Christianity/Religion Education

Of Education

In recent days I have been reading two biographies of C. S. Lewis, both written by close friends of his. His brilliant mind is a sure basis for admiration as is the history of his moving thoughtfully, and in stages, from the mindset (and practice) of an atheist to that of a theist who could not yet believe that Jesus was God, to that of a fully-believing and practicing Christian. Once Mr. Lewis became a believer, he moved steadily forward in his search for truth and became an activist for Christianity, both in the written and spoken word.

The gifts of C. S. Lewis were not wasted. From early childhood he was tutored and otherwise schooled: As an adult he spent the greater part of his years writing and lecturing within university environs. My recent study of this remarkable man’s life has prompted this post, which other than this introduction and the general thought bears not directly on the existence and practices of C. S. Lewis. Rather, my piece bears on that of education–higher education in particular.

I married young, a few days short of 18, having graduated high school when I was 16, and having then spent one year at a Tulsa, OK. Bible school named Apostolic College. It was there I met Jerry, who was six years older than I, and who had received a BA in education before he had gone to Apostolic College for his ministerial training. We fell in love, he proposed to me, and in June of 1956, we were married. Jerry was already a full-time minister, and immediately after our wedding Jerry took on the title Evangelist and we began going from church to church holding revival meetings. A few years later, Jerry assumed his first pastorate, then even later, his second, and in very recent years–well into retirement age–Jerry and I “planted” a church in Lake Havasu City, Arizona. God has blessed us, our marriage has been wonderful despite my raw youth as I took on such vows, and I consider myself to have lived a full, productive life, regretting few of my major decisions.

I have come to consider, though, that one of my life decisions may have been a mistake: I’m feeling regret that I am not better educated. Through the years I have considered this subject, but it was the recent reading of the C. S. Lewis books that anew stirred this idea of my lack in this area. Images of a gowned student knocking at the rooms of C. S. Lewis where the student would be tutored by this master; Tolkien, Lewis and others walking through wooded areas discussing words and lines and ideas; people clustered about a blazing fire on a cold evening in England as they read aloud their new writings–these stir in me a desire for such interaction with quick and learned persons. The idea of such an education in a university setting appeals to me. Consider the following words of biographers Green and Hooper:

If a friend made a thoughtless remark or a loose generality in conversation, Lewis would boom out, “I challenge that!” and the foils of logic would be clashing in a moment–thrust, parry and riposte, his eyes positively sparkling at the skillful play of words until one could almost hear the click and slide of pliant steel upon steel–and indeed the final thrust, given or very occasionally received, would often be accompanied by a joyous ‘Touche!’

Understand that I do not consider myself completely unlearned, nor am I exceedingly ignorant. I have sat for a few college classes, and because I have an inquisitive nature and a craving to learn, through the years I have augmented my shallow formal education so that I believe I can accurately say I have attained a general education in a myriad subjects, thin though such understanding may be. Too, I know that numerous philosophers and other brilliant men have taken such position as did Albert Einstein when he said, “The only thing that interferes with my learning is my education.”

At the very moment I complain of my lack of university experience, I must not neglect to tell the richness of my life that in itself has widely contributed to my learning. Only this morning, after spending the night in our home here in Crestline, our long-time friend Harold Kern and Jerry engaged in a lengthy deep theological discussion, into which later his wife Johanna and I joined. Over a simple breakfast of fresh fruit, orange juice and blueberry bagels, the conversation continued, ever deepening. Finally we pushed back our chairs, carried our dishes to the kitchen, and smiled as we acknowledged we had tackled questions whose answers have likely evaded each human generation since those lightening days when Adam and Eve awoke in Eden.

Even as I acknowledge my rich and blessed life, and despite my living room and my dining room taking on the aura of university this morning, a small part of me tells of loss. I do regret my lack of higher education.

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Values and Principles

“The moment you give up your principles, and your values, you are dead, your culture is dead, your civilization is dead. Period.” — Oriana Fallaci

In a western region of the United States the teacher stood before the challenged couple, the young mother holding their newborn child. “You need to get married now, be good parents, make a home for your baby.”

“But I don’t want to get married,” the teenage mother said to the teacher.

The teacher was plainly not expecting that response. “Well, your baby needs a mother and a father.”

The mother’s smooth, matter-of-fact response spoke to her having given extensive thought to the situation. “Oh, she has a mother and a father.” She nodded her head to the boy who stood mutely beside her. “Just not a husband and a wife.”

The exceptionally beautiful baby lay asleep, oblivious to the difficulties and deprivation she will suffer.

Recently England churned out this scene:

A British school was blasted Friday after kids as young as 11 were told to shout obscenities during a lesson in swearing.

