Saturday, June 28, 2008
Bible Quizzing is probably second to none when it comes to learning scripture. I am sure that every person on those Detroit teams would have been able to quote this year's material (Galatians, Ephesians, Philippians, Colossians, Philemon).
I was with the Detroit Bible Quiz program for 20 years. I am grateful to the many, many people who did life with me as a teen and as an adult. I offer deep thanks to the people who continue to make the Detroit Bible Quizzing program available to the young people of the Detroit metro area!
Long live Bible Quizzing!
Wednesday, June 25, 2008
He said of Obama's 2006 "Call to Renewal" speech:
"He's trying to make the case that it is anti-democratic to believe or fight for moral principles in the Bible that are not supported by people of all faiths. Or presumably by those of no faith....What the senator is saying there in essence is that I can't seek to pass legislation for example that bans partial-birth abortion because there are people in the culture who don't see that as a moral issue. And if I can't get everyone to agree with me, it is undemocratic to try to pass legislation that I find offensive to the Scripture. Now that is a fruitcake interpretation of the Constitution. This is why we have elections, to support what we believe to be wise and moral. We don't have to go to the lowest common denominator of morality, which is what he is suggesting....What he is trying to say here is unless everybody agrees we have no right to fight for what we believe. I thank God that that is not what the Constitution says."
Sorry Dobson... go back and listen to the speech again (DID you listen to it?). Obama is not saying that he cannot pursue moral legislation unless it is ok with people of all faiths. He is saying that if his moral view is founded in scripture, he must find a way to argue his case to someone who does not accept the validity of scripture.
Here is what Obama said:
"Democracy demands that the religiously motivated translate their concerns into universal, rather than religion-specific, values. It requires that their proposals be subject to argument, and amenable to reason. I may be opposed to abortion for religious reasons, but if I seek to pass a law banning the practice, I cannot simply point to the teachings of my church or evoke God's will. I have to explain why abortion violates some principle that is accessible to people of all faiths, including those with no faith at all."
What is saddest of all is that millions of Christians will take what Dobson says as gospel ... without ever looking into it themselves.
HT: Chad B.
Tuesday, June 24, 2008
Saturday, June 21, 2008
The Cohort will be meeting this Wednesday, June 25th at High Point Coffee in West Jordan. It is a time to enjoy a good roast while wrestling through our common pursuit of God from our varying perspectives. If you are in the area, come join us! (Kay?)
I also wrote another article on Hope recently for our Salt Lake Emergent Cohort blog (I just don't think I can use SLEC). Go here to check it out.
Friday, June 20, 2008
He is very much like me in this regard. He never wanted to practice swimming for the most part. He is very slow to take on a new challenge. Once he does though, he does it with vigor. He was a regular fish after those first two minutes of swimming solo. It makes me wonder whether he has observed and taken on my cautious tendencies, or whether he is hard wired with them.
He was very pleased with himself and so was I. I loved that he has gained a new level of independence and that he is so proud of his accomplishment. Again, if God is a Father, then his heart responds similarly when we individually (or as a people) overcome obstacles.
He couldn't wait to show his mama, so we went back to the pool again later that evening. Mama was more prepared - she had the camera in tow.
Wednesday, June 18, 2008
HT Out of UR
Monday, June 16, 2008
Kathryn has a routine as I leave for work each morning. She hugs and kisses me goodbye and then she kisses my hand, so I can press my palm to my cheek during the day when I need a kiss and then she has me kiss her hand for the same reason.
As we pulled into her troop leader's driveway she kissed my cheek and then reached for my hand. At that moment, she made eye contact with one of her scout friends. She froze and kept my hand down. When her friend passed us, she quickly pulled up my hand to kiss it, slammed her hand to my lips, and dove out of the van before anyone saw. :)
I believe God's presence settled over my van in that moment to tell me a story.
Besides her mother, there is no one whose love for Kathryn could compare to mine. I will never leave her, never abandon her, and I will always support her. There is nothing she could say or do that could cause me to turn away from her. For me, the sun rises and sets over her.
