confusion central
if you’re here, you are SO lost.

Aug
19

This is just to let you know that my parents have persuaded me very last-minute to take a trial semester at Bob Jones University. I want to keep in touch with everyone, but I hear that’s nearly impossible at college. I will do my best, though. 🙂

I’m sorry this is such short notice: I am a little shocked myself. However, I am looking forward to the next few months with a fitting mixture of paralyzing fear ( 🙂 ) and excitement.

Jul
11

Last Sunday my pastor was talking about a camp for kids called Camp Quest. I did a little research (camp-quest.org) and read that “children of freethinking parents” will be able to better experience their free thought at this camp.

I found this fascinating, especially considering the lengths to which atheists go to emphasize the point that parents who try to influence their childrens’ opinions of God and religion are hypercontrolling freaks. Parents who try to persuade their children not to look at any kind of religion, on the other hand, are well within their rights, apparently. Inconsistent, much?

Atheism is not advanced as a belief in anything, really, except perhaps the basic goodness of man. Nature abhors a vacuum and I think children of “freethinking” parents may be better able to recognize this than their predecessors.

Jun
17

This Saturday I officially celebrated graduation. 🙂 I wished everyone could’ve come but it was a huge party anyhow. 😮

I’m an ’09 graduate. Yay. 🙂 Not bad for a kid who wasn’t planned to be ready to graduate till 2010. 😉

High school’s over! Now on to the bigger, scarier stuff….

May
30

Last week at our Presbyterian church we read an excerpt from The Message translation/paraphrase of the Bible. It drove me crazy! Here’s why. Psalm 119:25-32 in The Message, NIV and Holman Christian Standard Version…

I’m feeling terrible—I couldn’t feel worse!
Get me on my feet again. You promised, remember?
When I told my story, you responded;
train me well in your deep wisdom.
Help me understand these things inside and out
so I can ponder your miracle-wonders.
My sad life’s dilapidated, a falling-down barn;
build me up again by your Word.
Barricade the road that goes nowhere;
grace me with your clear revelation.
I choose the true road to Somewhere,
I post your road signs at every curve and corner.
I grasp and cling to whatever you tell me;
God, don’t let me down!
I’ll run the course you lay out for me
if you’ll just show me how.

In NIV:

I am laid low in the dust;
preserve my life according to your word.

I recounted my ways and you answered me;
teach me your decrees.

Let me understand the teaching of your precepts;
then I will meditate on your wonders.

My soul is weary with sorrow;
strengthen me according to your word.

Keep me from deceitful ways;
be gracious to me through your law.

I have chosen the way of truth;
I have set my heart on your laws.

I hold fast to your statutes, O LORD;
do not let me be put to shame.

I run in the path of your commands,
for you have set my heart free.

And finally in my version, HCSV…

My life is down in the dust;
give me life  through Your word.

I told You about my life, and You listened to me;
teach me Your statutes.

Help me understand the meaning of Your precepts
so that I can meditate on Your wonders.

I am weary from grief;
strengthen me through Your word.

Keep me from the way of deceit,
and graciously give me Your instruction.

I have chosen the way of truth;
I have set Your ordinances [before me].

I pursue the way of Your commands,
for You broaden my understanding.

I cling to Your decrees; LORD, do not put me to shame.

The problem is not that I’m a rabid KJV proponent. I’m a young person who is always looking for ways to reach out to a hurting world, and language certainly seems an excellent way to do it.

But I will be the last to argue that the technical phrases  of any translation such as the NIV, ASV or HCSV are too restrictive or stilted. There is, I firmly believe, an elegance to the language recorded as translations of the Bible that’s sadly lacking in such paraphrases as The Message. I feel that rephrasing the Bible so that it “reads more easily” is contorted condescension: it assumes that young people – or indeed anyone who would even want to look at the Bible – is so literally challenged they are incapable of reaching conclusions from words like “weary” or “ordinances.” Rather, Eugene Peterson seems to assume, the only language that can or should be understood is the absolutely casual language, such as is found between friends of similar age, especially an early age.

