Through the Prism

After passing through the prism, each refraction contains some pure essence of the light, but only an incomplete part. We will always experience some aspect of reality, of the Truth, but only from our perspectives as they are colored by who and where we are. Others will know a different color and none will see the whole, complete light. These are my musings from my particular refraction.


Cleaning Out the Inbox

My wife, an English/Reading teacher, came up with a nice analogy for her students when trying to motivate them to read a particular book. You have to think of it like a relationship: sometimes it's a bit awkward when you're first getting to know someone and you can't immediately tell if you'll end up liking him/her. You have to give it some time and be patient for the relationship to really develop. And it's true, some of my favorite reads (and people) weren't the ones that blew me away with first impressions but gradually grew on me in a deeper way. That said, there is something nice about that instant attraction that immediately draws you in. Call it chemistry or good vibes or whatnot, it can be powerful and I love reading the first paragraph of a book to see if it will instantly hook me. This link has the American Book Review's 100 Best First Lines from Novels. Do you have any favorites?


This article expands on one of my earlier posts from a slightly different directions:

But do Christians really have anything to fear from The Da Vinci Code? It is true that the novel's characters make assertions that challenge much conventional wisdom about Christian history and raise difficult issues for believers. But anyone who loses his or her faith by reading The Da Vinci Code, or any single book, needed a stronger foundation for his or her beliefs before reading it. . . .

It is a bit embarassing to see groups that claim to be the guardians of eternal, timeless truths prominently scrambling to suppress the popularity of a three-year-old thriller novel. If the fundamentals of Christian doctrine are true, then Christians should have no fear of discussing their faith and objections to it in the public and academic arena. Other claimants to truth - philosophers, writers, and scientists - have to do so on a regular basis.

If the tough questions are openly examined and discussed, the truth ought to prevail without the help of boycotts, political intervention, or force.


This one seems pretty extreme, but I like the intent behind it. And Colbert's take on it is hilarious as always (you have to click for that part).

Students at Kellenberg Memorial High School, a private Catholic school in Uniondale, New York, will not be celebrating prom this spring. The school's principal, Brother Kenneth Hoagland, cancelled the event. While Hoagland was disturbed by the sex, alcohol, and drugs that have become part of the prom weekend experience for many, he primarily denounced it for "the flaunting of affluence, assuming exaggerated expenses, a pursuit of vanity for vanity's sake - in a word, financial decadence."

Hoagland wrote the parents to inform them of the reasons for his decision. He argued, "But we are concerned about how our young people are being educated in the use of wealth and the experience of power that wealth gives. ... The current culture of the prom on Long Island does not represent to us a proper Christian use of wealth."


And it was hard not to just copy all of this article, but I've tried to pull out some of the best bits. I think it says a lot about how the right--from the current administrations to their pundits and supporters--operates. This is Mark Levine writing about how he was listed by David Horowitz as one of the most dangerours professors in the country.

. . . [Horowitz] admitted, without a hint of embarrassment, that he hadn't actually read any of my books or academic articles, but only perused my website and perhaps a Mother Jones article or two. Indeed, he didn't even know the intern who actually did the "research" on me for his book.

That's right, the author of a book that purports to uncover the intellectual and/or political corruption of American higher education—Horowitz can't make up his mind about which kind of corruption it's suffering from—doesn't think he has to read the work of the very professors that he claims constitute a threat to the moral fabric of our society. No wonder he did a full week on Hannity and Colmes to celebrate the publication of his expose; he's Fox's dream public intellectual. And no wonder he considers so many professors a threat; they actually do their own work. . . .

Horowitz has no need to read or actually know about the works and people that he's condemning. He only has to know—intuitively, as all agitators do—that he's hit on a marketable theme, and then create the fantasy version of academic reality to fit his spin. . . .

The simple fact is that the world today looks a hell of a lot more like the way it's depicted by the "leftist" scholars Horowitz finds so dangerous than it does by the scholars on the right. And it's precisely this ability both to see things closer to how they really are, and to offer explanations grounded in that reality, that makes us professors so dangerous to Horowitz.


At 5/22/2006 3:18 PM, Blogger Gobula said...

My favorite first line: "The man in black fled across the desert, and the gunslinger followed." from Stephen King's "The Gunslinger" (part one of the Dark Tower series)

At 5/22/2006 9:33 PM, Blogger Degolar said...

That's an excellent first line. So good, in fact, that the rest of the book didn't live up the expectations I had for it and I never read the rest of the series.

At 5/22/2006 10:16 PM, Blogger Gobula said...

Really? If it weren't for the Lord of the Rings the Dark Tower series would be my favorite books, and LOTR only wins out by a hair. The series just got better and better. You just have to realize that the first book was written 30 years ago.


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