"The disciples were obviously astonished to see Christ in glory," said our pastor. He was prepared for questions about the Transfiguration. Instead, one first grader asked, "what does 'obviously' mean?"
Graduation season has arrived, and commencement speakers everywhere are praising the virtues of education. I have often been a commencement speaker, but lately I have begun to wonder if knowledge should come with a warning label on it: “Caution: contents are volatile and may cause burns.”
I collect expressions of anti-intellectualism. I even consider myself to be a connoisseur of the sorts of things that fall within this genre. But this is no mere hobby. I was raised in a spiritual environment in which the intellectual life was regarded with suspicion, even with overt hostility at times. The anti-intellectual one-liners of my childhood still echo in my heart.
If you were extremely wealthy, you could try to see everything. You could hop into a car and zoom across the United States, stopping in major cities and seeing the famous sites. You could pay a cabbie to wait for you while you hurried to the top of the Empire State Building for a quick look.
I find the return to school every fall very exciting. I like the start-up rituals. I still have to have new stuff—pens, notebooks, calendars, and of course new shoes. I am glad to see the faces of my friends and colleagues again and to hear what they have been doing since I saw them last. I love to see former students again and meet new students. I’m eager for classes to start.
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