Tuesday, May 22, 2007


With a great flurry of activity, the semester and academic year is over!! We are back in Colorado, and it is time for the final post for Swartzendrubers in Buenos Aires. There will be some additions of pictures to the estudiantes pages, so be sure to look them over a few days from now. In addition to all of the usual end-of-semester academic activities of tests and papers, I was also priviledged to say a few words at the last convocation of the year and at the final banquet which was held at the Madero Tango facility. Thus, the closing entry will be a replay, or a close facsimile, of my comments to the students. First - my comments at convo, which preceded the last group dinner and a student-organized after dinner celebration for themselves, with a color theme of Black and White:

Although I have a white shirt on, rest assured that I am not coming to your party - from some of the rumored activities, it is probably best that 'adults' stay away! :-) However, the theme of black and white fits well with what I want to talk with you about this evening - decisions. Oh, it would be so nice if all of the decisions that we faced were indeed black and white; it would make things so much easier. Unfortunately, most decisions that we make are not so clear cut, and there are often many shades of gray to consider. When Rafa says, "Don't be stupid, or I will kill you!!!" what is he really saying?? Yes, he is saying "make good decisions," because who we are and how others see us is based on virtually all of the decisions and choices that we have made in our lives. The choices you make about language, humor, behaviors, alcohol, drugs, sex, and on and on, tell others who you are. Trust me - we, me included, have all made poor choices!! And both our good choices and our bad choices are quite transparent and readily observed by others - even if you believe they aren't - again, trust me, they are. In the Hebrew Bible, the Preacher writes "I put before you good and evil - life and death - choose life!! In the movie Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade, Indy and his nemesis find the room of the Holy Grail, only to be confronted with hundreds of grails from which they must choose only one from which to drink. When Indy's adversary proclaims "Truly the cup of a King," makes the wrong choice and is destroyed, the elderly guardian knight simply says "He chose poorly." When Indy chooses the Holy Grail, "the cup of a Gallilean carpenter," the knight says "You chose wisely." But what does it mean to choose life and to choose wisely? For me, the key is to try to make all decisions based on building up rather than tearing down, affirming, not degrading, and filled with justice, kindness, love and mercy. Considering these things will help us make good choices, and will also help us overcome some of the bad choices we have make in the past. May your choices be wise and life-giving, and as we begin to say our farewells, my wish for each of you is that you fare well.

And my final comments to the group at the Banquet {with the opening and closing in Spanish}

My dear students, faculty, Pepperdine employees, families and friends. You are a very special group, and you will always live in my heart. Thank you for the gift, and what I would like to give to you are a few words of wisdom from a couple of old songs. In 1973, Jim Seals and Dash Crofts recorded a great song "We May Never Pass This Way Again." At first, it could be taken as a bit melancholy for indeed, in this life, we will never pass this way again. However, the song is about looking forward, not back. Because we may never pass this way again, we should live today and each day as best as we possibly can. And how can we do that? Another great songwriter gives us some advice. In one of Bob Dylan's songs, he writes "May you always do for others, and let others do for you." What great, gospel-like advice for living. Dylan continues with what is one of my great hopes for each of you - "May you build a ladder to the stars, and climb on every rung. And may you stay forever young." So dear students, I now say chau, blessings, and go with God.