A Grievance Mentality

April 23rd, 2017

Recently I was invited to join the Harvard Loser’s Club. This is an exclusive club, very exclusive. It is populated by Harvard graduates whose income is near or below the poverty line.
First, I am not technically a Harvard graduate. I know I am considered an alumni because I was a Charles E. Merrill Fellow (some think this is a greater honor than a degree) and I transferred to Princeton Seminary when I was a senior at Harvard Divinity School.
Secondly, I am not a loser. Dull, maybe, at times, I am sure my wife would say. But not a loser. I would love to attend the “Dull Men’s Club” that meets regularly in Pembrake, MA, south of Boston (Wall Street Journal, July 20, 2012, p. 1). They discuss such interesting subjects: Attendees have studied park benches around the world; leaf raking techniques. In one meeting they debated for 2.5 hours the best way to put toilet paper on the roll, over or under. Now that is an arresting subject! Sure interests me!
The problem is that losers and dullards have a tendency to define themselves according to what they are not, by what they don’t have rather than what they have. I call this a grievance mentality.
In 2017, we must be careful not to define ourselves according to what we are not, by what we do not have, by what we dislike rather than what we like. Let me explain.
Many social movements begin with a righteous cause but over time develop a grievance mentality against their opponents. For instance, the Civil Rights movement began in sincerity and earnestness that was righteous and good. It checked the unbridled racism that was polluting our nation. But eventually, Professor Shelby Steele in White Guilt argues, progress was slowed and then stopped by two things: African-American fears of whites and white guilt feelings that brought change in the socio-political realm but changed no hearts.
One reviewer explained:

The author [Shelby Steele] frames his book around a drive up the California coast during which he pondered the Bill Clinton–Monica Lewinsky affair. Why is it, he asks himself, that President Eisenhower would have been drummed out of office for a sex scandal like Clinton’s, while Clinton would certainly have been impeached if he had used the racial slur Eisenhower allegedly employed on the golf course? The answer, Steele asserts, is a fundamental change in American culture. The success of the civil-rights movement in the 1960s showed that America’s power structure lacked moral authority. For white Americans, the only way to regain that authority has been to “disassociate” from racism, which Steele says is now more frowned upon than adultery. The result has whites straining to appear benevolent toward blacks, while African-American leaders take advantage of “white guilt” to gain handouts such as affirmative action. Steele, who made the same points in his National Book Critics Circle award-winner The Content of Our Character (1990), contends that white liberals see blacks for their skin color instead of their individuality. (“Most of today’s conservatives,” he contends, “sound like Martin Luther King in 1963.”) Black leaders, on the other hand, fail to call upon African-Americans to exercise personal responsibility. Steele has some noteworthy insights into the ways blacks and whites relate, but his arguments suffer from his tendency to establish and then gleefully demolish straw men and from his sweeping generalizations based on personal experiences. Steele claims, for example, that the racial discrimination he encountered as a child did little to harm his self-image and then applies his experience to all blacks. This is the same form of argument he finds offensive in others.

Will we define ourselves as a rejection of other educational movements or will we embrace the iconoclastic future God has called us to grasp? We must be careful to avoid all roots of bitterness as we examine our future. There are great dangers in forming and maintaining a cultural movement based on dislikes and anger rather than approbation and affirmation of new possibilities. We are children of the living God! We are not afraid of any world view, any sociological theory, any scientific theory. We choose to define ourselves by what we are—not by what we are not.

Harvard and Heaven: Prospering in the Secular University

April 17th, 2017

 Who could imagine that a movement that began so quietly in the 1970s would generate so vital and an anointed generation that is emerging at the beginning of this century? It is a time to celebrate and to reflect.

In 2017 it is an uncontested fact: home schoolers are dominating college admission test scores, and, it is growing more evident each day that they are highly qualified and successful college students when they are admitted. When I was growing up, eons ago, elite prep schools dominated the college admission classes. Today, the new “elite” are home schooled graduates. They are the most highly recruited, most highly valued freshmen at secular and Christian schools alike. I am privy to a Harvard University online chat room, and recently I saw this statement posted. “If Harvard wants to be the best, the most relevant institution in the years ahead, it must recruit and admit home schoolers.” Indeed.

And Harvard has reason to worry. I spoke to a Yale recruiter and she told me that, while Yale wants home schoolers, home schoolers do not seem to want Yale. They are not applying to Yale. Likewise, I have two distance learning students who were heavily recruited by Ivy League schools. They both chose local alternatives (a state school and a Christian school).

