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October 25, 2007

Ars Poetica and Ephesians

"I don't like this poem, but in a few weeks Dr. Williams will come and interpret it for you. He likes 'Ars Poetica,' so that shows you how smart people can be wrong." –Dr. Bauman
"Now that Dr. Bauman is on vacation, we shall work on undoing his heresies." –Dr Williams
Dr. Williams came and took over our daily class time for the week. He is an unusual man who arrived with a suitcase and fedora last Saturday during our Farvest Hall Celebration (unfortunately not a time that we all looked ourselves), and since then we have come to love him. Having an air of humor and a tendency to spout quotations, he taught us just as much at the dining table as he did in the classroom.
With Tuesday came his anticipated lecture on the poem by Archibald MacLeish, "Ars Poetica." A few weeks ago, Dr Bauman tried to feed us a description of the said poem as pretty trash. Thence broke out a war that enveloped the rest of class time and many discussions that followed. Dr. Williams' explanation of the poem gave confidence to those of us who were unwilling to dismiss the poem as garbage, and so the battle continued.
"Good morning," conversations would begin, "Are you for or against 'Ars Poetica'?"
Dr. William's greatest lesson was in the third class on Thursday. While we were trying not to think about lunch, he changed the topic from English to Ephesians.
"We should no longer be children, tossed to and fro and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the trickery of men, in the cunning craftiness of deceitful plotting, but, speaking the truth in love, may grow up in all things into Him who is the head – Christ – from whom the whole body, joined and knit together by what every joint supplies, according to the effective working by which every part does its share, causes growth of the body for the edifying of itself in love." (Ephesians 4:14–16)
My heart sank towards my empty stomach as Dr. Williams further prodded us to explain how we are going to treat people when we get home. Apparently, people in the real world do not like being smacked with truth, no matter how good our intentions. That also leads us into how we treat each other – while it is fun to destroy each others' arguments (well, I am assuming it would be), we still need to treat each other with the love unified Christians should exhibit.
That was our most important lesson for the week, and maybe the entire semester.

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