(AV17765) Radical Marxist, Radical Feminist, Radical Love: What Mother Teresa Taught Me

(AV17765) Radical Marxist, Radical Feminist, Radical Love: What Mother Teresa Taught Me


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dedication the members of the planning team are listed on page 5 of your
program and now Anne smiley Olien associate professor in kinesiology
will introduce tonight’s presenter Thank You Jordan we are very pleased to have dr. Mary
poplin as our Veritas 2011 speaker dr. poplin did her graduate work at the
University of Texas and is currently a professor of education at Claremont
Graduate University in California she and her colleagues recently conducted a
five-year study in which they examined characteristics of highly effective
teachers in low performing urban schools in Los Angeles she just gave an
excellent presentation this morning to the education faculty she teaches
courses in pedagogy learning theory qualitative research philosophy and
worldviews as indicated by the title of the presentation tonight radical marxist
radical feminism and radical love dr. poplin experienced a major change in her
worldview mid-career this was followed by spending two months with Mother
Teresa and the Sisters of Charity in Calcutta which deepened her life as a
Christian transformed her view of social work and impacted her work as a
professor she relates this journey in her book finding Calcutta please join me
in warmly welcome welcoming dr. poplin to Iowa State University thank you this is my second time in Iowa
my first time was driving across the state and stopping at a gas station
where some young men informed me all the advantages of ethanol gas it must have
been promotion week or something it was great I wasn’t sure about putting
corn in my tank but it worked it worked so thanks Ann and Jordan and Laurie and
Tom and Bill and Cody and all of the team that I’ve met so far I know there’s
a lot more of you I want to start by building a kind of personal context so
that you can sort of understand what my remarks are about where they come from
and I want to just share with you a little bit of my intellectual history
now I know those of you who are students are probably thinking oh my goodness a
professor sharing her intellectual history I promise to try to make it more
exciting than that but uh I didn’t actually come from a very well-educated
family my dad had not finished well we think he finished eighth grade my mother
had gone to school for two years to become a teacher
but when I got to college I was pretty much intellectually awakened and I
really loved College even as a young high school student and college student
I was also always drawn to social justice I used to do a lot of work with
handicapped people adults mostly when I was a high school student and during the
time I was growing up Martin Luther King and the whole civil rights movement was
emerging once I got to college I began to kind of learn a few things about God
I had gone to a Methodist Church but mostly it was that he was irrelevant
because he was never mentioned at college well hence I became a professor
I got into increasingly more radical philosophies to the point where I was
teaching pretty much radical feminism and radical Marxism in my education
classes and built a teaching program around both of those
– womanís studies and critical theory and social constructivism in my
personalized life I was equally adventurous I was kind of always living
on the edge I went to frequented all kinds of nightclubs with my friends and
and used a lot of alcohol drugs and at best I think I could say I was let’s see
serially monogamous might be the right word in my spiritual life I was also
experimenting and everything except Christianity so I two weeks into
graduate school I was in transcendental medication meditation classes medication
classes that would have been interesting I was also on medication maybe that’s
what the Lord wanted you to know so I was also did Zen Buddhism and all kinds
of feminist spirituality and then just about every form of the New Age movement
including bending spoons which in California counts as a religious
activity I told people I was spiritual and not religious I had had a in the
late 80s I had had a graduate student who was older than I he was the Native
American man and he was the only man to ever take my radical feminism class I’m
happy to report he’s still alive while all of us mostly white women were
talking about how oppressed we were John was actually very silent and by any
measure he had been far more oppressed than than than any of us in the room
even though he didn’t talk about it so he had in fact not even gone to school
all the time because he was a farm worker he had to help his mother there’s
his father had left the family and so he he helped his mother earn money his
whole family of six he told me one time sometimes would share one potato for
dinner now his piece about all this he had a
very different he wasn’t a Marxist and he had a very different disconcerting
piece about all of this and I was very uncomfortable about it I
was much more comfortable because I understood more about people who felt
sort of had gone to Marxism through these experiences he was not naive
however he knew and worked against oppression and racism of all kinds he
had a very clear handle on it but it had no handle on him it’s really kind of
hard to describe but let me try to describe it the way I sort of see it in
my mind sort of visually and that is that because he was not all wrapped up
in the things we were wrapped up in talking about oppression and racism
he actually had no hooks on him so I sort of imagine him going through life
without anything to catch on to him well after he finished his PhD we began to
work on projects here and there and he would occasionally offer the following
to me he would say if you ever want to do anything with your spiritual life I’d
like to help you well that was pretty irritating to me because I thought I was
doing plenty with my spiritual life and I didn’t really know what spirituality
he had and I sort of thought it was some kind of strange Native American religion
in November of 1992 in May of 1992 I had become a full professor and in November
of 1992 I had an unshakable dream now I have dreams most all almost all of my
dreams are the same as everybody else’s we ate too much lasagna or something and
they’re just sort of here and there you remember little pieces but this dream
was unshakable because I remembered every single detail sights sounds
feelings emotions everything and it was a dream for the first time in my life
that was actually in color even though the part of the dream I was in wasn’t in
color so when I woke up I thought I knew I needed to kind of do something about
this it was it had disturbed me so I thought to myself stereotypically okay
spiritual life dreams native-american that’s what you get for taking
multicultural classes so I called him he lives in San Diego I live in Los Angeles
they’re about 120 miles apart and I said I’ve had this dream and I’d like to talk
to you about my spiritual life and he said why don’t we have dinner tonight
and he named a place a restaurant in between the two cities on the coast and
so I went to dinner and and I began then to hesitantly very hesitantly and
secretly to tell you the truth because I was this university professor still and
believe it or not and I began to explore Christianity about a year or yeah about
a year and a half later I was at a retreat house like a Catholic
Charismatic retreat house it was a Benedictine monastery
it is a Benedictine monastery and we are just some kind of a private retreat but
the people the monks said this afternoon we’re gonna watch a film about Mother
