I've been listening to _Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance_ by Robert Pirisg in audio form in my car. Yea, I know I'm about three decades behind on this one, but I still haven't read _War and Peace_ yet, either. I have
read Aeschylus, Aristotle, Chesterton, Conrad, Khayyam, Thoreau, and Wilde, though, so I have at least a little literary edumacation. Oh, and Twain, lots of Twain.
Anyway, about a third of the way in, the author has an interesting analysis of what a university really is, in the context of a state legislature's attempt to both control what is being taught and "dumb down" academic standards to allow anyone to have a college degree. He distinguishes between the university as an institution rooted in the Western history as opposed to the university as a state-funded institution that owns buildings and pays professors.
He starts with an illustration of a former Catholic church building that is now used as a bar, complete with neon beer sign over the doorway. Locals are outraged because of the perceived desecration, but the Catholic official on the spot tells them they've completely misunderstood what the church is. It is not the building, and that particular building is no longer used by the church. There is no desecration involved—at least not in the sense people think.
Are you pondering what I'm pondering? ("I think so, Brain, but if we give peas a chance, won't the lima beans feel left out?")
I grew up hearing that "the church is not the building, the church is the people." Of course, this doesn't really stand up to linguistic analysis, as English is not Greek, "church" is not really a one-for-one translation of "ekklesia", and language evolves anyway. But the point is a valid one, I think, even if we don't take it far enough.
The fact is, sometimes the people aren't the church, either. Now, I have to figure out what I mean by that. More later.
P.S. I love the title "Shadows", it sounds so deep.