The first two clauses of the First Amendment to the Constitution of the United States of America reads: “Congress shall make no law respecting the establishment of religion or prohibiting the free exercise thereof.” This seems like a simple statement and when read in its historical context the original intent seems quite clear. The European conquerors that were establishing their new outposts on the soil of the Apache and Navaho all came from “Christian” countries where certain brands of Christianity were fused with state identity.
When she spoke, silence overpowered the atmosphere. When she spoke, her spellbound audiences voluntarily surrendered to her hypnotically cadenced and carefully crafted words. When she spoke, sympathizers and critics alike could not help but marvel at her ability to be heard. When she spoke, her probing and penetrating prose proposed powerful potions for improving pressing problems. When she spoke, her unique experience shaped her calm and collected countenance that had countered countless calamities. But she had not always spoken so effectively.
Sticks and Stones
Probably the most famous wolf stories originating from the West are Aesop’s “The Boy Who Cried Wolf,” and Sergei Prokoviev’s “Peter and the Wolf.” The former features an unnamed shepherd boy who repeatedly alarmed the villagers by deceitfully claiming a wolf was about to attack his sheep. On the disastrous night when a wolf did actually sneak up on his flock, the people ignored his shrieks for help until the ferocious canine silenced them.
If you ever visit Masaka, Uganda, and serendipitously meet a boy named Keith Augustus Burton, what is the first thing that would come to your mind? There actually is an infant in the region who bears that name, but if I could borrow some words from the late Michael Jackson, I need you to know that “the kid is not my son!” Then is this just a coincidence? Absolutely not! Well, if it’s not a fluke occurrence, how can it be explained?
While Georges Polti presents an argument for as many as thirty-six predictable plots in literature,[i] I tend to agree with Foster-Harris’ trinitarian understanding of a single plot that is characterized by one of three “types” of development.[ii] The first two are self-explanatory: “Type A, happy ending” and “Type B, sad ending.” “Type C” is more complex, with the “ending” occurring at the beginning of the narrative, and the explanation provided as the narrative develops.
How do we speak with integrity about sustainable development amongst a culture that embraces a worldview of disintegration? Let me explain. From a Seventh-day Adventist perspective, the failing world is heading towards destruction, and only the power of the Christ can implement real and lasting change. When the future is viewed through our apocalyptic lenses, it is the perpetrators of global warming who score the final goal.
I wonder how many people believed President Clinton when he looked into the camera and with a steeled face and a semblance of righteous indignation declared to the American people, “I did not have sexual relations with that woman.” Just in case people did not know “which” of his accusers he was referencing, he was clear to specify “Miss Lewinsky.” Or maybe he didn’t really intend to be specific—there are thousands of “Miss Lewinskys” out there who never even knew him. I’m surprised he never used this line of logic when being questioned by the grand jury.
This year, the prestigious Morehouse College was among the fortunate few to be afforded the privilege of having a sitting president deliver the graduation address. Thousands sat reverently in the open arena as the stubborn drizzle soaked their newly acquired garments. The gray skies and persistent precipitation were not enough to damp the spirits of the graduates and celebrants who were transfixed on the one whose presence transformed a routine event into an unforgettable moment.
In the spring of 2005, my attention was curiously piqued by two major train wrecks in Asia. The first occurred during rush-hour in Tokyo on Monday, April 25, when an intercity train derailed with such force that it became embedded in the ground floor garage of an apartment complex. Investigators concluded that the crash occurred when the driver attempted to manoeuver a curve at 100km/h at a point on the track when the maximum speed was 70km/h.