Summer recess for a teacher

Stress Prison.jpg

Need I say more?

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A Coloradoan exile in Texas

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In an article on “6 Best Hikes in Dallas,” D Magazine boasted that “there’s plenty of adventure to be had on local trails.” This Coloradoan laughed out loud. I have searched far and wide but the environs of Dallas do not offer the kind of nature walks that await a hiker in the Rocky Mountain West, which is why this New Yorker cartoon brilliantly captures how I feel about the absence of natural beauty in North Texas.

Pairings of great literature and classical music

Whenever I read literature, I try to pair it with relevant music, which is either based on the literature or mentioned explicitly in it. If you have recommendations, please share them.

Sophocles

Electra

  • Richard Strauss, Elektra

Oedipus Rex

  • Igor Stravinsky, Oedipus Rex

Virgil, The Aeneid

  • Henry Purcell, Dido and Aeneas 
  • Hector Berlioz, Les Troyens (The Trojans)

Ovid, Metamorphoses

  • Christoph Willibald Gluck, Orfeo ed Euridice (Orpheus and Eurydice)
  • Franz Liszt, Orpheus
  • Ludwig van Beethoven, Die Geschöpfe des Prometheus (The Creates of Prometheus)

Dante Alighieri, The Divine Comedy

  • Franz Liszt, A Symphony to Dante’s Divine Comedy (also known as Dante Symphony)
  • Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky, Francesca da Rimini

Sir Gawain and the Green Knight

  • Henry Purcell, King Arthur
  • The Hilliard Ensemble, Medieval English Music: Masters of the 14th and 15 Centuries (Harmonia Mundi)

William Shakespeare

Hamlet

  • Johannes Brahms, Ophelia Lieder
  • Frédéric Chopin, Nocturne in G minor, Op. 15, No. 3
  • Franz Liszt, Hamlet
  • Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky, Hamlet, Fantasy Overture in F Minor, Op. 67
  • Dmitri Shostakovich, Hamlet Suite
  • Dmitri Shostakovich, Song of Ophelia
  • Hector Berlioz, Symphonie fantastique
  • Hector Berlioz, Tristia

Julius Caesar

  • Robert Schumann, Julius Caesar Overture

King Lear

  • Claude Debussy, Le roi Lear
  • Hector Berlioz, King Lear, Op. 4: Overture

Macbeth

  • Giuseppe Verdi, Macbeth
  • Richard Strauss, Macbeth

The Merchant of Venice

  • Vaughan Williams, Serenade to Music (based on Act V, Scene 1)
  • Gabriel Fauré, Shylock, Op. 57

A Midsummer Night’s Dream

  • Jakob Ludwig Felix Mendelssohn, A Midsummer Night’s Dream
  • Benjamin Britten, A Midsummer Night’s Dream

Othello

  • Giuseppe Verdi, Otello
  • Antonín Dvořák, Othello Overture
  • Gioachino Rossini, Otello

Romeo & Juliet

  • Hector Berlioz, Roméo et Juliette
  • Sergei Sergeyevich Prokofiev, Romeo and Juliet
  • Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky, Romeo and Juliet

The Tempest

  • Jean Sibelius, The Tempest (also known as Stormen)
  • Ludwig van Beethoven, Piano Sonata No. 17 (Der Strum, meaning “the tempest” in German)
  • Ludwig van Beethoven, Piano Sonata No. 23 (Appasionata, meaning “passionate” in Italian)

John Bunyan, The Pilgrim’s Progress

  • Vaughan Williams, The Pilgrim’s Progress

George Herbert, The Temple

  • Henry Purcell, Harmonia Sacra (includes “Longing” with the song title based on the first line of the poem, “With sick and famish’d eyes”)
  • John and Charles Wesley, “Teach me, my God and King”
  • Vaughan Williams, Five Mystical Songs (includes “Easter,” “I Got Me Flowers,” “Love Bade Me Welcome,” “The Call,” “Antiphon”)

John Milton, Paradise Lost

  • Joseph Haydn, The Creation (also based on Genesis and the Psalms)

Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, Faust

  • Franz Schubert, “Gretchen am Spinnrade”
  • Robert Schumann, Scenes from Goethe’s Faust 
  • Hector Berlioz, La Damnation de Faust
  • Franz Liszt, Faust Symphony

Herman Melville, Billy Budd

  • Benjamin Britten, Billy Budd

Friedrich Nietzsche, Thus Spoke Zarathustra

  • Richard Strauss, Also sprach Zarathustra
  • Gustav Mahler, Third Symphony (includes “Zarathustra’s Roundelay”)

