Commencement, Part 1

People graduating from school often partake in a commencement ceremony.  It is both a celebration of an accomplishment and a rite of passage.  It is about endings and beginnings.

It’s been a while since I’ve attended a college commencement.  Things have changed, and not all for the better.  There were some good things, but I’ll save those for the second part.  First, let’s get some of the not-so-good out of the way.

Some of the students “decorated” their caps and such.  Some had “Hi Mom” or “Thnx Mom & Dad” on the top.  However, one girl had white and purple (scarlet? red?) feathers around hers.  One had what looked like Christmas tree lights on hers.  A little over the top, no?

Of course, the funny thing is that none of that overshadowed what many of the staff and trustees wore.  I mean, they were so colorful that they needed no decoration.  So, maybe the extra decor wasn’t so bad after all.

Fashion statements aside, though, I was amazed how many students had cell phones glued to their ears.  I mean, didn’t their parents already know where they were sitting?  It wasn’t just one or two of them, either.  I’m not even sure if one girl ever actually got off of hers the entire time!

I realize cell phones are ubiquitous, for better or worse, but during graduation?  I’m reminded of the recent news story where a bride and groom updated their Twitter statuses shortly after saying “I do” but before the “I now pronounce you….”

I’m certainly no technology prude, as technology is how I make my living.  However, is no occasion too sacrosanct so as to actually turn the stupid things off during the entire ceremony?

I’m not sure what that says about the new generation.  However, that’s still pretty minor compared to what’s really bothering me.

After filing everyone into the room, they started off with a “benediction”.  I put that into quotes, since it isn’t what I’d classify as one, although I suppose the dictionary allows “an utterance of good wishes.”  It was so PC as to be trivial.  It was downright tripe.

“In the name of the power that is beyond all names…”  Huh?  What in tarnation does that mean?  Have we gotten to the point we cannot even say “god” any more?  Many religions have at least one, after all.

Is God “beyond all names”?  I suppose that, in a sense, He is.  However, while no human word can perfectly describe Him, He does give us many names throughout His written word.  One of them is His covenant name that He told Israel to call Him: “I AM”.  To me, this describes Him about the best that human words can.  He exists, pure & simple.

When you truly ponder what I AM means, it tells you that He has always existed and always will.  If He did not, then neither would anything else.

Satan would like to cloud that fact, of course.  Satan has deceived himself into believing that not only would all things exist without God, but that he has the power to take over God’s throne.  Whether his insanity goes to the point of believing he can kill God or not is speculation, but I think a weak case could be made for that.

I really have to wonder how much of a stench that “prayer” was in God’s nostrils.  I know I couldn’t even bring myself to say “Amen” at the end.

So, our commencement speakers can go on to talk about the founding fathers (who at least believed in deism, and one or two were actual ministers) and how they believed in “freedom”, as though that is the highest goal in the first place.  And all the while, we are intentionally becoming a nation of amnesiacs who cannot remember why we have these freedoms and Who grants them in the first place.

Perhaps some day I’ll do a more substantive article on the founding fathers and what religious freedom really is.  There are already many such articles out there on that, though, so I don’t know I would bring anything new to the table.  It’s just sad how our “educated” are intentionally dumbing down our kids.

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