Teresa and I’m gonna show you a piece of that film in just a second we’re gonna
watch a film about mother Teresa and if you don’t have anything else to do this
afternoon you want to come watch it come and watch it
well I had never given mother Teresa any thought whatsoever however it was two
years into my exploring Christianity and I was beginning to ask myself what would
Christianity have to say about social justice or about my work like what what
would it add to my work and when I saw the film I was really moved by it I
admired her but she kept talking about Jesus something I was not yet
comfortable with and the thing that she said in the film that really struck me
is she said our work is not social work it’s religious work
and I thought well what could that possibly mean and I believed that maybe
if I did the work alongside them I would actually understand this so in
the fall of 1995 before I had another sabbatical coming up I wrote a letter to
the missionaries of charity and asked if I could come and volunteer I had asked
in my letter what if you let me come and volunteer what should I bring ok I’m a
pragmatist I was thinking toilet paper okay their
answer back was all you need to bring to Calcutta is a heart to serve Jesus in
the distressing disguise of the poor and so I want you just to see a few minutes
just because lately when I speak in the colleges this makes me feel really old
but people will say to me well you know when she died I was like a child
so just so you get kind of a picture of things they did like this is a the film
is a documentary and this is when they were in Beirut so more shells fell on PLO strongholds in
West Beirut Canadia the life of the city continues to draw a world attention
since the invasion begins authorities estimate 500 civilians have been killed
and another thousand wounded as Israel is expected to continue my spirit of
many people and I visit the church should be dead now right because we
don’t accept in politics because we don’t mix that you must be dead if you
wait a little bit as much on yourself and as soon as a reality EDT heavy
military activities are over then this feelings go to slow down also and that
is only much feasible because then you go now by a car maybe you can’t go
across you go to the other side you can’t come back the idea is good the innocence our duty but just imagine
you go there you can’t come back they’ll get stuck over there what’s this sighs
you have ruled your memory and you have ordered the other size scales I think
and pick up individuals then say one two one two we bring this side the disabled
I think you started this very important two weeks ago they killed her got a few
please just like that for the sake of Kelly priest you see so that there isn’t
if you should risk our lives okay yes you see I always feel like this many
years back when I picked up the first person if I didn’t do that time I would
have never picked up forty two thousand in Calcutta
forty-two thousand from the streets so I think one one at the time Beirut was under seed the voluntary
surveilled that she wanted to get to West Beirut to see to the needs of the
people air she asked to see the American ambassador
to see if we could help her to get across we said mother you hear the shell
she said yes I hear everybody said you know it’s absolutely impossible for you
to cross at this present time we have to have a ceasefire first and she said oh
but I have been praying to our lady and I have asked her to let us have a
ceasefire tomorrow the day before her Peace Day and ambassador Habib looked at
Mother Teresa and he said mother I am very glad you’re on my side that you are
a woman of Paris and I believe in prayer and I believe that prayer is answered
and I am a man of faith but you said you’re asking our lady to deal with
Prime Minister begin and don’t you think the timing limit is a little short that
you should extend it a little furnish quite seriously Mother Teresa’s an old
nomes for her me I’m certain that we’ll have the ceasefire tomorrow well he said
if we have the ceasefire I personally will make arrangements to see that you
go to West Beirut tomorrow I think we should take full advantage of
the fact that we have a cease fire of sorts there were 60 totally deficient
spastic children in a center there was no staff really left to look after them
the hospital itself has been hit by shells a number of times a number of
people have been killed I would like perhaps to take you to see
this case and then we can see what can be done not been able to find a solution
to this problem of the Muslim children at that time and I’m being very candid
here I was not clear in my mind at all of what practical help she could be we
had no water in Nepal most of the time we were running out of just about
everything a saint was not what I needed most they could neither be fed nor docked
after where they were in an area where the transit their being under
bombardment were high until Mother Teresa can nobody had been
really very keen to take these trophy she wasted very full time don’t need anything that’s my leg small things with great love it is not
how much we do but how much love we put in the toy and it is not how much we give how much
love we put in the giving to God there is nothing small moment we have given up
to God it becomes infinite another time that film is available everywhere it’s
by the Petrie’s and it’s narrated by Richard Attenborough so I encourage
those of you who are interested to see more to get that film well as you can
see here here was a woman who was the head and founder of a worldwide
multi-ethnic organization was the ministry to the poorest of the poor I
profess to support all of those things I profess to support ministries to the
poor or work with the poor women in leadership multi-ethnic organizations
but she had never made it into my feminist course syllabus and she had
never made it into any of my just social justice classes so I began to have to
ask myself how did this happen what was was it because she was Christian was it
because she was Catholic was it because she was a nun was it because she just
talked too much about Jesus now most people interpret mother Teresa
and think about her mostly as a good humanist just maybe even an
extraordinary humanist she’s more comfortable test that way
makes it gives us a feeling that we could be sort of just like her if we
really wanted to well I began to try to write the stories and the experiences I
had had there and I was very conscious of how my colleagues would read it and
how people who were not Christian would read it and so I was really writing
trying to write her up from a sort of secular humanist position but I because
I thought she’d be less offensive that way but I suddenly came to through this
intellectual crisis where I realized that I was actually lying about her
Todd Lake who graduated from Harvard the day that Mother Teresa was the speaker
at the graduation exercises explained my dilemma like this
it was his it was also his experience I remember Mother Teresa’s speech on the
steps of Memorial Church at clasp day exercises in 1982 where she talked of
Jesus incessantly I mean incessantly and she even quoted
that verse John 3:16 already known to most of us thanks to the sign
the endzone bleachers but in a triumph of brilliant editing harvard magazines
account managed to report almost the entire mother teresa speech without once
hinting that she might have even mentioned jesus we all sensed he could
be trouble and we wanted to make sure he never became a live issue again
well eventually I stopped trying to exercise exercise her faith and to write
the book as best as I could from her worldview so let me just give you a few
examples of how that worldview is different from what we assume about her
