Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Adventures in Learning

My church holds a program on Wednesday night that begins with supper. I must digress a minute to note that tonight the menu was roast pork with fruit chutney, spinach salad with pears and candied walnuts, and baguette. For dessert we had cherry pie with ice cream. This plus good company was a great start to the evening.

I go to the Wellspring Wednesday events when there is a program in which I wish to participate. Tonight was a lecture by Jim Farrell, a history and environmental professor from St. Olaf College, Northfield. Tomorrow is the 200th anniversary of the birth of Abraham Lincoln, so there has been many Lincoln events of late. Dr. Farrell spoke about Lincoln and idea of hope. He is a great speaker and very learned. I enjoy every time he comes to do a lecture. The take home message from this evening is that Lincoln appears to the first to use the idea that justice involves being willing to take another's place. His response to advocates of slavery was to ask if they would like to change places with the slave. This idea became much more prominent in the 20th century when one definition of justice became the willingness to take another's place. If we are not willing to do that, thinking it will diminish our life or comfort, then obviously the other party does not have justice.

Another good idea lately comes from Rick Steves recent speech at the Commonwealth Club. I heard this on Minnesota Public Radio. Steves began his speech by saying he went to Iran because he thought it "is good to know a people before we bomb them."

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