Fired Up, Fired Out

Wheaton CollegeWheaton College, Wheaton, Ill., requires faculty and staff to sign a faith statement and adhere to standards of conduct in areas including marriage. This is, after all, the origin-place of evangelist Billy Graham and the home of the globally evangelistic Billy Graham Center. 

It’s also the place that made national headlines on Feb. 20, 2003, when it lifted its then 143 year-old ban on student dancing. (Whoa! Next thing you know, they’ll be apologizing to Galileo.)

It would be weird to work or go to school in such a place, don’t you think? And yet some choose it, you have to believe deliberately. It does have a pretty respectable academic history.

Here’s a young man (I guess; he kept his identity a secret) who became an atheist halfway through his college years at Wheaton (he just graduated in December), and chronicled the journey in a blog called “Leaving Eden.”

Nov. 29, 2007: “Now is the time when all of my final papers and projects are due, all of which must be from a Christian perspective. Before I started I thought, no big deal, I know what the Christian perspective is, and anyway it’ll be kind of fun using words that I haven’t used in a long time, like sanctification, eschatology, spiritual discipline– not to mention the whole language of Wheaton evangelicalism that I worked so hard to become fluent in. / But man, it sucks. It actually makes me feel a little bit ill to have to do this.”

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A Young Artist’s Heartbreak

[Afternote: I looked up the history of Crayola on Wikipedia, and I’ve misremembered some of this. The 96-box came along well after I was in first grade. It was the 64-box I recall. I’ll correct it in a day or so. Meanwhile, here’s the original piece.]

crayons.jpgYou ever have the experience of finding something in your head you didn’t know was there?

I just had one of those moments. I’m not totally surprised to find it there — it’s based on a memory, after all. But it’s a leftover from, oh, about the age of 5 or so, and at my current age of 55, it’s just curious to find it still in there somewhere.

It has to do with how I felt about Crayola crayons. And the memory bubbled up at this bit on the ColourLovers site: All 120 Crayon Names, Color Codes and Fun Facts.

You remember when you were a kid how much you loved your Crayolas? You could do anything with those great colors. I wasn’t much of an artist when it came to creating original works on blank coloring paper, but I was pretty good at picking realistic colors to fill in pictures in coloring books.

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An unfortunately long post about a small but annoying event

A few years back, I tried to winkle out what it really means to apologize, and I worked out that – to me, at least – an apology has at least four parts.

1) You admit you did something wrong.

2) You show that you understand what it was.

Which means, you explain to the person injured just how you think you injured them. Ideally, you attempt to understand and describe how THEY feel you injured them. Part of this demonstration of understanding is that you visibly attempt to match the scale of the original injury with the scale of the apology. In other words, you don’t just say “Hey, my bad,” after you run over somebody’s head with your car.

3) You promise to try very hard not to do it again, ever.

4) You make an effort to fix what you broke.

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Gosh darn it, Francis Collins

collins.jpgUgh. This article bubbled to the top pages of Digg today. I’d known about it before, but found it freshly disturbing upon reading it again. From the Times Online:

Francis Collins, the director of the US National Human Genome Research Institute, claims there is a rational basis for a creator and that scientific discoveries bring man “closer to God”.

His book, The Language of God, to be published in [July, 2006], will reopen the age-old debate about the relationship between science and faith. “One of the great tragedies of our time is this impression that has been created that science and religion have to be at war,” said Collins, 56.

“I don’t see that as necessary at all and I think it is deeply disappointing that the shrill voices that occupy the extremes of this spectrum have dominated the stage for the past 20 years.”

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Atheists should grow some.

bull.jpgJonah Goldberg is the author of “Liberal Fascism: The Secret History of the American Left from Mussolini to the Politics of Meaning,” which I haven’t read, but which has one of those woo-woo doublespeak names – something on the order of “The Anti-White Genocidal History of the Murderous, Hateful American Indians, from the 1500s to the Present” – that doesn’t exactly inspire me to want to rush out and buy it.

I’m pretty sure I’ve also seen one or two atheist-bashing articles in the past by the guy. So when I saw this bit in the LA Times Opinion page online, I figured it wasn’t an April Fool’s Day joke, despite the April 1 date on it. (Evidently he liked the piece so much he repeated it in the National Review Online on April 2.)

Just FYI, it’s editors who typically choose the titles for articles, so I don’t blame Goldberg too much for the header, but the piece is called “Evolution of religious bigotry: The cowardice and intolerance of slapping a Darwin fish on your car bumper.”

Ahem. Yeah.

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