Thursday, September 21, 2006

Back to school!

My youngest daughter (12 yrs) is attending a charter school this year. It was established in our community a couple of years ago and begins with the 6th grade. The interesting thing about this school is its emphasis on a classic education and its curriculum has a medieval flavor.

The focus is on the liberal arts. First the "trivium" of grammar (including Latin) , rhetoric (with an emphasis on letter writing), and dialectic (logic and reasoning). Then the "quadrivium" of arithmetic, history, science, and music.

This course of study could be arduous for my daughter who spent her grammar school years in a French Immersion school. She is a high energy gal and bound to become bored and impatient. She is not alone in this matter. It is a time honored experience. The story goes that a number of students evidently grew impatient toward the end of the day during medieval school days as well. It seems there was a law on the books in Padua that prohibited students from pounding on their desks to force the teacher to dismiss class early.

Nevertheless, despite the rigors and boredom of formal education, many new students are flocking to this charter school. Also, my daughter’s classical curriculum may once again transform my own educational horizon. Vicariously, I’m feeling a pinch of educational excitement, thanks partly to the challenge of learning Latin and reading Homer again.

Want to learn more?
Explore the medieval curriculum

Wednesday, September 20, 2006

Be Reasonable Pope!

Islamic militants in Iraq and the Palestinian Territories (PT) have threatened to destroy churches and kill Christians in response to Pope Benedict's speech at the University of Regensburg. It seems that a 14th Century Byzantine emperor quoted in the Pope's address had asserted that violent Islamic jihad is evil and essentially unreasonable because it is contrary to the very nature of God. The pope himself has said his talk was meant to increase dialogue between religious traditions. If his only true intention was to cultivate dialogue and not to criticize, why did the pope decide to evoke Islamic violence rather than the history of Catholic violence to make his point? What, exactly, does he mean to say about the differences between Christianity and Islam? For that matter, what about the differences between Catholicism and Protestantism?

Let’s look at some raw and painful facts. Two of seven churches already attacked in PT have been destroyed. A 70-year-old nun was ambushed and shot in the back in Somalia. Al-Qaeda in Iraq has vowed to 'destroy the cross', slit the throats of Christians and make their belongings and children the bounty of the mujahideen.

Note 1: Pray for these most vulnerable and endangered Christian believers, that God will be their deliverer.

Note 2: Ramadan starts on 24 September - the 30 Day Muslim Prayer Focus is available at <>.

Note 3:For the full text of the Pope's speech at the University of Regensburg: <>

Note 4: I personally disagree with the Pope's assertion that the Reformers sacrificed reason in the pursuit of Biblical faith but do not see this as grounds for global Protestant rioting.

Friday, September 15, 2006

Just Walk'n

Listening to Dylan’s Modern Times isn’t the only reason I haven't been posting lately. Things are dreadfully busy in my life. For example, within the past thirty days, I started a new company, began a novel bi-vocational relationship with my church and refereed five of my seven children back to school (three in college).

Be with you soon, ron

Wednesday, September 06, 2006

Levee's gonna break muse!

Although “Everybody saying this is a day only the Lord could make”, a broken levee was the chief culprit behind the deluge of New Orleans by Hurricane Katrina last year. Unfortunately, it kept on rainin’ and many were flooded out of their homes; some died!

Floods are insidious that way. Since the days of Noah, they remain one of humanity's greatest scourges. Despite all our modern times know-how, handymen and engineers still reckon with a simple truth: "The levee gonna break."

And according to ancient myth when the levee broke:

The gods were frightened by the deluge,
And, shrinking back, they ascended to the heaven of Anu.
The gods cowered like dogs
Crouched against the outer wall.

- Utnapishtim, The Epic of Gilgamesh

Of course, there’s always the Millennium, Few more years of hard work, then there'll be a 1,000 years of happiness, at least, for those who are awake when she breaks: “Some people still sleepin', some people are wide awake.”

Reminiscent of the Preacher’s verdict in Ecclesiastes: “Without you there's no meaning in anything I do.” Speaking of meaning, I’m thinking of Christ Jesus when I hear:

Well, I look in your eyes, I see nobody other than me
I look in your eyes, I see nobody other than me
I see all that I am and all I hope to be.

If it keeps on rainin’ the levee gonna break! Yet, some of these people don't know which road to take!

On the sinner impose his sin,
On the transgressor impose his transgression!
Yet be lenient, lest he be cut off,
Be patient, lest he be dislodged.
Instead of thy bringing on the deluge,
Would that a lion had risen up to diminish mankind!
Instead of thy bringing on the deluge,
Would that a wolf had risen up to diminish mankind!
Instead of thy bringing on the deluge,
Would that a famine had risen up to lay low mankind!
Instead of thy bringing on the deluge,
Would that pestilence had risen up to smite down mankind
- Utnapishtim, The Epic of Gilgamesh

"So, Put on your cat clothes, mama, put on your evening dress!"

After the deluge in Genesis, Noah gets his reward, not only in the form of God's covenant, but also in grilled steak and a nice merlot. Genesis notes that God allows Noah and his descendants to eat meat (9:2-4) and that Noah, thirsty for more than water, plants a fine vineyard (9:20). "I woke up this morning, butter and eggs in my bed."

"Riches and salvation can be waiting behind the next bend in the road!"

A little "gutter" talk, ron