I would argue thatsuch casual language – language intentionally left informal because the formal is “constrictive” or less popularly understood – is unfitting to record the language of God to His loved people. Lest I sound arrogant or preachy, I will hasten to amend that I do not feel God is difficult to reach out to. He is not hard of hearing, and He doesn’t require that we utilize all the old “thee’s” and “thou’s” found in old English. However! He does demand a reverance, and He is neither shy nor unjust in doing so. He is jealous because He has a right to be so. He demands our complete reverence because He is the only being in Creation who is worthy of it. This He understands.

While Jesus’ sacrifice gives us the freedom to call Him the English equivalent of “daddy,” and we are now His friends, I contend humbly that this doesn’t give us the privilege to pal around with Him. It seems foolish and presumptive to do so…as the Master and Creator of the universe, we find ourselves at a loss for words in His presence. We can’t even behold Him face to face. What gives us the idea that we can implore Him “not to back out on us now” as we would a dubious friend?

I’ll close this brief post by saying that if we treat Him and trust Him as our only Father, perhaps it is best to use language that can more appropriately describe His unshakeable power and awesome presence. It seems only fitting that the language we memorize to pray to Him or read each evening or morning to draw nearer to Him would more fully attempt to encompass His position not just as the Creator of everything we know, but as our Father, who didn’t just “stick around for us,” but willingly gave Himself for us. It seems to display a certain amount of creative respect to use words and phrases that better identify Him as we know Him – incompletely, but willingly attempting.

Or perhaps I split hairs? I am always open for debate. 🙂

May
17

I have been interested in Susan Boyle since I first heard about her some time ago. I’m not ready to go ga-ga (or whatever the hip expression for “hopelessly absorbed” is these days… ) over her, but I do think she has some extraordinary talent. So when this article was forwarded to us, I read it through and – mostly – agreed with the author (though I don’t know who wrote it…).

What if Susan Boyle Couldn’t Sing?

Like millions of viewers, I was thrilled and moved when 47-year- old Susan Boyle wowed the judges and audience on Britain’s Got Talent with her superb singing. As everyone knows by now, the unmarried, “never been kissed” woman from a small village in Scotland was greeted by both the audience and the talent show’s judges with derision when she first took the stage. Looking matronly in her somewhat frumpy dress and unkempt hair, her appearance initially elicited smug, condescending and even smirks, smiles and chuckles. What could this “un-cool,” plain-spoken woman have to offer? Wasn’t she out of place with all those young, pretty, talented  and “hot” people?

Then Susan opened her mouth and sang. And her voice was so powerful, so achingly beautiful, so full of yearning, that even the usually heartless Simon Cowell was blown away. As were the other judges, and the audience, all of whom gave Susan a standing ovation. And now, online and elsewhere, Susan’s voice, and the story of her triumph on that stage, are known throughout the world. There’s even news of a record contract, and the odds-makers who track these things believe she’s the current favorite to win the competition. More tellingly, everyone is talking and blogging about her “inner beauty,” and how Susan reminds us that we shouldn’t judge a book by its cover, etc.

I’m happy for her. She appears to be a solid, decent person for whom, God knows, some good luck is long overdue. But I can’t help wondering, what would have been the reaction if Susan Boyle couldn’t sing? What would the judges and the audience have thought, and said, had her voice been a creaky rasp, or an out-of-tune shriek?  Would she still possess that “inner beauty?” Would we still acknowledge that the derisive treatment she received before performing was callous, insensitive, mean and cruel? The unspoken message of this whole episode is that, since Susan Boyle has a wonderful talent, we were wrong to judge her based on her looks and demeanor.

Meaning what? That if she couldn’t sing so well, we were correct to judge her on that basis? That demeaning someone whose looks don’t match our impossible, media-reinforced standards of beauty is perfectly okay, unless some mitigating circumstance makes us re-think our opinion? While I love the way she turned the tables on the judges and the audience, it still says so much about us when we would have crushed this woman with little thought if she had not stunned us with her talent.