Expletives like the f-word and c-word were written on a blackboard before a teacher explained their meaning to 30 seventh graders.

S.t Laurence School in Bradford on Avon, Wilts, claims it was part of a sex and relationship education program to “dispel” the myths of swear words.

But parents say they were not consulted by head James Colquhoun about the class and say kids were left “deeply upset.”

Some pupils claim the teacher told them not to tell parents about the lesson.

More here.

Frequently now,  I feel as though I have stumbled into a rabbit hole and have entered a strange and bewildering land where ordinary principles and values evaporate as does steaming water from a heated kettle. Shame is rare. Common sense has disappeared. Moral standards that were widely accepted in recent years are disdained and mocked.

In 2006, for the first time in U.S. history, a majority of all births to women under age 30–50.4 percent–were out of wedlock. Nearly 80 percent of births among black women were out of wedlock.

From Hub Pages

It is against school regulations to hand out aspirin to students, but a girl may legally have an abortion without her parents being notified. “Sexting” is wide-spread among teen-agers and young adults. “Gay” couples demand their unnatural unions to be declared legal marriages. It’s a world gone mad.

Each of us occupies a small stand of ground, we’ve been set as guard at a compact circle of people; a few children and young people turn to us for wisdom. Though our sway may be less compelling than we wish, and our rank notched on the lower end of the scale, let our fist stay tight, let our grip stay firm on those values and principles that lie at core of Christian values. For if such go…I fear for our existence.

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Lunatic, Liar or Lord?

In his famous book Mere Christianity, C. S. Lewis makes this statement, “A man who was merely a man and said the sort of things Jesus said would not be a great moral teacher. He would either be a lunatic – on the level with a man who says he is a poached egg – or he would be the devil of hell. You must take your choice. Either this was, and is, the Son of God, or else a madman or something worse. You can shut Him up for a fool or you can fall at His feet and call Him Lord and God. But let us not come with any patronizing nonsense.” about His being a great human teacher. He has not left that open to us.”

The Pew Forum on Religion and Public Life on Monday released the results of their latest poll which indicated that Christians, even those labeled evangelical, are not convinced their beliefs are the only way to Heaven. About 7 out of 10 of those surveyed said they believe that many religions can lead to eternal life and that there is more than one true interpretation of the teachings of their own religion

I was not totally surprised to hear these results, for though my own experiences are anecdotal, of course, over the past few years I have become more and more startled to see that people who call themselves Christians give little heed to what the Bible exactly says. Furthermore it’s astonishing to hear “Christians” speak glowingly of Heaven for their deceased friends and relatives who rarely attended church, and who made no claim at all to Christianity.

Was Jesus mistaken then when He said, “I am the way, the truth, and the life?”

Of course He was not mistaken. Neither was He in error when He added, “no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.”

Our problem is that either we don’t read the Bible, we selectively read it, or we don’t believe it. For clearly the Bible teaches there to be only one way to Heaven and that way is through Jesus Christ. Not all roads lead to Rome, and certainly not all roads lead to Heaven.

This startling result from the Pew researchers is a reflection of the pressure within our society to be tolerant, accommodating and inclusive. Truth must be designed, we are told, so that none are made uncomfortable as they handle their own version of law and principle. There are no absolutes, truth must adjust to the mores of the day and to the whims and conventions of the community.

But such thoughts are contrary to scripture. If there are other ways to Heaven, then Jesus was crucified for nothing. Calvary should merely be the name of a piece of land and Golgotha only a strange word. Beatings and a bloody crown should be called a bit of fiction and the telling of an unbalanced man.

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Professor Stephen Hawking Travels to Africa

The man is amazing.

During recent days, Professor Stephen Hawking at 66 years old is reported to have traveled to South Africa. Despite suffering from motor neurone disease which has left him almost completely paralysed, Hawking has made the journey to launch a project in which he and other key intellectuals and scientists will be searching out the very brilliant who reside in the continent of Africa. He and others have plans to create Africa’s first postgraduate centers for advanced maths and physics

“The world of science needs Africa’s brilliant talents and I look forward to meeting prospective young Einsteins from Africa,” said Hawking.

Hawking’s keynote lecture this afternoon is expected to be the highpoint of the ceremonies in Cape Town. When he gave a talk at the Caltech campus in Pasadena in the United States, he was wheeled out of the auditorium to a standing ovation and took a victory lap in his wheel-chair while the crowd shouted: “We love you, Stephen.”

Hawking is expected to repeat his call for a global effort to enable humanity to colonise space, starting with the moon and then Mars. Turok’s hopes are more down to earth: he wants to persuade the British government to rethink its refusal to fund the Aims project.

What a brilliant, courageous man is Professor Stephen Hawking.


My devotional blog is here.

