it is to dare mighty things, to win glorious triumphs, even though checkered by failure, than to take rank with those poor spirits who neither enjoy much or suffer much, because they live in the gray twilight that knows not victory or defeat.'...

"I believe the current prevailing atmosphere at most Christian colleges is a defensive one. Most parents, churches, and supporting denominations send their students to these campuses in hopes of protecting them from the evils of a society they see as completely alien to their values and beliefs. Their highest aspiration for them seems to be to get them back as unscathed as possible, hopefully with a spouse with a similar belief system. There is nothing really wrong with this, except that it ignores the admonition to be 'salt' in our world and to obey the command of the Great Commission. There is just far too much fortress mentality and not enough 'Onward Christian soldiers marching as to war.' As a result, most graduates are neither inspired nor equipped to go out to do the very tough work of influencing the nation with Christian truth-claims. Our country is poorer as a result.

"The mission statement at my Christian college alma mater says the college exists to produce servant leaders. Some sort of servant-leader language is probably a part of most Christian college mission statements. Finding it much easier to produce servants than leaders, however, Christian institutions of higher education pay only lip service to any authentic leadership emphasis. Producing leaders is very expensive, not only in terms of the investment dollars involved, but also in terms of plain hard work. It takes diligence, attention to detail, intellectual rigor, and an unwavering commitment to excellence. It takes the kind of faculty dedication that was once the Christian college norm, but which is now in increasingly short supply. To produce leaders, Christian faculty cannot 'mail it in,' and academic administrators must recruit professors who understand what this kind of commitment entails and who are dedicated to teaching and mentoring....

"Among the most vital tasks of the Christian college teacher/mentor/discipler is vision casting. Christian students need to know the possibilities of service at every level, including the leadership levels of all the professions. Some students need to be mentored toward becoming the best, most godly, most influential, and most productive kindergarten teachers posible. Some need to be encouraged to understand the possibility of becoming an equally proficient book or newspaper editor, or filmmaker, or corporate executive, or even secretary of state. We are much better at producing kindergarten teachers than we are at producting servant leaders in other areas of the arts, business, and the professions. We need to do so much better. This is not because good kindergarten teachers are not terribly needed, or because they are less valued than others who might be serving in a more prestigious role, but rather because all Americans, at every level, deserve the opportunity to see competent, caring, committed Christians, and the kind of truth and value judgments Christians are supposed to be offering. Unless our Christian families, churches, and educational institutions commit to this, we will continue to be far less than we should be....

"It is important to understand that the service I am discussing here is not the professional ministry--the pastorate, a foreign missions assignment, full-time work with a parachurch organization, the Salvation Army, and so on. Rather, it is the service to which every Christian is called as he or she pursues whatever career in which they might be engaged. The Christian physician, lawyer, politician, scientist, publisher, athlete, teacher, plumber, builder, soldier, housewife, or salesperson must see their career not as an end in itself but as an entry point for service to Christ and ministry to his creation. By being there in a particular job setting, Christians have built-in contact with their peers on the job. As we perform our jobs to the very best of our abilities and demonstrate genuine caring for our coworkers, we win a hearing for the things we believe, the ideas and values that inform our Christian faith and which we believe will benefit our colleagues and our country. We must be certain that no opportunity to offer these values goes unfulfilled. We must be committed and ready... Our country deserves it, and our faith demands it."

- Bob Briner, Final Roar

(excerpts from Chapter 3: Raising the Bar on Christian Higher Education)
Practice, practice, practice... I need to practice more. Last week's lesson, before Spring break, went well. We worked on a Beethoven sonata, and my teacher hugged me and said that working with me now is like working with a different student than the one that came to him in the fall. (As my Dad said, "I hope that's a good thing"... but yes, I think I am making a teeny bit of slow but steady progress.)

Speaking of my Dad, I talked to him on the phone last night for over an hour. And just for the record, I'd like to say that my Dad is one of the five most amazing people in this world. So, my Dad and I talked about my life, about school, about my future, about his life, his business, about my family, about abortion and gay marriage and President Bush and America and the world, about education, about Harvard, about Christianity, and the Church, and God... and oh, I just love my Dad and my whole family so much.

Thursday, March 11, 2004

I am now back from Story's house in Virginia via Janna's house in Delaware. Time to update my little map thingy, since on the trip I went through Connecticut, New York, New Jersey, Delaware, Maryland, Virginia, D.C., and PA. Some of which I had been to before, but some of which were new to me. Oh, what fun. I had a really great time. Sunday afternoon I went into D.C. with Story and her little sibs. We went to the National Air and Space Museum and a museum of art, and we had a picnic lunch on the grass right in the middle of everything... we could see the Washington Monument, the Capitol building, etc! I just had such a good time being with Story and her siblings... cooking, cleaning, reading to kids, playing with kids, holding kids... it was great. Then on Tuesday I took a bus back up to Delaware and stayed at Janna's house that night before coming back to Gordon. She spent Wednesday morning driving me through Philly and showing me some of the sights (well, since there's not much to see in Delaware, haha Janna!), which was super fun. Oh, and I also found time to start Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix (finally!) while I was at Story's house, and then I finished it on the bus ride back to Delaware and the drive back to campus with Janna. Yay!

So here's the new map. I might be forgetting some states I've been to, though.

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