The world’s gone nuts,” a seasoned teacher said to me recently. “I’m punching the clock for a few more months until I retire, just trying to shut my mouth and stay out of trouble… but I hate it.”
I asked why.
“Why? Because the kids are stone wrong about so much and we’re all afraid to say something. We discipline a kid and then get reprimanded for it. If we’re not reprimanded we’re ‘spoken to’ about it by a kid administrator who knows less than them about life.”
So why not stand up?
“Standing up puts a target on my back. I just want to get out and get gone.”
We talked for more than an hour, and I asked if I could talk about the conversation in the paper. He agreed. “But don’t use my name.”
I won’t use it, or the school district from which he’s fixing to retire… but I think that’s as much the problem as the things he’s complaining about.
I don’t believe people are hungry for insanity. I don’t think they clamor to be coddled in the errors of their ways. I think a sizable group of folks are waiting for someone with the education and authority to rise up and yell, “Wait one minute here! Have we lost our minds?”
Folks know things are out of whack and that some folks like things out of whack, and that many folks shout down folks for questioning the swirling tides of inanity that make up so much of our culture today.
I also know that week after week folks show up to hear time-tested truths about life on Sunday morning. They come to hear the gospel and even the dreaded 3-letter “S” word Jesus used to tell the adulterous woman to avoid wrongdoing as she moved forward in the mercy she’d been shown.
I know that an awful lot of folks send me messages and dial my number when their situation has hit the skids, and they know all I have is a Bible and truths that predate this discombobulated era by millenia… Yet, that’s where they turn.
Sometimes they turn to the church after they’ve tried the modern disorder-amplifying, turmoil-cheering that a significant part of our therapy and counseling professions have dwindled down to in this fearful era of cancel culture.
People - not all, but many - are hungry for real, plain old direct truth. I think that’s likely true of many of my teacher friend’s students, but he can’t figure out how to find out without risking being sent to the office himself, and the sheer exhaustion of it has him checked out, what we called "Retired On Active Duty" in the military.
I don’t blame him. But it makes me sad. A generation needs heroes, not paper tigers and PC-cowed “coulda beens.”
The great British Theologian C.S. Lewis once wrote “We make men without chests and expect from them virtue and enterprise.”
Yes, Mr. Lewis, those young men need to see that there are chested men exhibiting virtue and enterprise, too. In an era when hope is strained, we must be its purveyors.
Rev. James Hogan is a native of Stowe Township and serves as pastor of Faithbridge Community Church in Stowe Township.