Yet in that moment, it was the opinion of her friends that mattered. Friends whose devotion will wax and wane. My daughter was afraid of what her love for me might look like to them. They might think her silly or childish. They might tease her. So she hid her love for me.
I was not at all hurt by this. I know this is an age and stage that she has to wrestle through. I actually thought it was cute. But I realized that I am the one she should cling to and, for HER sake, I want to be her security and stability in these formative years.
I want Kathryn to have friends. But as we all know, the fickleness of friends can reek havoc with one's emotions and esteem if that is where you turn for self-worth.
I realized that is what I had done this weekend (to build on my previous post). I became worried about what my friends think of the way I express love to my Heavenly Father. They might think me unorthodox, heretical, or unacceptable.
I know that part of my hurt was pride, but I also realize that I was not drawing my security from God. There is no one who loves me like my Father in Heaven. He will never leave me, never abandon me, and He will always support me. There is nothing I could say or do that could cause Him to turn away from me. For Him, the sun rises and sets over me.
As I want my daughter to seek out my love for her benefit; so God wants me to seek out His love for my benefit. When I draw my worth from Him who thinks the world of me, I will be able to offer grace and love to everyone without cost.
Invitation to the Thirsty1 "Come, all you who are thirsty, come to the waters; and you who have no money, come, buy and eat! Come, buy wine and milk without money and without cost.
2 Why spend money on what is not bread,
and your labor on what does not satisfy?
Listen, listen to me, and eat what is good,
and your soul will delight in the richest of fare.
3 Give ear and come to me; hear me, that your soul may live. I will make an everlasting covenant with you. I will give you all of my unfailing love...
Sunday, June 15, 2008
A prayer by Mother Teresa lifted me yesterday. I heard from a friend some unsupportive remarks that another friend had made about me. Some points of my theology have been troublesome in my circles lately, but I hadn't realized it had gone to such a disparaging level.
I was hurt, to say the least. My wife cried as she and I talked about it. We believe we were called by God to come out here to Utah and help establish this church, but there have been times lately that we feel we don't belong. This is a heavy realization when it is understood that we moved out here to Utah from Michigan for this purpose.
Our thoughts began to turn as we talked. I wondered how much of my hurt was founded in pride. Do I need to be thought well of? Am I receiving my value more from men than from God? Does my service depend on my ego being stroked? Who am I serving?
With that change in thought, Mary Lee and I both remembered Mother Teresa's prayer that calls us to set aside our need to have our brothers and sisters in Christ tell us who we are - look to God for that assessment.
Deliver me, O Jesus,
From the desire of being loved,
From the desire of being extolled,
From the desire to being honored,
From the desire of being praised,
From the desire of being preferred,
From the desire of being consulted,
From the desire of being approved,
From the desire of being popular,
From the fear of being humiliated,
From the fear of being despised,
From the fear of suffering rebukes,
From the fear of being calumniated,
From the fear of being forgotten,
From the fear of being wronged,
From the fear of being ridiculed,
From the fear of being suspected.
Amen. ~ Mother Teresa
Saturday, June 14, 2008
One point that I thought was interesting was that, according to the results, amongst people who consider themselves committed believers, only about half scored the Bible as having high “authority”. It made me think about the many ways that one could interpret that result.
First, I do not remember much from the survey on biblical authority, but I do remember a lot being said about inerrancy. To me, that shows a huge bias. To the writers of the survey, it seems that anyone who subscribes to biblical inerrancy gives the bible high authority; whereas anyone who does not must give it low authority. I do not believe in biblical inerrancy, so I must have gotten low marks on biblical authority.
However, I often find the opposite to be true. Many people I know who would give a resounding YES to biblical inerrancy often have very weak biblical justifications for the points of theology that they hold. Usually, they believe this or that based on a preacher they have heard or a book they have read or what their church teaches. I see this as giving high authority to people or institutions, but low authority to scripture.
