|The Violence of Forgetting (Evans & Giroux, NYTimes)

Brad Evans and Henry Giroux shared an engaging conversation at the NY Times — The Violence of Forgetting (20 June 2016). Below are three excerpts on the topic of education:

I begin with the assumption that education is fundamental to democracy. No democratic society can survive without a formative culture, which includes but is not limited to schools capable of producing citizens who are critical, self-reflective, knowledgeable and willing to make moral judgments and act in a socially inclusive and responsible way. This is contrary to forms of education that reduce learning to an instrumental logic that too often and too easily can be perverted to violent ends…. What matters is the type of education a person is encouraged to pursue.

. . .

Education does more than create critically minded, socially responsible citizens. It enables young people and others to challenge authority by connecting individual troubles to wider systemic concerns. This notion of education is especially important given that racialized violence, violence against women and the ongoing assaults on public goods cannot be solved on an individual basis.

. . .

Confronting the intolerable should be challenging and upsetting. Who could read the testimonies of Primo Levi and not feel intellectually and emotionally exhausted? Or Martin Luther King Jr.’s words, not to mention those of Malcolm X? It is the conditions that produce violence that should upset us ethically and prompt us to act responsibly, rather than to capitulate to a privatized emotional response that substitutes a therapeutic language for a political and worldly one.

Read the article here for more thought-provoking material.

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Parenting, Peace and a Better World

This may be my first post on parenting. I can’t remember for sure. Lately, I’ve been thinking about parenting–both in my family of origin and in our little home. My parents gave me an amazing, yet simple, childhood, and now their 50th wedding anniversary isn’t too far in the future. They’ve provided an important example.

This morning I started reading a book on Christian parenting, and I thought I’d share some of the quotes here for contemplation. These may be incomprehensible to some people or they might sound cheesy to others, but these lines spoke to me, so I’m sharing them here. I’ve added my own headings and rearranged the material to better suit these headings. These words were written between 1890 and 1911.

Importance of the Home

The well-being of society, the success of the church, the prosperity of the nation, depend upon home influences.

The elevation or deterioration of the future of society will be determined by the manners and morals of the youth growing up around us. As the youth are educated, and as their characters are molded in their childhood to virtuous habits, self-control, and temperance, so will their influence be upon society. (p. 15)

Importance of Love (Between spouses and between parents and children)

[Home] should be a little heaven upon earth, a place where the affections are cultivated instead of being studiously repressed. Our happiness depends upon this cultivating of love, sympathy, and true courtesy to one another….

If the will of God is fulfilled, the husband and wife will respect each other and cultivate love and confidence. (p. 15)

Make your home atmosphere fragrant with tender thoughtfulness. (p. 16)

You must not have strife in your household. “But the wisdom that is from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, and easy to be intreated, full of mercy and good fruits, without partiality, and without hypocrisy. And the fruit of righteousness is sown in peace of them that make peace.” It is gentleness and peace that we want in our homes. (p. 18)

Every home should be a place of love, a place where the angels of God abide, working with softening, subduing influence upon the hearts of parents and children….

Wherever the love of God is cherished in the soul, there will be peace, there will be light and joy. Spread out the word of God before your families in love, and ask, “Where hath God spoken?” (pp. 18-19)

The home that is beautified by love, sympathy, and tenderness is a place that angels love to visit, and where God is glorified. The influence of a carefully guarded Christian home in the years of childhood and youth is the surest safeguard against the corruption of the world. (p. 19)

Parents and children should unite in offering loving service to Him who alone can keep human love pure and noble (p. 19)

Parenting (Discipline and living examples)

…parents should, in their words and deportment toward each other, give to the children a precious, living example of what they desire them to be. Purity in speech and true Christian courtesy should be constantly practiced. Teach the children and youth to respect themselves, to be true to God, true to principle; teach them to respect and obey the law of God. (p. 16)

Let every lesson be of an elevating and ennobling character…. Children who receive this kind of instruction will…be prepared to fill places of responsibility and, by precept and example, will be constantly aiding other to do right. Those whose moral sensibilities have not been blunted will appreciate right principles; they will put a just estimate upon their natural endowments and will make the best use of their physical, mental, and moral powers. (pp. 16-17)

God would have our families symbols of the family in heaven. (p. 17)

Much depends on the father and mother. They are to be firm and kind in their discipline… (p. 17)

Never forget that you are to make the home bright and happy for yourselves and your children by cherishing the Saviour’s attributes. (p. 17)

Troubles may invade, but these are the lot of humanity. Let patience, gratitude, and love keep sunshine in the heart though the day may be ever so cloudy.

The home may be plain, but it can always be a place where cheerful words are spoken and kindly deeds are done, where courtesy and love are abiding guests. (p. 18)

Administer the rules of the home in wisdom and love, not with a rod of iron. Children will respond with willing obedience to the rule of love. Commend your children whenever you can. Make their lives as happy as possible…. Keep the soil of the heart mellow by the manifestation of love and affection, thus preparing it for the seed of truth…. Remember that children need not only reproof and correction, but encouragement and commendation, the pleasant sunshine of kind words.

The first work to be done in a Christian home is to see that the Spirit of Christ abides there… (p. 20)

NOTE: All material is from chapter 1 of The Adventist Home by Ellen G. White.

