It was a Sunday like any other Sunday. Friends arrived early to find a seat in the crowded sanctuary. Visitors wandered in with a look of uncertainty on their faces not really sure about where they were to go or what they were to do. The service began and everyone settled in for an hour or more of praising God and praying for someone to have their eyes opened to the glories of Jesus for the very first time, for someone who had fallen away to fall into the loving, forgiving arms of the Savior, and for everyone to experience the presence of Almighty God.
A powerful new movie has hit the video store shelves in the past couple of weeks. In the movie, Dangerous Minds, an unsuspecting, recently divorced woman in need of a job goes to an inner-city school to try and land an interview. In a matter of minutes she finds herself hired to teach in the school?s ?Academy.? Academy may have a nice ring to it; connotations of discipline, scholarship, and excellence, but this Academy was altogether different. The first day Miss Johnson arrives at class she finds mayhem and chaos. The kids are wild, their language is rough, and their main goal is to do away with their new teacher. In a matter of minutes they accomplish their aim and drive Miss Johnson out of class. Miss Johnson picks up her satchel, storms out of class, and stops a teacher friend who failed to warn her of the hazards of the Academy.
The word “extreme” has fallen on hard times these days. Extremist viewpoints are caricatured and maligned by politicians and pundits as they mount their pulpits and practice their craft of shaping our thoughts. The Republicans try and convince us that the Democrats are extreme in their social liberalism, their taxation of the people, and their runaway spending. The Democrats try and convince us that the Republicans are extreme in their cruelty to women and children, to the marginalized and downtrodden, and their coddling of the rich and radical religious right. It’s an extreme situation. Those taking aim in the war of words want us to know that to be extreme is to be something less than sophisticated, socially well-adjusted, and sensible.