Thursday, June 21, 2018

A Letter to Marylhurst University Employees & Students

I can't believe it's over. Well, truth be known, one's education should never be something that is exactly over--until we are, at least. Last weekend, on June 17th, I received my B.A. with Honors, in English Literature and New Media from Marylhurst University. My first university course was in September of 1987 at Seattle Pacific University, and I finished more than three decades later. The last few years have been particularly challenging, since, in addition to my studies, I have been working full-time for the state and also serving as a busy husband and father. Despite all of the hard work (and injured feet in Europe), it has been a truly rewarding experience. My study abroad to London and Rome was probably the most memorable part of my academic journey, but writing my senior thesis on Harper Lee's Atticus was memorable too--in an entirely different sort of way. The bittersweet part of my passage to graduation is that my loved school is closing.

I've decided to share an open letter to faculty, staff, and my fellow students. This is the same letter that was recently anonymously quoted within a recent Inside Higher Ed article by Doug Lederman. I hope it begins to express how I feel about this loss.

When I heard the sad news on Marylhurst this past week, I felt stunned. Other emotions have come and gone in their respective pageantry over the past few days, and the overwhelming feeling now is one simply of great loss. Yet, I am just a student who briefly felt at home in this special place. My heart goes out to the staff and wonderful faculty—especially the ones who must strive to put on a happy face and continue their important work in the coming stressful months. I am so sorry that this took place. It seems a particularly tragic end when one considers the rich history of more than a century and the associated legacy of learning that Marylhurst has come to represent.

It’s been a long journey. I first attended college classes at Seattle Pacific University in the fall of 1987. When I finally graduate next month, the experience will seem particularly bittersweet now. I was briefly considering pursuing a graduate degree, but that’s almost certainly impossible at this point in my life. The flexibility that Marylhurst offered this twenty-year plus Oregon State employee was critical in my academic success; I don’t think I would have had the energy to make a traditional college work. Marylhurst brought me a great deal. In the end, though, one of the greatest things the school brought me was a relatively simple (yet elusive) item called hope. I fear that Marylhurst’s departure is going to slowly erode viable options for so many like myself, and, sadly, this ultimately means a loss of hope in people who can’t stand to remain in their current occupations for a minute longer than necessary. (Each day, my job feels more like a glorified data entry assembly line, and the antics of some of those in upper management in terms of open, transparent, and ethical promotional processes…leaves credibility too often in a shattered heap along the wayside.)

While I don’t understand all of the complexities of Marylhurst’s decline, I have a suspicion that this was avoidable. Could we have done something? I, for example, helped raise many thousands of dollars for the state’s Charitable Fund Drive in 2007. If I had known of the dire situation…I might have joined with others to try to create some realistic options for MU. Sadly, though, none of us seem to have known the truth before it was too late to likely effect any substantive good out of this situation.

From early morning and late evening classes on this beautiful campus to the amazing study abroad experiences in London and Rome, the rich experiences and fine education I have taken from Marylhurst will infuse my life with a greater depth; they will be forever treasured.

Karl Bjorn Erickson
Monmouth, Oregon

Marylhurst University Graduation

University of Kansas (1989)

Seattle Pacific University Photos (1987-1989)

Monday, February 5, 2018

So, You's Wants to be a Professional Writer?

British Library with Study Abroad Group

I just completed a short video presentation (below) concerning the art of writing, and it occurred to me that it might be nice to have a post directed at writers, or those considering writing professionally.

To that end, I am going to include collected links and resources here for people to explore as they may wish.


(poetry reading)

(London and Rome)

Blog Posts

Published Articles on Writing *

* It looks like some of my favorite articles on writing are no longer available online.  Guess it's time to write some more!

Monday, January 15, 2018

The History of Israel

A guest blogger joins us today to share two fascinating timelines of the history of Israel.  More information may be added later...

