Archive for June, 2017

Summer

Well, Summer is here in Washington (DC), the temperature is near 90, and the baseball team just gained a lead in their game. My lawn mower is in the shop, where I should have taken it in the “off season”. Despite promises to have it ready in a week, I am making early inquiries about borrowing one for the next cutting.

Another political excitement this week with the testimony of the former director of the FBI about what the President expected from him has brought on another political scandal that will be investigated into the Fall (at a minimum). The President continues to travel and issue statements that his staff attempts to clarify, downplay, and generally wish had not been made. We can expect this to continue, as will the special committee of Congress that is investigating the whole mess, existing and prospective.

All in all, a more active summer than I had expected.

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My Values

Tuesday was the 72nd anniversary of the invasion of France by Allied armies. Seventy two years ago this past week was the Battle of Midway where the planes from three American carriers destroyed four of the Japanese carriers that had attacked Pearl Harbor on the previous December 7th. My father was principal of a rural school (grades 1 through 11) and we had a short wave radio. When school was not in session, I had little to do but listen and ride my bike around the school yard. I was able to listen to DNB, the German short wave radio as well as some stations in the U.S. l had been able to keep up with the war from its beginning.

The excited reports of the battle of Midway and the Invasion of France were not only fascinating, but laid the basis for my understanding of what was to become the history of the times in which l grew up. In the summer of 1950, North Korea invaded South Korea. To avoid the draft I volunteered (or was volunteered by an admiral) for the navy and upon graduation spent two years on active duty.

Much of the values which have shaped my life have been shaped by the total process of war: sense of duty

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St. Augustine

Many years ago, further back than I want to remember, I made a professional trip to Central America to visit professional schools of education in three different countries. Since I was going to spend a substantial amount of time on airplanes, I took The City of God by St Augustine to read. I finished it, (all 867 pages) but I had to reread, concentrate and spend a lot of time trying to put his ideas into my context. At the end of this trip, I came home and went to our swimming pool to assume the role of timer in my children’s swimming meets. Without moving directly to a classroom for use,  St. Augustine probably never became an essential part of my professional philosophy.

In looking through our library recently, I found a biography of Augustine, in 149 pages: The Restless Heart, by Michael Marshall. Unlike my first reading, this one focuses on his life and how he arrived at his theology. In his early life he worked his way through contemporary religions, Manichaeism and Gnosticism for example, and then left his home in Carthage for Rome. There, he became much more liberal in his life, dropped his wife for a lover and generally led a more inclusive life. His study of religions led him to Christianity which essentially took hold of his life. He was baptized in Milan in 387 A.D. and later returned to North Africa. He became Bishop of Hippo where he spent the rest of his life in the Christian church studying and writing.

This author takes you through Augustine’s life in a way that gives you the feeling for what the man became: a Christian.  The publishers have provided plenty of photographs to show the area he lived and worked in.

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