Work in Progress

Baseball, Seminary, Wrestling, and the Dreams and Days of one Mike Work's Angeles experience

Monday, August 18, 2003

Move-In is now set, and I'll arrive in Pasadena on September 15th. As the beginning of seminary approaches, I find myself anticipating it more and more.

While student teaching this semester, my grievances against the public school system and the goals of public education became readily apparent to me, as well as what I perceive to be lip service given to Foreign Languages, my content area; while all one hears is about the importance of learning Spanish and creating a society where difference is welcomed, resources are not allocated in this direction and we wind up with 'Anglo-dominated' Spanish where an 'us/them' mentality still pervades. And this is just a microcosm of cultural lip service (lip service as a way of life), not just to language study, but to difference in general, what I would refer to as American hypocrisy, in that while the society is supposed to welcome difference and diversity, in practice, this does not happen, and those whom are different are simply marginalized, or paid lip service in hopes of appeasement.

A brief example: same-sex marriage, a flashpoint for the next Presidential election. As I read the law, there is not really a valid argument for a secular state to prohibit benefits to partners of homosexuals other than the will of the people, and recent polls (re. Atlanta Journal, 8/25/03, sec. A) suggest that the majority is against providing such benefits. If that's the case, the obvious argument is that Americans are hypocrites in regards to gay rights, and 'difference' is a strong point in this manner.

I think it's the same way with the church, in that the gospel is paid lip service, but the radical change that it means and the challenge it poses to all of our presuppositions and indoctrinations are not teased out. While this exists within the church, corporate and individual, I believe that it is not restricted to the church, but that the message of the crucified and risen Christ, and all this entails, is simply not given proper place in our society, and that is where I want to focus here. All claims/ways of life are welcome, as well as they don't challenge the dominant worldview, or, as Lesslie Newbigin writes (Foolishness to the Greeks 18), "The claim that is massively presented in the Fourth Gospel, that in the man Jesus there was actually present the one who is the Creator and Sustainer and Lord of the entire universe, that he is the light of the world, and that it is only in that light that both the world religions and the whole structure will ultimately be seen for what they truly are - this belief is excluded." The Christian faith is not strongly considered, and as I've seen it in the university level, it is usually caricatured, nodded at, marginalized, and dismissed without consideration.

And I really want to focus on this here, what an authentic encounter with Jesus in the western world consists of, and what parts of the western worldview, such as its most sacred principle, the autonomous rational self, are called into question by the gospel. More thoughts in a later post, with this blurb at its logical break point for the moment

Jesus changes everything...


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