Dr. Martin Luther King was shot, four of us--small-town white boys--followed the
Gulf of Mexico's eastern shore on an all-night trek from south Florida to New
Orleans. It was spring break, 1968, only a few months from the summer that
seemed, even at the time, to change all of our lives. Somewhere down
south we heard of Dr.
time. Once, years ago, when I was a college student home for a break,
my mother, who taught piano for most of her life, declared that she
would bestow upon her son a 10-dollar bill if he would only sit down at
the piano in the den and pound out a hymn, any hymn at all.
We have friends who decided to release their children from all obligations to attend Sunday worship when those children turned 18. Their reasoning is self-evident: What's required of each and every believing soul is willed commitment, not social (or parental) obligation. Once their children reached what some old creeds call "the age of discretion," they were, quite literally, on their own.
Because of his uncommonly fine use of language and the gracious character which emerges from his work, Alan Jacobs, who teaches English at Wheaton College in Wheaton, Illinois, has always struck me as someone who could be both entertaining and enlightening on almost any subject. This book certainly supports that evaluation.
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