The Way of the Class
S. M. Hutchens on Suffering Education as a Discipline from God
A Touchstone reader, responding in personal correspondence to my Quodlibet “Facing the Warfare,” wondered whether I might have added something about the value of entering a potentially hostile school situation with the intention of bending those met there toward the truth—to view it as a kind of evangelical enterprise. I responded that such an admonition might not have been amiss, but it simply didn’t enter my mind. (Even microscopic essays make demands on my ability to stay on subject.) I have never matriculated with the thought of reforming anyone in a school of religion, much less of making the world a better place once I left it—only doing my duty as presented to me there, and finding my way in life.
During my own years of graduate study, however, it did became evident that I would need to make a firm commitment before the Lord not to betray him myself, either for the offer of reward or the threat of punishment (from liberals or conservatives), understanding with full clarity that the promise would more likely than not cost me a doctorate. I made the vow, and what happened thereafter was curious. I was allowed to complete the degree, but was put in a life situation (as I had been placed in a time in history) where there was little opportunity to enjoy the advantages one might reasonably anticipate from it. The choice had to be made between those advantages and a clear conscience, or at least one that is fairly clear in this area, and to preserve a mind from which I can write with some uncompromised authority.
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S. M. Hutchens is a Touchstone senior editor.
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