Personally, I’m gratified that her voice inspires so many, and reminds us of our tendency to judge and criticize based on shallow externals of beauty. What I mean is, I’m glad for her. But I have no doubt that, had she performed poorly, Simon Cowell would be rolling his eyes still. And the audience would have hooted and booed with the relish of Roman spectators at the Colosseum. And Susan Boyle’s appearance on the show would still be on YouTube, but as an object of derision and ridicule.

Here I do agree. We’re often much too quick to judge people by their outward appearances. Big surprise there! This tendency of humans has been documented for thousands of years. No big shocker. And honestly, it isn’t just Americans. I know it may sound like I’m futilely suggesting that “We’re not so bad!” but…we aren’t. While it’s true that we may have bigger egos and quicker judgmental skills than people of other countries, both are inherent parts of human nature. But that isn’t the point I was going to make here! So much for succinctness…. O_o

So let’s not be too quick to congratulate ourselves for taking her so fully to our hearts. We should’ve done that anyway, as we should all those we encounter who fall outside the standards of youth and beauty as promulgated by fashion magazines, gossip sites, and hit TV shows. We should’ve done that anyway, before Susan Boyle sang a single note.

Anyhow, I disagree with the author of this post in a rather roundabout way. For one thing, if we could ever get it into our heads that each person has their own unique struggle, gift, and favorite thing to do in life, we would think a lot differently of a lot of people we don’t like  – and even of some we do.  Not just Susan Boyle. Not just on national TV, but in our churches, our workplaces, our schools and even our own houses. But perhaps I do agree with the author. They’re correct in saying that we shouldn’t have decided we loved her and that she possessed an “inner beauty” simply because she skillfully turned the tables on our entrenched, impossible biases. Goodness knows that much is true. But I would seek a greater application than just Susan Boyle, with participants other than Simon Cowell and a media-soaked, hyper-perfectionistic, impossible-to-please crowd in some Hollywood (or, in this case, London) audience. I’d like to see everyone practice this!  ::sigh:: This is so impossible… But I’m an optimist, I guess…

Just my two cents. Susan Boyle has a great voice and I think she could sing for an opera. I say this because I think that unfortunately for us in our media-addicted state, we wouldn’t fully appreciate her quality of voice since she doesn’t look like a million dollars. It cuts down her marketability, despite our protests that we no longer see color of skin or ::orientation::. We still see graying hair, age, and wrinkled skin, let there be no doubt about that. I think the next wave of “liberation” is for the older crowd. O_o

And now, having done more than enough political damage to my image, I digress. 🙂

May
12

I usually don’t publish them anywhere, but each week presents its own set of interesting and often surprising revelations. This week I had two…and I don’t remember one. So here, for my faithful yet exasperated readers, is that one thing. 🙂

1. Christianity doesn’t just die.

Yes. That is it. 😀 And I’m proud of it, for several reasons. For one thing, the pastor mentioned a couple weeks ago that Christianity grew from 0.03% of the Roman Empire, or about 1,000 people, to over 14 million (56.6% of the Empire) in just over 300 years. Impressive! And I’m constantly reminded that most of the governments through the ages of most countries have attempted to squash this resilient group of people. Perhaps what gives me most hope, though, is that it is not just a group of people. It is a body, composed of all the parts necessary to function if not fully, then as well as possible. Each person plays a role, even though it’s difficult to see the roles certain groups (i.e. teenagers) can play in the church. (That’s a different post, though.) It’s a body that does not give itself life support…it can’t! It could not exist aside from the moving of God’s Spirit. God has promised to uphold it as long as there are people who will follow Him. Far down the drain though my home country (of which I’m sadly proud) may be, I am fully aware that there are people who still trust God to move.  -o.o-

So you see, I’m not worried. Yeah, I’d like to teach. I’d like to work as a journalist. And I realize that I’ll face intense persecution for my beliefs, as will my brothers and sisters in Christ. But frankly, I have difficulty running scared and worrying constantly because I’m quite confident that if God brings those who trust in Him to it, He will bring us through it. Even if He has seen that it’s time to discipline our country.