Church. What’s it good for anyway?

In the past couple of weeks, I’ve come across two different people describing their thoughts on church. Well, kind of. One person talks about the positive aspects of organized religion/Christianity, and the other shares about why he does not regularly attend worship at a local congregation.

What do you think about these perspectives?

In his first post, Donald Miller says, “I don’t connect with God by singing to Him. Not at all…. It’s just that I don’t experience that intimacy in a traditional worship service.” He goes on to explain this phenomena from the perspective of learning styles:

Research suggest there are three learning styles, auditory (hearing) visual (seeing) and kinesthetic (doing) and I’m a kinesthetic learner. Of course churches have all kinds of ways for you to engage God including many kinesthetic opportunities including mission trips and so forth, but if you want to attend a “service” every Sunday, you best be an auditory learner. There’s not much out there for kinesthetic or visual learners.*

The post by Jack Hoehn doesn’t address these same questions or issues, but looks at the role of organized religion in the world, focusing on positive aspects.

God-lovers—no matter how sincere and how wonderful their solitary walks in the woods with Jesus or their spiritual encounters with God himself while climbing mountains—don’t build schools, don’t build hospitals, don’t train nurses and doctors, don’t run orphanages, don’t print books, don’t educate…. Churches do that.

Later, he uses personal experience to flesh this out a bit:

For 13 years Adventism made me the richest physician in the world—I was so rich I could afford to treat anyone I wanted for nothing or next to nothing, because I was working for the Adventist church! Your 10th egg, your Sabbath profit, your tithe by the thousands or millions put together into the hands of men and a few women on committees, wasting time on policy books, and home deposits, and conference offices, still let me rescue over 500 women of obstructed pregnancies with surgeries at no cost to them. It let me drive four-wheel trucks through rivers to get to little clinics where everyone wore a blanket due to the high mountain African cold. It let me ride a boat through swamps where no one even owned a blanket. Organized religion let me build hospital wards for sick children suffering the same malaria crises I remember from my Kenya childhood. Church let me train and graduate Nurses and Medical Assistants who would go out into the bush and jungle and run little clinics that were lights in the darkness, and teach in SDA schools that would graduate people like the Obamas and Nelson Mandela’s children.

If you either currently participate in a local congregation or you used to, what factors are important to you in making that decision? Do your thoughts match either Miller or Hoehn, or is your experience something else entirely?

*UPDATE: After reading this post, Ed Dickerson shared via Facebook that his congregation incorporates multiple intelligences in each week’s gathering. He also shared resources he developed on the topic, available at iFOLLOW. How could you use this learning theory in your faith community to connect with a wider range of people?

News Round-up

Religion

Education

Politics

Environment

Food

War +Violence + Peace

Business  Ethics

World

SEE ALSO:

Spirituality & Peacemaking

If I were to teach a class on spirituality and peacemaking, these are some of the resources from which I would draw inspiration:

Ched Myers – Water Webinar (Mar. 21)

Ched Myers will co-present a webinar on eco-justice, March 21 ($9.50).

“Redemption as Rehydration: The Eschatological Vision of Water in the Bible”!

Human Rights: Dr. Micheline Ishay

Dr. Ishay has a lot on her webpage.

 

>Grad School Papers (and more)

These are some of the essays I’ve written over the past few years in my peace studies program. I would likely approach them differently now–some are down-right sloppy–but this is what I wrote while hip-deep in the process.

Also…

Click here to see a list of my film reviews, book reviews, interviews and other writings at Spectrum, Adventist Today, and other outlets.

These are my better essays and lists at Adventist Activism:

And these are what I consider to be my more important pieces at Adventists for the Environment:

>Three Films

Yes, I spend more time watching than doing. In the past month or so, I’ve appreciated these three documentaries:

God Grew Tired of Us (2006, PG) — War & Relocation

After raising themselves in the desert along with thousands of other “lost boys,” Sudanese refugees John, Daniel and Panther have found their way to America, where they experience electricity, running water and supermarkets for the first time.

Waiting for Superman (2010, PG) — Education

Davis Guggenheim (An Inconvenient Truth) weaves together the stories of students, families, educators and reformers to shed light on the failing public school system and its consequences on the future of the United States.

This Is What Democracy Looks Like (2000, NR) — Globalization & Protest

[T]his powerful documentary recounts the story of more than 100 activists who gathered to promote economic justice and turned cameras on police during the 1999 World Trade Organization summit in Seattle.

>Random Peace Resources & Trainings

>

I’ve come across a few resources of interest lately. Here they be:
  • “The Center on Faith & International Affairs offers a selection of syllabi from universities in the U.S. and abroad” on “courses discussing religion’s role in politics.” See list.
  • Peace and Justice Studies Association Blog
  • A “comprehensive, annotated guide to peace studies and conflict resolution programs at colleges and universities worldwide. This edition profiles over 450 undergraduate, Master’s and Doctoral programs and concentrations in 40 countries and 38 U.S. states.” View here.
  • Canadian School of Peacemaking — 2011 Courses at CMU (June)
  • Summer Peacebuilding Institute — 2011 Courses at EMU
  • Book: Conflict and Development (Mac Ginty & Williams)