Speak Real!

Long ago I had a student in Spanish who asked me: “Why can’t they just speak Real?” I wondered what she meant and then I realized that she meant . . .English. At her age this was harmless enough. She had known few people who did not speak English as a first language in her [Read More…]

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Saying the Man into Being: A Spiritual Reflection on the Odyssey

We need to see the man, say what incantation is necessary to be the man. Homer’s Odyssey begins: ἄνδρα μοι ἔννεπε, μοῦσα, πολύτροπον, Of the man to me speak, Muse, “many ways” Notice that the Muse comes between the man and his chief characteristic in the order of the words of the line. The man is a [Read More…]

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Lessons from Mom: Asking the Right Questions

When I was a little boy, Mom would read books to me. Even when I learned to read, the sound of her voice was better and so she kept reading to the family until I left home. After she read, she would talk with us about what we had heard and ask us questions and so [Read More…]

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God, Patriotism, and Books in School

Be of good cheer! If you are discouraged about the Presidential choices we have today, imagine picking from these candidates: a former Secretary of State who became the worst President in American history, a rogue Republican who knew little or nothing about the government and had an unfit temperament for the office, while a Know [Read More…]

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Names Will Never Hurt Us (Cratylus)

Sticks and stones may break my bones, but words will never hurt me. How did such an obviously false rhyme get passed down to me on the playground?* Words are much more hurtful than getting punched. I don’t remember a single fight that still matters to me, but several slurs from elementary school still sting. [Read More…]

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With Eyes Wide Open: Death Comes to All (Phaedo)

A good man dies well, a great one makes his death matter. A leader looks after those around him right to the end. He will shift the focus from death to what comes next: eternity. The most human truth is that we are immortals in mortal bodies. Death, at least death as we experience it, [Read More…]

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Stay Strong (Crito)

A human reading this is going to die or is dead and is wasting the afterlife. Death is more sure than taxes and that is the surest thing not certain. Not all humans have died: Enoch, Elijah, and perhaps Arthur and a few others folk, but so many have that one need not plan on [Read More…]

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No Reason, No Justice (Apology)

Justice is hard to find in these perilous times. if you are a Christian in the parts of Syria no longer controlled by the government, martyrdom and God’s justice on the other side of the sword are your only hope. If you live in parts of the world, the rich can buy justice while the [Read More…]

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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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