Back in the late 4th and early 5th centuries – late 300’s and early 400’s – a British monk named Pelagius caused a stir in the early Church. At the time, Christianity had been legal and then the official religion of the Roman Empire for a few decades. Pelagius went to teach in Rome and saw that the Christians there had become very lax. He wanted to firm them up. That was a good idea, but along the way he developed some errant teachings. Among them was this: People are born essentially good and our sins are separate, errant acts that we are able to stop and therefore we must stop them.
This past Wednesday I had the opportunity to visit Polk Avenue Elementary for their leadership day. I had no idea what to expect. I thought some kids would sing. They did. I thought they would honor student leaders. They didn’t. It was much more than that.
Some years ago the Principal, Gail Quam, decided that to reach the kids they serve more effectively, she had to change the culture of the school. She introduced leadership curriculum developed by Franklin-Covey, based on Stephen Covey’s Seven Habits of Highly Effective People called “The Leader in Me.”
According to the Guinness Book of World Records, the oldest living thing on this planet is a bristlecone pine in the White Mountains of California, over 11,000 feet high, east of the Sierra Nevada Mountains. It is named Methuselah, after the Biblical oldest man and it is thought to be about 4,771 years old.
How old is that? Well, just consider that by the best dating scholars can estimate, when God called Abraham, the Methuselah tree was alive. That’s a long time.