Apr
03

I have reached the conclusion that rap music is an excellent embodiment of all things dysfunctional. I shouldn’t have to explain myself here (I am strongly opposed to the genre as a whole) but I will anyway for the sake of…open-mindedness? Sure.

In my relatively scattered attempts to make sense of life, the universe and everything, I have reached many conclusions about love, marriage, and, well, the things that accompany them. Frankly, I like to think I have a pretty good grasp of what makes love work and how that, in turn, makes marriage work. I probably don’t, but humoring myself keeps me in a good mood and willing to learn more. (Hey, I’m being honest here!)

And in these studies I have discovered – to some small degree – just how skewed our society is when it comes to conjugal love. Because rap music is constantly emphasizing mindless hooking up without any kind of relational development, I’m forced to conclude that perhaps the single greatest problem in our society can be traced back to our music. Or can it?

Would music glorify something a culture didn’t already condone? or has it become such a cultural status symbol because of the music? I’m more likely to blame the culture for tainting the music than visa versa because I think that music works with what it has. If a group of people in the culture decide that this is cool, their music is likely to reflect it.

There are countless examples of culture impacting music. The Beatles, for crying out loud. And, of course, there are cases where music reflects a desire for change in the culture – for instance, the entire genre known today as punk. Some music laments the fall of our culture (country) and some ignores deeper issues of life (pop). Other genres just shamelessly synchrotize their faith with their culture in order to appeal (CCM). But whatever the music does with the culture, it’s quite clear that the two are irrevocably attached.

So when we look at rap “music,” we have to wonder what, exactly, is being said here. Frankly, I find the music boring. It’s no longer shocking, it’s no longer exciting (if it was to some modicum of the populace to begin with). We all know exactly how it’s going to start (in a club), how things will become “exciting” (lots of alcohol), and how things will culminate (finding an attractive individual to go home with, or, given enough alcohol, just a willing person). Doesn’t this look like a symptom of a culture gone very, very wrong?

I suppose the question I have for my readers would run something like this.

A) To what extent do you believe music accurately reflects any culture?

B) To what extent do you believe music choice reflects any individual?

C) To what extent to you believe your music choice effects you? (Sometimes we are tempted to assign judgments to others that we wouldn’t assume for ourselves… 🙂  I know because I’m guilty of doing that. 😡 )

Mar
24

Oh…jeez. Things are confusing. O_o

Without sounding too frightening, I’d like to request that all (3! 🙂 of my faithful readers pray for me & my family. Life is just…hard…right now. Lots of things make it that way, but…I don’t know. It’s rather confusing but I’d rather figure out what I think of the things that go on here, at home, before I think I know everything about any circumstance.

With that enigmatic and singularly unhelpful remark, I shall depart! For now. 🙂 Feel free to ask questions. I know this really doesn’t help much. At all. Sorry…I’ll put something better together soon. And I have been busy recently! So I’m sorry to all those who faithfully comment here and are disappointed when I don’t return comments. 😦 I shall speak to you soon.

Mar
18

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I am graduating! Not only am I graduating, I am graduating on time! Excited really doesn’t even begin to describe it. I’M ALIVE! That’s a BIG deal! Now to survive the rest of senior year…. O_o

Feb
27

I was reading through old English assignments, and I was seized with the sudden urge to write. 🙂 I was wondering why it is that I like other peoples’ writing so much better than my own. As I mulled over this, I considered the wise words I heard somewhere and thought, Am I really my own harshest critic? Why shouldn’t I be, I’d like to know?! Everything about what I write is wrong somehow… It’s odd that I should think this, because I know my writing isn’t that bad, though it can always use improvement.

