08 December 2007

The Centenary . . .

Speaking of adopting pets, the big college just did.After receiving votes from 1400 alums, faculty, staff, currents students, and even a batch of prospective students, Centenary College (alma mater, hail) has announced an additional mascot. We'll remain the Gents and Ladies, of course, but now we have a Catahoula cur named Skeeter to tote around and love.

What a beautiful dog. And from a rescue shelter too. Even better.

Go Skeeter the Gent!

05 December 2007

Adopting a pet or a child?

Here are two poignant sentences from Russell Moore's must-read article "The Brotherhood of Sons" in a recent Touchstone journal:

It is one thing when the culture doesn’t “get” adoption, and so speaks, for instance, of buying an animal as “adopting” a pet. When Christians, however, think the same way, we betray that we miss something crucial about our own salvation.

So let's learn and love it, friends, with passion and action. We meditate too little on how, through the Messiah whose birth we celebrate during this season, we now have the perfect love of the perfect Father. And we marvel too little at how earthly adoption can help us see that reality a bit better. The reality Moore conveys about the Russian orphanage where their boys lived for too long can help us do exactly that, yet it deserves warning: it is emotionally and spiritually hard to read, making me want to simultaneously genuflect in gratitude for my own adoption as daughter to the Most High and crawl on those knees to the nearest airplane that can transport me to Russia.

All that said, I have one critique for the article: Moore insists that when they teach their boys about their cultural heritage, that means teaching them about what it means to be a Moore, with all its Mississippi-ness, but not what it means to have been a Russian, with all its Tchaikovskian folk opera.

Now, maybe the spiritual precedent would suggest that it's better to know as little as possible about the previous reality but to live robustly the new adopted life. But as it pertains to human existence and adopted life, I worry a bit about this idea. I worry about it culturally, because I think everyone should have broad cultural educations, and a family with adopted children from other cultures has a particular privilege to learn such business with a great deal of personal investment.

I also worry about it socially and economically, for it is often the privilege of the relatively wealthy to adopt, and when the wealthy adopt children from foreign countries where disadvantage is the norm, then that cultural heritage is threatened with weakness and perhaps even extinction. If God has designed the Church with cultural diversity as an integral component, then local churches whose members have adopted have, again, a particular privilege to practice such stuff.

Finally, Americans are particularly good at privileging American-ness. We live rather obliviously to the global community, partially because we spend too much time in our own virtual worlds of materialism and celebrity culture. It's necessary that the adopted Moores understand their Moore-ness, with all its Hank Williams and Charley Pride, but there's nothing particularly smashing about those things. All the Moore boys, and all of us too, would do well to know some "Peter and the Wolf" too, but the Moores especially.

After all, adoption is the privilege of leaving what was squalid and empty to enter into what is rich and yours. But human adoption isn't quite like spiritual adoption in that some of that richness is of the flesh, and some of the yours is really ours. That is, human adoption does liberate orphans from a kind of loneliness into another, like the consumerist supremacy of McDonald's. But transcultural adoption liberates the adopting family from its monotony of blood into a hegemony of culture, like the broadening of Moore-ness for all the Moores from Mississippi to Russia.

For now, to be a Moore means more than Baptist ministers and the Confederacy. Now it means to be a Russian brother.

04 December 2007

Other good photos, on that other topic again

For more good photos about that Bobby Knight business, check out The Times' photo blog from whence the one above came. At least the story is better fleshed-out there. (PS the guy with his head up is one of my students. Bonus points? Er, probably not.)

Mr. and Mrs. Menefee

And now for pictures from the professional, Kevin Beasley.  

Of course, I can't actually reproduce them on my site, but if you want to see the multitude of images he shot of my sister's wedding, go here and navigate to "weddings" and then "Emily's and Craig's wedding" (password phifer).  

I especially suggest you look for the photo of Noel gazing at his navel.  The shots of Craig in the suicide-door car are really grand too.  Oh, and then there's the fun of a wedding in general.  Yeah, that.

02 December 2007


Just as I hit "publish post" for the bit below, ESPN was linking to two stories about the game on its main page!  The links: Tech losses Knight at halftime | Centenary wins.  An unfortunate typo in the former; a simple beauty in the latter.