and mother Teresa as we started with Mass every morning at the mother house
she said we take Jesus from the altar to meet Jesus in the streets and I always
tried to get there early because I knew right where she had sit she’s placed her
body in between her sisters and the volunteers just kind of interesting and
I thought if I could get there early and like sit cluster maybe something nice
would rub off on me I think I only got her Crooked Fingers
but anyway one day at Mass a very well-dressed Indian woman came into the
mass after it was already going and she walked in she found Mother Teresa and
she began to like bow to Mother Teresa and to like kiss her feet we were all
sitting on the floor because there were no there’s no pews or chairs in the
missionaries chapels Mother Teresa became very disturbed at this and she’s
talked to the woman in some Indian language probably Bengali and then the
woman didn’t stop and so she actually took the woman’s hands away from her and
she pointed them to the crucifix at the front wall and she said it’s him it’s
him give your thanks to him well at that the woman kind of pulled
back and she she looked at mother Teresa and then she looked at the crucifix and
she looked back at mother Teresa and she looked at the crucifix and then she sat
there for a minute and then she left mother Teresa called herself a pencil in
God’s hand and very few people know this but mother Teresa and the missionaries
of charity did not consider the work that we just saw their first work they
considered that their first work was to belong to Jesus and to have such a
strong prayer life that they would always be he would always be working
through them so one of the reasons that you see as you transition from the place
where the children were in Beirut to the place where they took them there was
that kind of peace in all their homes it’s like everything becomes very quiet
and you see that the missionaries of charity don’t talk a lot even to one
another and maybe even especially to one another what they’re doing as they tend
people is praying so that woman with the last child who’s having the seizure that
sister is actually praying as she works and help and helps that child
the missionaries work is not only difficult but to tell you the truth it’s
a bit monotonous I mean all they really do is clean feed clean feed tend clean
feed give medicine things like that mother Teresa said that you needed a big
push from above to maintain the work because a lot of her sisters have
actually had degrees like in nursing and other degrees in fact the heiress to the
lipton tea company was a missionary of charity and she was there in Calcutta
well let’s look at the second thing how did mother Teresa decide to do what she
did now mother Teresa was originally a social studies teacher she was at the
sisters of Loretto and they had a school and a convent in a rep wealthy suburb of
Calcutta and she had been there for 18 years as she didn’t just decide to go
out and serve the poor she was on her way to a retreat and when she was 36
years old and she was on a train when the
vision happened she had three mystical visions where Jesus actually spoke to
her from the cross and he gave her exactly the plan that he was asking
calling her to do he wanted her to do four things he wanted her to develop an
order of Indian Indian nuns to serve Indian people and he didn’t want them to
have to become sort of Europeanized he didn’t want them to become as she called
it Mims which was a somewhat derogatory term for European people women in in
India so second he wanted them to go into the deepest darkest holes of the
poor of the poorest of the poor and to take him because he had no one to take
him there and third he didn’t want them to have to come to them so he wanted
them to go to the poor and not the make the poor come to them so mother Teresa
and the missionaries of charity always live in the very poorest communities and
mother and the missionaries call themselves living sacrifices and forth
he called them to serve only the poorest of the poor the poor that we’re not
going to get services from anyone else so let’s look at divine providence
mother Teresa and missionaries of charity believed so much in divine
providence that they still have had then and still have a constitution that
forbids their ever asking for money so if you ever get anything in the mail
that says give to the missionaries of charity you’ll know it didn’t come from
the missionaries of charity I mean the reason they forbid asking for money is
they believed that as long as they were doing the work of God the work he had
called them to do it was his job to pay for it so she would get these checks
from different people all over the world and finally she had a bank account at
the Vatican and sort of got some help managing it but Christopher Hitchins the
arc atheist of America or at least one of them the arc a theist of America had
written this really nasty book about Mother Teresa and he didn’t come out
exactly the year that I was in Calcutta now I know she knew about the book
because it was actually one of her sisters who told me about the book and
of course I went down and bought it and read it and one of his complaints is
that she took money from the politically incorrect and or even the politically
corrupt so one example was she had taken from a million dollars from Charles
Keating who was part of the Savings and Loan scandal in California which
probably looks like robbing a piggy bank right now but at that time it was a big
scandal well mother Teresa missionaries of charity do not read the newspaper
they don’t read The Wall Street Journal the London Times they just don’t do this
they just presumed that the money that they get is actually from God no matter
who it’s from it’s from it’s actually from God well
after I had read the book I was sitting on a bench the only time the times I
really got to speak to mother Teresa I was I was made a runner for the center I
was in I was assigned to a center was sick and handicapped children just a few
blocks from the mother house so sometimes they would have me run things
back to the house or go and pick up things or pick up answers and so I went
I was sitting there on a bench and she came out and she started telling myself
in an indian priest that some university students hindu students from the
university had come and left her and given her some money and she they had
had a big fundraiser over the weekend and they were dividing up the funds
among different organizations that work with the poor and she was very happy
about this because she had just started her ministry to prostitutes and that was
a ministry where she would pay to get them out of jail and then put them in a
home near the sisters and the sisters would train them in other skills and but
i couldn’t resist asking her about this because i knew that she was there and
everything she knew about the book and she was excited about this money so i
thought okay so here’s my opening so i said mother then which is what they
called her that they are still do call her that I said mother there are people
who write books about you that say you don’t need any
more money that you have so much money you can’t even spend it and she looked
at me kinda quizzically at first and then she said oh the book I haven’t read
it it matters not he’s forgiven okay well I knew they Chris Regents knew she
had said that because before the book he had done he had had a BBC film called
the Angel of Death I think it was called was a BBC film about her it was sort of
preceded the book and they had asked her about it they had interviewed her called
her and asked her about it and she said he’s forgiven well Christopher Hitchens
is pretty irate about that and I couldn’t keep myself from telling her
