Monday, February 21, 2011

They're Still Here...

Sharon and I went across the border to Poland for our anniversary.  We saw several things that reminded us of the Communist heritage in this part of the world.  Check out the reading material our stone friend is carrying.  In the second picture, Sharon is standing in front of one Warsaw's most impressive buildings, "a gift to the Polish people" from Stalin.     But more significant than the architecture is the lasting political and cultural influence.  Here in the Czech Republic we are constantly coming across things that remind us that this land still needs deliverance.  Our attempt to buy our building will have to get past a legislature with many Communist Party members -- possibly the ones who go to the annual Spring fundraiser at the restaurant on our street.  (Please jump to the BMA page for more information about our building.)  The way people of our generation and older think about leadership, about business, about education -- all these things are still deeply influenced by totalitarianism.      I'm not just speaking as an American who gets frustrated by the tired shopkeepers who treat us with disgust until we acknowledge their authority.  Our Czech friends and colleagues lament their own bureaucracy, and the attitudes of the bureaucrats.  
     We took Izak to the clinic the other day, and a kindly nurse asked him what name he was giving to his new toy puppy.  She was a gifted health care professional who had given Izak the present a week ago with the assignment: "Why don't you tell me what it's name is when you come back?"   Izak decided on "Pomeranč" which means "Orange."  When he told the nurse, she said right away, "Oh, no, we don't give doggies names like that."  No affirmation for creativity or even cuteness.  It was remarkable that a woman who performed her job so capably felt that she had to squash our three-year-old's happy idea. We were puzzled.  Was this simply a cultural difference?  Later, though, Petr Hermann heard about it, agreed that it was strange. His comment was: "The heritage of Communism."  
One of the exciting things about BMA is the determined attempt to teach from a different kind of heritage.  Communist education stressed conformity without questions, and shame.  We try to encourage creativity and questions, and care for the students.  We hope this brings honor directly to Jesus Christ, author of creativity, who invited questions and cares for us still.

Izak and Pomeranč

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