Monthly Archives: February 2006

Moonlit Dawn

I awoke this morning to a strange and beautiful dawn. The Sabbath came in with a rich blue morning light shot through with the burnished gold of a lingering full moon. Such a sight, such a wondering sight it was to see the full moon resting on the mountain top as the world grew soft with daylight.

Ah Father, that moon hung like a sign in the dawn sky. What are You telling us? That You are here? That mystery and enchantment cluster close about us and great wonders drop miraculously into our skies if we would but have the heart to see? Oh Moon-Maker, my giver of morning treasure. Thank you for waking me. Know that I have seen. I am awake, body and soul this mysterious blue morning.

My book last night said that humankind is innured to the glory of creation round him. But for me I couldn’t agree less. Father, this world of yours, this earth and sky trembling with storms, this rolling land of trees and bright mountains and moons like signs of war or glory in the morning sky, how could I be blind to them? Thank You, oh thank You for this picture, this moment of glorious sight. I know in my heart beyond any doubt that I live daily in a reality of sacred mystery. I can’t always see it though with these searching eyes. But this blue and gold dawn brought it near, heartbeat, heartsong near.

I am so glad.


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More specifically…

In response to the comment on my last post, I suppose I should give a little more background to my thoughts on this matter. First of all, I don’t intend to criticize the many inspired teachers and professors (among whom are some of my greatest heroes) who are giving their best to education. Nor do I have any judgement for the wonderful students (my best friends being among them) who are faithfully pursuing an education at their respective schools. There are, of course, many excellent colleges teaching subjects that I could never hope to comprehend.

However, this study (no matter how faulty it may be, and there is some truth in it) merely confirms a cultural trend that I have observed and studied in the last few years, and it deeply concerns me. As a culture, and as generation of students, we are reading less and less. Dana Gioia, the head of the NEA initiated a study of “literary reading” in our culture, and his findings were alarming. Literary reading is in dramatic decline with fewer than half of American adults now reading literature, according his survey. Reading at Risk: A Survey of Literary Reading in America reports drops in all groups studied, with the steepest rate of decline – 28 percent – occurring in the youngest age groups. And those age groups include college students.

So, whether or not that study of reading comprehension in students is entirely accurate, there is an in depth, far-reaching study that would suggest it holds some truth. And frankly, I think this is something that needs immediate attention. I don’t criticize the schools, but I ask what needs to be done to mend this. We are living in an age of media and entertainment which has no doubt contributed to the decline of good, old-fashioned reading. It is understandable that our attention is turning more and more to TV, movies, media, internet. But the ability to read is basic to a well-lived, purposeful life, especially if you desire to have any influence or lead in any capacity whatsoever. Dr. Jeff Meyers (Professor of Communication at Bryan College and founder of the summit worldview program at that campus) is always saying to his students;

“if you want to be a leader, you have to be a reader.”

This is a vital skill. The ability to read and fully comprehend what you have just read is how you understand and implement the complex ideas that can change the way you live. Reading forms your perception of reality, opens doors of thought and possiblity that are simply closed otherwise. Reading is necessary to the formation of great minds and souls.

And education obviously has a lot to do with it. Without judging colleges or schools, it has to be said that something is going wrong somewhere. I don’t have a cemented argument or plan yet, but I think that these trends and findings should deeply concern anyone interested in a healthy future. In the words of Dana Gioia:

“America can no longer take active and engaged literacy for granted. As more Americans lose this capability, our nation becomes less informed, active, and independent minded. These are not qualities that a free, innovative, or productive society can afford to lose.”

I agree.

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What is the world coming to?

There is a new study out last week that says that 50% of all students at four-year colleges and 75% of students at technical/2-year schools lack the basic reading comprehension necessary to understand a credit card offer. Or a newspaper editorial.

What is the world coming to?

What does this mean for our generation?

And with Professor Digory (of Narnia fame) I say, “what are they teaching the children at those schools?”

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