Monday, March 7

Golden Tongue

John Chrysostom (347-407) was one of the greatest preachers of the Patristic Age. In fact, his name actually means “golden tongue.” His many extant sermons on family life, personal holiness, and Christian social responsibility remain models of wise erudition and faithful exposition. In addition, he was an influential liturgical reformer. His work on the structure of the ordo in worship from the book of Revelation continues to define the parameters of orthodox liturgy to this day.

When he became the bishop of Constantinople on this day in 397, pious men and women throughout Byzantium rejoiced. A champion of charity to the poor, mercy to the lost, and tenderheartedness to the outcast, he was plain spoken about the ills and excesses of his day. As a result, he was extremely popular among the people. Unfortunately, his forthrightness also quickly earned him the enmity of many rich and powerful officials in the Byzantine court, including the Empress.

Though political intrigue surrounded him from the moment he arrived in the capital city, he faithfully carried out his pastoral responsibilities. And he made a dynamic impact on the city in a very short time. A great revival of interest in the Gospel and its incumbent responsibilities swept through even the most cosmopolitan circles.

Eventually though, his clear expositions could no longer be tolerated by the imperial court. He was exiled and put through innumerable humiliations. Throughout his ordeals though, he remained steadfast, and even after his ignominious death, his impact upon the whole fabric of Byzantine culture was profoundly felt.

Sage Gates

Bill Gates is not always right--just check out the current woes with MSN, Hotmail, and PowerPoint, for instance--but he often is. His recent prophetic utterances at the national Governor's meeting in Washington are evidence of that:

"America's high schools are obsolete," he asserted during a plenary address. "By obsolete, I don't just mean that they're broken, flawed, or underfunded, though a case could be made for every one of those points. By obsolete, I mean our high schools--even when they are working as designed--cannot teach all our children what they need to know today."

Well, duh!

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