It is not the purpose of this article to lobby for any particular post-graduate choice, although I found my wife at Harvard—and Intervarsity Fellowship on Thursday night in Cambridge is larger than the entire student body at Gordon College (a Christian College) in South Hamilton. Mostly for fiscal reasons, the majority of Christian home schoolers go to secular colleges. That is an uncontested fact. We home schoolers, for whatever reason, usually attend secular colleges.

Therefore, this article is about the secular colleges we will attend—how they got to be the way they are and how we can prosper in such a place.

First, to most evangelical Christians, the modern, secular, university is a hostile place. It was not always so.

In fact, the American university was built solidly on evangelical principles. There were no so-called “official” “secular” colleges until the rise of the land grant colleges in the middle of the 19th century. An early brochure, published in 1643, stated that the purpose of Harvard University (the oldest American university) was “To advance Learning and perpetuate it to Posterity; dreading to leave an illiterate Ministry to the Churches.” Harvard’s motto for 300 years was “Christo et Ecclesiae.” In fact, most of the U. S. universities founded before the 20th century had a strongly religious, usually Protestant Evangelical Christian character. Yale, Princeton, Chicago, Stanford, Duke, William and Mary, Boston University, Michigan, and the University of California had a decidedly evangelical Christian character in the early years of their existence but abandoned it by the 20th century. By 1920s, the American university had stepped completely back from its evangelical roots. This was true of almost every American university founded in the first 200 years of our existence.

Readers would be surprised to see how evangelical, Christ-centered early universities were. They had pastors as presidents. These men closely tied the identity of their university to a strong Christian world view. The core curriculum included Bible courses and Christian theology. These were mandatory Bible courses. All American universities insisted on a doctrinally sound content for sensitive courses and often required that faculty be born again Christians! Imagine this: the famous historian Frederick Jackson Turner was refused a professorship at Princeton because he was a Unitarian! Chapel attendance was required at Harvard and Yale! It is more than coincidental that the architects who designed early universities designed them to look like churches. At the University of Pittsburgh, for instance, the most prominent building on campus is the Cathedral of Learning.

Universities were founded because early Americans earnestly believed that American society should be governed by evangelical Christian people. They believed that American industry should be run by evangelical Christian entrepreneurs. They believed that American culture should be created by evangelical artists. The early American university was committed to making sure that that happened.

The marriage of spiritual maturity and elite education is a potent combination and to a large degree assured the success of the American experiment. Its divorce may presage its demise.

Today the university is not even loosely a Christian institution. Religion in the university and in public life is relegated to the private experience. So-called “academic freedom” has become a sacrosanct concept and precludes anything that smacks of religiosity–especially orthodoxy that evangelicals so enthusiastically embrace. Religion is represented on campus in sanitary denominational ministries and token chapel ministries (that were hardly more than counseling centers).

To a large degree, then, the American university abandoned the evangelical and the evangelical abandoned the American university.

This created a crisis in the American university and in the evangelical community. The secular American university compromised its “soul” for naturalistic; evangelicalism compromised its epistemological hegemony for ontological supremacy. In other words, the secular university became a sort of an academic hothouse for pompous rationalism. Evangelicals abandoned the secular university, and, until recently, more or less compromised their academic base. Evangelicals even founded their own universities but they were poor academic substitutes for secular offerings. Even as I write article, this is changing.

The university, if it has any value, must be involved in the communication of immutable, metaphysical truth. The American secular university is not about to accept such limits. It recognizes no citadel of orthodoxy, no limits to its knowledge. But, like Jesus reminds Thomas in John 14, our hope lies not in what we know, but most assuredly whom we know.

Most secular universities have concluded that abstract concepts like grace, hope, and especially faith are indefinable, immeasurable, and above all unreasonable. Not that God or the uniqueness of Jesus Christ can be proved, or disproved. There are certain issues which the order of the intellect simply cannot address, so we must rise above that to the order of the heart. Faith is our consent to receive the good that God would have for us. Evangelicals believe that God can and does act in our world and in our lives. Human needs are greater than this world can satisfy and therefore it is reasonable to look elsewhere. The university has forgotten or ignores this fact.

