Century Marks

Century Marks

Training school

"Imagine an institution that requires its leaders to attend not only college, but graduate school. Imagine that the graduate school in question is constitutionally forbidden from receiving any form of government aid, that it typically requires three years of full-time schooling for the diploma, that the nature of the schooling bears almost no resemblance to the job in question, and that the pay for graduates is far lower than other professions. You have just imagined the relationship between the Christian church and her seminaries" (Jerry Bowyer at Forbes.com blog, April 20).

Fallen hero?

Americans have a deep desire for heroes, and Greg Mortenson (author of Three Cups of Tea and its sequel, Stones into Schools) has fulfilled that desire. But recently he has been charged with fabricating parts of his story about building schools in Afghanistan and Pakistan and with mishandling the funds that have been donated to his Central Asia Institute. A former colleague says Mortenson is "a symptom of Afghanistan. Things are so bad that everybody's desperate for even one good-news story. And Greg is it" (Newsweek, May 2).

Second chance?

In 2002 five boys bound and brutally beat a 61-year-old man to death. Two of the assailants were sentenced to prison for life, the others for 14 years. Now Chris Paul, a grandson of the murdered man, would like to see the guilty set free from prison. Paul, a star in the National Basketball Association, was very close to his grandfather and was devastated by his killing. But Paul, who is about the same age as the men convicted, says they have a lot of life ahead of them and he'd like them to have a second chance (ESPN.com, April 27).

Hit number

The singing of "Ubi Caritas," a composition by Paul Mealor, a little-known 35-year-old Welsh composer, was one of the surprises at the wedding of Prince William and Kate Middleton. Mealor received a letter last December from the royal couple, requesting a musical contribution. The sixth-century text he chose for this choral anthem is traditionally used for foot washing on Maundy Thursday. It's a prayer about love and service. "Jesus came to serve," said Mealor, "and the young couple are about to enter a long period of service to the nation" (Guardian, April 29).

From the other side

The native mountaineering guides in the Hima­layas, known as sherpas, are intimately ac­quainted with the face of Mount Everest. However, they know it only from one side—the view from their home valley. They have been known to respond in disbelief to images of Everest taken from the other sides. Their disbelief changes to one of amazement when they realize that something with which they are so familiar can have other sides to it (from Jacob Bronowski's Science and Human Values).