Sunday Sermon on Friday

Dr. Lex Crane was a good friend. He is gone now, but I want to share a sermon or two of his with you. Lex died in 2015 at the age of 93.

Lex was a Unitarian minister with whom I argued on several pleasant occasions while I was the janitor at the church where he preached. He was a veteran of WW2 and an all-in-all good person. He wrote the intro to my book on the bible and visited us several times in Canada – where he had preached.

Go here for today’s sermon!

Watch a speech??

“Further reflections on tolerance and its difficulty” — T.M. Scanlon (Harvard) delivers the 2021 Knox Lecture at St. Andrews

T. M. Scanlon

Thomas Michael “Tim” Scanlon, usually cited as T. M. Scanlon, is an American philosopher. At the time of his retirement in 2016, he was the Alford Professor of Natural Religion, Moral Philosophy, and Civil Polity in Harvard University’s Department of Philosophy, where he had taught since 1984. He was elected to the American Philosophical Society in 2018. – Wikipedia

Malaspina Remembered: from 1993.


Malaspina’s history is published as an electronic document by the Media Relations & Publications department. The original work was produced as a “Challenge ’93″ project and was researched and written by Brian Schmidt.
| Publisher: Marianne van Toor | Editor: Bob Lane | | Researcher/Writer: Brian Schmidt |

The Early History of Malaspina College

Today, Malaspina College is characterized by the abundance of arbutus trees and green canopies found on its beautiful campus nestled in the hills above the city of Nanaimo – and by its new name: Malaspina University-College. But, by whatever name, it is an institution which routinely interacts with and contributes to many communities on and around Vancouver Island.

Twenty years ago, this beautiful campus did not exist. Twenty-five years ago, the College was in its humble beginning stages at the old Nanaimo Hospital on Kennedy Street. Thirty years ago, having a college on Vancouver Island was only a great vision in the minds of a few dedicated and hard-working people. Before there was a campus, before there were teachers, before there was a name, “Malaspina College” was just an idea. It was an idea that began flowering in the early 1960’s and came to its fruition in 1969 after seven years of strenuous work by a group of ambitious individuals in the areas of central and northern Vancouver Island.

At the outset of the 1960’s, the community college was becoming a real possibility for meeting the post-secondary needs of British Columbia. Community colleges were in abundance down in California and other states, but the concept was quite new to B.C. At the time, the province was growing at a much higher rate than other areas of Canada. As a result, the number of post-secondary institutions would have to be increased. The government could see that in a very short time its only degree granting institution, the University of British Columbia, would not be able to fully meet the educational needs of the rising population. Were community colleges the answer to the province’s educational difficulties? It was a question that sparked interest and controversy all across British Columbia. To answer this question, the government appointed Dr. John B. MacDonald, the new president of the University of British Columbia, to write a report indicating the direction education must take to meet the needs of the future.

Many people did not think that community colleges were the answer. In fact, Dr. John Dennison, who is now a professor of higher education at UBC, says that many people were:
expressing the most peculiar reasons why British Columbia did not need colleges. For example, “We already have a fine university and any other academic institution would be second class,” or “We could never find enough qualified faculty,” or “Formal education is not needed for most jobs; it only makes people dissatisfied,” or “We could never afford it,” or “It would be a haven for educational bums,” and believe it or not, the most incredible argument of all, “The community college is an American idea, and therefore, cannot be any good.”

Dr. MacDonald was not of this opinion. In 1962, he submitted the report, “Higher Education In British Columbia and A Plan for the Future”, which became widely known as the MacDonald Report. He suggested that the government create new universities in heavily populated areas as well as beginning a number of community colleges across the province. He gave two reasons for building regional colleges. These colleges would: (1) take the pressure off the universities which were certain to grow, and (2) create post-secondary educational opportunities for people in more remote areas of British Columbia.

This second point was an important one. Much earlier, in a thesis entitled, “The Junior College In British Columbia”, that dates back to 1932, W.W.D. Knott argued that more students dropped out of high school in the remote areas of British Columbia because they did not have easy access to post-secondary educational opportunities. In California, where colleges existed in abundance, high school drop-out rates were only a fraction of the rates in B.C. He suggested that having colleges in the immediate vicinity gave the students incentive to continue their education.

The MacDonald Report had a great impact on higher education in the province. MacDonald’s argument, coming from a known and respected professional, was enough to calm many skeptics of the college concept. However, as Dr. Dennison said, “there was a great movement at the time that said, ‘sure, let’s have colleges, but put them under the controls of the universities, so that nothing can go wrong; so that we can protect standards.’ Dr. MacDonald said that these new institutions must have freedom. The colleges were given freedom and I think this has been their strongest point.” Dr. MacDonald did make this point very clear in his report. He said:
Two requirements are fundamental to the promotion of excellence in British Columbia’s higher education. These are: first, diversification of opportunity, both in the respect of the kinds of educational experience available, and the places where it can be obtained; the second requirement is self-government of individual institutions in respect to setting objectives, standards, admissions, selection of staff, curricula, personnel policies, and all the things that go to make up the operation of the college.

It was this report that signaled the beginning of community colleges in British Columbia. In essence, this report was the first step that led to the realization of Malaspina College. There was a real need; there was now a method of meeting the need. To get from idea to reality required action.