That is all changing—and partly due to the popularity of the American home schooling movement. In massive numbers the American home school movement—initially and presently primarily an evangelical Christian movement—is depositing some of the brightest, capable students in our country into the old, august institutions like Harvard. And, what is more exciting, the flashpoint of cultural change is changing from Harvard, Princeton, Dartmouth, and Stanford to Wheaton, Grove City, Calvin, and Liberty (all evangelical universities). Before long the new wave of elite culture creators will be graduating from American secular universities and Christian universities and they shall be a great deal different from the elite of which I was a part in the middle 1970s. I am not saying the secular university will change quickly—intellectual naturalistic reductionism makes that extremely difficult. However, I do see the whole complexion of university graduates to change significantly in the next twenty years. Never in the history of the world has such a thing happened.

Young people, make sure that you know who you are and who your God is. “By faith, Moses, when he had grown up refused to be known as the son of Pharaoh’s daughter.” (Hebs. 11:24) Theologian Walter Brueggemann calls American believers to “nurture, nourish, and evoke a consciousness and perception alternative to the consciousness and perception of the dominant culture around us.”

Refuse to be absorbed into the world but choose to be a part of God’s kingdom.There is no moderate position anymore in American society–either we are taking a stand for Christ in this inhospitable culture or we are not.

You are special and peculiar generation. Much loved. But you live among a people who do not know who they are. A people without hope. You need to know who you are—children of the Living God—and then you must live a hopeful life. Quoting C.S. Lewis, we “are half-hearted creatures, fooling about with drink and sex and ambition when infinite joy is offered us, like an ignorant child who wants to go on making mud pies in a slum because he cannot imagine what is meant by the offer of a holiday at the sea.”

Take responsibility for your life. Moses accepted responsibility for his life. “He chose to be mistreated along with the people of God rather to enjoy the pleasures of sin for a short time.” (Hebs. 11: 25) If you don’t make decisions for your life, someone else will.

Get a cause worth dying for. Moses accepted necessary suffering even unto death. You need a cause worth dying for (as well as living for). “He [Moses] regarded disgrace for the sake of Christ as of greater value than the treasures of Egypt, because he was looking ahead to his reward.” (Hebs. 11: 26). We are crucified with Christ, yet it is not we who live but Christ who lives in us (Gals 2:20).

Finally, never take your eyes off the goal. “By faith, he left Egypt, not fearing the king’s anger; he persevered because he saw Him who is invisible.” (Hebs. 11:27). What is your threshold of obedience?

Young people, if you are part of this new evangelical elite, you have immense opportunities ahead of you. A new Godly generation is arising. You will be called to guide this nation into another unprecedented revival. We shall see.

Public Education: How the Mighty Have Fallen

April 14th, 2017
“Your glory, O Israel, lies slain on your heights.
How the mighty have fallen!
“Tell it not in Gath,
proclaim it not in the streets of Ashkelon,
lest the daughters of the Philistines be glad,
lest the daughters of the uncircumcised rejoice.
“O mountains of Gilboa,
may you have neither dew nor rain,
nor fields that yield offerings of grain .
For there the shield of the mighty was defiled,
the shield of Saul—no longer rubbed with oil.
                                                                2 Samuel 1: 19-21
     From the landing at Plymouth Rock to today, communities tried to educate its members in a public forum.  Public education began in earnest in the 20th century.  Its dreams were worthy and laudable.  They have not come to pass.
     Today, the failures of that system are manifestly legin.  Almost no one will deny that public education is in deep trouble.  Yet, the failure of such a history-rich, august institution as public education gives me no pleasure.  In fact, it breaks my heart.  “Tell it not in Gath!  Proclaim it not in the streets of Ashkelon!”
     My family is a loyal home school family.  My wife Karen and I home schooled all of our four children.  We are strong believers in home schooling and would have everyone home school if that were possible.
     But it is not possible. Not everyone can home school.  If we have our millions public education has it ten million.  And my heart cries out for the children and their parents. And you should cry too!
“O mountains of Gilboa,
may you have neither dew nor rain,
nor fields that yield offerings of grain .
For there the shield of the mighty was defiled,
the shield of Saul—no longer rubbed with oil.
     In the early years of our marriage, I taught in a public school.  In fact, I am still permanently certified in most states.  Later, I left public school teaching and became a pastor.  Recently, I spent three weeks substitute teaching for a social studies teacher.  My eyes were opened and my heart was broken.
     I met 16 year old Melissa.  Once a week she meets with about 12 students for a Bible study.  I observed that she and her friends are openly persecuted by most students and by some faculty. I met Frank, a faithful follower of Jesus Christ who also is a public school teacher. Melissa and Frank deserve our prayers.
     Home schoolers, public schools are not full of Godless, immoral brigands.  By and large, public schools are humane, sincere, if ineffectual, institutions trying to accomplish the same goals we home schoolers are trying to accomplish. But they are failing, we know that.  And, truly, public school teachers know that too.
     “Public education” is an oxymoron.  Education is the most intimate and valuable of experiences and occurs best in the crucible of a family.  Ineffectiveness has forced public education to embrace mediocrity with reckless abandon.
     But that is not our business.  Judgement is not our vocation.  We need only to cry out to God for public education!  47.7 million Public School students. 2.5 million graduates this year alone.  Saints, there were 47.7 million of them and 4.9 million of us.  We need to cry out for our public school friends and family members!  They are not the enemy.  Let not the enemy rejoice “in the streets of Ashkelon (a pagan goddess), lest the daughters of the Philistines be glad,  lest the daughters of the uncircumcised rejoice.”  Home schoolers cry out and intercede in prayer for the public schools of this country!

