Did Moses influence the founding of the United States? This historical question has generated controversy in Texas, where politicians, historians, and educators have recently debated whether Moses should be listed as an American founder in new social studies textbooks.
It all began in 2010, when the Texas State Board of Education said that students needed to "identify the individuals whose principles of laws and government institutions informed the American founding documents, including those of Moses.”
(RNS) At a church workshop last week, I set aside my carefully planned teaching and just let people talk.
It became clear that everyone had an old story they needed to tell. Until it was heard, no one in the room could or would move on to thinking about the future. And even when it was heard, half of them would keep cycling back to the old story.
The past year of my life has contained more than its fair share of sorrow. Like most lives, happiness and joy were there too, but those were not the dominant flavors. Too much of the year was like a gruel I wish I could forget—an enormous swill of a stew with fear and misery stuck to the sides like week-old oatmeal. Thick, unappealing, and nauseating.
I recently spent a couple of hours at the DMV; it was time to renew my driver’s license. The place was crowded with, in the words of the old prayerbook, “all sorts and conditions” of people. It was a multiracial and multigenerational melting pot. Around me, people were speaking in a variety of languages, including that version of English I associate with New Jersey. (It really is a different language, I think!) Every imaginable style of dress and undress was on display. People had done things with their hair I didn’t know could be done. Almost all of us were talking or texting or e-mailing on our smartphones.
When she knew she was dying, my grandmother took me to see the cornerstone of a small brick church in my hometown of Kansas City, Missouri. I didn’t recognize the sign outside. It was a Baptist church, I think. It was pretty rundown, but still in better shape than the neighborhood. Overgrown vacant lots were everywhere; it was like visiting an abandoned church in the jungle.