Israeli History

2000 BC  12 loosely-connected groups of Semitic peoples (now called the 12 tribes of Israel) entered the Land of Canaan

1800-1500 BC Abraham established a Semitic population in the Holy Land, of Semitic peoples called Hebrews or Israelites, who came from Mesopotamia

            Some Hebrews went on to Egypt & were later led back to Canaan by Moses

1000 BC  First king of the Israelites was Saul. His successor David unified the 12 groups into the Kingdom of Israel

957 BC First Temple constructed by Saul (destroyed 586 BC by Babylonians,) 538 BC Second Temple Started, rededicated 165 BC
63 BC  This land fell to the Romans
70 AD  Siege of Jerusalem, Romans destroyed Herod's Temple, as the Temple was now known.
66 AD & 132 AD Jewish revolts against Romans
135 AD Romans forced most Jews to leave, began calling it Palestine, now ruled by Romans & later by the Byzantine (Eastern Roman) Empires
AD 600's Arabs conquered the region, which was now ruled by the Ottoman Turks to 1917
Mid-1800's European & US Jews formed the Zionist Movement to return to their Holy Land, still controlled by Turkish Ottoman empire

11-9-17   British Balfour Declaration gave Britain a mandate to occupy the land, due to the skirmishes between Arabs and arriving Jews.

12-9-1917  British forces expelled Ottoman Turks from Jerusalem

12-11-1917 British General Allenby entered Jerusalem

1919 Paris (Versailles) Peace Conference created League of Nations & awarded Britain the Palestine mandate as part of post-war partitions.

1920   Palestine became a mandated territory of Britain. Periodic Arab riots 1917-1947.
11-29-47 The UN divided Palestine into an Arab state and a Jewish state. Jews were given a thin strip of central coastline, an inland
                 wedge of Galilee, and the barren Negev Desert.
                 The Jews accepted this. The Arabs rejected it, being dissatisfied with less than everything.
5-14-48    The nation of Israel was declared and the British left Palestine.
5-15-48    Egypt, Syria, Lebanon, Iraq & Jordan attacked Israel & their defeat resulted in the Jews expanding their land holdings
11-30-48  Jerusalem hastily carved up during a temporary ceasefire. Jews hoped for a permanent peace treaty, but Arabs didn't accept that.
early 1949  Israel had defeated the Arabs, & controlled half the land planned by the UN for the new Arab state as war spoils & protective borders.
                  The Arab nations signed armistices, but never treaties, refusing to recognize Israel, hoping for victory and all of Palestine.
1949-1953  “The Ingathering of the Exiles” by Israel. Arab Fedayeen terrorists continually cross borders & kill Israeli civilians.
1950       The Knesset passed the Law of Return offering a home to nearly all Jews everywhere
10-29-56  Israel invaded Egypt due to Nassar having seized, nationalized & closed the Suez Canal, and the unrelenting fedayeen attacks.
                 The invasion was intended to re-open the Straits of Tiran @ Sharm el Shek
                 U.S. Threatens to stop all aid if “Israeli aggression” not stopped with return to “armistice lines.”
11-5-56    Suez War. Israel occupied the Gaza Strip and Sinai Peninsula due to the Suez Crisis. British & French control Suez Canal.
                UN set up a peacekeeping force in Gaza and the Sinai.
1964   PLO founded, a confederation of Palestinian Arab groups. Russia arming the Arabs.
5-67     The UN removed its peacekeeping force in Gaza and the Sinai. The Russians armed Nassar with tanks, fighterjets, and bombers.
             Egypt sent large numbers of troops with Russian tanks into the Sinai, closed Straits of Tiran & blocked Israeli port of Eilat, essentially declaring war
6-5-67 Israel launched a preemptive air attack against Egypt, seeing war as imminent and unavoidable.
            Syria and Jordan then attacked Israel. Israel defeated all 3 in the 6-Day War & Jerusalem fell under exclusive Jewish rule
            for the first time in 3000 years. The U.N. Brokered a ceasefire.
           Israel now occupied Jerusalem, The Sinai, the Gaza Strip, Syria's Golon Heights & Jordan's West Bank, land invaded and occupied in 1948
               by Egypt, Syria and Jordan.
           These lines are what some refer to as “The 1967 Line” seized by Israel in defensive wars, east of which some now call occupied territory.
9-1-67   Khartoum Declaration by Arab governments: no recognition, peace, or negotiations with Israel, goal of ethnic cleansing
1969    Yasser Arafat president of the PLO for 35 years until 2004, ruining the Palestinians' chances of a homeland.
1970     Nassar's War of Attrition against Israeli civilians, border fighting along Suez Canal.
9-5-72   Eleven Israeli athletes murdered at Olympic Games in the Munich Massacre
3-73    I visit Israel 3-4-73 to 3-26-73 from the Sinai Desert in the south to a Kibbutz (Moshav) 1 hour by bus and 1 hours' walk north of Tiberias.
10-6-73    The Yom Kippur War launched by Egypt & Syria in a failed attempt to take back the Sinai
10-24-73   Cease-fire along the Suez Canal.
12-21-73   Geneva Conference to disengage forces toward a peace path.
1975 Israel withdrew from about 1/3 of the Sinai.
7-4-76    Entebbe hostage rescue, 100 people rescued Entebbe Airport, Uganda by Israeli commandos
1977      Egypt's Anwar Sadat visited Israel and spoke to Knesset.
1978 Israel invaded southern Lebanon to stop PLO attacks coming from there.
9-17-78  Camp David Accords, Anwar el Sadat, Menachem Begin, Jimmy Carter.
1979      Peace treaty signed between Israel and Egypt (condemned by the UN as they weren't included), effective January 1980
              Israel still technically at war with its other Arab neighbors.
              Israel withdraws from the second third of the Sinai.
6-7-81   Destruction of Iraqi nuclear reactor by Israeli jets
10-6-81  Anwar Sadat murdered by an Egyptian Islamic Jihadist because he'd gone to Israel and brokered peace.
4-82       Israel withdraws from the final piece of the Sinai, leaves it to Egypt
1982      Israel invaded south Lebanon again, to try to stop PLO attacks from there
1985      Israel withdrew its forces from Lebanon, except for a small security zone along the Lebanon border.
12-27-85   Palestinian guerillas kill 19 people in Rome and Vienna airports.
12-9-87 to 1991 1st Intifada uprising in Gaza Strip and West Bank
8-2-90    U.S. First Gulf War began, Saddam Hussein scud missiles attack Israel.
1991       Madrid Conference.
1993       Oslo Accords, Rabin and Arafat. Without the West Bank Israel (60 miles wide) would be only about 20 miles wide at its center
9-93       An agreement signed by Israel & PLO recognizing each other & for the start of self-government plan for Gaza Strip & West Bank
10-26-94 Israel-Jordan Peace Treaty
11-4-95  Yitzhak Rabin murdered at celebration of Oslo Accords by Zionist Israeli because of his attempts to make peace.
7-11-2000  Camp David 2000 Summit, Arafat rejects Israeli land give-away offers which had included most occupied Arab lands
9-2000 to 2005 2nd Intifada following Arafat's refusal of land offer.
7-12-2006  Lebanon War, Israel invades southern Lebanon for 34 days to stop Hezbollah raids & missile attacks.
6-10-07     Battle of Gaza, Hamas militants defeat Fatah Palestinians & seize control of the Gaza Strip.
12-6-17     Donald Trump recognized Jerusalem as the capital of Israel, some call for 3rd Intifada
12-13-17    Organization Of Islamic Cooperation, Muslim group at summit meeting in Istanbul, declare East Jerusalem the Palistinian capital
5-15-2018   Israel has been continuously attacked and at war for 70 years.