Online College Degrees—Pray About it!

April 14th, 2017

The best approach to going to college is to present a terrific SAT/ACT score and offer a great transcript. The SAT/ACT is by far, without a doubt, the most important credential that you bring to college admission and college scholarship determination. Absolutely. Can I make myself any clearer! In an age when schools are so different—schools even in the same zip code—when an A somewhere would be a C in another place—colleges MUST rely on the ACT/SAT score to determine admission. It has been that way for a while. It will be that way for years to come, if not forever.

Take the SAT and/or ACT junior year. And then apply during your senior year. That is the ticket!

One question that I’m often asked, is, what about an online degree? Should I do that? No, you shouldn’t.

I want to define terms a little bit first. An online degree is a college degree of sorts, a sort of Bachelor of Arts, a sort of Bachelor of Science degree. A sort of sort of. It purports to be like any other degree (never is a claim that it is better than a four year, resident degree!). But it is not. I know of no employer who would prefer an online degree employee over a four year college degree from a recognized university. Do you? Would you hire an online degree graduate from Liberty University before you would hire a resident graduate from Liberty University?

Online college students stay at home and take all course work via the computer. The course work plus CLEP credit equals an online degree. Occasionally they spend a week or two on site, but most of the work is at home.

This is different from taking some course work online. A lot of people do that. A lot of people get AP or CLEP credit. But most do not complete a degree that way. Taking a few courses is fine. There’s no question that you may take one, two or three courses online—or get some CLEP/AP Credit–but you should know that many colleges—the best colleges—will not give you credit for any online courses. Usually they’re basic courses that are essentially the same everywhere. Most general online course, or CLEEP credits, are not in your major area, and, they might save you some money.

Or not. Remember if you have a high ACT/SAT score the university/college that admits you will give you a nice financial package. Let them pay for your education. Besides, as I said, colleges that I attended will not give you credit for online courses. Period. No credit at all.

As I advised, don’t do it. I have some real questions about an online degree. You should too. If you don’t, call a few employers and ask them if they prefer online degree employees or employees who went to Vanderbilt or the University of Texas in Austin. Ask them if they would rather have an online degree graduate from an online program or a four year, resident graduate.

Another reason I have questions about an online degree, is that the best graduate schools, will not admit online degree students. And what good is a degree, online, if you can’t use it, to go where God is calling you?

Another thing is, online degrees are terribly expensive! I know one online program that costs about $15,000 and you have nothing when you finish. If you don’t believe me ask people who have online degrees. Ask them if they were able to go to graduate school. Ask them if their degree is viewed the same way as a degree from the University of North Carolina or Messiah College. Ask them if they would do the same thing again.

You are hit both ways. You are ineligible for merit scholarships, ineligible for need based scholarships, ineligible for scholarships period. But you have a huge bill.

It no doubt would be cheaper for you to go to a four-year orthodox college on scholarship. And that will happen to you, if you have a high SAT and ACT score. You may, think you’re saving money by doing an online program, but if a regular college is, giving you a huge scholarship, it’s really cheaper then why not do that?

There are a lot of convention speakers who are vilifying big name schools and talking about how expensive they are. Well, did you know that homeschoolers receive more financial aid as a population group at Harvard and Stanford than any other population group?

$15,000 is a lot of money. You could spend $15,000+ and then need to pay for 2-3 more years in another college (if this college will accept your CLEP credits) because all you have is a bunch of CLEP credits (which are much less respected than AP credits).