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Deliver Us From Evil

Lynda over at blah blah blog tagged me, stating as the reason for choosing me: “because she’s a writer and prolific blogger and I have no idea what kinds of books she might read, but I’d sure like to know.”

The rules are:

1. Pick up the nearest book (of at least 123 pages).
2. Open the book to page 123.
3. Find the fifth sentence.
4. Post the next three sentences.
5. Tag five people.

The nearest book to me is Deliver Us From Evil by Sean Hannity. The three designated sentences are:

They always seemed to be on the wrong side of history. Reagan won the Cold War, no thanks to the Democrats and their “freezenik” friends. Bush I beat back Saddam, and kept America safe in the early 1990s.

I’m asking for volunteers to be tagged. Just let us know and follow the rules.


My devotional blog is here.

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Unbelievable Steak Knife Caper

Expected is that the majority of people who read my writings easily discern my right-wing leanings, my belief in moral absolutes, my high regard for life from its inception, my conviction of Biblical inerrancy, and my idea that we should obey the laws of the land. Frequently, I also meddle in the arena of common sense.

Yesterday I heard of an incident that is grossly lacking in said trait:

OCALA, Fla. — A 10-year old Ocala girl brought her lunch to school and a small kitchen knife to cut it. She now faces a felony charge after being arrested. The school and the sheriff’s office disagree on the reason for the arrest.

School officials say the 5th grader was brown-bagging it. She brought a piece of steak for her lunch, but she also brought a steak knife. That’s when deputies were called.

It happened in the cafeteria at Sunrise Elementary School. The 10-year-old used the knife to cut the meat.”She did not use it inappropriately. She did not threaten anyone with it. She didn’t pull it out and brandish it. Nothing of that nature,” explained Marion County School Spokesman Kevin Christian.But a couple of teachers took the utensil and called the sheriff. When deputies arrived, they were unable to get the child’s parents on the phone, so they arrested her and took her to the county’s juvenile assessment center.

This is nuts.


My devotional blog is here. 

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Do You Still Beat Your Wife?

Several of my friends–as do Jerry and I–conduct marriage seminars throughout the year, and I thought this morning I had found unique and timely material, but on closely perusing this lesson by Muhammad Al-‘Arifi, I’ve changed my mind. I don’t believe you will want to include this conversation in your syllabus. Well, you might want to say: “This is what you should not do if you want a happy and long-lasting marriage.”

He’s Saudi author and cleric, “Dr.” Muhammad Al-‘Arifi, who in a remarkable segment broadcast on Saudi and Kuwaiti television in September, counseled young Muslim men on how to treat their wives.

“Admonish them – once, twice, three times, four times, ten times,” he advised. “If this doesn’t help, refuse to share their beds.”

And if that doesn’t work?

“Beat them,” one of his three young advisees responded.

“That’s right,” Al-‘Arifi said.

Entire Fox News Article here. 

Okay, friends who conduct marriage seminars. If you incorporate this into your lecture notes, and your classes suddenly become very popular, recall where you found the new material. You might even want to share your honorarium with me. 🙂


My devotional blog is here.

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A Happy Blow to Segregation in Georgia


I was delighted to read this story, but amazed that such a thing as segregated school activities still exist in United States society. What an abysmal mark on our world is that of racial prejudice and inequity.

By Kristi Keck

ASHBURN, Georgia (CNN) — Students of Turner County High School started what they hope will become a new tradition: Black and white students attended the prom together for the first time on Saturday.

In previous years, parents had organized private, segregated dances for students of the school in rural Ashburn, Georgia, 160 miles south of Atlanta.

More here.

It is my understanding that it was senior James Hall and his classmates themselves who put an end to the segregation formerly found in these celebrations. I heartily congratulate them.


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Danger by Gun Drawing

Sometimes I think we have gone stark, raving mad. Our judges do sloppy work that lets loose admitted pedophiles to walk the streets, Nicole Richie spends little more than one hour in jail for a DUI charge, major league caps blatantly featuring colors and symbols for some of America’s deadliest street gangs are being sold in stores, and then school officials suspend a little boy for drawing a gun.

EDIT: 8/24/7 2:00 pm PDT To further emphasize the dichotomy of these events, is the breaking news that the pedophile Jack McClellan just arrived for court in Los Angeles–naked. Yet, this perverted man, who has said if it weren’t against the law, he would have sex with a 3-year old, continues to roam around, while a child is suspended for drawing a picture of a gun.

MESA, Ariz., Aug. 23, 2007

drawing of gun by 13-year-old student which led to suspensionThis drawing by the 13-year-old son of Paula Mosteller led his school to suspend him for five days. (KPHO)

Ray Parker
The Arizona Republic
Aug. 23, 2007 12:00 AM

After an eighth-grader was suspended for drawing a picture of a gun on an assignment paper, angry parents are questioning whether the Chandler Unified School District went too far with its zero-tolerance policy.