that so okay so my conversion hadn’t completely worked here so I said well
yes mother he knows that you said he was forgiven he’s kind of angry about that
because he says he didn’t need to be forgiven and he didn’t ask you to
forgive him and she looked at me as though I didn’t understand and she said
to me it’s not I who forgives it’s God God has forgiven him ask the sisters
okay so when I get back to my Center I find some of the sisters and I said ask
them well you know mother Teresa told me to ask you about this book and they said
oh yes we had a cop we have a copy of the book and we passed it around all the
permanent sisters those are the ones with the blue stripes and it took at
that time nine years to become a permanent sister and he and so they said
we read it we passed this one copy around all the permanent sisters in
Calcutta and they read it and then they agreed that when the last person
finished reading it they would fast for a week and ask God why the what was
their lesson to learn from this book okay so they did and they fasted for a
week and they came together and I asked them I said well what what’s the message
and they said very gently this one sister just smiling very gently said to
me oh it’s a call for us to become hope more holy
now Christopher Hitchens has never had that effect on me I recognize this as a
moral failing however but Mother Teresa believed in radical forgiveness the kind
of forgiveness Jesus actually calls people to which was modeled best in his
own death at the death so here he is he’s been beaten he’s being crucified on
the cross and he forgives everyone even though no one even realizes they need to
be forgiven and no one has certainly not asked for forgiveness no one is yes so
they live this kind of radical forgiveness and they also then have no
hooks left on them on the other hand if you really listen
to Christopher Hitchens debates and somebody ever braises the issue of
mother Teresa to him he just still goes pretty berserk my pastor once said
unforgiveness is like drinking poison and hoping the other person dies and
that’s pretty much I think that’s a great line I mean every single one of us
can think of somebody in our lives who has not forgiven someone and it’s
destroying their life you can just see it in Christianity there are not only
physical laws like gravity but there are spiritual laws and one of the spiritual
laws is forgiveness and if you don’t actually do it according to the way
we’re made if you don’t do it then then there are very negative consequences
eventually it will also kill you not as fast as if you break the law of gravity
by jumping off a building but it will eventually kill you so that’s one half
of the principle of radical forgiveness but the other half of the principle of
radical forgiveness is that if we do something if we something’s amiss in our
own heart or own life or we’re doing something that we know is really not
right sinful we ask God to forgive us and every time we ask him he forgives us
and he also begins a process to cleanse whatever it was whatever it is inside of
us that causes caused us to do this well
it’s the principle that’s written most clearly in first John 1:9 if you’re
faithful to to confess your sins he’s faithful and just to forgive you and to
cleanse you from all unrighteousness so I want to give you a very personal
example of this part of forgiveness for me when I became a Christian I began to
grieve over two abortions I had had and I continued to confess them to God okay
so by the time I met mother theresa’s I’m been probably committed to
Christianity for three years and Mother Teresa’s I was assigned I just went up
and said put me wherever you need me and I assumed that the place they would need
the most people was at the home for the dying this is where adults are but that
wasn’t where it was they said well we have a lot of people everywhere except
with the handicapped children now my original field was special education so
I get assigned to the handicapped children Ward down the street and inside
there I get assigned to work with sick babies God has always all kinds of ways
to heal you so when I returned after I had had these amazing experiences with
these babies in particular one baby I’m go I returned to the monastery on my way
back home and where I had seen the film and there’s a priest there father Sam
who was instructing us on forgiveness interestingly and he’s wanted us to make
a list of all the people we we felt we needed to forgive on one side of a card
and all the things we still wanted to be forgiven from on the other side of the
card so I listed my abortions I listed on one side of the card and on the other
side of the card I listed people that I felt I hadn’t forgiven and that night we
were gonna burn these cards as a sort of evening oblation to God as the psalm
says and I was walking along the river and I had my little card and my pencil
in my pocket and in my spirit this doesn’t happen this
only happened once to me in my spirit I hear a man’s voice and I say in my
spirit because even though it was loud to me I don’t know if you would have
heard it if you were walking next to me but in my spirit I hear a man’s voice
it’s not happy with me at all and the voice says who are you not to forgive
someone I’ve forgiven I thought wow somebody have left off this list and so
I walk along the river a little further and I hear the same thing a second time
who are you not to forgive someone I’ve forgiven and I heard it a third time and
then the third time I just knelt down the grass I looked up the sky I said
lord I don’t know what you’re talking about coz I had gotten my list out and
I’d looked at all the people and the next thing I heard was even in a
stronger voice and the voice said I forgave you the first time you asked and
I don’t want you to ask me again I was not being told to forgive myself hear me there is not a single principle
I have gone through the whole Bible after this there’s not a single
Christian principle in the scriptures and there’s not a single biblical
reference that suggests that anybody in the Bible ever forgave themselves for
anything self forgiveness is a secular psychological principle I personally
believe from my own experience it is not even possible to do it so while the
Scriptures assured me that I was forgiving because I had confessed it
I felt I didn’t deserve it yet so I kept trying to work it off so one minute I’d
be sure I had done it and the next minute I wasn’t sure and what the Lord
was telling me is who are you who was I to make that decision I didn’t even have
that authority I have no authority to forgive myself it was like the Lord was
saying stop binding yourself I’ve already set you free you know go well
let’s look briefly at the secular principles of a psychology for personal
psychological structured struggles you can use psychoanalytic methods where you
relive parts of your life and you seek to understand the actions and the
consequences and kind of rename them in Psychological terms the end the ego the
super-ego or diagnose it as a condition like codependence for example so in
psychoanalysis as in all the secular psychological theories you we are
actually working our way through our own problem with our own mind in cognitive
behavior modification you just realize what you’re saying to yourself and then
you decide to get what new message would be more productive for you to tell
yourself and so you go there or you might try positive psychology where you
kind of ignore a lot of that and you focus on the goal for your life the sort
of what’s your calling gonna be and although in the most egregious
situations this is a lot more challenging that sounds on the pages of
psychology tests text well recently secular psychology has become very
