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From God in the dock—Essays on Theology and Ethics by C. S. Lewis, published by William B. Eerdman's Publishing Co. © 1970 The Trustees of the Estate of C.S. Lewis, first appearing December, 1957

Three things go by the name of Christmas. One is a religious festival. This is important and obligatory for Christians; but as it can be of no interest to anyone else, I shall naturally say no more about it here. The second (it has complex historical connections with the first, but we needn't go into them) is a popular holiday, an occasion for merry-making and hospitality. If it were my business too have a 'view' on this, I should say that I much approve of merry-making. But what I approve of much more is everybody minding his own business. I see no reason why I should volunteer views as to how other people should spend their own money in their own leisure among their own friends. It is highly probable that they want my advice on such matters as little as I want theirs. But the third thing called Christmas is unfortunately everyone's business.

I mean of course the commercial racket. The interchange of presents was a very small ingredient in the older English festivity. Mr. Pickwick took a cod with him to Dingley Dell; the reformed Scrooge ordered a turkey for his clerk; lovers sent love gifts; toys and fruit were given to children. But the idea that not only all friends but even all acquaintances should give one another presents, or at least send one another cards, is quite modern and has been forced upon us by the shopkeepers. Neither of these circumstances is in itself a reason for condemning it. I condemn it on the following grounds.

  • It gives on the whole much more pain than pleasure. You have only to stay over Christmas with a family who seriously try to 'keep' it (in its third, or commercial, aspect) in order to see that the thing is a nightmare. Long before December 25th everyone is worn out -- physically worn out by weeks of daily struggle in overcrowded shops, mentally worn out by the effort to remember all the right recipients and to think out suitable gifts for them. They are in no trim for merry-making; much less (if they should want to) to take part in a religious act. They look far more as if there had been a long illness in the house.
  • Most of it is involuntary. The modern rule is that anyone can force you to give him a present by sending you a quite unprovoked present of his own. It is almost a blackmail. Who has not heard the wail of despair, and indeed of resentment, when, at the last moment, just as everyone hoped that the nuisance was over for one more year, the unwanted gift from Mrs. Busy (whom we hardly remember) flops unwelcomed through the letter-box, and back to the dreadful shops one of us has to go?
  • Things are given as presents which no mortal every bought for himself -- gaudy and useless gadgets, 'novelties' bbecause no one was ever fool enough to make their like before. Have we really no better use for materials and for human skill and time than to spend them on all this rubbish?
  • The nuisance. for after all, during the racket we still have all our ordinary and necessary shopping to do, and the racket trebles the labour of it.

We are told that the whole dreary business must go on because it is good for trade. It is in fact merely one annual symptom of that lunatic condition of our country, and indeed of the world, in which everyone lives by persuading everyone else to buy things. I don't know the way out. But can it really be my duty to buy and receive masses of junk every winter just to help the shopkeepers? If the worst comes to the worst I'd sooner give them money for nothing and write if off as a charity. For nothing? Why, better for nothing than for a nuisance.

 

Congratulations to Dr Ryan Messmore, who has been appointed as the Executive Director of the Millis Institute.

 

Ryan is originally from the United States where he completed a Bachelor degree in Public Policy and a Masters in Christian Ethics from Duke University. Ryan went on to complete a second Masters in Theology from Cambridge University and a PhD from Oxford University.

 

Ryan was founding director of the Trinity Forum Academy – a Christ centred, residential  internship program for graduates that specialised in course work relating to theology and cultural engagement.  He also served as lead writer for the Heritage Foundation where his work specialised in how faith commitments impact upon political life to improve public policy. Ryan’s work has been published in many major newspapers, magazines and media outlets including The Washington Post, The Australian, FoxNews.com, Crosswalk.com and First Things.  

 

More recently, Ryan moved to Australia and has been the President of Campion College, a Liberal Arts Catholic College in Western Sydney.    

 

Ryan is married to Karin and has three children Joshua, Christopher and Katie, who will be attending Citipointe College.  

 

It is with great anticipation and expectation that we welcome Dr Ryan Messmore to CHC and pray for a season of incredible favour and blessing as we cultivate the new work of the Millis Institute.

 

Ryan commences at CHC on the 8th  of  January 2015.

