We are far into the church season of Advent; I always enjoy Advent and Lent just as much or more than Christmas and Easter. This year, as we ask Emmanuel to come and ransom captive Israel, I think of our longing for the (re)turning of the world to the beautiful place of peace and justice that God imagined in the creation. We wait for the long-expected Messiah to usher in the turning, the Messiah who may not come again but in whose image we must recreate the world.
I get all teary-eyed during Advent hymns. In church this is such a hopeful time of the year. In our home, it is a beautiful time of the year; I am currently writing from the warm and cheery glow of our Christmas tree lights, and we have a lot of peppermint hot chocolate in the pantry.
Alas, in the rest of the world there's a lot of instability and crazy. Apparently our totally dysfunctional Congress is going act in a bipartisan fashion to keep the government from shutting down later this month, whoop de doo. (Recognizing that if the government shut down, many bad things would happen. Sure.) The Republican presidential candidates continue to say any number of offensive, false, ridiculous, misleading, and otherwise just all around foolish statements, but if you expect anything else from this lot you haven't been paying attention. There are some freedom movements in Russia and Syria and other places that might be the revolution for real this time, or might manage to institute regimes that are different that their predecessors in name only, or they might just provoke bloody crackdowns (as I begin to fear is what is happening with the occupy movement here, though it is not nearly as bloody as the one in Syria).
Brownback is trying to gut education in Kansas and let all the local areas raise their own school taxes, meaning that the Johnson County schools will get richer and richer, and the poor rural schools will get poorer and poorer. He claims that whatever new formula he comes up with won't do this. I don't believe a word he says.
If you want to read a good article on school reform, Diane Ravitch wrote a pretty good one today. All the teachers I know were pretty enthusiastic about it. Don't privatize public schools. It actually doesn't go very well.
But the town where I teach experienced a horrible tragedy this weekend that I'd rather not blog about. This is at least the sixth tragedy the town has suffered in the past six months, and this one worse than all the rest in many ways. It has a political dimension, to be sure, but mostly it's just one of these terrible things that I can't imagine even the perfect anarchist society eliminating. My students are suffering, the whole damn town is in pain--and to be sure, the revolution could fix a lot of it, but not everything.
In any case, I am still alive and still following political happenings and hope you are doing the same. But there isn't much that I can bring myself to focus on for a whole post right now. I'm scattered, my seasonal depression is starting to set in, and only a lot of peppermint hot chocolate and Christmas carols can help! We're off to a family wedding this weekend, then to a little bit more work, then to my fine in-laws (and beautiful, perfect two-month-old angelic niece) for a bit of time. Looking forward to the break.
And always, always, waiting for the revolution.