Map of life expectancy at birth from Global Education Project.

Sunday, September 18, 2005

Sabbath day reflection

I have a terrible confession. I attended Phillips Academy in Andover, Massachusetts, the same school where George W. Bush evidently acquired the accent of a Wilford Brimley playing Cookie in a 1960s B western. (I really don't think so.) Among other character building exercises (bizarre hazing rituals, drown proofing, and, for seniors, pipe smoking) they required us to attend church Tuesday, Thursday, and Sunday. A dessicated, bow tied teacher of Greek mythology took attendance by assuring that our assigned seats were filled.

My roommate had been raised in a Catholic orphanage and was now the foster son of a Massachusetts cabinet secretary. He told me about the priests who would come to take the boys on outings and molest them. He was a very tough kid and they never laid a hand on him.

One Sunday at Andover they brought in a guest preacher who said that the end times were coming. You could see all the signs as prophesied in the Bible. When they told us all to kneel and pray at the end of the sermon, Dave and I looked at each other. Then we just sat there. They told us to stand and sing a hymn, and we sat. The next week we still had to go to church, but we never knelt, we never prayed, we never stood to sing or chant. The dessicated guy spoke to us sharply after the service, and I said to him, you can make me come here, but you can't make me believe this nonsense.

Oh yeah. They threw me out after my sophomore year. Best thing that ever happened to me.

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