by Craig Dunham, Headmaster
Here in Bozeman of late, one might lose sight of (or even forget for a moment) the beautiful scenery surrounding our fair Verona due to the smoke from the wildfires to our west. Granted, smoke is better than fire, but the result (at least with regard to all things respiratory) is basically the same. As Petra Humanities teacher Thomas Banks posted on his Facebook page, “In Bozeman today we are all smokers. Solidarity.”
Solidarity, indeed. We’re all affected by the smoke – some more than others (young children, older adults, and those with asthma perhaps the most) – as we all breathe, and in doing so, we all know something’s not been quite right of late in Gallatin Valley.
This, of course, makes for the most timely of metaphors. Born into a world created good by God, ours is an atmosphere and ontology tainted by the “smoke” of original sin. Though redeemed if we are Christians, we nevertheless live not-yet-restored lives as what theologian Francis Schaeffer labeled “glorious ruins” – still glorious because we bear the image of God, yet temporarily ruined by the effects of choosing (past and present) apart from Him.
All this shrouds our human experience of what Aristotle called “the transcendentals” of Truth, Goodness, and Beauty; and yet, it does not negate their existence. The parallel is obvious: regardless of the smoke, living in Bozeman and heading northeast of town will run us into the Bridgers because, well, there they are, and have been since God created them. Likewise, living in this world – fallen as it is – will run us into God’s Truth, Goodness, and Beauty, because there they are, remnants of His creation and wonderfully incarnated in the person of Jesus the Christ.
So how do we see and discover – yea, even experience! – what is there? The answer is less dependent on us than we think. For just as we can do little but pray for the westerly winds to blow smoke out of the Gallatin Valley, so, too, can we do little but pray for the Spirit of God to blow sin out of the valleys of our own hearts. Let us pray this same simple way for our children, that as they begin school at Petra in two-and-a-half weeks, God’s Spirit would blow out the smoke of sin from their hearts and grant them a clearer picture of Himself through all that they learn.
Oh, the view! May this weekend be one in which the blue, big skies of Bozeman once again meet the familiar peaks of the Bridgers. And, may this upcoming school year be one in which our students (and we as their parents) once again meet the God of all that is True, Good, and Beautiful in the world.