Saturday, January 26th, 2008


book_glasses1.jpgI have been listening to a series of lectures on church history and I am sad to admit that I did not know a lot of this before now.  I did not learn about the history of the church at the local public school I went to, even though many events played key roles in society.  I did not learn about Constantine and his famous vision of “in this sign conquer”.  I did not learn about Erasmus, Luther, or even Nero.  Most of the church history that I know, I have learned from my husband and from my own studies.  So my question is this: whose responsibility is it to teach church history? 

Does the responsibility rest solely on the family?  If so, what should parents be doing to educate themselves?

What about the church?  If so, in what setting?  Sunday School?  The sermons? 

What about school or society?  Should all history be taught, regardless of apparent religious content?

Or is it all three?  In what environment should we learn church history?  Should we expect a podium and a 30 minute lecture every time or is there a way to incorporate the facts and lessons of history into everyday life?  I would love to hear your opinion on this.

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Ernest Hemingway(Continued from an Part 1.  Read more in Part 3, and Part 4)

The Sun Also Rises is a novel about those most impacted by the Great War: the individuals who made up the aptly named “lost generation”.  World War I took nearly 9 million lives, but it ruined the lives of many more who survived.  Hemingway’s story of Jake and his post-war companions presents more than just an interesting account of Parisian social life and Spanish bull fighting; it demonstrates the incredible toll that the war took upon those who were most intimately involved in it.  For them, the effects of the war never ended.

Hemingway gives a wink and nod in his title to anyone familiar with the Old Testament book of Ecclesiastes.  Within its ancient pages we find a story of existential angst as presented through the eyes of a Jewish king who was repeatedly frustrated in his attempts to find meaning in life.  Ecclesiastes’ theme “vanity of vanities” perfectly elucidates Hemingway’s novel.  The characters in his book fly from one diversion to the next, but never to anything substantial.

Jake and Brett represent the two paths down which the worldview of nihilism can lead and the diverging experiences of Europe and America after the war.  Jake’s impotence is an important symbol within The Sun Also Rises.  It represents the loss of ideological life that resulted from World War I.  In his outward appearance Jake looks perfectly healthy, but he has lost something vital: the ability to consummate passion and impart life.  This is a strong comparison to post-war Europe: it had survived the Great War, but it had come out of it vitally wounded.  No one could pretend any longer that things were alright with the world.  A society that had produced such atrocities was fundamentally broken.  “Enlightened” Europe had entered the war ideologically robust; it had emerged sterile.

Brett is the antithesis of Jake and the “Americanized” nihilist of the novel.  This may come as a surprise to some readers due to the fact that Brett seems to be the most vivacious and care-free character of the book.  However, a closer reading will reveal that this is nothing more than a veneer to cover the inward angst that she is experiencing.  “I’ve got to do something,” she tells Jake as he walks her to Romero, “I’ve got to do something I really want to do.  I’ve lost my self-respect.” (187)  A few sentences later she bemoans the fact that she “can’t stay tight all the time”. (187)  Alcohol is her panacea to a painful existence.

Brett is the quintessential nihilist-turned-hedonist.  Traditional values are shattered, nihilism ensues, and hedonism is embraced as the existential life-raft to keep from going under.  Thus Brett becomes an excellent picture of the “booming twenties”: an era of music, art, excitement, and despair. 

It is interesting to note that Hemingway does not seem to extend any hope at the end of his novel.  Brett remains a devoted pleasure seeker and Jake seems to adopt the same artificial and shallow set of values that “the Count” (67) has embraced.  However, this is consistent with the cyclical emphasis of the novel: “The sun also arises, and the sun goes down, and hastens to his place where he arose.” (Ecclesiastes 1:5)

 All quotations taken from:   Hemingway, Ernest. The Sun Also Rises. New York: Scribner, 2003

Momma called the doctor and the Doctor said…

“No, OZ never did give nothin’ to the Tin Man, that didn’t, didn’t already have.”Dr. Bombay

Much like the Tin Man they found today that I do actually have a heart.  It’s right where it is supposed to be and is doing all the things it is supposed to do.  So I’m wondering if maybe I’m actually the Scarecrow, “If I only had a brain?”  Cause the thoughts that I’d be thinkin’ while-a drivin’ in ma’ Lincoln if I only had a brain… or the winning Power Ball lottery ticket from this week.

They “STILL” don’t know why my legs look like Charlie Brown’s Macy’s Day Parade balloon legs.  At this point I would consider taking a stick pin to them but what happens if they take off like a balloon.  I can see me bouncing off the walls, ceiling, taking a few laps around the ceiling fan and sputtering to a halt on the piano.  I can hear my daughter Elizabeth now, “Do it again Daddy, do it again!” 

              Technology is wonderful, I got to watch my heart in action today, amazing.  Well, I mean, I didn’t actually see my heart (that would have been messy) but I saw an image of my heart.  You know, a sonogram, just like they do with babies.  And yes, I did have her check, and no, I am not pregnant (it just looks like I am) thank you very much.  I tried to get her to make me an audio recording of that rhythm, it sounded just like conga line music… bum bum   bum bum   bum   ba!  bum bum   bum bum   bum   ba!  Wait, scratch that, I can’t dance, I’m Baptist. (And possibly a little too nerdy) So why did you email me?  What do you want?  Come on chop, chop I haven’t got all morning.  Hummm?  What’s that?  Oh!  Yea, I’m emailing you aren’t I?       

Ok, one more thing and I’ll be done. (yep, I’m Baptist alright)

When they were taking all my information they have one of those talking scales and all it said was “Uncle! Uncle!”  But they said my weight was normal… for someone 7’ 1” tall. 

Then came the questions: 

 “Do you smoke?”

            “No”

“Do you drink?”

“Is this a trick question?

“I mean do you drink alcoholic beverages?”

“No”

“Do you take drugs, illegal drugs?

“No”

“Do you exercise?”

“No, I kicked the habit years ago.”

“And it shows.”

“Thank you for noticing.”

“Hard not to, twins?

“Why yes, a boy and a girl.”

“How far along?

“Fourteen years.”

“That long?  I wouldn’t have guessed more than the second trimester.”

“Oh you mean that!”

“Yea! that!”

“I’m rather attached to that, it may not be fly but it is phat!” 

(I think I impressed her with my knowledge of pop culture terms and Ebonics.  But then again I also left an impression on the chair in which I was sitting.”uncle! uncle!”)

Say Goodnight Gracie,

“Goodnight Mrs. Calabash where ever you are!”