Thomas Hardy, The Return of the Native

  • Gustav Holst, Egdon Heath

Oscar Wilde, Salome

  • Richard Strauss, Salome

Leo Tolstoy, The Kreutzer Sonata

  • Ludwig van Beethoven, Kreutzer Sonata

Willa Cather, The Song of the Lark

  • Christoph Willibald Gluck, Orfeo ed Euridice
  • Antonín Dvořák, Symphony No. 9 (also known as New World Symphony)
  • Richard Wagner, Das Rheingold

W. H. Auden, The Age of Anxiety

  • Leonard Bernstein, Symphony No. 2: The Age of Anxiety

Willa Cather on Denver and Chicago

Denver.jpgThere are sundry motives behind reading literature. One of them is to deepen a sense of place, which explains why Willa Cather’s romantic vision of the American West rivets me. In my current reading of The Song of the Lark (1915), the second novel in her Prairie Trilogy, Cather emplots me into the American West of the late 19th century, specifically two locales that are near and dear to my own story. Both quotations below activate the senses and prick the heart with a feeling for the places that are artfully described.

Denver

As a native of Denver, I love this passage because the narrator invites me to board a train moving toward the Queen City of the Plains:

As the short twilight came on, Giddy took a turn in the cupola, and Ray came down and sat with Thea on the rear platform of the caboose and watched the darkness come in soft waves over the plain. They were now about thirty miles from Denver, and the mountains looked very near. The great toothed wall behind which the sun had gone down now separated into four distinct ranges, one behind the other. They were a very pale blue, a color scarcely stronger than wood smoke, and the sunset had left bright streaks in the snow-filled gorges. In the clear, yellow-streaked sky the stars were coming out, flickering like newly lighted lamps, growing steadier and more golden as the sky darkened and the land beneath them fell into complete shadow. It was a cool, restful darkness that was not black or forbidding, but somehow open and free; the night of high plains where there is no moistness or mistiness in the atmosphere. (Part I, Chapter XVI)

Chicago

As a former college student of Chicagoland, I love this passage because I have experienced the very same commotion and spectacle in the Windy City:

During this first winter Thea got no city consciousness. Chicago was simply a wilderness through which one had to find one’s way. She felt no interest in the general briskness and zest of the crowds. The crash and scramble of that big, rich, appetent Western city she did not take in at all, except to notice that the noise of the drays and street-cars tired her. The brilliant window displays, the splendid furs and stuffs, the gorgeous flower-shops, the gay candy-shops, she scarcely noticed. At Christmas-time she did feel some curiosity about the toy-stores, and she wished she held Thor’s little mittened fist in her hand as she stood before the windows. The jewelers’ windows, too, had a strong attraction for her—she had always liked bright stones. When she went into the city she used to brave the biting lake winds and stand gazing in at the displays of diamonds and pearls and emeralds; the tiaras and necklaces and earrings, on white velvet. These seemed very well worth while to her, things worth coveting. (Part II, Chapter V)

On the so-called sacred Enneagram

Sacred Enneagram.jpgThere is no disjunction between Christianity and psychology because there is no disjunction between soul and mind, as the Greatest Commandment makes clear (Matt. 22:37). Consequently, we can engage the psychometric tool of the Enneagram without fear or suspicion. Lest we commit the genetic fallacy, we do not throw out the Enneagram solely because its origins are dubious, although we should remain alert to whether it veers toward a practice of gnostic numerology. Since all truth is God’s truth, we can affirm whatever truth is available from the Enneagram, while also rejecting any falsehood or detriment. Call this the approach of “critical appropriation” or “critical appreciation.”

After reading Christopher Heuertz’ book, The Sacred Enneagram, two salient take-aways emerged for me. First, I will not become an Enneagram enthusiast for several reasons mentioned below (see “Drawbacks”), which amounts to its very limited utility. Second, I am not convinced of its alleged “sacred nature” if, by “sacred,” we mean set apart as holy (p. 204). A profane (read: secular) tool is not without benefit, but its potential to help is modest.

