Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Three Beautiful Things 03/02/10: Kim Barnes Moves Many, Free Thought, Free Thinking Christian

1. I knew it wasn't true throughout the room. A few students groused about Kim Barnes' lyrical, moving memoir In the Wilderness being boring, hard to follow. I didn't defend Barnes. She doesn't need me to defend her. Before the day was over a larger number of students told me Barnes' story had made them cry, that they couldn't put down the book. I beamed.

2. I wish I could devote every minute and hour of my teaching days to Robert Grudin's thoughts on Copia and the way he invites us to develop open, generous, forgiving, unpunctuated, and free minds as we try to understand truth and invites us, as we begin to work out those truths to do so with minds that are open, generous, forgiving, unpunctuated, and free. The book? Robert Grudin, On Dialogue: An Essay in Free Thought.

3. I confessed to my evening class that learning to think freely, to welcome all ideas (as best I can), to not prejudge others' views, to try to look at and understand things from as many points of view as possible has done more to bring my Christian faith alive than anything else I've ever done. Sometimes I have to say this. I'm not interested in "witnessing" to my students, but I hear students say things about the narrowness of Christianity and once in a while I just have to let it pop out that this open, genial, listening, generous-minded, forgiving, lenient, free thinking middle-aged man they've been working with is a Christian.

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