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Spring Thing

It seems that spring has begun here in our area. I’ve been hearing killdeers and red wing blackbirds for a couple weeks. I’ve seen robins this week. Willows and poplars are beginning to bud. But the surest sign I know? I found colt’s foot blooming on my walk today. Forget the calendar. Spring has begun!

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A while back I wrote about being a pro. I found a remarkable statement with the same sentiment this weekend in the USA Weekend insert in our local paper (11/4-6/2011, p. 20). Yo-Yo Ma, the world-renowned cellist, said of practice: “Sometimes the hour feels like 3 minutes. Other times it could feel like 20 hours. Its about turning that little switch on inside that goes from ‘I have to do it’ to ‘I want to do it.” That’s the essence of learning anything.”

I have not posted for a while. Between teaching and hay fever and some difficulty with my eye, it’s been a rough fall. Last week we had a treat in our daily chapel that we don’t get nearly often enough: President Jeffery, the president of BBC&S preached out of 2 Samuel on worship. Having him preach in chapel  is always a treat because he consistently preaches with accuracy and clarity.  His sermon is available online at http://www.bbc.edu/chapel/20111103s_jimjeffery.mp3. (I had to wait a couple of days until it was uploaded). I might have liked having him expand a bit on the difference between organized, planned corporate times of worship and life as an act of worship, but I know that you can only cover so much in 40 minutes. Nevertheless, he said some much-needed things about worshiping God the way that God desires and the fear of God. Take a listen. College and Seminary Chapel sermons are regularly available from the BBC&S website, http://www.bbc.edu.

Standing Out

Just before our faculty meetings began in preparation for the new school year my family took a few days of vacation down in the Lancaster County “Amish Country.” It is an area we have visited before, though it was about 10 years ago when last we did so. The beautiful farmlands and country crafts remind us of our time in Nebraska.

While we were there we visited an old Amish farm and home which are kept as a kind of museum to give tours to tourists like us. While on the tour the topic of the Amish’s clothing came up. Someone asked why they wear clothing which makes them so conspicuous in public if their goal is to wear clothing that is the diametrical opposite of prideful showing off. The guide reminded us that in a school which wears uniforms, all the students are dressed exactly alike at school and their garments only stand out when outside of school.

This was a helpful analogy, but it got me thinking. The analogy breaks down. Outside of school, students dress exactly as they please, which turns out to be an odd balance of individuality and conformity which does not scream “I go to Snobbish Prep.” (No, private school students are not snobs, and my point is that they don’t wear the uniform outside of school unless absolutely necessary because they want to blend in with their peers.)

Could it be that it has become a point of pride among the Amish to stand out in society? Does their attire, which appears decidedly odd in the 21st century, scream “Notice me!”? Could they not find attire that is modest, simple, and inconspicuous? Perhaps they are proud of their oddity. I don’t know the Amish well enough to know if that is the case, but it made me question myself. Do I ever, in the way I dress or act, try to stand out and be noticed? Is there pride in my heart in being “different”?  That train of thought was convicting.