interested in the concept of forgiveness and there’s actually a number of studies
you can find in Psychological journals about forgiveness and even about
forgiveness among different groups of people and what they find is that people
who are Christian in particular tend to forgive other people more so the one of
the best studies by Krauss and Ellison it’s a very large study where they
studied older people because that’s where they sort of see whether or not
people have forgiven other people or not and here’s a quote from them about what
their statistics revealed and not the word feel in here so many times
okay quote older people who feel they are forgiven by God are approximately
two-and-a-half times more likely to feel that a transgressor should be forgiven
unconditionally than older people who do not feel they’re forgiven by God okay
but now let’s listen to the way the authors actually summarized this study
now bear with me it’s you know how psychological study research studies
sound but just sort of get the gist of it finally as noted earlier official
church doctrines advocate forgiving others and seeking forgiveness from God
yet we know relatively little about these theological issues and how they’re
brought into practice in daily life two intriguing leads are provided in the
literature first a recent study by with rose suggests the small formal groups in
the church such as a prayer group and Bible study groups might promote
forgiveness of others second research indicates that the general psychosocial
climate of the congregation may have an important influence on the thought and
behavior of church members because the general psychosocial climate
of the church is likely to affect the way that prayer groups and Bible studies
are run comparing and contrasting these two institutional influences may provide
valuable insight into the factors that encourage people to be more forgiving of
others so what has happened here you will note that this is no longer about
God he’s completely absent from the picture we’ve dropped God for two
intriguing leads and we’re getting ready to develop a psychosocial environment a
secular social psychosocial environment where people can begin to forgive one
another this is no longer about God it’s all about feelings and sociology this is
a perfect example of what philosopher Dallas Willard says calls the calamity
of displacing the central points of Christian knowledge into the domain of
mere faith sentiment tradition ritual or power if forgiveness as its described
and and practiced in Christianity is true that is if God forgives and
cleanses us secular psychology will be limited at best if the way we’re made is
the way the biblical theory biblical teachings regard it then this is not
going to be very successful i resistance to engaging spiritual transactions
leaves higher education psychology in this case bound in a secular imperative
that not only limits our minds but it diminishes our search for truth and for
progress to the authors of this study there has been no spirit spiritual
transaction between their subjects and a living God
it’s a psychosocial thing it reduces the secular imperative reduces all our
philosophies theories and research to its lowest common denominator we can now
design therapy groups in a particular kind of psychosocial environment well
one of the last things mother Teresa said to me and this is where the title
of the book comes from is God doesn’t call everybody to work with the poor
like he calls us and he doesn’t call everybody to live poor like he calls us
but God does call everybody to a Calcutta and then she pointed that
little crooked finger at me and she pointed right in my face because I was
sitting and she was standing and we were the same height and she said to me you
have to find yours well when I came home and had this huge intellectual crisis
just trying to write about her I realized I had to dive into
understanding worldviews because from scientism or sort of radical scientific
naturalism mother Teresa was just a unique bundle of brain chemistry with a
particular psycho neurological processes going on I’m sure she had psycho neural
processes going on but that would have been it it’s atoms all the way up and
all the way down from secular humanism mother Teresa had just decided as a
person to through her own reason and her own power to do what she did and she
took responsibility and did it she had the fortitude and determination to do
good works both worldviews would have added the caveat that it was unfortunate
that she had this myth of believing God in there so to the cycle to the
scientism the belief in God was probably just a leftover from evolution or it was
this sort of cycle neural glitch that still exists in the human race from
secular humanism she was it was like a wish fulfillment from Freud or or an
opiate she was using it as an opiate for the poor if you look at Marxism
from pantheism which in the United States is sort of a mix of Eastern
religion and the New Age movement things I was pretty deeply involved in mother
Teresa would have just been a more highly evolved soul she would have had a
strong spiritual connection to the divine that’s in all of us and in all of
the world so let me conclude by saying this this radical secularization of the
Academy has led to four major problems that you can see I believe in the
university that’s pretty much bankrupted it first secularization has radically
diminished the university’s own commitment to its unbridled wholehearted
search for truth by categorically excluding from any consideration all
truth claims from the judeo-christian worldview or any other religion
religious worldview except for some pantheist things they accept second it
denies the central purpose of the university to be the free and open
marketplace of ideas third it contradicts the university’s own self
professed commitment to pluralism fourth radical secularism has left the
university with what law professor Stephen Smith calls a desiccated public
discourse he suggests we need to decriminalize the smuggling of belief
philosopher Dallas Willard again asked the ultimate question he says is reality
secular is adequate knowledge secular and is that something that has been
established as a fact by thorough and unbiased inquiry is this something that
today’s secular universities thoroughly and freely discuss in a disciplined way
certainly not nowhere does that happen he says it is now simply assumed he says
that every field of knowledge or practice is perfectly complete without
any reference to God he says this may be logically possible that this assumption
is true but is it true the bottom line is this I teach PhD
students they’re getting the highest degree that you can get and sometimes
they come in with a very narrow range not just religious range but even
theoretical range even a philosophic or theoretical range a very narrow range of
understandings of what kinds of lenses they can apply to the problems that
they’re interested in and mother Teresa taught me if nothing else that whole
experience in the crisis coming back taught me that what you believe and what
you disbelieve makes an enormous difference here was her summation of her
own ministry and then we’ll open it for questions we the missionaries of charity
carry out an offensive offensive of love of prayer of sacrifice on behalf of the
poorest of the poor we want to conquer the world through love and thus bring to
everyone’s heart the love of God and the proof that God loves the world that was
radical love that was mother Teresa thank you thank you Mary we have approximately
thirty minutes available for questions and answers but before we start that let
me just make a few announcements uh you all received a response card in your
