News We’d Like to See

Law Society Approves New Religious Law School

by Irshad Chan-McCoy, Diversity Editor

(TORONTO) (OF COURSE) To the surprise of many observers, and the dismay of a number of opponents, the Law Society of Ontario today approved the application of Sunlight Law School in Bangelton, a northeastern suburb of Toronto.

“The school met all the professional tests: the instructors are qualified, the curriculum covers the bases, the classrooms and library holdings are more than adequate. There’s really no reason not to approve,” said Law Society president V. Ernest Frankel, at a press conference held at Ausbad Hall, its headquarters.

Opponents, however, were not satisfied. “A school that receives public funds, even a single dollar, is obliged to respect public values,” said Richard Comte, general secretary of the Upper Canada Society of Free-Thinkers. “This school practices discrimination on a massive scale according to values that are wildly out of step with the beliefs of mainstream Canadians.”

The proposal does indicate that Sunlight will indeed receive public support in the form of research grants for professors, student loans, and charitable tax status, among other assistance. It will be funded mostly, however, by private donors and tuition.

“You would think our critics would be glad that we’re offering a legal education massively subsidized by our fellow believers,” said Sunlight dean Jonette Holyrood-Enns. “It’s actually a public service to our fellow Canadians.”

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The Continual Unpredictability of a Straight Line

As one looks at Jesus in the Gospels, one sees the Lord carving through the world as a straight line of integrity, purpose, holiness, and truth. He is The Way, the way to move directly from point to point of obedience to God’s plan and of effectiveness in God’s service.

Yet the derangement of our world means that from our kaleidoscopically shifting viewpoints, he constantly seems so odd, even wild.

That isn’t the way things are done!”

What in the world are you doing now?”

How can you say such a thing?”

Don’t you understand how things work?”

It is we who are odd, off, wild; we who keep misunderstanding, and misjudging, and misusing, and misbehaving.

Jesus is possessed of an inner logic: rock-steady, implacable, humming along in complete submission to his Father, mowing down opposition as needs be and getting done what needs doing. He is, to be sure, the Logos.

And so, in the Upper Room, he washes our feet to show us yet again what leadership, and excellence, and godliness always mean in the Kingdom of God, what they have always meant and always will mean.

And we keep being startled!

Only in hindsight does it all make obvious sense—”Of course!”—as wisdom always does. And yet we will be startled again today, slow learners that we are, embedded yet in the crazy distortions of our rocking, swerving, careening world, always looking and still failing to see things aright, to see him aright.

But we do see him. At least, we can if we will but try. He loves to reach down into the chaos to connect with us, to lift us out of confusion, to hold our hands along the Way, to send out his light and his truth to lead us.

It is only because we are so drunk that we have such trouble walking his straight line.

May we let him bring us the cleansing, purging, invigorating joy of Spirit-sobriety today, and every day.

My Dinner with Mako

Just back from New York City. Had never visited it, having visited so many, many US cities over the years. San Diego, Los Angeles, San Francisco, and many Californian points in between (Santa Barbara, Carmel, Monterey, Santa Cruz, Palo Alto…). Portland and Seattle, of course, just down I-5 from Vancouver. Salt Lake City, Denver, Albuquerque; Memphis, Nashville, Louisville, Gatlinburg; Abilene, San Antonio, Austin, Dallas, Houston; Little Rock, Eureka Springs, Tulsa; Tampa, St. Pete’s, Orlando–but not Miami or Tallahassee; New Orleans and Atlanta, but not much of the South in between or up the coast (except for Sea Island and Greenville, SC); Virginia Beach, Washington, Boston, Philadelphia; and, of course, our beloved upper Midwest: Sioux Falls, Sioux City, Omaha, Rapid City, Des Moines, Indianapolis, St. Louis, and, above all, Chicago.

That leaves a few more American cities unexplored, of course, but oddly I had never been to New York City…until December. Kari and I finally had an occasion to go: to visit our middle son, Joshua, a composer who is attempting to move from Vancouver’s tiny musical theatre scene to the Greatest Shows on Earth.

We did it up right, as Kari insists we do: only a few days, but we toured Central Park, the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Empire State Building, the Public Library, Rockefeller Centre, the Brooklyn Bridge, Times Square, the big stores and a few boutiques, and we even took in a show. A splendid whirlwind.

Last weekend, I was back already. Lecturing and preaching to smart and spiritual Presbyterians up in Darien, CT, I extended my trip a couple of days and Josh and I did a little more touring: the American Museum of Natural History and the “Cubism” exhibit at the Met, and then jazz up at a club in Harlem, recommended by friend Steve Bell. We also hunted for a new apartment for him and his friends. And on my last night, we went to dinner with artist Makoto Fujimura and his assistant (and my former student), artist Debra Fung.

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