A Poem For My Friends In Kansas

For my friends in Kansas:

“Home Town” by William Stafford

Peace on my little town, a speck in the safe,
comforting, impersonal immensity of Kansas.
Benevolence like a gentle haze on its courthouse
(the model of Greek pillars to me)
on its quiet little bombshell of a library,
on its continuous, hidden, efficient sewer system.

Sharp, amazed, steadfast regard on its more upright citizenry,
my nosy, incredible, delicious neighbors.

Haunting invasion of a train whistle to my friends,
moon-gilding, regular breaths of the old memories to them
the old whispers, old attempts, old beauties, ever new.

Peace on my little town, haze-blessed, sun-friended,
dreaming sleepy days under the world-champion sky.

“Home Town” by William Stafford from Another World Instead.

Here Is What Gerrymandering Looks Like

Here is an example what gerrymandering looks like. It is an anti-democratic practice that is used to guarantee safe seats for Congressmen. It is practiced by both parties.

When we say that in America there is “one man, one vote,” gerrymandering compromises this bedrock principle of our democratic republic. In some circumstances gerrymandering is used to guarantee that minorities will have a voice in Congress. The goal might be noble, but the practice works against the necessary competition of ideas in the marketplace of ideas.

All Congressional districts include the same number of voters, but gerrymandering ends up, as well, excluding equal representation based upon the one man/one vote principle.

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Some Universities Cracking Down On Offensive Religious Decorations

From Campus Reform

With Christmas approaching, universities are cracking down on potentially offensive religious decorations, all but banning displays of the “Nativity Scene” and images of the “crucifixion.” At Missouri State University, for example, a list of “holiday decoration guidelines” warns that it would “generally be inappropriate” to display items such as “a cross,” “drawings of Jesus or Mohammed,” “the Nativity Scene,” and “the Bible or Koran” in common areas of the university. “Images that seem neutral to some may be experienced as religious by others with different traditions.”

Instead, Missouri State suggests displaying secular seasonal decorations, recommending non-descript “greenery” or simply some generic “winter scenes” (which could include images of “bells” or “flowers”). The document also clears wreaths, snowmen, and Santa Claus as acceptable decor for public spaces, and graciously acknowledges that “faculty and staff may place holiday material (secular or sacred) within their personal space and personal offices.”

Similarly, the College at Brockport, State University of New York encourages students and faculty members to select “culturally sensitive holiday decorations” that are “general and non-specific to any religion.”

Also, see Rod Dreher’s post, Safe Space For College Commies. Dreher writes,

The faculty senate of Samford University — not Reed, or Oberlin, or some other godless Yankee college, but a Baptist college in Alabama — is refusing to recognize a new chapter of Young Americans for Freedom (YAF) because language in its 1960s-era founding charter could be triggering to communists.

The rest of the post is worth the read. Colleges can be very strange places.

Andrew Wilson’s List of 1oo Books Read for 2016

I follow the ministry and writing of Andrew Wilson in England. He is one of the new breed of pastors who take their PhDs to the local church and keep alive the conversation between theology, the university, the church and the world. I particularly appreciate the clear way in which stands in the mainstream of Christian moral orthodoxy and interacts thoughtfully with secularity.

His interaction with Rob Bell on Justin Brierly’s radio program “Unbelievable” was impressive.  There are several more episodes with Wilson on Unbelievable that are worth listening to.

Here is his list of 100 books he read in 2016. As a general rule I want to be reading what Wilson is reading.