B E N E F I T S

  1. Self-knowledge. For the sake of honesty and growth, I need self-knowledge that includes my “Childhood Wound,” my “False Self,” and my “coping addictions,” although it is not necessary to use this language, especially when there is a better alternative found in the Holy Scriptures. More on this later.
  2. Knowledge of the other. For the sake of authentic, deep, and harmonious relationships, I also need a knowledge of the other, which includes the aforementioned aspects.
  3. Contemplative spirituality. I can affirm, “Giving ourselves to solitude, silence, and stillness not only nurtures the inner spirituality our souls long for but also quiets the mind in a way that offers us the change to make major corrections to our behavior that are otherwise obscured by life’s noises. It helps us reconnect with God through deep and focused communion. It helps us face the series of minor deaths required in our pilgrimages home” (p. 172).

D R A W B A C K S

  1. Excessive jargon. While every field of knowledge has its jargon, I find there is too much specialized language associated with the Enneagram, which unnecessarily complicates and conceals its straightforward message: (1) “we lie to ourselves about who we think we are,” (2) “we can come clean about those illusions,” and (3) “we can find our way back to God” (p. 25). I got lost—ironically—in the “existential hole” of all the terms, including Essential Nature (original virtue), Childhood Wound (attack on virtue), Basic Desire (virtue intention), Basic Fear (virtue compulsion), Passion and Fixation (virtue addictions), not to mention Holy Ideas, wings, directions of integration and disintegration, Intelligence Centers (head, body, heart), Anchor Points, Harmony Triads (relationists, pragmatists, idealists), Dominant Affect Groups (rejection, attachment, frustration types), Prayer Postures, and Prayer Intentions. Enough!
  2. Obfuscating jargon. The quantity of jargon is not my only concern, but also the quality because it often obfuscates reality as understood by biblical religion.
  • The author’s use of “egoic language in a neutral or indifferent aspect” hides our sinful nature after the Fall (p. 28).
  • The False Self is “false” not only because of illusion and ignorance, as the author contends, but because of rebellion and concupiscence (disordered desire). The distinction between False Self and True Self suggests the human predicament is related to knowledge or the lack thereof, when our true predicament is due to the slavery of sin and the sentence of death, which requires deliverance from a Savior—not “self-liberation” through deep and healing awareness (p. 26, 32, 207). Therefore, the biblical distinction between “old self” and “new self” is preferable because it emphasizes that we need to be totally changed from the inside out (through the imputed and imparted righteousness of Christ).
  • The terms “shadow” and “tragic flaw” could be euphemisms for the ugly truth that, apart from the saving grace of Christ, we were enemies of God (Rom. 5:10). In the author’s account, humans seem more like characters in an ancient Greek tragedy, doomed to an unchosen fate (read: type), rather than biblical characters who chose their own fate. Our tragedy is not merely “a loss of contact with our True Self” but division from God, which requires his “ministry of reconciliation” through Christ (2 Cor. 5:18).
  • The biblical words “backsliding” and “rebellion” are preferable to “disintegration” because they emphasize a conscious and subconscious exercise of the will against God, whereas disintegration exonerates the guilty will as “a subconscious self-preservation instinct to prevent an unhealthy person from falling farther down the hole they feel stuck in” (p. 69).
  • The author writes, “So the Fixation and Passion of each Enneagram type become a sort of addiction loop, a misguided attempt to find our way home, back to our True Self where we are aligned with our Holy Idea and Virtue” (p. 73). This is an unhelpful abstraction and euphemism for the biblical concept of “indwelling sin” (Rom. 7:21). The author distances himself from the sin language of the Bible, preferring to think of the Passions as “a disorder of awareness and an interference with action” and a “pathology,” although he concedes that “our Passions can distort into sin” (pp. 76-78). This is bad advice—“Whether we understand the Enneagram’s Passions as sin, sin tendencies, the shape of each man’s tragic flaw, or the yearning to return to our True Self, the invitation here is to find the beauty in our imperfections however they manifest themselves”—because we should hate what God hates, and he hates our resident evil (Isa. 5:20, Prov. 6:16-19, Prov. 8:13, Ps. 97:10, Rom. 12:9).
  • Original sin does not begin with each human birth, as the author implies, but goes back to the origins of humanity’s parentage. Although created in “original righteousness,” Adam and Eve chose sin and, as a result, we have inherited their spiritual disease. Therefore, there is no time “in the earliest days of infancy” when “we are as close to perfect as we’ll ever be in our lives—the most unencumbered from our tragic flaw and the most uncontaminated by its consequences” (p. 72).
  1. Violation of Ockham’s Razor. A maxim called Ockham’s Razor holds that holds entities are not to be multiplied beyond necessity, which thereby favors simpler theories over complex ones. Are there really “nine ways we get lost, but also nine ways we can come home to our True Self”? Are there really “nine ways we lie to ourselves about who we think we are, nine ways we can come clean about those illusions, and nine ways we can find our way back to God” (p.25)? The stipulation of “nine ways” seems arbitrary, based on a social construction rather than natural law. We may appear to get lost and lie to ourselves in multiple ways, but doesn’t the Bible inform us that there is actually one way we get lost (disobeying God) and one way we lie to ourselves (“I am god”)? Also, there may appear to be multiple ways to come home to our True Self and return to God, but doesn’t the Bible inform us that there is actually one way to come home to our True Self (repentance for disobeying God) and return to God (surrender to Jesus Christ)? Following Ockham’s Razor, I favor the Bible’s simpler theory of human alienation and restoration over the Enneagram’s needlessly complex theory.
  2. False authority. The author writes, “Some of us think God is speaking outside of us, and so we’re always looking for signs or symbols of Divine movement in the world and fail to recognize that we don’t need to look outside ourselves to hear from the voice of Love who resides within” (p. 87). Once external authority is dismissed, we should not be surprised that the Enneagram gets elevated to reveal our internal authority: “God is here now, closer than our very breath, and can be found in our Intelligence Centers—the Enneagram’s way of helping us to recognize our primary mode of perceiving the world through either our head, heart, or body. Each of these Intelligence Centers offer us a different way of experiencing the loving presence and voice of God (pp. 87-88). The author advises, “When we learn to trust our primary center, we learn to discern.” On the contrary, when we learn to trust God, we learn to discern. The Enneagram cannot be a substitute for God’s revelation in the Holy Scriptures and Nature, both of which are external to the self. The self cannot be its own guide, as Augustine realized in his Confessions: “Without you, what am I to myself but a guide to my own self-destruction?” In this sentence, the word “Enneagram” should be replaced with “the Bible”: “The Enneagram, through its unabashed truth-telling, invites us to return to our essential nature, the home for our souls” (pp. 102-103). Our homecoming with God must involve God, and God has two books in his library for us to read ourselves back into relationship with him: the Bible (special revelation) and Creation (natural revelation).
  3. Missing Christocentrism. What is the Enneagram for? The author writes, “Ultimately the goal of our journey with the Enneagram is to move from type to identity, to become rooted in dignity and reflect our essential True Self” (p. 184). The glaring omission here is Jesus Christ. The negligible role of Christ in the author’s account means this project will always be frustrated because our True Self must abide “in Christ” (John 15:1-8). To become more human (the project of Christian humanism) and more divine (the project of sanctification or deification), I must conform to the image of the perfect God-man, Jesus Christ (Rom. 8:29). I am patterned by that Pattern. The telos of my pilgrimage is union with Christ—not reflecting my essential True Self, which is confused without Christ.