program if you take that out and fill it out take just a few moments now and as
you leave you can just drop them in a box there should be a box at every one
of the doors or if you prefer to put them there it is the other thing you can
do is you can text to that gmail account your name and your email address and
whether you do the card or the electronic version your name will be
entered into we’re gonna pick names and you’ll get a sign some people will get a
signed copy of finding Calcutta the other thing that you can use that Gmail
account for is to ask questions so if you don’t want to go to one of the two
microphones but you do have a question you can text it and Jordan is gonna pick
those questions up and we will try to get through some of those questions
tonight also I also want to remind you that there will be a session tomorrow
noon if you notice in your program it’s in the Cardinal Room in the Memorial
Union it’s focused more on faculty in terms of our calling to be light insult
certainly others are invited and certain and grad students who are planning on a
career in academia are also cordially invited there’s also a five o’clock
session tomorrow focus more on students it’s in the sunroom at the Union and and
dr. poplin will talk more about world views
and how that affects what you’re being taught here we also have some follow-up
panels so this is not going to be just a one-time event
but we’re gonna have one panel every week between from next week on to about
Thanksgiving where two faculty members or maybe some people in the community
businesspeople or some staff here at the University are going to talk about our
Calcutta our calling why are we doing what we’re doing in terms of our work
and our walk with Jesus the first one will be next Wednesday at noon in the
Union in the Gold Room dr. Alex tecna’s a professor in political science
will be on the panel as well I all the other panels will be either on Tuesday
or Wednesday over the noon hour in a union and we don’t have them all
scheduled with people yet but if you go to Veritas forum is you on Facebook you
will will post who is going to be on the panel and the particular time and
location they’ll all be in the Union though and always over noon our doctor
we also have book clubs which you’ll notice in here any follow up book clubs
will also be announced on Facebook after the question answer time is done
dr. poplin will be available at the back at the main the main level to talk with
you to sign books and just interact further with other questions so we have
two microphones one on either side if you would like to go to the microphones
we are open to questions can we get the lights up a little bit
there we go thank you I actually have a question while they’re they’re coming to
the microphone would you say just a little bit more about your trip from LA
to the dinner that night you mentioned that this gentleman was Native American
and it was spiritual but I don’t think well you tell you tell us the thing that
I remember is I I didn’t know his spiritual background I didn’t even know
it afterwards I didn’t know it actually for several months later I assumed he
was in some sort of Native American religion and so on the way there I’m
thinking that I’m gonna be sent to like a sweat lodge no sort of some kind of
radical sweat lodge if this guy went to it but and so when he when I told him
the dream he actually asked me if I had a Bible and I said pretty nastily really
I said no and he said well I know where we can get one and he said I think that
if you’d read five Psalms a day and one book of Proverbs then then that might be
helpful so I we go and I get the Bible and then what happens is that as I’m
getting in my car he said well since it was Jesus in your dream you might start
want to start reading the New Testament but just if you want to and so it’s
really interesting because the dream was very proper twas a dream word Jesus
figured very prominently but it didn’t occur to me that this wasn’t just about
my sort of generic spiritual life that it that it actually was very specific
thank you there’s some people over there can i okay
I was hoping when I came tonight to hear some sort of an amalgamation of your
being a radical feminist a Christian radical Christian and a radical Marxist
and I wonder if you still consider yourself a feminist and a Marxist I
consider that there are certain aspects of Marxism that are very true especially
related to my field and look I can sort of give you the biggest one and that is
the idea of social reproduction I mean when I went into the schools these
really poor schools to see these teachers who did very well it was clear
that that’s what’s going on I mean in Los Angeles as in many places the
teachers that you can’t get rid of who are really not doing well all end up in
these schools for the poorest of the poor and and so that is social
reproduction which Bordeaux and others have elucidated I believe it’s part of
Marxism I we actually had two teachers who were had been trained in critical
theory also which is what I had taught and they were in the high performing
teachers but we didn’t see critical theory like classrooms and so I asked
him about that and both teachers said to me the same thing I feel like I should
be doing something that would encourage the students and not discourage them I
don’t feel like it’s my job to teach these kids to revolt it’s my job to get
them in the culture and and I would agree with them actually there in terms
of feminism I probably wouldn’t call it radical feminism but I consider myself
still a feminist I mean I I go out and teach things and I I guess in a feminist
since in a certain sense that I believe that God calls everybody to do and he’s
called me to certain tasks and you know in the Bible I see Deborah I see Esther
I see all kinds of people all kinds of women doing pretty extraordinary things
and so I know that that’s possible and that that’s there I also believe
biblically that and this is definitely not doesn’t come from feminism that that
men and women have roles together and that and that those roles are pretty
clearly defined and that and I I think that the way we’ve defined it in
feminism some of those roles has been to sort of look at them as lesser roles
like motherhood for example and I find that that’s problematic I think that
it’s more what the culture did to that than it is what what the biblical
principles are I have I have a question that’s related is Marxism a valid
biblical philosophical point of view no no it is true that Jesus cares a whole
lot about the poor but that isn’t his approach his approach is not to here’s a
okay and I’ll go back to what I said about John Rivera as I was teaching sort
of radical feminism radical Marxism in that class
he was completely unplug it wasn’t into that because he feels that those that
theory that encourages you to think of yourself as oppressed is is actually
detrimental to people and that God has given us all sorts of ways I mean
clearly one of the biggest difference between Christianity and other religions
is that in Christianity you presume suffering you just presume it in Eastern
religions your whole religious life is designed to get rid of desire so that
you actually don’t have if you don’t have desire then you won’t be
disappointed you won’t suffer but in Christianity there’s a presumption that
you will suffer actually and so and but there are ways to biblical principle
ways to suffer that actually where you actually grow and
and you don’t you don’t become less or or become you know thrown off or
oppressed and that’s why John Rivera didn’t have any didn’t have any hooks on
him he wasn’t he was it wasn’t that he didn’t that he doubted that the social