I suppose the first thing to consider would be that everyone else isn’t me. I don’t look at their writing with a red pen and circle all the disagreeing verbs and subjects, and I don’t see boring conjunctions and bland sentences (unless they’re glaringly obvious). I see new thoughts and ideas that I probably have never considered before. That’s the kind of writing I like best: the words that introduce to me new concepts that I would never have thought of independently. Since I’m really not that creative, it isn’t difficult to do, but I’ve never ceased to appreciate the “new” factor other people bring that I obviously can’t put (for myself) into my own writing.
So that’s one thing.

But I was reading an interview that someone conducted with one of my favorite authors, C.S. Lewis, and in this particular interview, Mr. Lewis was asked what his advice was for new writers. His instructions were extremely simple, and I really like them. He said to tell the reader what you were going to say and then make sure that that was exactly what you told them. He compared writing to herding sheep: he said that if there was anywhere else that they could go with ideas, people would, much as sheep will take every possible gate that is left open to them when they’re being herded from point A to point B.
That’s the other thing: I get so caught up in what I know I’m saying that I tend to forget if anyone else will ever get anything out of it. It’s been nothing short of pure luck thus far that people can actually GET what I’m saying when I write….

It’s easy to be selfish when you’re writing, I guess. It’s always easy to assume that everyone else will automatically “get” what you’re saying just because you understand it. If someone has come up with a good method of writing concisely, I’d love to hear it! I talk too much. 🙂

Feb
21

I’m SICK! And I am not shy about looking for pity/empathy. 🙂 I’m just kidding. It’s just that the flu is a new thing for me, and…well…I don’t like it much. Plus I never get sick, so my little (haha) ego is taking a beating. 😦 Sad days… If you would pray that I would recover in time to do all the stuff I had planned, that would be great. Even if I don’t, I’m still glad to be alive. 🙂 Thanks, guys.

Feb
16

For some time, I have been randomly writing down things that I think can help anyone as they go through life. I call it “Life in Small Words,” and soon I will be adding what I have as a page to this blog. I will be looking for more input on what to add, and I am always open to fresh inspiration and new ways to look at things! So I’ll let you know when it’s up and then ::you:: can help me add to it. 🙂

Feb
13

Today is the 200th anniversary of Charles Darwin’s birthday, and I just got done reading an article about how terrible Darwin was. Frankly, I’m not sure I agree with what I read.

Let me explain myself. 😉

The article I read was entitled, “What I Teach My Children about Charles Darwin” and it is by a homeschooling father of…a bunch of kids. His main points were that

1. Darwin was bitter (over the death of his daughter)
2. Darwin worshiped a false God
3. Darwin was sloppy and was not a true scientist
4. Darwin trained his children to hate the God of the Bible
5. Darwin trained other men to be hateful toward their fellow man
6. Darwin’s legacy could be the legacy of anyone who worships the creature more than the Creator

Wow. This sounds not a little uncharitable, and since Valentine’s day is coming up, I think we ought to show a little love and take a closer look at this. 😉

This author begins by saying, “Certainly there is much to say about the specifics of his Theory, its pernicious influence on the world, and the shoddy scholarship that produced it. Perhaps there is even more to say about the god-like status attributed to him by his worshipers in the unbelieving world, or the deep faith in man, materialism, and process to which they cling.”

Let’s pause here.
a) A theory itself cannot be pernicious. A theory is an inanimate object: it is as incapable of forcing itself on a society as a basket of fruit might be.  And let’s not speak of it as if it ::thrust:: itself upon a godly society that trying desperately to avoid it. This simply wasn’t the case.
b) The “shoddy scholarship” that produced it was reasonable scholarship. He did his homework: he simply reached the wrong conclusions.  Perhaps his heart was wrong. Perhaps he truly was searching for something to disprove a God he felt had abandoned him. Yet the fault lies not with him, for “foisting” his theory upon an unsuspecting world.