R E L A T E D

We are but flowers

Peony

Pink Peony, by Christopher Benson

These are thy wonders, Lord of love,
To make us see we are but flowers that glide;
         Which when we once can find and prove,
Thou hast a garden for us where to bide;
                      Who would be more,
                      Swelling through store,
         Forfeit their Paradise by their pride.

— George Herbert, “The Flower

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Purple Iris, by Christopher Benson

a burst of iris so that
come down for
breakfast

we searched through the
rooms for
that

sweetest odor and at
first could not
find its

source then a blue as
of the sea
struck

startling us from among
those trumpeting
petals

—William Carlos Williams, “Iris”

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Red Rose, by Christopher Benson

O my Luve is like a red, red rose
   That’s newly sprung in June;
O my Luve is like the melody

That’s sweetly played in tune.

—Robert Burns, “A Red, Red Rose

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Pink Peony II, by Christopher Benson

Do you also hurry, half-dressed and barefoot, into the garden,
and softly,
and exclaiming of their dearness,
fill your arms with the white and pink flowers,

with their honeyed heaviness, their lush trembling,
their eagerness
to be wild and perfect for a moment, before they are
nothing, forever?

—Mary Oliver, “Peonies

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Pink Peony III, by Christopher Benson

The grasses in the field have toppled,
and in places it seems that a large, now

absent, animal must have passed the night.

—Jane Kenyon, “Heavy Summer Rain

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Purple Iris II, by Christopher Benson

Man that is born of a woman is of few days and full of trouble. He cometh forth like a flower, and is cut down: he fleeth also as a shadow, and continueth not.