 

ACS is delighted in supporting CHC, as our tertiary member, in this appointment , and join with CHC in welcoming Ryan, Karin, Joshua, Christopher and Katie.  ACS has had the privelege of welcoming Ryan as guest speaker at ACS events, as well as supporting him during his Presidency at Campion College.  We look forward to working with CHC and Ryan to develop the Millis Institute.

 

 

FROM DARKNESS TO LIGHT, FROM SORROW TO HOPE


Lessons from Jeremiah & Lamentations
from Wheaton College President Philip G. Ryken


A Devotional Guide for the 2014-2015
Advent, Christmas, and New Year Season

Attachments:
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Arthur Holmes in his inspiring text The Idea of a Christian College remarked: The question to ask about Education is not What can I do with it? but rather What is it doing to me as a person? Education- good higher education- has to do with the making of persons

Before you today are nearly 130 graduands - who have not just completed a degree but have been shaped, moulded, stretched, challenged, and transformed as people because of their CHC experience. CHC exists to specialise in courses that are people shaping and people making. Our degrees incarnate people making principles and are taught by an exceptional staff who embody faith-learning integration.  

In a world where measures of success and value are placed on sterile distribution curves and efficiency models of output and percentile ranks, the making of persons - good, wise, moral, truthful, sincere persons - is a truly radical thought in this pragmatic and relativistic time. The roots of a university education were originally framed around making good people about civility and goodness and honour and beauty - about cultivating minds and shaping hearts. In short - an educated person was equipped for every good work - in whatever sphere such work found expression as vocational calling. Sadly this grand story has become muffled in translation as many universities and degree programs now only clamour for market viability and utilitarian ends in a production line age.

Wendell Berry responded to such a deficit model of education by giving this advice to graduands: Avoid thinking of yourselves as employable minds equipped with a few digits useful for pushing buttons. You will have to recover for yourselves the old understanding that you are whole minds and bodies. Hearts and souls - spirit and flesh.

The logic of what our society means by success supposedly leads you ever upward to any higher-paying job that can be done sitting down. In contrast, the logic of vocation(al calling) holds that there is an indispensable justice, to yourself and to others, in doing well the work that you are called or prepared by your talents to do.

We talk a lot about call at CHC. Why? Because an education is not merely about a job or a skill set or a training program - a quality education is about people making for a life-calling. Graduands, remember that a Call implies a Caller - therefore each of you have a unique destiny and purpose in regards to a call that is individually fitted and shaped by God. Os Guinness contends: Calling is a 'yes' to God that carries a 'no' to the chaos of modern demands. Calling is the key to tracing the story line of our lives and unriddling the meaning of our existence in a chaotic world.

 

Young Oscar Schell, in trying to make sense of his fathers tragic death and the chaos surrounding him during 9/11 in Jonathan Safran Foer's Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close reflects: I tried to think of each person as a number, in a gigantic equation. But it wasn't working.. because people aren't like numbers. They're more like letters... and those letters want to become stories.. and dad said that stories need to be shared.

Graduands you are, in very real terms, letters wanting to become stories. From this day forward, letters will follow your name, but far more important to us is how those letters will be become stories that will be shared and celebrated in decades to come. Graduands you are more than just a number you are letters being woven into stories. Stories that need to be shared in your generation

Maya Angelou - the gifted African American author, poet and singer - encapsulates this for every graduand with this advice:Your destiny is to find the courage to flesh out the great dreams. To dare to love. to dare to care, to dare too be significant and to admit it. Not by the things you own or the positions you hold but in the life you live.

Graduands, You leave us today, always and from this day forward as a CHC graduate, tomorrow, next week, next year and for the rest of your lives. Well done on this outstanding achievement! As you now prepare for this new chapter; know that you go with the cheer squad of CHC staff, students and community cheering you on to leave a legacy and make a difference. Consider what your education at CHC has done to you?? In you? Through you? in regards to your call? Your purpose? Your destiny? Your transformative story? And we all look forward to the hopeful promise that each of you, in some way, will be a catalyst for God and for good in your world and will be transformative agents of change in your generation.

Your letters now await the master storytellers touch. and the ink, barely dry on your Higher Education journey, now awaits a fresh turning of a page and a new beginning... as one chapter ends another awaits... turn the page, graduands of 2014 and embrace your exciting futures and destinies we look forward to reading your best selling biographies!!!! God bless you our 2014 cohort of world changers - one and all.

