For a quick primer on these current events of scandalous proportions at Penn State, here's a timeline.
And so it is that Happy Valley will never be the same. Especially the happy part. As for the valley? Naturally, it's only just beginning. And there are many extraordinary images spilling out from the shadows of this unsuspecting valley of death. (By death, of course, all I mean is: everything that is anti-life in that foremost spiritual sense.)
Undoubtedly you have read and heard so much of the hard-to-read and hard-to-hear things -- about those things that have come into plain view, years after happening in the apparently murky confines of Pennsylvania State University. Joe Paterno, head football coach at Penn State since 1966, was fired on November 9th in the storm of the child sex-abuse allegations against Paterno's long-time defensive coordinator Jerry Sandusky. On the night Paterno was relieved of his duties, he uttered two sentences that will echo through the lives of Sandusky's victims, the college football landscape and American culture for a very long time: "It is one of the great sorrows of my life. I wish I had done more."
What follows, here, is an initial attempt to reflect on some of what we're continuing to encounter through what we're continuing to read and hear. As this is a kind of personal reflection, it is most certainly interpretive. It is also, as you might imagine, open to discussion as well as re-interpretation as the days turn into weeks and months.
Furthermore, these greater than/less than reflections below are obviously evaluative -- from the words and images at hand. They function, as it were, like reminders which arrive every day in society at-large but often more poignantly on unbelievably specific days. Some reflections are desperately hopeful; they are set against the ever-present backdrop of our never-ceasing humanity. Most reflections -- whether we like it or not -- are rather theologically inclined.
Greater than/Less than at Penn State, and what it might necessarily reveal about the rest of us.