—Job 14:1-2, KJV

Do what you are

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John Coltrane performing at the Drome Lounge, in Detroit, in June 1966. Photograph by Lent Sinclair

As a jazz enthusiast, I can never forget this passage from Os Guinness’ must-read book on vocation, The Call: Finding and Fulfilling the Central Purpose of Your Life:

Artie Shaw, a famous clarinetist in the old Big Band days, shared his heart with an interviewer. “Maybe twice in my life I reached what I wanted to. Once we were playing ‘These Foolish Things‘ and at the end the band stops and I play a little cadenza. That cadenza – no one can do it better. Let’s say it’s five bars. That’s a very good thing to have done in a lifetime. An artist should be judged by his best, just as an athlete. Pick out my one or two best things and say, ‘That’s what we did: all the rest was rehearsal.'”

John Coltrane, the saxophonist who played for Dizzie Gillespie and Miles Davis, said something very similar. In the early 1950s “Trane” nearly died of a drug overdose in San Francisco, and when he recovered he quit drugs and drinking and came to put his faith in God. Some of his best jazz came after that, including “A Love Supreme,” an ardent thirty-two minute outpouring to thank God for his blessing and offer him Coltrane’s very soul.

After one utterly extraordinary rendition of “A Love Supreme,” Coltrane stepped off the stage, put down his saxophone, and said simply, “Nunc dimittis.” (These are the opening Latin words for the ancient prayer of Simeon, sung traditionally at evening prayers: “Lord, now lettest thou thy servant depart in peace, for mine eyes have seen thy salvation.”) Coltrane felt he could never play the piece more perfectly. If his whole life had been lived for that passionate thirty-two minute jazz prayer, it would have been worth it. He was ready to go.

“To play was to be,” said Yehudi Menuhin. “All the rest was rehearsal,” said Artie Shaw. “Nunc dimittis,” said John Coltrane. Somehow we human beings are never happier than when we are expressing the deepest gifts that are truly us. And often we get a revealing glimpse of these gifts early in life. Graham Greene wrote in The Power and the Glory, “There is always one moment in childhood when the door opens and lets the future in.” Countless examples could be added to these stories, but they all point to another crucial aspect of calling – God normally calls us along the line of our giftedness, but the purpose of giftedness is stewardship and service, not selfishness.

Eau d’Italie

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Franco’s Bar | Positano, Italy

Birthed by Le Sirenuse, a luxury hotel on the Amalfi Coast, Eau d’Italie is a collection of fragrances that invite “a journey through the senses of Italian creativity.” Theeauditalie_m original fragrance, Eau d’Italie, remains the best. Imagine an evening outdoors at Franco’s Bar, which belongs to the hotel and overlooks the Li Galli Islands, where legendary sirens bewitched sailors with their irresistible songs. Surrounded by magnolia flowers and citrus trees, you drink an Aperol spritz that mimics the colors of the sunset. A gentle sea breeze carries hints of incense and musk. Wearing Eau d’Italie transports you to paradise.

NOTES
Top: Incense, Bergamot, Blackcurrant Buds
Middle: Mineral Notes, Magnolia, Tuberose
Base: Amber, Patchouli, Yellow Sweet Clover, Music

The marks of an educated Christian

I am teleological educator. By this I mean that we should begin with the end (telos, from the the Greek τέλος for “end” or “purpose”) of education and then work backwards. In the final chapter of The Idea of a Christian College (1975), Wheaton College philosophy professor, Arthur F. Holmes, turns to “The Marks of an Educated Christian.” I appreciate his emphasis on character formation through the practice of virtues, responsible action, and self-knowledge. The content below is reproduced in bullet points rather than paragraphs for ease of reading.

1.  Spiritual Virtues

  • an unreserved commitment to God and his purposes for us in this world
  • a confidence in the gospel
  • self-giving devotion (faith, hope, and love)

2.  Moral Virtues

  • love
  • fairness
  • the courage of one’s convictions
  • a thoroughgoing integrity
  • a commitment to justice and love in every area of life

3.  Intellectual Virtues

  • breadth of understanding
  • openness to new ideas
  • intellectual honesty about other views and about the problems in one’s own
  • analytic and critical skills
  • not just verbal skills and powers of communication but grace and eloquence therein as well
  • the ability to say the right thing in the right way at the right time
  • a sense of history
  • an imagination that frees us to work at both old and new problems in fresh ways
  • to ask fresh questions
  • a wisdom that gets down to basic principles
  • spotting assumptions and seeing what they entail
  • seeing what is right and good and true
  • making sound decisions

