Posted June 25, 2011 at 2:31PM in Christian Life.
I haven’t posted here in awhile, but following a very inspirational evening on Wednesday night, June 22, I cannot resist making a very brief post. As many of you may know, I have recently accepted a full-time position working as Historian and Information Technology Specialist at Pamplin Historical Park. One of the perks of the historian component of that role is the ability to attend a number of events featuring a number of very notable historians of the War of Secession period. For instance, this weekend I am traveling to Gettysburg, Pennsylvania, where I will attend Peter Carmichael’s Civil War Institute at Gettysburg College. The Institute will feature historians such as Gary Gallagher, Joe Glatthaar, A. Wilson Greene (of Pamplin Park), and Carmichael himself.
This past Wednesday, Dr. James I. “Bud” Robertson, recently retired Virginia Tech history professor and noted “Stonewall” Jackson scholar, gave a keynote talk to a group of Tech alumni in our banquet room at Pamplin Historical Park. I was invited to attend to listen in on the talk, and to provide assistance with Dr. Robertson’s audio/visual needs. Dr. Robertson’s talk focused primarily on whetting the appetites of the audience for an upcoming book that he will soon have published, which highlights some of the “little known facts” of the Late Unpleasantness. The talk was brilliant, and very educational, however, when it came time for him to address questions from the audience, the questions asked — and his responses — caused my ears to really perk up.
One of the first questions Dr. Robertson received was about the current state of affairs in our nation, and the political and social divisions that have been growing in recent years. Dr. Robertson responded that, “as a historian”, it was his opinion that things in our nation are the “worst they’ve been since it fell apart in the 1850s.” He was especially concerned at the lack of willingness to compromise in Washington, and his answer placed a certain uneasy air in the room, particularly sensible to those optimists who were present.
The tone having been set, the nature of the questions moved in the direction of prompting Dr. Robertson to cite some reasons for his pessimism about the future. One of the reasons that he gave was a lack of knowledge of (or interest in) history among the young. He explained that he viewed strategies of the public school system, especially the SOLs, as having a major role in this. “How can our children and grand children prepare for the future if they don’t know what’s in their past?” was one question that Dr. Robertson asked rhetorically several times.
Dr. Robertson also made several statements about our entropic culture. “From the time a baby leaves the crib, he’s constantly staring at a screen,” was one of the remarks he made. In Dr. Robertson’s opinion, modern culture over-emphasizes technology and computers and under emphasizes things like history, reading, and penmanship. Modern child rearing techniques was another great concern that Robertson shared. He attributed today’s increasingly rebellious and troubled youth to “parents” who “insist that both must work full time jobs”, which goes against historic precedent. Further, Robertson was concerned that today’s culture fails to understand how marriage should work, resulting in a staggering divorce rate and further contributing to increasingly unprepared and irresponsible young people. Dr. Robertson noted especially a concern that our society is forgetting what love truly is, associating it more with outward feelings of attraction rather than with a focus on emphasizing those truly important things, which have nothing to do with outward appearance.
Many in the crowd looked rather disturbed and uncomfortable as they left the gathering on Wednesday. The Q&A session was certainly not as positive as it could have been. However, I was very encouraged by Dr. Robertson’s responses to the questions that he was given. It is extremely encouraging to know that someone of Dr. Robertson’s knowledge of the past, and of such high public regard, understands that something is dreadfully wrong about the direction our culture and world is headed in. I was also encouraged in my own inclination to support homeschooling rather than government schools, and in my resolve to look for a wife who will value Biblical motherhood and God’s version of femininity, rather than the false version embraced by a misguided and foolish modern culture.
As the Apostle Paul wrote to Titus:
“Older men are to be sober-minded, dignified, self-controlled, sound in faith, in love, and in steadfastness. Older women likewise are to be reverent in behavior, not slanderers or slaves to much wine. They are to teach what is good, and so train the young women to love their husbands and children, to be self-controlled, pure, working at home, kind, and submissive to their own husbands, that the word of God may not be reviled. Likewise, urge the younger men to be self-controlled. Show yourself in all respects to be a model of good works, and in your teaching show integrity, dignity, and sound speech that cannot be condemned, so that an opponent may be put to shame, having nothing evil to say about us.” (Titus 2:2-8, ESV)
And as King Lemuel was taught by his mother:
“An excellent wife who can find? She is far more precious than jewels. … She looks well to the ways of her household and does not eat the bread of idleness. Her children rise up and call her blessed; her husband also, and he praises her: ‘Many women have done excellently, but you surpass them all.’ Charm is deceitful, and beauty is vain, but a woman who fears the LORD is to be praised.” (Proverbs 31:10, 27-31, ESV)
Now, why not head on over to Amazon.com and support this great historian?