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Cast the first Chalk

If you’re not aware, the University of Kansas Jayhawks are having a surprisingly good football season so far. This past Saturday they got moved to 5-0 on the season, which is as many wins as they’ve gotten in the last 3 seasons combined. For those of you who read this blog and aren’t Jayhawks fans, when we do something good (like win 5 games) we like to cheer “Rock Chalk Jayhawk KU!”

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A common question when we shout this out loud is “What does ‘Rock Chalk’ mean?” First of all, it rhymes with Jayhawk which is handy, but the University of Kansas is built on top of a big bed of limestone which is a CHALKy type of ROCK. So a long time ago, a professor thought we should put it in a cheer since it described our campus and rhymed with our mascot.

As I was chanting our cheer for the past few weeks, I got to thinking about this chalky rock. I spent four years living on top of a bunch of it but never really learned about it. I decided to change that and look up a few things about it.

  • Limestone is a sedimentary rock made up of at least 50% calcium carbonate (CaCO3)
  • It is important in a lot of architecture due to its affordability and versatility (retaining walls, floor tiles, stair treads, etc)
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  • Limestone is available in almost any color depending on what other elements you combine with the CaCO3
  • Some livestock EAT limestone in order to add calcium to their diets
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  • It is used in mines to absorb pollutants in the air and prevent risk of an explosion
  • The casing stones on the Great Pyramids of Egypt are made from limestone
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  • Limestone is used to neutralize acids
  • “Chalk” is not all limestone but a specific type made from marine animals and shells

Okay, full disclosure, it wasn’t purely school pride that brought this stone to mind. It was also because of the Bible verse:

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I’m not sure why it has struck me so much recently, but I have been ACUTELY aware of how horribly judgmental I am. I have ignored this verse which tells us that we are all sinners and thus should not judge others. This is one of the most well-known Bible verses, quoted all the time, and yet it still has not fully sunken in. Every person I meet, I make instant small judgments about them, which is human, but then I will continue to dwell on them and make larger possibly moral judgments on these people I barely know. This is where the trouble starts.

This passage where the people want to stone the woman is not the only reference to judging others. It’s brought up again several times in Jesus’ teachings, including in Matthew 7:

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If He is talking about it over and over again, it is probably something that we should take to heart. So I have decided to do something, and I hope you will too. This week I am going to try to see the good in people. I will not dwell on their perceived faults. To make this a little more concrete of a goal, I am going to try to come up with one good thing about the people I encounter. For sure I will do this for the first person I see outside my house each day, but I will try to do it more than that. As I said before, to judge people in small ways is human. We must decide if they are dangerous to us or someone we want to be around, but we cannot attempt to judge their soul. We cannot condemn them for where we think they fall short. That is not our job. Our job is to love. It is a difficult job but one I am happy to undertake. I hope you will too.