May 14, 2006

Let’s Replace High-School Valedictorians

Rabbi Marc Gellman says, Let’s Replace High-School Valedictorians

Why should high school valedictorians be replaced? Because it sets us a standard of academic excellence that overides a standard of morality. Marc Gellman calls for a "menschadictorian." The word "Mensch," though not having an exact translation, means a person who is good all the way through.

Rabbi Gellman tells the story of Jacob, and ends the story like this, "In Jacob’s class there were several kids who never got a B but not a single kid who ever bought a whole pie for a homeless man and ate it with him on the curb. Jacob would have been, Jacob could have been, Jacob should have been a terrific menschadictorian."

Within our churches are people who have been "saved," but there are very few people who have loved their neighbor as they love themself, there are very few people who have fed the homeless and cared for the widow and orphan, there are very few who have cared for the hurting.

A large portion of the Church has focused almost exclusively on the "spiritual" aspect of the faith, and have totally neglected the physical flesh and blood aspect of the faith. The Christian faith is a faith that gets its hands dirty among the people. It is a faith that is lived out in the real world and not in the cathedrals and the ivory towers.

Be in the world, but not of the world.

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