If you really feel God is telling you to get an Online Degree, why don’t you do it on your own? Really, the entire Online Programs can easily be replicated by your own efforts. Online agencies (except colleges—colleges do help you sign up for online courses) do nothing more than what you could do for yourself—FREE. I could pay someone to get my social security for me. I see Ads on television all the time. But why would I? For a little bit of effort I could write and get one for myself FREE. Don’t pay someone $15,000 for something that could cost you nothing if you would do it yourself!

You can also lose your health insurance if you are not a resident student. That could cost another $400 a month for some students.

An online “degree” might cost $15,000. Texas A & M costs $7,500/year tuition. The University of North Carolina $5922. You might spend $15,000 only to find that you need to spend another $28,000 because you do not really have a college degree! Unfortunately, too, you might have taken yourself out of the running for scholarships because typically four year students do not give scholarships to transfer students.

I am proprietary about the evangelical leadership emerging in this country. We do not want you to be distracted by smoke and mirrors. We do not want you to pursue Quixotic delusions that sound too good to be true because they are too good to be true!

We have nothing to fear in the American university. Nothing. Believers are more than conquerors in Christ. He has favored us with the great opportunity to lead our sad country into the next millennium. Let us stay focused on this task.

We don’t have the time and resources to waste on something that will not advance the Kingdom of God.

Just pray about it, and make sure you know what you’re doing, before you enter an online degree program.

The best approach to going to college is to present a terrific SAT/ACT score and offer a great transcript. The SAT/ACT is by far, without a doubt, the most important credential that you bring to college admission and college scholarship determination. Absolutely. Can I make myself any clearer! In an age when schools are so different—schools even in the same zip code—when an A somewhere would be a C in another place—colleges MUST rely on the ACT/SAT score to determine admission. It has been that way for a while. It will be that way for years to come, if not forever.

Take the SAT and/or ACT junior year. And then apply during your senior year. That is the ticket!

One question that I’m often asked, is, what about an online degree? Should I do that? No, you shouldn’t.

I want to define terms a little bit first. An online degree is a college degree of sorts, a sort of Bachelor of Arts, a sort of Bachelor of Science degree. A sort of sort of. It purports to be like any other degree (never is a claim that it is better than a four year, resident degree!). But it is not. I know of no employer who would prefer an online degree employee over a four year college degree from a recognized university. Do you? Would you hire an online degree graduate from Liberty University before you would hire a resident graduate from Liberty University?

Online college students stay at home and take all course work via the computer. The course work plus CLEP credit equals an online degree. Occasionally they spend a week or two on site, but most of the work is at home.

This is different from taking some course work online. A lot of people do that. A lot of people get AP or CLEP credit. But most do not complete a degree that way. Taking a few courses is fine. There’s no question that you may take one, two or three courses online—or get some CLEP/AP Credit–but you should know that many colleges—the best colleges—will not give you credit for any online courses. Usually they’re basic courses that are essentially the same everywhere. Most general online course, or CLEEP credits, are not in your major area, and, they might save you some money.

Or not. Remember if you have a high ACT/SAT score the university/college that admits you will give you a nice financial package. Let them pay for your education. Besides, as I said, colleges that I attended will not give you credit for online courses. Period. No credit at all.

As I advised, don’t do it. I have some real questions about an online degree. You should too. If you don’t, call a few employers and ask them if they prefer online degree employees or employees who went to Vanderbilt or the University of Texas in Austin. Ask them if they would rather have an online degree graduate from an online program or a four year, resident graduate.

Another reason I have questions about an online degree, is that the best graduate schools, will not admit online degree students. And what good is a degree, online, if you can’t use it, to go where God is calling you?

Another thing is, online degrees are terribly expensive! I know one online program that costs about $15,000 and you have nothing when you finish. If you don’t believe me ask people who have online degrees. Ask them if they were able to go to graduate school. Ask them if their degree is viewed the same way as a degree from the University of North Carolina or Messiah College. Ask them if they would do the same thing again.

You are hit both ways. You are ineligible for merit scholarships, ineligible for need based scholarships, ineligible for scholarships period. But you have a huge bill.

It no doubt would be cheaper for you to go to a four-year orthodox college on scholarship. And that will happen to you, if you have a high SAT and ACT score. You may, think you’re saving money by doing an online program, but if a regular college is, giving you a huge scholarship, it’s really cheaper then why not do that?

There are a lot of convention speakers who are vilifying big name schools and talking about how expensive they are. Well, did you know that homeschoolers receive more financial aid as a population group at Harvard and Stanford than any other population group?

