- The Washington Times - Monday, December 15, 2003

Hollywood high

“Hollywood’s rendition of what high school is provides some insight into the nature of that influence. Judging from the various movies about high school made over the last decade, high school is about becoming prom queen, trying to make it into the ‘in’ crowd, winning the big game and losing one’s virginity. According to these movies, young people live and do as they please in adolescent ghettos with little instruction from either parents or teachers. … These movies are perhaps somewhat overblown, as is everything in Hollywood. At the same time, they are a barometer of what we expect, indeed how little we expect, out of our schools. … The extracurriculum is everything. The curriculum is nothing. …

“The American high school has become an institution where one gathers many memories of a questionable sort and little knowledge. If we believe everything that pop culture tells us, teenagers are capable of little else than playing CDs, shopping at the mall, hanging out, and avoiding their parents’ supervision.”

Terrence Moore, principal of Ridgeview Classical Schools in Fort Collins, Colo., writing on “A Real High School,” in this month’s issue of On Principle

Christian epic

“[‘The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King’], which arrives in theaters [this week], is the crowning triumph of a series that seems to have only improved with each installment. It is epic not just in the scale of its battles, in the scope of its story, or in the sheer magnitude of its sets, but also in its tightly knit narrative. …

“Nearly half a century after the books were first published, the history of Middle Earth still has the ability to capture imaginations, and, perhaps more significantly, communicate fundamental Christian truths. …

“C.S. Lewis, [J.R.R.] Tolkien’s great friend and admirer, spoke of a ‘baptized imagination’ as one important step in his journey toward Christianity, allowing him to begin to accept the potential for truth in the One Myth.

“Tolkien, through his books and now through these films, has given the postmodern world a profoundly Christian vision. It’s a powerful picture, even if that world doesn’t always have the proper terms to describe it.”

Andrew Coffin, writing on “Baptized imagination,” in the Dec. 20 issue of World

Crowded calendar

“It seemed like a good idea when I first read about it. ‘Make an Advent paper chain,’ the holiday issue of Family Activities magazine suggested. ‘Fill each strip of red or green paper with an activity to help you celebrate the season. Then each day between December 1 and Christmas, tear off one of the rings and do whatever is written on the strip.’

“I could picture our 3-year-old tearing off a ring each morning and watching him light up as we presented a shorter chain and announced the day’s holiday adventure. But then I thought about all the work involved — making the chain and actually fitting 24 more activities into an already busy season.

“I felt the old familiar tension again between my desire to do things that make Christmastime more meaningful and my reluctance to make the season even more complicated. …

“The last thing you want to do is pack your schedule in such a way you feel you’re just going through a holiday checklist.”

Candice Z. Watters, writing on “Adding Meaning to the Holidays,” Thursday in Boundless at www.boundless.org

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