4.  Responsible Action 

  • conscientiousness
  • helpfulness
  • a servantly but not servile manner
  • decisiveness
  • self-discipline
  • persistence
  • the ability to correct one’s course and start afresh
  • to maintain good family relations
  • active involvement in church and community
  • to be an effective agent of needful and helpful change

5.  Self-Knowledge

  • an honest appraisal of our own strengths and weaknesses
  • no false modesty and no overconfidence
  • a willingness to address those weaknesses and do something about them
  • an equal willingness to invest one’s strengths
  • knowing what has to be learned
  • knowing how I can go at learning it
  • the ability to learn from others

QUESTIONS: What do you think are the marks of an educated Christian? What would be your main categories? Would you criticize anything in Holmes’ account, or add to it if something is missing?

Summer and Fall reading 2019

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During every summer recess from the academic year, I come up with a reading plan, which is usually too ambitious. Nevertheless, these are the books that I want to read in the coming months.

L E I S U R E

F I C T I O N

  • Willa Cather, The Song of the Lark (1915). Having read O Pioneers! (1913) and My Ántonia (1918) in this author’s Prairie Trilogy, I look forward to The Song of the Lark, which is set in my native Colorado and college town of Chicago.
  • N. Scott Momaday, House Made of Dawn (1968). To deepen my sense of place in the American West, I am eager to read this masterpiece of Native American literature and 1969 Pulitzer Prize winner for fiction.
  • Walker Percy, The Second Coming (1980). Since I read The Last Gentleman (1966) this spring, I shall continue the story of protagonist Will Barrett in the sequel that was published fourteen years later.

N O N – F I C T I O N

  • Søren Kierkegaard, Training in Christianity (trans. Walter Lowrie). Of the many works he wrote during 1848, his “richest and most fruitful year,” the Danish philosopher specified Training in Christianity as “the most perfect and truest thing.”
  • Sylvia Walsh, Kierkegaard and Religion: Personality, Character, and Virtue. Sylvia Walsh, along with C. Stephen Evans, is my favorite Kierkegaard scholar. Her latest contribution sounds very promising because of its focus on “personality, character, and virtue,” which will tie into my reading on the Enneagram (see below).
  • Arthur F. Holmes, The Idea of a Christian College. This is a classic work by the late professor of philosophy at Wheaton College. Even though it is concerned with higher education, the insights are relevant to secondary education.
  • Todd C. Ream & Perry L. Glanzer, The Idea of a Christian College: A Reexamination for Today’s University. Much has changed since 1975 when Holmes published his book, so these authors “account for changes in how people view the church and themselves as human agents, and propose a vision for the Christian college in light of the fact that so many Christian colleges now look and act more like research universities.”
  • Peter Wehner, The Death of Politics: How to Heal Our Frayed Republic After Trump. More than anyone else, Peter Wehner persuaded me to vote against Donald Trump in the 2016 presidential election thanks to his New York Times op-eds. Wehner is a senior fellow at the Ethics & Public Policy Center who has served three Republican administrations. With the 2020 election looming, I want to read this new book by one of President Trump’s most ardent critics, whose objections are based on conservative and Christian principles. The Axe Files (with David Alexrod), The Long Game (with Jon Ward), and The Bulwark (with Charlie Sykes) podcasts feature Peter Wehner, who is a fascinating guest. 
  • David Brooks, The Second Mountain: The Quest for a Moral Life. I am a longtime reader of conservative writer David Brooks. His creative, searching, and intelligent writing earns my admiration. On a recent road trip, I heard Brooks interviewed on his new and, arguably, most personal book for a Barnes & Noble podcast. Watch or listen to Brooks who appeared as a guest on Oprah Winfrey’s Super Soul Conversations.

W O R K

  • Oscar Wilde, The Happy Prince and Other Tales (1888).The Victorian writer authored two collections of fairy tales. I held a summer seminar on his first collection. Every story has the same heartbeat: what ails human beings is our profound selfishness and what heals us is conformity to the self-sacrificial love of Jesus Christ. See my document with seminar questions and take-aways for each of the five tales.
  • Oscar Wilde, The Picture of Dorian Gray (1890). I will re-read the assigned summer book for 12th grade English.
  • Christopher L. Heuertz, The Sacred Enneagram: Finding Your Unique Path to Spiritual Growth. This title is the common reading for our upper school students. Heuertz shares his perspective on Typology, a podcast hosted by Ian Morgan Cron, author of a bestselling book, The Road Back to You: An Enneagram Journey to Self-Discovery.