environment that he grew up in created the situation but what he doubted is
that a revolution against it rather than a coming to understand it and deal with
it scripturally was the right way I’m an
educator okay and I have a how do you bring forth the Christian aspect in just
your regular classes without becoming oppressive alright well I don’t I don’t
talk Christianity every day for sure I don’t talk any of them every day but I
will line out for people what we do studied classical education the roots of
that is judeo-christian and Greek thought and I’m very just just
matter-of-fact about that and the other thing is that when I line out sort of
approaches to the education of the poor I’ll describe what would the Marxist see
this as what would the social constructivist see it as what would the
multiculturalist see it as what would you do Christian Lind see it as so I
just lined them all out and then I in the summers I teach us specifically most
summers I teach a very specifically judeo-christian class where if people
want to go further into that we can but I mean it’s just an elective actually
and interestingly and the ph.d program I teach in students just put their program
together they don’t have to take anybody’s class really I mean they have
to take people’s classes but they don’t have to take a particular person I’m a
freshman at ISU and uh I was wondering when you were working up in Calcutta
when with the handicapped kids what was it like was it easy was it hard or was
it like in your words really difficult to handle well it was hard at first for
me to adjust to Calcutta and just because it’s so very different
and the poverty there is so much more desperate than it is here but the actual
work is really fairly simple work it’s work where you’re cleaning and feeding
and taking care of children and in my case babies even giving medicines fixing
formula and things like that it what Calcutta was they did have fans
over the children and the the people in the home for the dying but they either
for themselves don’t have any fans and while I was there it was well over a
hundred degrees every year every day and it was the humidity must have been about
a hundred percent so in that way it’s hard work it’s very intense diligent
work you never really stopped working as you can imagine when you’re working with
sick babies you’re always either changing diapers or getting ready for
the next meal or whatever but it wasn’t hard in the sense of intellectually
challenging or anything like that it would be difficult for me to actually do
it because I would have eventually somehow found it monotonous especially
at that point in my life but I think when you’re called to it it’s very it’s
very challenging and and because they believed all the time and I could maybe
do this better than I did then when I could have then they believed all the
time they were listening to God and doing what he was and moving with his
Holy Spirit it’s a question they came over the text oh you say everyone has a
Calcutta how do you find your Calcutta oh that’s a good question well a lot of
people say and at this time in your life is the for those of you who are college
students around the 20s your gifts are their most active so you should be able
to now begin to define what your gifts are because you see all these other
people and you can see that you can do certain things much easier much better
than other people and you also need to know what your
what your weaknesses are and the best people to tell you that are actually
your parents so when you go home over the semester break
you might ask them to line those out for you because those will all be challenges
so that’s one level the next level is kind of what the desire of your heart is
like I said in Christianity God wants the desire of your heart to become more
pure and then he wants to actually give you the desire of your heart but the
last thing I would say and this was a real revelation to me and that is that that you’re Calcutta I think is embedded
in your grieving that is what is it that grieves you about the world or what is
it that grieves you about your field of study what is it that bothers you that
you would like okay I would really like to solve a cure for breast cancer let’s
say I think your grieving is part of your calling and lastly I would say
something that mother Teresa told me that I would have never thought about
before about calling and that is that she said
that if God had told her if she had had an understanding when God called her to
leave the convent Loreto convent and go out and and work with the poorest of the
poor that if he had told her the whole plan like eventually you’re gonna be
running this worldwide mission this worldwide organization she would have
been too afraid to pick up the first person
so in judeo-christianity you’re given just enough knowledge to go through the
right open doors and and as a Christian you pray for closed doors too and close
that the doors be closed to things that you’re not supposed to pursue but I
think right now for those of you in college it’s a really great time for you
to really contemplate what it is that that is your calling and what is what is
your Calcutta and don’t shy away from something just because it grieves you
and it upsets you but maybe the reason you’re called to it the teachers I
studied were called to the inner city because that grieved them
oh hi um I just had a question theologically speaking what is your view
on faith versus good works when it comes to salvation look when it comes to
salvation just initially I mean it’s primarily faith but I think that just
like in the Bible it always says what’s good is faith if you don’t have works
and what good is where works without faith and I think that I was raised in a
Methodist Church and I not that it was it was very liberal Methodist Church I’m
not sure I really knew the gospel then but I think a lot of Protestants felt
like mother Teresa was a works person but the reality is she believed that
prayer was their first there was their first thing so to belong to Jesus was
actually their first thing and then the work she believed came out of that and I
would have to agree with her it would be really hard to do that work day in and
day out if you didn’t have as she called it a big push from above so I think
faith and works are almost inseparable in the life of a Christian okay hi you
mentioned words like being a Christian faith salvation if you just explained
really simply what it means to be a Christian or okay well let me just say
that when I first began to come to Christ as I well and my whole prayer in
the beginning was I just knelt down in this little tiny Church in North
Carolina interestingly where my mother had grown up and I knelt down and I said
this was about to two months after the dream I said if you’re real please come
and get me I know that doesn’t sound very academic
but it also doesn’t sound very Christian but that’s why I said so and he did so
and I had evangelical friends who kept asking me now what did you say because I
hadn’t said the right prayer so I was sure those of you who are wondering I
did eventually say that prayer just to relieve this poor woman who kept asking
me what I had said okay what does it mean to be a Christian it means to constantly read the scriptures to pray
to meditate to know that you have a calling in this world and that the only
way you’ll be able to really fulfill that calling is with Christ because
you’ll need more power than you’ve got humanly possible and more wisdom and
more grace and it means that you’ll follow him now the interesting thing
about Christianity is it includes a lot of diversity me doesn’t call he doesn’t
he doesn’t call me really to do the work of mother Tracy called mother Teresa to