No, I would contend that the fault for the spread of Darwinism as a concrete record for the history of the world lies with us, who have blindly propagated his ideas into less of a theory and more of a religion.  We were not seeking to disprove what he proposed by looking at the facts! We were readily willing to accept anything that would mean we wouldn’t be responsible to a higher authority.  Just because this happened to be that thing (or seemed to explain away the need for a higher power) doesn’t mean that Darwin was a terrible person out to kill Christianity. On an off note, it is abundantly obvious that no force on earth has the power to kill Christianity, but that we can discuss later.

I wish I had more educated information about Darwin’s life and travels, but I didn’t start the week planning on writing up something for the bicentennial of his birthday. 😉 This is the best I have right now, and I’d like to conclude by saying that it’s true that Darwin wasn’t a real scientist. He wasn’t originally a scientist: he wasn’t a pro. But he was fascinated by what he saw in the natural world. He studied it closely! And based on what he saw, his ideas took on a life of their own and his mind wandered even further. He wanted to learn. Perhaps his heart was wrong. It is true that his theory has not helped the Christian faith, but nor has it defeated it. This article I read has such an air of defeat about it, it almost hurts to read. We do not need to act as if Darwin were inferior! He wanted to learn about the world he lived in! The world could do with a lot more Christians with his enthusiasm for learning and his fervor for ideas. Just because we cannot make up our own theories does not mean we simply throw stones! Why do we refuse to learn and think for ourselves? We choose to take the words of condescending others as our own when we look at Darwinism. If we were as excited to learn as he was, we would probably be much more fluent and understanding of his lines of thinking  (as in how he came up with what he did). As it is, we simply condescend and choose not to learn for ourselves. This makes the Christian weaker, not stronger. It is necessary to stretch the mind, to attempt to see things from other perspectives, and not to flatly state that “that is wrong because it is wrong.” If we must be aware of how our faith works, why should we not also be aware of how opposing ideas work, and why they are in error?

So much for a brief conclusion…my apologies. This frustrates me, though, and I struggle to understand why no one seems to think that the alternate view might be worth “trying on.” Not syncrotizing, not getting sucked in or becoming disillusioned with your original beliefs, but simply looking at the way others think. How else will we understand what makes others tick? How will Christians share their faith? How will atheists think clearly and weigh the facts against what they believe? There are strong applications to the Christian world (which is where I’m focusing my frustration…because I happen to think that parts of the Christian church need discipline here as much as any other group), but everyone could probably benefit from actually practicing the unbiased viewpoint they all say they uphold.

😀 And…I digress! Enjoy. 🙂 And leave angry comments as you see fit.

Jan
15

I just finished an extremely long, grueling course of Spanish (Spanish I, to be precise). I don’t know why it was so hard…ok, I do know why…but it was, and I’m glad to be finished with it. Now on to Spanish II. For all this Spanish, I should go to Mexico or something… ::sighs::

Jan
13

So I was reading movie reviews (yes, that’s what I do…after I’ve seen movies.) It’s rather pointless, but interesting to see if my own opinion lines up at all with what Christian movie reviewers have to say.
Anyway, I was reading through and decided that every person needs to visit http://www.pluggedinonline.com, take their format, and “review” their own lives. What would your life be rated? Who would be the major actors? What would be the worst? The best? What could others take away from “watching” you? I suppose watching isn’t so much a parallel as it is reality. The people in our lives “watch” us for real, and what they take away and think about us when we’re gone is largely dependent on what we do and how we handle the situations we’re given.

I suppose one caveat in this instance would probably be that movie directors can cut out where they wish to and reenter a scene later. Most of us would probably prefer to “review” our lives just like that, but in real life that method seems less than honest. I would probably write two reviews: One where I can cut in and out as much as I like, and one where I have to be brutally honest.

Obviously, I really don’t know how well this would work or even if it’s a good idea – it’s just that: an idea. Rather like something a creative English teacher would come up with as a final project…or not. Hm…

Also…I suppose it really wouldn’t be fair to force yourself to rate your own “movie” a higher rating because you faced more difficulty than the average “peaches-and-cream” life. But again, I guess if you look closer, no life is an average. Obviously this idea needs some refining! Per usual, I strongly recommend commenting and telling me what you think of my weird ideas!

