Larry Schell

All this jump to the familiar.

Said my name and he said

Larry Schell? Say, do you know X from family Y? Maybe you know my cousin…

All this hotcha know.

Corrected him, and the cooling, on his part.

No Larry. Nobody I should know.

Though maybe…you’re John Lithgow?

Posted in Toronto Reflections | Leave a comment

Austere, perhaps

Wrote about a reverse order high school teacher. Lorne Anderson has also recently written about him. Neil Remington Abramson conveyed similar reflections, as follows:

In high school, there was a Mr X. He was our home room teacher in Grade 10, I think, sent to whip us into shape after a top free-spirited Grade 9. He was short, with a grey crew cut. He also taught science and enjoyed sneaking up on inattentive (or sleeping?) students and slamming his yardstick down on their desks, to get their attention. Standing on his podium, he was at eye level with me, sitting in my desk. I was tall.

I don’t recall him being actually mean. Austere perhaps. And I don’t suppose we were an easy bunch to manage, being part of the bright bunch in a streamed school.

At the time, I didn’t like him, but after a career of teaching, maybe I’m more sympathetic. I don’t like shaming students; try not too. I had a prof in the MBA who did it, but I loved his class, found his approach motivating, and eventually tricked him into thinking I was unprepared , so he’d pick me to start the class and I could shine. I dropped my eyes as he scanned the room, looking for his victim.

I thought at the time that he was nonetheless a fine teacher. Still do. But I’ve never, ever followed his example with my students.

Posted in Education - Primary and Secondary | Leave a comment

How it might start II

Discussed how prejudice can easily develop: those damn Presbyterians, and what they do.

Can happen again, and again. A couple, clients of my legal colleague, were at the elevator after meeting. The wife was wearing what for me was a unique design of hijab. I wondered what country it was from, assuming that hijab style can vary by country.

Her husband answered. Said no national distinction. Thanked me for my interest.

Wife said nothing.

Walked away, wondering if this was part of a cultural “my woman doesn’t talk to strangers”. Internal burnup started. Then thinking about the recently arrived refugees. Wondering about whether this “my woman” attitude was more generally shared. Started to seethe. THOSE values are not Canadian values, dontcha know, and THEY must learn.

Mentioned the incident, and my resentment, to my legal colleague.

I think it was just that she doesn’t understand English that well. Whenever I was speaking with her in English, she looked to her husband to translate, so I was regularly switching to speaking Arabic, and she had no problem.

Whazzis? He is simply speaking for her when she perhaps doesn’t understand what I am saying?

Dontcha know, cantcha know…

Posted in Prejudice | Leave a comment

Same Power, Across Beliefs II

In relation to “Thought the same power, across beliefs…“,Neil Remington Abramson commented as follows:

We Christians believe there is only one God. It must be the same only-one-God as that of the Jews, because Christianity came from Judaism, and Jesus was a Jew. Their bible is our Old Testament.

The Muslims also believe in only-one-God. They acknowledge that Abraham and Jesus were prophets of this God and only insist that Muhammad was later; the last and most recent prophet of this same God. They do not, however, acknowledge the triune nature of the God; Father Son, and Holy Spirit. In this, they are like Unitarians and Jehovah’s Witnesses, whom no one questions as to their being Christian.

It’s hard for me to see that Jews, Christians and Muslims are not worshipping the same God, despite doctrinal differences. Pope Benedict thought it was the same God. So did George Bush II, the previous president of the USA. I agree.

It’s an interesting question. As I recall, in the Book of Job, there’s a discussion between Yahweh and Satan, with the latter egging the former on to check out Job’s faith. But as I recall this took place at the assembly of gods, so while Yahweh was greatest, he wasn’t unitary. And there are some other places where the word “gods” turns up including the first commandment. In Exodus 18:11, for example, “now I know the Lord is greater than all the gods…” numbers 14:9 “the Lord is with us and has defeated the gods who protected them…” Scan a Bible app for “Gods”, and you get many many examples.

So I suppose one could argue there is potentially more than one God, or that people thought so, while insisting there was only one. I think the Gnostics believed our God was a bit player in the greater cosmos, run by a bigger God somewhere. So the idea of multiple gods is not uncommon and I suppose each one would want its supporters to see him/her as the One and Only.

Posted in Christianity, Islam, Jehovah's Witnesses, Judaism, Religion, Unitarianism | Leave a comment

Thought the same power, across beliefs…

…such as the Great Spirit, but I guess not:

Christian college professor to step down after saying Muslims worship the same god

Uncredited, Reuters in Chicago, via The Guardian, February 7, 2016

A professor at an evangelical university near Chicago who got into trouble after saying Muslims and Christians worship the same god will leave the school, according to a joint statement released by Wheaton College on Saturday night.

Larycia Hawkins, a tenured political science professor, had been scheduled for a disciplinary hearing in five days’ time, to determine whether she would be allowed to remain at Wheaton.

A joint statement said Hawkins and the college had “found a mutual place of resolution and reconciliation” and that the two sides “will part ways” after reaching a confidential agreement.

The controversy began on 10 December, when Hawkins wrote on Facebook that she would don the hijab headscarf during the period of advent before Christmas as a sign of solidarity with Muslims.

“We worship the same god,” she said in her post.

The post drew criticism amid a broader debate regarding the role and treatment of Muslims in the US following the November mass shooting in San Bernardino, California, which authorities have said was inspired by the militant group Islamic State.

The college placed Hawkins on administrative leave as a result. Last month, the school’s provost recommended Hawkins be fired.

The school previously said Hawkins was disciplined not because she chose to wear a hijab but because her “theological statements seem inconsistent with Wheaton’s doctrinal convictions”…

All this lifetime, believing everyone was looking to something that was similar, though with different means.

Had the plastic Mary, before my mother threw it out. Same direction, icon or none.

And since the Holy Spirit is similar, across religions…

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UniColl News

The decline of newspapers, amidst the continuing need for news reporters. How so much television news takes its cue from what is discovered through investigative newspaper journalism.

Interest in paid newspapers very much on decline, while free ones can thrive, to an extent, though not with the depth.

Thinking about how perhaps the journalism programs and other programs at the universities and colleges might step up. Partner with a struggling newspaper to use some of the university or college resources to fund the reportage. Since universities and colleges are often institutions of major social and economic influence in a town or city, and newspapers are similarly important socially…

Plus, with the academic freedom associated at least with universities…diversity of coverage…

Universities and colleges sharing in the profits, if any, of a newspaper, while funding newspaper salaries and office infrastructure…

Did a search of “university invests in newspapers“.

Nothing. Yet.

Posted in Journalists, Newspapers | Leave a comment

No Merit Award II

Wrote about how the Mo Ibrahim Foundation determined, for two years running, that no person merited a particular award, so there was none. Keeping the money until able to be given to someone deserving.

Referenced my own experience on a faculty awards committee. How members felt they had to give out the award, annually and regardless.

Thinking about how many people have fond memories of a particular school, and a particular time, and will create endowments by will, or while living. In some respects, better to create the endowment while living, so that one can monitor as to whether the funds are being awarded or used for the purposes intended. In terms of awards committee experience, knew the name of the testamentary donor, but nothing about her background or why she wanted to benefit others at the school. Felt nonetheless that all of the applicants were an insult to her memory, if any were to be commended in her name. Trustees still there, but without the same monitoring enthusiasm that would be the case if the gift were given by her, while alive.

Lots can go on in the names of others. Not all as intended.

Posted in Community of Scholars | Leave a comment