1973 - when I started asking questions, like, "Why are we all dressed so funny?"

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Contra "Why I Hate Religion..."

A friend of old wisely counseled, "Beware the theological midgets."

Exhibit A: "Why I Hate Religion, But Love Jesus"
Despite much sympathy for what this guy has to say, I think he's missing the fact that Jesus chose to create a human and divine reality that necessarily has, well, institutional aspects (i.e., religion). As Winston Churchill once quipped about democracy: "[it is] the worst form of government except all those other forms that have been tried from time to time."

One might well say of Catholicism that it too is the worst form of Christianity except everything else. Want Jesus without religion? Welcome to the Ultimate Solipsism!

Teaching Shakespeare this semester has prompted me to ask, "What Would William Shakespeare Rap" in reply to The Religion Hater? Here goes my feeble attempt in roughly sonnet from.

Wherefore upon thy lips
O rhymee boy,
Doth poison drips
Devoid of Joy?
Thou speakest rage
And tempest toss'd.
Religion declaim'd, nay, defamed.
Christ torn as if mere Page
From yon book
Context shred!
Crane thy heart, brook to look:
Christ amidst the living, not the Dead.
And thee? What are thou?
A Religion of One. And How.

Or the Alternative Rap Version...

There is one thing you forgot the mention:
Life is filled with intractable tension.
You may wish to sever Church from Christ
And in this you are not the first.

We've seen Arius and a New Age band;
We've even seen the Klu Klux Klan.
Nut-rolls all -- demanding Perfection
Yet from Humanity runs this Defection

He's the God-Man -- take it or leave it.
He did what He did -- not how we conceive it.

A Church without Christ is a terrible thing,
But Christ in His mission a Church did bring.
You may not like it -- it may get in your way.
Like it or not, She's here to stay.

Suffering at Her hands we're sometimes called
To bear it manly but that's not all.
To pray for those not as enlightened as we.
To find Him in Her, Happily.

With you I agree on this thesis:
If the choice were Church or Jesus,
Him I would readily choose.
That's not an option, merely a ruse.

Saturday, January 21, 2012

On Subbing for the First Time

The first teaching license I obtained was a substitute but heretofore yesterday I had never subbed. When the call came early yesterday morning, every fiber of my being was saying, "No, I don't want to do this..." But it seemed a little absurd to be seeking work and not say Yes to an opportunity to teach for a day at a charter school.

I approached it with this mantra in mind: The human heart is the same everywhere. Meaning, that despite the awkwardness of being an understudy, these students have a human need and I can help them in whatever way I can help them. So help me, God.

It was actually very pleasant if not completely delightful (for when is work ever thus?). I subbed for a History/Government/Economics teacher and that was good because I'm competent in those areas. I did an impromptu "intelligence test" by writing the following quotations on the board and soliciting volunteers to answer the question Who said that?
  • A little more than kin, and less than kind.
  • I want no intellectual education. ... I would prefer them only to learn what they will acquire freely following their play instinct.
One kid identified the first as Hamlet immediately. He said, "Well, somethings you just know." Wow.

The second quotation is more obscure so I had to give the hint "World War 2". We ran through a list of Who's Who until we got to Adolf Hitler. Hitler said it, but John Dewey certainly thought along similar lines (and he would agree with Hitler that this free play must be guided toward a socially desirable end). Those ends are arguable quite different but the means more similar than dissimilar.

I have only one negative comment about the school I subbed at: the darn 55 minute class periods. Too, too short.