Jan
01

I am back from my Christmas trip! It was very fun (and warm…).

I came home to discover several things, though…
1. My orchid (given to me as a Christmas gift) is still alive.
2. One of my two finches is not…
3. My hibiscus is blooming!
4. I have new resolutions (and hopefully I’ll stick with them this year…)
5. I don’t like postponing Christmas. It kills the spirit… 😦

I will write more later, I promise. 🙂 But I’m still alive! Hope everyone had a wonderful Christmas and has lots of great intentions that they’ll follow through for this coming year.

Dec
21

I finally got most of my Christmas shopping done! I know Christmas isn’t about buying the best presents for the least money, but that still feels ::really:: good. 🙂

I think that’s all for now. Christmas is coming, as is the annual trip to relatives’. This time it’s to my uncle’s. That’ll be cool….

(Obviously I don’t have too much to say. 😉 I hope everyone is doing everything they need to in order to prepare for Christmas and not stressing out too much.)

Dec
16

Today has been interesting. I went in to get my wisdom teeth removed, and the doctor walked in shortly after the nurse had connected me to the IV. He said, “How are you?” and I said, “About to fall asleep.” And that’s the last thing I remember! (That was sweeeeet….) Actually, I do remember being aware that they were doing things, but it didn’t hurt (not that I felt…). I woke up and was fine. I was rather unsteady on my feet at first, but I remember everything just fine.

And now I’m bored and my jaw aches but I’m very grateful for pain medication and anesthetic. 😉 Tomorrow it will probably hurt more, but I’m cool with waiting for that.

Anyway! No more post-op details, I promise. This is the first time I’ve ::ever:: had to do ::anything:: like this, so it’s an adventure. It’s just kind of lame not to be able to eat stuff. Oh well…. (if my writing style seems off, it’s because I value my readers so much I didn’t want to keep you all in suspense! 🙂 I’m just kidding….)

(As a side note, I’m back to school. 😉  I’ve completed my geometry and Spanish for the day, and since I don’t have Chem to do, I’m home free! Now to be bored… 😦  )

Dec
08

I heard of Richard Rorty for the first time a few days ago. Randall Niles, a Christian with a law firm ( 🙂 ) has a radio show called “Thinking it Through.” Profound name, I know, but he fires off tons and tons of quotations just like this and ties everything back to The Humanist Manifesto of 1933 and Potter saying that education is the greatest single help to humanism.

I thought I would include a little of what the late Rorty has to say, and after I have included a short quotation from Dinesh D’Souza, who represents the polar opposite viewpoint.

“It seems to me that the regulative idea that we heirs of the Enlightenment, we Socratists, most frequently use to criticize the conduct of various conversational partners is that of ‘needing education in order to outgrow their primitive fear, hatreds, and superstitions’ … It is a concept which I, like most Americans who teach humanities or social science in colleges and universities, invoke when we try to arrange things so that students who enter as bigoted, homophobic, religious fundamentalists will leave college with views more like our own … The fundamentalist parents of our fundamentalist students think that the entire ‘American liberal establishment’ is engaged in a conspiracy. The parents have a point. Their point is that we liberal teachers no more feel in a symmetrical communication situation when we talk with bigots than do kindergarten teachers talking with their students … When we American college teachers encounter religious fundamentalists, we do not consider the possibility of reformulating our own practices of justification so as to give more weight to the authority of the Christian scriptures. Instead, we do our best to convince these students of the benefits of secularization. We assign first-person accounts of growing up homosexual to our homophobic students for the same reasons that German schoolteachers in the postwar period assigned The Diary of Anne Frank… You have to be educated in order to be … a participant in our conversation … So we are going to go right on trying to discredit you in the eyes of your children, trying to strip your fundamentalist religious community of dignity, trying to make your views seem silly rather than discussable. We are not so inclusivist as to tolerate intolerance such as yours … I don’t see anything herrschaftsfrei [domination free] about my handling of my fundamentalist students. Rather, I think those students are lucky to find themselves under the benevolent Herrschaft [domination] of people like me, and to have escaped the grip of their frightening, vicious, dangerous parents … I am just as provincial and contextualist as the Nazi teachers who made their students read Der Stürmer; the only difference is that I serve a better cause. (emphasis added)
– ‘Universality and Truth,’ in Robert B. Brandom (ed.), Rorty and his Critics (Oxford: Blackwell, 2000), pp. 21-2.