The Payne Junior High eighth-grader, along with another student, was suspended Monday for five days for the drawing. Parents Paula and Ben Mosteller were able to get the suspension reduced to three days after meeting with school officials.

The uproar over the drawing, which the student turned in with a school assignment and contended was just a doodle, cuts to the question of what constitutes a “threat.”

Read it all here.

It is close to impossible to disconnect boys from an attraction to guns. When I was a child I lived in the city of Springfield, Mo. and my little brother wandered around the neighborhood with a BB gun. Seems a bit dangerous now, as I think about it, for it was a highly populated area, but I don’t recall there ever to be any problems with such activity. Anyway, I remember his coming in and frequently telling my mom, “I almost got a bird. Think I hit his tail feathers.”

When our two older sons came of the age when most little boys have toy guns, I recall being ambivalent about the subject. While we certainly did not want to encourage violence in our sons, we knew if they didn’t have cap guns or water pistols, they would still tear around the yards, and with their fingers point and shoot as they played out what seemed to be harmless games of “cowboys and indians.” I believe that when children of my era, and possibly of my children’s young years, played these games, they really didn’t envision actually shooting an indian person or a cowboy person. I may be wrong…really would like to hear from young men who played these games…or young women, if as a girl you played such games. I can’t recall being involved in “gun” battles, myself.

On a BBC site this morning, I came across an interesting article about WWII board games produced in England. The games are quite rare and are being auctioned off. You might want to take a look.


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The Family of Smokey, The Cross-Eyed Lover, Does Not Need Acatemy

Smokey, the Lover, originally uploaded by Shirley Buxton.

Something moved beyond the glass door in the guest bedroom where we stayed at the Allen home, and when I walked over, I saw Smokey rolling around and maneuvering himself into positions that are only possible with a lithe, flexible feline. I opened the door. On the moment, he stopped rolling, looked directly into my face and meowed. Loudly, did he meow, and when I walked through the door and began my prowl around the unusually beautiful backyard of this home, he moved with me, rubbing against my legs and setting up a constant stream of cat talk. Meow. I thought he was hungry, and when back inside, I mentioned my encounter with the cat, whose name I learned to be Smokey. “I think he’s hungry.”

“Nope, he’s not hungry. He’s a lover, and he wants you to pick him up and pet him.”

Look at that face. Could anybody resist such an animal? I ask you who are reading here.

“He looks cross-eyed,” I suggested to one of the family.

“Oh, yes. He’s Siamese and they’re all cross-eyed.” I had never heard this before, so I checked out that statement and found there is some foundation for the thought. The following is from Wikipedia:

Many early Siamese were cross-eyed to compensate for the abnormal uncrossed wiring of the optic chiasm, which is produced by the same albino allele that produces coloured points. Like the kinked tails, the crossed eyes have been seen as a fault and through selective breeding, the trait is far less common today.

On Reuters this morning, I learned of the Acatemy, a school where cat owners can learn to act like a cat, thereby relieving the human’s stress. I am positive you will want to learn all about this, for owners of the school say:

“if people can think like their favorite felines it will foster mutual understanding between cats and their humans.”


By Sarah Coffey

NEW YORK (Reuters Life!) – To know a cat, you must walk a mile in its paws, say animal behaviorists running a training school in New York where cat owners get to behave like their animals to understand them better.

The “Acatemy” is offering cat owners various classes such as “cat-isthenics” where you exercise like a cat, climbing on oversized scratchers and batting an oversized ball of yarn, and “cat-napping” where you curl up on a bean bag and snooze.

“People are going to learn a lot just by acting like a cat, and people are going to relieve a lot of stress in their lives,” said Warren Eckstein, a radio show host and author of “How to Get Your Cat to do What You Want.”

The school, set up at New York’s Daryl Roth Theater by Del Monte Foods’ catfood label Meow Mix, argues that if people can think like their favorite felines it will foster mutual understanding between cats and their humans.

The entire article is here.

Edit: I just found this article which includes a video of a cat hotel which has opened in France. You must go over and see this.

Aug 22 – A cat hotel opens in the south of France where cats can relax and be pampered.

A cat-loving couple in the South of France have opened a cat hotel, Le Jardin de France, so cat owners no longer need to feel guilty about going on holiday and leaving their loved ones behind.

Basmah Fahim reports.

Video link here.

I certainly want to hear from you. Do you have a cat? Is he/she an “Alley-cat?” A Siamese? Cross-eyed? Do you plan to attend the Acatemy? What about the hotel in the south of France? Plan on taking advantage of that service? ____________________________________________________________________

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