As I look back on my nearly 20-year teaching career at Pacific Union College, one class stands out as my favorite--Argumentation and Debate. I doubt the students benefited anywhere as much as I did from the experience. Certainly good presentation skills and excellent research were helpful, but the real benefit was, I believe, found elsewhere.
Episcopal bishop John Shelby Spong is noted for warning that in fundamentalist organizations, the mere asking of a question may be considered tantamount to heresy. He would know, his positions have resulted in death threats. While not wishing to retain that moniker when my name is considered, I still feel that this Sabbath’s lesson forces me to ask the question, “So why do we keep the Sabbath?”I don’t ask it rhetorically, as I hope to address it in a way that will at least satisfy me.
The first hint that the creation of our world takes place within a dangerous universe comes in Chapter One, verses 3-5. On the first day, God creates ‘light’ and calls it ‘good’; God then ‘separates’ the ‘light from the darkness’ and names the light ‘day’ and the ‘darkness he calls ‘night’. Curiously, God offers a positive evaluation of ‘light’ without providing any parallel evaluation of the quality of ‘darkness’. Simply put, although the narrative, at this stage, resists adopting the normative binary opposition of light/dar
Those readers familiar with the short story, “The Lottery” by Shirley Jackson know that the title is misleading since money plays no role in this ‘lottery’. When discussing this story with a first-year English Composition class, students are initially confused by the outcome of the lottery. Like in the narratives of the Old Testament, the practice of stoning remains a custom for the villagers in the story as well as those living in neighboring towns. However the annual stoning is not a form of punishment but a tradition. And the lottery is the system by which a rando