Century Marks

Century Marks

Back to the future

New Saint Andrews College, a conservative Christian college founded in 1994, follows the curriculum at Harvard—the one used at Harvard in the 17th century. Located in Moscow, Idaho, the college is part of a growing movement of new Christian colleges that follow a Great Books program taught from a Christian perspective. These colleges maintain their independence by not accepting federal funds or seeking regional accreditation. Some of them also do not have dormitories, placing their students in local homes instead. It is not unusual for them to have standards of conduct for their students that proscribe smoking, drinking and premarital sex, as well as requiring adherence to a faith statement that includes belief in a six-day view of creation (InsideHigherEd.com, July 12).

Deep thought

Writer-historian David McCullough is often asked how much time he spends researching his books and how much time writing them. People don't ask him how much time he spends thinking about them. McCullough says he does his best thinking while taking early morning strolls. He began his early morning walks while researching his biography of Harry Truman, who had his own tradition of taking strolls (CSMonitor.com, June 24).

So what?

A young woman preaching her first sermon seemed to do everything right: her exegesis was sound; the text and title of the sermon matched well; the sermon was carefully organized and delivered in a clear, understandable manner. But the sermon was wrongheaded, especially in context—an African-American congregation. The people called her sermon a lecture, because she failed to speak to their life situations and didn't answer the "so what" question (Raquel A. St. Clair in Interpretation, July).

Offline

A few years ago Yonatan Gur was playing an online game with a Swede. While playing they chatted with each other. When Gur mentioned that he was from Israel, the Swede asked: "How many Palestinians have you killed?" and then quickly disconnected. Gur never had a chance to tell the Swede that he was active in Combatants for Peace, a nonviolent organization of Israelis and Palestinians working against the occupation of the Palestinian territories. Nor could he say that while in the Israeli army he refused to serve in occupied areas. The Internet is a powerful tool for change, but, says Gur, it doesn't take the place of face-to-face encounters, especially between hostile groups (CGNews).

Unself-conscious

Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams recalled for the Guardian (July 8) how he once was an angst-ridden young man who worried about whether he was suffering enough or was compassionate enough. But then Mary Clare Millea, a Catholic nun, said to him, "You don't have to suffer for the sins of the world, darling. It's been done." If we're not preoccupied with justifying ourselves, said Williams, then we can focus on other things and can even afford to be wrong. "Jesus is the human event that reverses the flow of human self-absorption."