Taming Me (Taming of the Shrew)

Shakespeare was not infallible and The Taming of the Shrew is full of his limitations. Just as his biology was flawed, so his view of women was often wrong. He was not limited by his Christianity as much as by defects in a culture that was imperfectly Christian: a society based on muscle power will [Read More…]

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The Jolly Jokes of Virtue (Merry Wives)

The wages of virtue is jollification. This isn’t obvious, because we sometimes confuse not sinning with virtue. No manikin has ever sinned outside The Twilight Zone, but no dummy has virtue either. Goodness is beautiful and beauty is fun. Obviously, a church whose symbol is a cross and who experiences martyrdom warns that things do not [Read More…]

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Killing Socrates (On Phaedo)

Athens had quite a few people who wanted Socrates dead. He went around asking tough questions about the democracy in Athens. His questions would have been acceptable, Athens was pretty tolerant of weird ideas, but they kept challenging the very basis of the city. Athens was built on an educational system that exploited students. It [Read More…]

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Odd Advice from a Master Teacher

He was blunt, “First ignore yourself …” This was hard advice from a master teacher, but not unexpected. We were mostly a Christian group and though humility is rare… we know we should seek it. No good class is the personal mission for fulfillment of a teacher trying to find himself. Plenty of bad classes [Read More…]

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America It’s All Fun, Until It Isn’t (Henry IV, Part 2)

The breakout character can destroy a television show. The most painful part of the original Star Trek series is season three when out of money, ideas, and writers, they decided to service the fans by giving us ever more Spock. The character suffered, the show suffered, the fans eventually realized: we do not always know what we [Read More…]

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Trusting with Knowledge: How to Form a Real Community

At one point in my life if anyone mentioned “building community,” I would run away. This phrase is the equivalent of someone saying: “Let’s talk.” My mind goes blank and I have nothing to say . . . as hard as that is for some of my past bosses to believe. In the same way, [Read More…]

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Keeping Going While There is Still Light

When I was a boy, my brother and I would be sent to do a project for Dad outside. When were we done? We were done when the job was done or if it was a long-term project, when it was dark. While there was light, we kept working. There is something in this for [Read More…]

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Hoping Our Leader Drops Down from the Clouds (Henry IV Part 1)

The most pathetic of political partisans is the man who hopes his hapless candidate will turn out better than he has reason to believe he or she will. They hope to vote for what seems to be a vulgarian and then have an angel drop down from the clouds. This will not happen. Shakespeare tells [Read More…]

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Loving Rich Men, Needing Patrons (Timon of Athens)

Great Solomon, son of David, was a patron to artists because he was wise and rich. Serving his wisdom ennobled the man blessed enough to serve him. Wicked Jezebel was a king’s daughter, but her wealth corrupted those who honored her for her power. Christian culture is one that honors the patron: the noble man, [Read More…]

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Slander Gives Way to Truth (Cymbeline)

Want to spot an evil place? Find an organization where the “king” is always in place, but the “inferiors” change out quickly. You can be sure that slippery, slanderous, sneaks are whispering lies. There are “tricksy” souls intent on protecting or enriching themselves by slandering others. J.R.R. Tolkien’s Lord of the Rings has the good king [Read More…]

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