Centenary's athletics site paraphrases the issue this way: "A group of 20 to 30 Centenary students baited Bob Knight as he passed by.  Knight stopped, turned, and headed back towards the section with a pointed finger.  After a few words to the crowd he disappeared into the tunnel to meet up with his team."

01 December 2007

Centenary's big W

Proud to be a Gent.  And/or whatever we will be.  Because tonight, the Centenary Gents defeated the Texas Tech Red Raiders in a great game at CenturyTel.  

The crowd looked small to start, no doubt owing to the competing SEC championship game.  Regardless, we grew to a relatively large crowd soon and would have seemed rather impressive in the Gold Dome.  Alas, we were home away from home.  

But we had to dress pretty because Bobby Knight was there.  At least until half-time.
At the end of the first half, Kelly and Kakie and I retreated to the C Club area for free munchies and apparently missed the show.  When we returned to our seats, Kelly's husband (who had stayed in his seat during half time) said that just as Texas Tech was returning to the locker room, Knight stopped at the Centenary student section and was gesturing passionately to them.  He couldn't tell what had happened or who started it. 

Then a fellow faculty member joined us and said that Centenary radio had reported "an altercation" between the students and Knight.  But that was all he knew for sure.

By this point, it was quite clear that Knight would not be returning to the game.  The official line later was that he was ill and has been since Texas Tech played in Alaska last week.

Finally, we heard the story from a student, an advisee of mine, who had been standing there and experienced the situation first-hand.  He first told the story to a group two rows in front of us; then he told us, and then he repeated it again to the mother of a basketball player directly in front of us (she had apparently not overheard either of the previous tellings).  So if he was making any of this up, he was doing it well and repeating the same details three times in a row.

The advisee said that just as Knight passed them, one of the students said, "Watch out: he's got a gun!" alluding to a recently reported incident and a bunch of students responded by hiding their heads in mock fear.  Clearly a planned bit of trash talk, and clearly in poor taste, but clever nonetheless.

The advisee then tells us that Knight paused to yell at the students, saying that he didn't have to be here, that the only reason Texas Tech would bother playing a team like Centenary was as a favor to Rob Flaska (our coach, who has some former connection with Knight).  
This is where local news stories stop . . . well, what local stations even covered the game.  KTBS spent their entire sports section via satellite to their main sports guy who reported on virtually nothing, spending the entire segment on his personal commentary about LSU's possibilities for the National Championship.  

So if you want news on this game, you should check out this story on usually crummy KTAL (an entertaining piece, what with the reporter's singing and all) or check out virtually any Lubbock news outlet, like this one.

Anyway, the point is that advisee did not stop there.  He said that Knight proceeded to curse the students and yell angrily.  When one of his assistant coaches approached and tried to help him leave the court, he began yelling at the assistant and cursing him.  Then he returned to the students and took up his rant again, so fiercely that the advisee found himself feeling rather frightened and had to turn away.
The Shreveport Times' photo gallery (from which the photos in this post come) seem to support this story, especially the one above showing Knight interacting with an assistant coach in front of the Centenary student section.  If Knight merely "stopped, walked to the students and calmly explained" his position, why would his assistant need to intervene?

Regardless, Bobby Knight left, not to return.  And Centenary prevailed, defeating Texas Tech definitively only in the last two seconds.  An intense second half, and rewarding.

Knight's son and heir responded defensively to the media, but it hardly matters.  Whether or not he has his father's talent for coaching, he clearly shares his temper.  (Anyway, does the fact that Texas Tech couldn't maintain their lead in the second half at all indicate that Knight's son can't coach?)

We shall see how the story shakes down.  Since the game happened on Championship Saturday in college football, hardly anyone will take the time to report on this game or its shenanigans.  Some of our local sports could hardly bring themselves to do it, but shame on them for that.  

After all, the Knight business is really no surprise.  But the varying stories are.  Which will prevail, the provocative one from my trustworthy advisee who claims to have seen it, or the tamer official line from the SID to the AP and beyond?