 

 

 

 

Good evening, honoured guests, fellow graduands, friends and family members. My name is Nicholas Panzram and I am honoured tonight to deliver the 2014 School of Education and Humanities Graduates’ Address.

 

There is a movie I recently watched called Waiting for Superman, a film about the struggles of the American education system. The title of the film is based off the belief of one African American boy, that sometime in the future Superman would come and save him and his friends from the life of poverty and hopelessness they were living. The movie reveals his journey of discovery – eventually realising that superman was never coming, he was simply waiting for a person who did not exist. As graduate teachers we receive tonight far more than a piece of paper with our name on it; and our QLD College of Teacher’s Registration places in our hands far more than a number. Tonight as we don our capes we take up our place in the ranks of thousands of other teachers and educators as everyday super heroes.

 

Teachers use many tools, some tangible and others only felt through heart, some of them heavy and some light, but all of them used so that children across the world no longer have to wait for their superhero.

 

As teacher’s we wear capes:

Of all colours and shapes. Capes are for protection, both our own and others, they shield our students from harsh and overbearing ideas, from negativity, hate and despair. They shield us from late nights, too much coffee, pressures of society, words spoken too hastily and, those days when all seems too much, they offer a comforting place to curl up in. Capes represent our uniqueness as teachers and people. Not one of us will have the same cape, some will be red, other green some a spectacular array of colour and texture.

 

We wear hats of humility:

In Paul’s letter to the Ephesians he writes, ‘be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love’. Paul’s letter places humility as a necessity in life, vital in order survive the turmoil of everyday life. As teachers life can become focussed on ‘me and my classroom’, wearing a hat of humility allows us to step back with strength and accept that we don’t exist in a vacuum. In those moments of stress, anger or worry, place your hat of humility upon your head and humble yourself, knowing that help may only be a phone call or conversation away.

 

  We slip into shoes of daring:

Teaching is by no means a simple task and every lesson involves some degree of risk, ‘ will Jo understand this’ have I scaffolded that task enough? And many more questions race through your mind, as you stand before those 25 smiling faces. In those moments may your shoes of daring dance into play. Job (23.10) writes that ‘God knows the way that I take; when he has tested me, I will come forth as gold.’ Those testing moments of insecurity, of stepping into the unknown are known and carried by a loving God who proudly walks with you as your shoes of daring carry you far beyond your dreams.

 

Our Hearts beat a rhythm of hope:

Paul in his letter to the Romans commands them to, ‘Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer.’ All three require a heart of that beats a rhythm of hope, a hope and trust that whilst not everything goes perfectly, that the moments our students spend with us full of love, learning and hope. Teaching requires patience not only towards others but ourselves, waiting and understanding that at 3am its probably time to let the marking or planning go and simply wait till tomorrow. May your heart beat a rhythm of quiet patience and your actions and words deliver a tangible element of a faith in yourself, your students and a loving God.

 

My your eyes be those of Truth:

Teaching is in its simplest form the shaping and giving of knowledge and skills. Having eyes that recognise truth and honesty in what we teach, what we say and do, is vital in journeying with students towards a future of a better world. Paul in his letter to the Ephesians, writes, ‘Stand therefore, having fastened on the belt of truth, and having put on the breastplate of righteousness,’ My your measure of truth always remain what is ultimately in line with Christ’s teachings and an honest heart. A world full of hate, anger and pain, requires teachers with eyes of truth to discern and explain and provide a path for students to grow and learn as strong, wise and love filled people.

 

The journey to acquire these super powers has been by no measure an easy one and the learning doesn’t stop here, but will continue in each and every moment of your day. The friendships fostered, the laughs, the tears, the nerves and many more emotions all seem worth while when you realise you are now the superhero. The point I want to make is that our experiences up to now and into the future shape who our superhero selves are. Is your cape fiery and passionate or your hat broad brimmed and well used? Your superhero self is no mistake or fluke but a carefully planned person, crafted by hand to hold students firmly in your arms and carry them with whatever tools you have into the future. To those many hands thankyou does simply not seem enough! Teaching is not static nor is it ever stationary, it stretches and breathes and does so differently for every teacher, every day. And some days your cape may get a little torn and that hat a little dusty, but know in your heart of hearts that to a child somewhere you will remain their superhero. Thankyou, God Bless and goodnight.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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