$15,000 is a lot of money. You could spend $15,000+ and then need to pay for 2-3 more years in another college (if this college will accept your CLEP credits) because all you have is a bunch of CLEP credits (which are much less respected than AP credits).

If you really feel God is telling you to get an Online Degree, why don’t you do it on your own? Really, the entire Online Programs can easily be replicated by your own efforts. Online agencies (except colleges—colleges do help you sign up for online courses) do nothing more than what you could do for yourself—FREE. I could pay someone to get my social security for me. I see Ads on television all the time. But why would I? For a little bit of effort I could write and get one for myself FREE. Don’t pay someone $15,000 for something that could cost you nothing if you would do it yourself!

You can also lose your health insurance if you are not a resident student. That could cost another $400 a month for some students.

An online “degree” might cost $15,000. Texas A & M costs $7,500/year tuition. The University of North Carolina $5922. You might spend $15,000 only to find that you need to spend another $28,000 because you do not really have a college degree! Unfortunately, too, you might have taken yourself out of the running for scholarships because typically four year students do not give scholarships to transfer students.

I am proprietary about the evangelical leadership emerging in this country. We do not want you to be distracted by smoke and mirrors. We do not want you to pursue Quixotic delusions that sound too good to be true because they are too good to be true!

We have nothing to fear in the American university. Nothing. Believers are more than conquerors in Christ. He has favored us with the great opportunity to lead our sad country into the next millennium. Let us stay focused on this task.

We don’t have the time and resources to waste on something that will not advance the Kingdom of God.

Just pray about it, and make sure you know what you’re doing, before you enter an online degree program.

Author World View (cont.)

September 1st, 2015
Finally, The Chosen is unabashedly a Judeo-Christian theistic novel.  What a wild ride! Readers began with the sobering Christian theism of William, Bradford, journeyed through the narcissistic naturalism of John Steinbeck,  and end with the unabashedly and well-written theism of Potok!  Readers had every reason to hope that the next century will bring more and better fruits of righteousness!

Author World View (cont.)

August 27th, 2015

Olive Ann Burns, who herself will stand under a cold sassy tree and face death at an early age, explores the transcendent power of Judeo-Christian love. These characters love with biblical, sacrificial, Christ-centered love–not love tainted by selfishness.  The protagonist and his family overcome genuine, catastrophic obstacles without sentimentalism or facile angst: they do it be following biblical principles of charity and grace.

Author World View (cont.)

August 25th, 2015

These three short stories evidence that the theistic revival among literature is well underway. O’Connor, a solid born again Christian, especially places the theistic banner back on the top of American literature. Porter celebrates the powerful of forgiveness and the endurance of grace. These are not characters who are victims of hateful circumstances (e.g., The Pearl) or cruel happenstances (e.g., Billy Budd).  Even foolish Julian in O’Connor’s short story, and all others, find that in theism, living in within biblical perimeters, one finds life. One hopes that other future authors will follow this worn path.

Author World View (cont.)

August 20th, 2015

John Knowles wrote this theistic novel in the early 1960s.  Before the world was turned upside down in the turbulent race riots and drug infused music concerts of the later 1960s, A Separate Peace was a much needed respite and a foreshadowing of future theistic offerings that were not long in coming. In the literary world, at least, American had turned a corner and was speeding back to its theistic, it not at times, Christian, roots. In that sense, A Separate Peace belongs to the 18th more than the 20th century.

Author World View (cont.)

August 18th, 2015
Arthur Miller was a very talented realist who had a bone to pick with his world.  He used the available but much maligned and misunderstood Salem Witch Trials as his setting.  Ultimately, though, all the characters, John Proctor, especially, is more a 1950 martyr than a 17th century one. Oops! “John,” Elizabeth Proctor says to her husband John, “I do not think you are bad–only bewildered.”

Author World View (cont.)

August 13th, 2015

Tennessee Williams, a controversial 20th century playwright, creates a timeless microcosm of world view mayhem.  Christian theism, romanticism, naturalism, & realism they all clash in  urban Depression era America. Readers, especially Christian readers, are inspired, discouraged, angered, and bemused by characters, especially Tom, who claim to no most everything but, it turns out, know very little about anything! They fumble, tumble, and fantasize through life and ultimately harm both themselves and those around them.  At the end, readers all wonder,  “What if Jesus was Lord of this home?” What a different story it would be!