Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Letting the Light In

Can't stop ruminating since the election... I'm convinced my understanding of politics barely "cracks" the surface, and the light of that reality has sent me digging!

I decided to start over with Hillsdale's free online courses. I watched about five lectures earlier in the year and then lost interest, so this week I began again. (I now have much greater motivation!) After re-watching the lecture I had left off with, I realized I needed Curt to join me so we could talk and get a better grasp on the concepts together. So, he agreed and we began this morning. I'm excited! I wish I could convince all of you to join us. I think you'd find benefit, and we could learn by discussing together! :) It's really unbelievable that Hillsdale is offering these online courses free.

Hillsdale has a careful approach when it comes to discussing specific faith issues. I'm actually thankful for that. From what I have heard, no one tries to place a particular doctrinal grid over what we read or discuss. However, It is important (for Christians) to constantly keep in mind how our trust in Jesus relates to what we hear as we watch. So far, the lecturers I've listened to demonstrate solid belief in God, as did our founding fathers. I share (with Hillsdale) the belief that there are some truths--one might call them "laws of nature"--which are obvious realities all humans will accept if they honestly observe the world around them.

Our LaRae, a sophomore at the college, continues to develop and deepen her grasp of what she believes to be true as she sits through lecture after lecture and reads page after page of the Great Books of the Western tradition. Hillsdale has been the perfect place for her to this point. She has seen how when you read the philosophers and ancient historians of the Greek and Roman tradition, you can see they grasp nuggets of truth here and there. She recently told me (in essence), "Momma, the beauty of Jesus is how he gives the big picture that pulls all those nuggets together in one comprehensive reality." She also added, after sitting through an amazingly inspiring lecture on Beowulf, that "the hope Jesus brings in the midst of so much hopelessness and confusion is a beautiful thing!"

You might find Hillsdale's Honor code of interest. I've copied it below. I find their use of personal "self-government" insightful. In parenting, I learned the value of imposing "mommy control" until my children were capable of self-control. I remember talking to our girls when they were quite young about the fact that I was anxious to be able to give them control over their own lives, but that I couldn't until they demonstrated they were capable of making wise decisions on their own--before God. The Apostle Peter talks about self-control as does Paul. I love these beautiful verses.

For by these He has granted to us His precious and magnificent promises, in order that by them you might become partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world by lust. Now for this very reason also, applying all diligence, in your faith supply moral excellence, and in your moral excellence, knowledge; and in your knowledge, self-control, and in your self-control, perseverance, and in your perseverance, godliness; and in your godliness, brotherly kindness, and in your brotherly kindness, love. For if these qualities are yours and are increasing, they render you neither useless nor unfruitful in the true knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ.
 (2Peter 1:4-8 NAS)

But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control;  (Gal 5:22-23 NAS)

In keeping with the original and abiding mission of Hillsdale College, each entering freshman signs the following document, committing himself or herself to participate fully and honorably in that mission.

Hillsdale College Honor Code
A Hillsdale College student is honorable in conduct, honest in word and deed, dutiful in study and service and respectful of the rights of others. Through education the student rises to self-government. 
Understanding the Code

Hillsdale College was founded in 1844 out of gratitude to God “for the inestimable blessings resulting from the prevalence of civil and religious liberty and intelligent piety in the land . . . . ” Its original and abiding mission is “to furnish all persons who wish, irrespective of nation, color, or sex, a literary, scientific or theological education . . . and to combine with this, such moral, social and artistic instruction and culture as will best develop the minds and improve the hearts of the students.”

True education of the mind and heart teaches and requires self-government. Self-government calls for the active cultivation of intellectual and moral excellence and humility before our Creator. It commands courage in pursuit of justice and diligence in performing the duties of scholarship. Self-government instructs each person to hold honor sacred.

Life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness are every person's natural rights. Mindful of these gifts from God, Hillsdale College students uphold their rights with care for the common good.

Self-government is a challenge with the promise of a rich reward: liberty of the soul. A soul enjoys liberty when it is ordered—when its passions are ruled by reason and its habit is virtue. Hillsdale College exists for the improvement and ultimate happiness of its students. This great and enduring happiness is its highest purpose. 
Guided by faculty, staff and their parents, Hillsdale College students learn to cherish the liberty of the soul; to defend, as the College founders declared, the “civil and religious liberty” of the American order; and to live with “intelligent piety” as self-governing citizens and scholars.
Virtus tentamine gaudet. Strength rejoices in the challenge. This truth, the motto of Hillsdale College, means that to be strong in virtue, one must welcome a challenge. In offering its students the challenge of self-government, Hillsdale College asks its students to act at all times worthy of the blessings of liberty.

In the midst of our disappointment over the direction our nation is going, I pray we can all take heart. May we find inspiration and share the hope that if enough of us band together to seek truth and understanding, maybe we can make a difference. For sure, if not in this world, in the next... as far as helping others find their way to Jesus, the source of all truth.