Sunday, January 14, 2018

A Little Catholic Satire

Truth be known, good Catholic satire has a long history.  G.K. Chesterton had a great sense of humor, after all.  Humor plays an important (and often overlooked) role in faith, I suggest.  That said, here is my latest piece of satire for your enjoyment.

The 5th annual “Sing a New Church” Karaoke Festival is scheduled to start directly after the 11am Mass on Sunday, January 21st in Minot’s Saint Cecilia Catholic Church.  The excitement is quickly building for this fun-filled event for your entire family.  As done in past years, winners will have an opportunity to win valuable prizes from two of the following five categories: Social Justice, Multiculturalism, Gender Discovery, Diving for Diversity, and (the wildcard) Ecumenical Emporium!

Parish staff encourage attendees to bear in mind that this parish event follows Mass.  This means, for instance, that the Boykin and Smith families would want to actually stay in the nave AFTER the recessional hymn begins (and finishes too).  Rest assured that parishioners will be able to exit the parking lot safely and efficiently even at this later than usual time.  Questions or concerns?  See parish staff today!

The first-place winner will progress to the second round with an opportunity to capture the National Karaoke Pennant!  Round 2’s music has just been announced as the angelic and inspiring “Earth and All Stars.”

Don’t be left out in the cold, join us in Minot on Sunday!  This is great time to bring friends along, so that they can learn more about important areas such social justice and ecumenical diversity.

Let’s hit last year’s winners where it hurts and take the prize this time!