Before He is power… God is Mercy, Love and Vulnerability
and He wants to make us into
that same image.
The Rev. Gavin Ashenden
(a section of the magnificent Library at Dublin’s Trinity College / Julie Cook / 2015)
As a former educator, whenever there is talk about our ailing school system–
-of which has been an instrumental part of the bedrock of Western Civilization since
the beginning of such time, my ears most assuredly are always piqued.
I have read, watched and lamented these many months now over the fracas and
sideshows that seem to be happening across our major universities and colleges—
even since before last year’s election was really heating up.
Tales of snowflakes, cupcakes, safe zones, coloring sessions, happy talk and
fairylands has left me both frustrated as well as sad.
The images coming from so many upscale universities and colleges of violent protests
have amounted to nothing more than overgrown temper tantrums…
as students, and even the supposed role models of educators, converge upon all things
they currently find themselves whining against….
All the while administrators are afraid…afraid of law suits, of life, limb and job security as they stand cowering, daring to say nary a word.
Be it speakers who have actually been invited to discuss various viewpoints,
writings or books that just so happen to run counter to the current self absorption
many students are currently wallowing in—-
Or the odd professor who tries to offer some actual sort of sanity by suggesting
that the students should maintain an open mind…..
These students will immediately either rudely walk out
on said guest in some sort of protest when the lecturer dares to
say something these students find “offensive”—or even worse, they will go into a
fit of violent rage….
as most everything said today seems offensive to them.
Were not our hallowed halls of higher education intended for a better purpose?
Intended not to only stir the consciousness of young minds but to challenge said
youthful minds to dig deeper and go further…all in a quest of learning while seeking knowledge and dare we say it, eventually a bit of wisdom….
Did we not ourselves, as students, seek to further our education in order to
learn new thoughts and ideas while venturing further into the
unknown of possibilities?
So I have found it perhaps no coincidence that two of my favorite clerics
from across the pond, just this very week, were discussing issues about both
learning and wisdom in this most modern topsy turvy world of ours.
The Scottish Pastor David Robertson was musing about knowledge and wisdom from the standpoint of the Book of Ecclesiastes and King Solomon while The Rev Gavin Ashenden
discussed the growing concern that anyone who upholds traditional Christian views, particularly on a college campuses, is perceived as anathema and a cause for
censorship—or even worse.
Pastor Robertson reminds us that “in our Western cultures we have largely
forgotten what education is supposed to be about—[that being] the search for wisdom.”
He goes on—We live in a culture where there is lots of information –
but little understanding: what the Bible calls wisdom.
This lack of wisdom is what results in a great deal of argument, irrationality, confirmation bias, fake news, virtue signalling and ignorant prejudice.
It is that human beings observe and what we observe in real life is not
always pleasant. There is a heavy burden God has laid on men.
We may live as secularists but the problems we face have been ordained by God.
Mankind thinks and plans. We have been wired that way.
We want to understand.
The problem of life is for us all not just a hobby for philosophers.
The quest of meaning is a quest for God and it is something that God has placed
in our hearts.
Today we may know a lot more.
But are we happier?
Have we progressed?
Are we wiser?
Lets be brutally honest – most of us cannot face the truth.
‘With much wisdom comes much sorrow;
the more knowledge, the more grief.’
Is it not the case that the more we really understand, the more we ache?
Is that not why people escape into the fantasy world of films, dramas,
drink and drugs, celebrity gossip and computer games?
Wisdom and Meaning for the 21st Century – Ecclesiastes
Bishop Ashenden in the latest interview on Anglican Unscripted explains that
“our colleges are broken”
He notes one example as to just how broken with the story about the former Bishop of Rochester, who just so happens to be a greatly esteemed theologian and gifted orator,
had been invited to speak at Cambridge. Yet it seems that someone did a little digging
into the background of this intended guest and discovered that he was a priest
who actually held traditional views regarding marriage…
a priest with traditional views….
Who upon which discovery was quickly uninvited.
As it seems that anyone who has a counter thought, particularly one that is a
more Orthodox thought or standpoint, is no longer welcome on the campuses of
The good Bishop notes that Orthodox Christians are being grossly marginalized…
particularly by our more liberal society and on our campuses of higher learning.
Both men agree that there is rather a sad and frightening trend that we are turning out generations of individuals who have not actually gone to college to seek knowledge or
even wisdom but rather those who have been coddled and merely given a piece of paper
The good Scottish Pastor Robertson notes that “we live in a culture where there is lots of
information – but little understanding…
adding that perhaps it would behoove us to
“stop following the marketing and ‘knowledge’ ways of this world.
Instead let’s return to the ancient paths of wisdom and seek the Lord whilst
he may be found.
We can chase the wind – or we can build on the Rock!
Perhaps a suitable motto for every school and University and church would be these
words from Hosea 14:9.
Who is wise?
Let them realize these things.
Who is discerning?
Let them understand.
The ways of the LORD are right;
the righteous walk in them, but the rebellious stumble in them.