The Excellence of ODACS

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An opinion column written by Mr. Edward Thal2017 State Competition

The concept of excellence in almost every field of human endeavor - art or science or music or literature or the academy itself - has been debilitated by socio-political concerns and cultural degradation to the point that what may be seen as excellent is often merely sensational or politically correct, or appeals to the basest human instincts.  When foul-mouthed hip-hop thugs become role models and vacuous movie stars are idolized and glad-handing politicians are lauded for their dubious achievements, it is clear that excellence in the 21st century is often measured by the standards of a fetid swamp in which corruption thrives.

Against such a gloomy backdrop I am happy to declare my pride in Jesus Christ, the central figure in an unchanging Book that sets unchanging standards and exalts unchanging verities like truth and honesty and justice and purity and loveliness and beauty and virtue.

Perhaps the most meaningful thing said about Jesus Christ in the brief record of His life on earth is that "He went about doing good" (Acts 10:38).  [It is] meaningful because He is still going about doing good.

In the past weeks the goodness that He does and the excellent heights that His goodness impels has been on display once more on the occasion of the annual competition that tests students of all ages in the areas of art and music and speech and academics and science and languages and Bible, under the auspices of the Old Dominion Association of Church Schools (ODACS).

I am inspired by ODACS!  I love being a part of it, I rejoice in watching students compete in it as I am awed year after year by the excellence the competition encourages and achieves.  ODACS is special because life that is altogether lovely shines through it all.

Jesus Christ is the Spirit and ground of the beauty of ODACS, the brightness of the glory of God, a light bringer in a world that does not understand light, a world where men choose darkness rather than light because their deeds are evil.  In ODACS, through the hearts of those who love Him, His light overwhelms the darkness.


Mr. Thal is a former member of the faculty at Fairfax Baptist Temple Academy.  This piece is used with his permission and was first published in the Temple Trumpet in 2010.