do that work he called and he called me and you and the people sitting next to
you two very different things but the grace the wisdom the the
guidelines for living our life are all the same for us and it’s a common one of
the I think most beautiful and brilliant things about Christianity that freed me
from a lot a lot for myself not that I’m totally free from that but was this I
had never met a philosophy and I met a lot of philosophies because I loved them
I had never met a philosophy where I could actually be honest about myself I
couldn’t get self-knowledge from any of those philosophies I always stayed in
the abstract because there wasn’t really a way to admit it without a solution
there wasn’t really a way to admit what was really going on in my heart and my
mind and my even my body without what I was doing with my body
without having a structure for a solution for it and so it freed me to
self-knowledge and I think that that’s a constant part of being a Christian is
just to continue to reflect what is going on in me I’ll tell you an incident
that really told me a quick incident because I see there’s some of you over
here too and this was with the same person who helped me we were at a
new-age restaurant I’m sure that this person took me into that knew he dressed
trouble because they knew it I would be very comfortable there and the kind of
queen of the New Age movement for that town was sort of presiding and she left
right is about the time we were leaving so we were leaving just a few maybe a
minute or two after her and she had a big car in this parking lot and he had a
tiny car and then I had my car somewhere else and his car was right in the middle
of the parking lot I think this is what Toyota Tercel or something very tiny and
she had a big old Cadillac and it wasn’t even in Texas but she pulled out of the
parking lot and she hit his car and he just went over and stood right by his
car and when she saw that he was standing there and she had hit this his
car she jumps out of the car and starts to scream at him now a minute ago she
was all light everything was cool she was into the spiritual realm and now
she’s just yelling I can’t even remember what she was saying and she stops to
take a breath which was her mistake and he says to her this is who you really
are not very nice but
I’m just telling you okay and then she just she then she gets worse right it
didn’t help it didn’t make things better so she gets worse and she takes another
breath and he says the same thing to her just exactly no expression no emotion
nothing he’s not even asking about his car he’s not thinking about it so this
is who you really are and when he said that I remember in my
heart saying this is who I really am – I’m always convincing myself that
because I’m a Marxist I’m the really great person and because I’m a feminist
and all these things but this is really Who I am when push comes to shove and I
get backed into a corner this is Who I am and the only way I know
that you can only way I’ve seen people really approach that or the people I’ve
seen who approach the best are people who follow Christ that’s a long answer
and probably not a very complete one actually but I have actually before we
go to you I have a text question have you changed your curriculum since your
experiences do you ever encourage your students to seek a relationship with
Christ I never do that in a class but I’m pretty well known at the university
I mean you know as one of my atheist students said to my class one day the
first day of class you should Google her I don’t know if that worked to my
advantage or disadvantage but they know who I am they know they know what I
believe you know Calcutta is out there there’s
all kinds of things out there and I have students who do come to me and and want
to really talk about their life some of them have been Christian and aren’t
anymore some had never been Christians some are just desperate for some one to
listen to them I mean I’ve had students come into my office and just like I had
a student from Taiwan one day just came in my office and shut the door and sat
down and she looked at me and she said teach me to pray like
you know where does that come from it’s the Holy Spirit draws the right people
I’ve never I’ve never said in class you know if you ever want to talk about
Jesus come see me did it change your curriculum I mean did it change what
changed my curriculum in the sense that I’m very careful to show all the world
views including judeo-christianity now much more careful I’m not into my own
little what’s the philosophy of the moment for me my question is kind of a
two-fold question one you talked about like in your younger days how you would
become a radical Marxist and a radical feminist were there any personal like
experiences that you can like mention that led you to that in your early years
and then the second part of my question is when you were spending that time with
Mother Teresa you brought up social justice what
differences if any do you find in the definition of Mother Teresa social
justice and the social justice definition from the political aspect of
things okay I think the reason I went originally toward Marxism and everything
is I just wanted to go through a rebellion I wanted to be on the trendy
progressive end of the social sciences and that’s where they were and I really
was attracted to philosophies and different theories increasingly radicals
so it was more of a it was more than a personal exploration it was more like a
personal revolt the interesting thing is there were millions of us doing it which
never occurred to me that I wasn’t the only one but or even one of few I was
actually one of most of the place was going that way so secondly how is social
Joe is just as different than social justice okay social justice is primarily
about equality and about revolution it’s about sort of socialistic view of things
generally and the word equality interesting the only beers in the Bible
once and that’s when Paul says Jesus did not consider it that
he he had equality with God the word in the Bible is equity and you and I both
know that for example the children in the inner-city schools need more help
they don’t need the same help they need more and equity is the principle there
but also the biggest thing I think that’s different is in Christianity
justice is always tied to righteousness so that you would have to assume after
you read the Bible and you know there are many many scriptures just one that
it reappears several times is justice and righteous and righteousness are the
foundations of his throne so you’d have to presume if you weren’t trying to live
a righteous life you wouldn’t be living a just life and vice versa so I there’s
a lot about justice in the Bible but it is very different doesn’t come at it
from a personal stamp from a political standpoint as much as it comes from you
know like mother Teresa said 1 1 1 1 1 2 1 2 it comes from from more of a
personal commitment and and so it is a little less political I’m not saying
that people in Christianity are not called to politics because some people
are called to politics and you know whether they’re democrat or republican
they’re called to politics to work in some little area or there they might be
in the State Department or something ok first of all I would like to say that I
am an exchange student from the country from where mother trees I was from and I
would like to thanks where it was forum for this organization but my question
was how did their mothers Rize affect your life in a radical Marxist radical
feminists and radicalist load except the source of justice for which you talked
all the time thank you how did Mother Teresa
affect your life

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