“I illustrate with a quotation from the atheist philosopher Richard Rorty, who died recently and is, I suspect, now having a lengthy conversation with his maker. Rorty argued that secular professors ought “to arrange things so that students who enter as bigoted, homophobic religious fundamentalists will leave college with views more like our own.” The goal of education, in his view, is to help them to “escape the grip of their frightening, vicious, dangerous parents.” Indeed, Rorty warned parents that when they send their children to college, “We are going to go right on trying to discredit you in the eyes of your children, trying to strip your fundamentalist religious community of dignity, trying to make your views seem silly rather than discussable.” Rorty keeps using the term “fundamentalism” but I think he means traditional Christianity. Of course, he is quite oblivious to his own secular fundamentalism, which is just as narrow and bigoted as anything you will find among religious people.”
– Dinesh D’Souza: ‘What’s So Great About Christianity?’ Q & A with Dr. Paul Kengor

I have difficulty reconciling my desire to attend an in-state secular college because it’s less expensive and Mr. Rorty’s comments. It isn’t my goal to create dissent here, but I am interested in hearing what my readers have to say about Rorty’s comments. They’re fairly straightforward, and now that the world is on the same page, we can do what we deem necessary to counter his statements…or go along with them. Really, it’s our choice.

Who but a left-leaning professor could compare a college professor to a Nazi and not get into huge trouble for it?!

(No offense to any of my readers.  I understand that Rorty’s views are extreme…feel free to rant at me, or just inform me coldly that you’d rather not read my blog now… O_o)

Dec
05

:::gasp!!:::

I just survived not one, but two mind-numbing hours of transcript work. X.x

There’s a reason schools, not students, are the ones who usually put transcripts together. Homeschoolers, however, are very different…as they always are. In this case, though, that is definitely not a good thing. I really wish my record-keeping had been a lot better over the past four years than it was. Now I have to find curriculums, rack up grades, organize everything, figure out how the heck I’m measuring academic progress, and whether or not I can take accounting next semester in order to finish up high school. Hard and annoying as it is, thank goodness it’s getting done at all. It’s kind of important….

In other news, my baby brother (11 months) is playing with a rubber band. He hooks it over 1/7th (one) of his teeth and then stretches it until it pops back, hitting his hand. He whines (no tears are involved: it’s simply a tool to express dismay) for a moment, then returns to stretching it over his tooth, beginning the entire process again, and again, and… ::sighs::

Shortly thereafter, I put him on the floor because he loves hitting the keyboard just to cause a reaction. He walks/staggers around, eventually crumbling to a sitting position and then crawling, all the while lecturing severely (it sounds something like “Loo loo loo loo loolooloolooloo,” and he’s very serious about it). I can’t wait until he’s talking…that is, in real sentences. J I don’t think he’ll ever stop…like some smart person said – you spend the first year of your kid’s life teaching them how to talk and the next seventeen trying to get them to stop. He’s more verbal than I was…and that’s actually saying something (no pun intended 😉 ).  One more thing about him: His new theme song is Chick Magnet by MxPx because he is.  Mine wasn’t. 😉  Thank goodness…..

Anyway!!!!My title has nothing to do with my post. Can you tell? Things are ok. Chemistry was canceled for today due to snow, which was all right by me. That’s the second time this week…good thing I’m ahead/understanding everything. 🙂