My 2006 NaNoWriMo novel. Woo! Note: since I am posting as I go along, the storyline is backwards. To read this, start from the oldest post and read to the newest.

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Location: Los Angeles, United States

I am an awkward, stubborn, slightly insane woman who would rather talk Plato than Prada, rather watch Frank Capra than Carrie Bradshaw, and rather listen to Norse myths sung in Icelandic than anything currently on the radio. Yeah. Told you I was weird.

Wednesday, November 29, 2006

Chapter 11

"Ok, class, we've been carrying on this discussion all semester, and while I don't think we've really arrived at any answers, I think we've profited by it." Dr. Kendall leaned on the lecturn, and looked at us over the top of his glasses. "However, I think today will be the last day we'll take up class time to talk about it, since we've gotten a little behind on the cirriculum. Ok, I think we have several schools of thought here, each pretty much led by one of you. Let's see...Mr. Johnson?"
Isaac started slightly, then called out, "Yes, sir?"
"You've been pretty vocal this semester. Can you summarize your view of holiness for us? As comprehensively, but succintly, as possible, please."
"Yes sir." Isaac stood, thought for a moment, then stated: "Holiness is an attribute of God, that can be bestowed upon a person both as a gift or as a reward for their efforts. It contains goodness, truth, and righteousness, and indicates that the person endowed with it is set apart for a special purpose." He sat back down quickly, but with a slight air of satisfaction.
"Well stated, Mr. Johnson. Now, since you've all heard Mr. Johnson's arguments for several weeks now, raise your hands if this is approximately the view you take on holiness." Dr. Kendall scanned the room, and several hands were raised.
"Alright, very good. Mr. Tyson? Care to do the same?"
Luke stood up almost lazily, a smirk playing around the edges of his mouth. "Sure thing, Dr. Kendall. Holiness is an attribute of God Almighty. Only a few select individuals, who hole themselves up in monasteries and are very careful to never do anything, and especially never do anything fun, get to be called holy. Objects are not holy because, hello, they're just things." He dropped back into his seat, the smirk fully evident now.
"Very well, Mr. Tyson, we all agree that you state your feelings openly without...ahem..toning them down...and who agrees with Mr. Tyson?" Several hands raised around the classroom, though fewer than had sided with Isaac. I noticed that Mandy Thompson was among them.
"Ok, let's see...Miss Ward? Would you mind stating your basic view of the nature of holiness?"
Katie stood up nervously; it was pretty obvious that she didn't particularly care to put forth her ideas again, but she looked determined, and spoke without faltering. "God is holy, and is the standard of holiness. Human beings become holy by following God and becoming like Him. Objects that have been set aside for holy purposes may become holy, but I'm not sure about that yet." She sat down, without rushing or falling, and met Dr. Kendall's eyes steadily. I thought I saw him give her a quick smile, but couldn't be sure about it.
"Ok...How many here are going to agree with Miss Ward?" Again, a few hands were raised-includng mine-- but not so many as for Isaac's speech.
"Mr. Slocum, I see that you agreee with Miss Ward, but you've been pretty vocal this semester. Would you care to state your own view?"
"No, I don't have anything particularly different to say. I'll stay in Miss Ward's camp."
"Alright. Now, I saw the hands that were raised, and the number does not match the number on my roster. This is not a question you can sit out, people, not in my class, and certainly not in life. So!" He clapped his hands together loudly, making a few people jump. "Mr. Tyson, you stand in that corner of the room. Mr. Johnson, you go over there. Miss Ward, you come up here to the front." There was a bit of shuffling as the three took their places, then Dr. Kendall spoke again. "Those of you who tend to agree with Mr. Tyson, go stand over there. For those of you who agree with Mr. Johnson, join him. If you find yourself most persuaded by Miss Ward's ideas, come up to the front and stand with her." Dead silence. "Now, people, and please be honest about what you really believe."
A bit of pandemonium ensued as the class tried to decide where to stand. I had a relatively easy time making my way to the front of the class, since, to my amazement, most of the traffic was flowing tht way. As the last few stragglers found their place, Dr. Kendall called for quiet.
"Some of you might find this result surprising." He gestured to the room: the majority of students were standing with Katie at the front of the room, a large group was gathered around Isaac, and only a few stood with Luke Tyson. "It may surprise you to know that this is prety much the same division throughout Christian history. The weight of tradition, belief, and experience is here," he said, pointing to the front of the room. "This doesn't mean that other views can't be considered. The role of the skeptic is valuable, and many holy people have challenged long-held ideas. But this is essentially what most Christians, in most places, at most times have believed. And you would all do well to remember that, even if you believe differently."
The silence that followed was long and intense, bordering on uncomfortable. Dr. Kendall polished his glasses, then looked up at us. "Ok, today's been a hard day for some of you. I'll let you take the rest of the class period off. You all need some time to process this, and I suspect that some of you need some time to recuperate. Just come back next week with a one-page response to this session, and be ready to launch back into the regular class work."
Most of the class streamed eagerly down the steps of the chapel building, but a few hung around by the doors to talk. Mandy looked angry, though that wasn't particularly unusual, and Luke was being more sarcastic than usual. Katie Ward came through the doors, smiling at a few of her friends who were with her. Mandy reached out and put a hand on her arm, turning her around.
"Well, Miss Perfect, are you happy now that everybody agrees with you?"
Katie stammered, "But not everybody-"
"Yeah, we know, we're not all good people like you, because we disagree." Mandy's pitched her voice into a nasally whine. "Ooh, teacher, teacher, they're all picking on me! I bet they don't even have their quiet times every day!" She snorted.
I'd seen enough by that point. "Hey, what's the matter?"
Luke spoke up then. "Oh sure, you want to be a good boy, so you think it's all as simple as that. Just pray, read your Bible, and go to Heaven with Baby Jesus."
"First of all, I'll wager that that's not what Katie thinks. Who's over-simplifying here? Secondly, did Dr. Kendall tell you not to think what you do? Believe what you do? Did he ever say that you're bad people?"
"No, but-"
"Right, Mandy. He didn't. And he won't. And I won't. I do, in fact, think you're mistaken, but I say keep on thinking, keep on searching, and I'll do the same. We may both find out what's true in the end, and I hope and pray we do."
The group was quiet then; not happy, just quiet. I put a hand against Katie's backpack, and gently steered her away. "Sorry about that."
Katie shrugged. "It's ok. This semester has made me a lot tougher; I guess I can be grateful to them for that. Besides, even if I'm basically right, what good is it every going to be if I never deal with anyone who disagrees with me?" She smiled, and turned to go. "Thanks anyway, though. I really do appreciate it."

To: Katherine Ward
From: Amanda J. Thompson
Subject: class
Hey, Katie. Listen, I just wanted to apologize for what happened after class the other day. I still disagree with you, and I think your views are way too simplistic. But I guess attacking you personally isn't the best way to make my point. So, sorry about that, and hopefully you won't hold it against me.
"And the trees are all kept equal by hatchet axe and saw."


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