The government was quick to respond to the suggestions made in the MacDonald Report. Simon Fraser University was built on Burnaby Mountain and Victoria College, which was a junior college of UBC, was made into a degree granting institution, becoming the University of Victoria. The first college in B.C. was created in 1965, when King Edward Center combined with the Vancouver Vocational School and the Vancouver School of Art to form Vancouver City College. The next came in 1966 with Selkirk College in Castlegar. In 1968 two more colleges were created in the lower mainland: Capilano College in North Vancouver and Okanagan College in Kelowna. In 1969 the College of New Caledonia became the fifth regional college in B.C.

Contrary to the suggestion of Knott thirty years earlier, these colleges were not to be junior colleges under the control of the universities. Instead, they would be community colleges. They would come into existence through local demand, not by government implementation. They would be funded both provincially and locally — 50/50. Local funding would ensure greater local interest and active participation. This would lead to colleges that would be community oriented and would reflect the needs of the surrounding areas. Community Colleges would belong to communities and provide post-secondary opportunities of various sorts for the citizens in those communities. No longer would students seeking post-secondary opportunities be required to move to Vancouver for study at UBC.

During this time, no colleges had been created to serve the citizens of Vancouver Island. However, there was a college in the making. It was a plan that had been brewing as far back as 1962, right around the time when the MacDonald Report came out. The planners involved even had a name picked out. The new community college would be called Malaspina College.



Full Title: THE LIGHT OF DAYS: The Untold Story of Women Resistance Fighters in Hitler’s Ghettos

Author: Judy Batalion

Publisher: HarperCollins, 2020

Reviewer: Bob Lane

Read the review at metapsychology.

In the 1940s, a group of young Jewish women living in the ghettos of Poland reacted to Adolf Hitler’s murderous campaign with unfathomable courage.”

And, indeed, the courage exhibited in the acts of these remarkable women is not only amazing, but also required an amazing amount of research to dig it out of the ““The primary source material for this project comprised mainly memoirs and testimonies. Some were written – in Hebrew, Yiddish, English, Polish, Russian, German. Some were translated, some were translations of translations, some I (Judy Batalion) translated myself.” (p. 452) And the result is a most readable bit of important history, well documented (100 pages of notes), and well told. The book, over 500 pages in length, tells the story of women resistance fighters who smuggled weapons, assassinated Nazis, and sabotaged German supply lines. The book focuses on resistance inside the ghettos where many Jews were sent before Nazi death camps in the early stages of the WW2.

Reading current affairs in our shared world today reminds me that everyone should read this book to be reminded of the courage, the evil, the disaster, of war. We need to listen and learn from the past in order that we do not repeat the evils of those times – because we have forgotten the stories and the acts of those times not so long ago. The women and girls who are at the centre of the action in the book responded to the occupying Nazis in many ways: “ They hid revolvers in teddy bears and dynamite in their underwear. They learned how to make lethal Molotov cocktails and fling them at German supply trains. The girls with “Aryan” features who could pass as non-Jews flirted with Nazis – plying them with wine, whiskey and pastry before shooting them dead.”

“They disguised themselves as non-Jews and traveled between locked ghettos and towns, smuggling people, cash, documents information, and weapons, many of which they had obtained themselves.” (p. 5)

As Batalion points out ““Needless to say, Jewish resistance to the Nazis was not a radical woman-only feminist mission. Men were fighters, leaders, and battle commanders.  . . . As described by fighters Chaika Grossman, “The Jewish girls were the nerve-centers of the movement.”

There are many reasons the stories of Jewish women in the resistance went underground. The majority of the fighters and couriers were killed-Tosia, Frumka, Hantze, Rivka, Leah, Lonka – and did not live to tell their tales. But even for survivors, female narratives were silenced for both political and personal reasons, which differed across countries and communities.” (p. 402)

A moving story, told by a talented writer, and bound to remind the reader of a dark time in our world history, the book should be required reading in many university courses as the years between the big war and today grow and grow. One hopes that it is not only the old, like this reviewer, who remember that time in our history, and try to learn from it. So many died, so many were confused and confounded by the Nazis, so many seem to have forgotten the terrors of that and other wars; the evil, the stupidity of war. And, of course, the bravery of those who fought.

The stories are moving and heart-breaking at times. She tells the stories in such a way as to put the reader directly in the narrative, to put you there at that time: feeling the danger, the pain, the horror of the time – while at the same time accurate and fact based.

Batalion’s approach is not feminist propaganda, but a well-researched document intended to remind us of the past and of the heroines who fought so bravely against the Nazis. Well researched, well written, a must read for all.

Bob Lane is a USMC Korean Veteran.


Theorizing Confucian Virtue Politics: The Political Philosophy of Mencius and Xunzi

Theorizing Confucian Virtue Politics

Sungmoon Kim, Theorizing Confucian Virtue Politics: The Political Philosophy of Mencius and Xunzi, Cambridge University Press, 2020, 237pp., $99.99 (hbk), ISBN 9781108499422.

Reviewed by Tim Connolly, East Stroudsburg University


Read the review here.

From the review: “Mencius says: people’s nature is good. I say: this is not so. In every case, both in ancient times and in the present, what everyone under Heaven calls good is being correct, ordered, peaceful, and controlled. What they call bad is being deviant, dangerous, unruly, and chaotic. This is the division between good and bad. Now does he really think that people’s nature is originally correct, ordered, peaceful, and controlled?” (Hutton 2014, 252)