Back when I made my living as a high school English teacher, I used to tell my ninth graders that the class unit with the most practical application to their lives was Greek tragedy. “Grammar’s important, too,” I would hasten to add. “Don’t get me wrong. But not all of you will require a working knowledge of English grammar to get by in life.
I imagine it like this. We put up signs all over the Northeast Kingdom, that region of Vermont in which my neighbors and I continue to enjoy the distinction of being outnumbered by Holstein cows. The signs invite anyone with a chainsaw, and especially those who make a living with one, to come to a Monday sunrise service to have their saws blessed.
Under a quartz-blue sky last October, a procession made its way from Habitat for Humanity’s international headquarters in Americus, Georgia, to a modern gray one-story building a few blocks away. A sign identified the place as Habitat’s Clarence Jordan Center, used for training and programs.
After years of enduring harassment and violence, Egypt’s Christians, the Copts, have seen their situation improve in recent months. The media have become more friendly to Christianity, and plans are being made to purge school textbooks of their hate messages.