I probably scored low on biblical authority, yet on pretty much everything I believe – orthodox or not – I have a biblical justification as to why I believe it. People may think I hold some wrong views, but those are views I hold while looking through the lens of scripture. In that light, I think I give the scriptures high authority in my life.
I think biblical authority should be measured by how an individual uses scripture to guide their theology, not by their position on inerrancy.
Tuesday, June 03, 2008
Heh, I feel a little like Tom Cruise arguing with Demi Moore and Kevin Pollack in “A Few Good Men”.
“It doesn’t matter what I believe… it only matters what I can prove!”
I feel like Brook and Societyvs are arguing from how things should be, whereas I am arguing (I believe) from where they are.
Though I agree with all of your points regarding the value of one's culture Society, I think my students were already way behind before that factor came into play.
At the end of the day, we are talking about scores – what I can prove. My sixth grade students (in general… or in a blanket sense) function on a comprehension level with typical 2nd and 3rd graders. Why is this?
I know there are reasons many of my students do not get the support from home that a typical suburban student would. In some cases it is drugs or gangs, for others the parent(s) are working multiple low paying jobs just to keep house and home together. Some just don’t know any differently. It isn't right and it isn't fair. However, whatever the reason for the results, it does not change the results. My students get further behind each year.
An author once said, the only way to write a book is A.I.C. – Ass in Chair.
There is really only ONE way the average person will become educated and that is TIME. There is no way around it; you HAVE to put in the time.
It is like anything else, if one football team only plays on game day whereas another is practicing regularly between each game – it is no shock who wins. If one student never picks up their guitar outside of class while another practices nightly, it is no surprise that the latter individual plays better.
Simply put, most of my students hardly touch anything academic outside the classroom. Most of what occurs academically in the classroom occurs by my sheer force of will. This has gone on with them since Kindergarten. Now in sixth grade they find themselves in the unfortunate stage where everything at their grade level is much too difficult but everything at their ability level seems infantile to them.
Most of my students will have started kindergarten with about 10 percent of the comprehended vocabulary of their suburban counterparts. It would require an enormous amount of work and focus just to catch up, but most of my students only put in a fraction of the time put in by kids their age in the suburbs. Over the years that fractional effort has exponential consequences.
If my students do not make serious academic changes … they WILL stay behind. My point in all of this is that there is no program, no teaching method, no teacher or school that can replace TIME. It is a factor in this academic equation that cannot be ignored. Less time put into study and practice WILL equal less proficiency. No explanations or reasons or compassion or good intentions will change this. The classroom cannot fix what it cannot control.
However, I think the public and many within academia want the schools to come up with a way to bring these kids up to grade level… but without it in any way requiring the student or their families having to DO anything. I say this can’t be done… education has a cost. Pay that cost of "time" starting in Kindergarten and it will be bearable… maybe even easy. Wait until 6th grade and it will be very uncomfortable. Ignore it until High School? By then, few can make that “payment” of time.
Every year I get a handful of students who start paying. I had a girl last year who began my class at a 2nd grade level. Sometime in November, the light bulb went on for her and she decided to commit her time. She began paying attention in class and reading nightly at home. We got a volunteer who would listen to her read aloud 25 minutes a day. She worked hard. By June, she had jumped nearly two grade levels. I explained to her that if she kept it up over summer she could be hitting a 5th grade reading level by the time she started school in the Fall and that she had every reason to expect that she could be caught up by the end of that school year. I would love to say that it was my inspired teaching that made the difference, but it was really just her commitment to put in the time.
One of my ESL professors (who is Hispanic) shared her story. Her father had jumped the border and was working as a migrant crop picker. She was in 7th grade and did nothing in school but get in fights and cause trouble.
"Fine" he told her, "You do not want an education, then you come work the fields with me!" He had her share his 1o-12 hour days in the fields. Within a week she was begging him to let her go back to school. "No" he said, "You have decided to be here... so be here."
After a month of her sweat and toil, he told her she could go back to school, but if there was one fight or one bad grade there would be no more chances.
He made her pay the price when she lacked the foresight and will to do it herself.
Time... the child and/or the parent have to pay it. Without it, there will be little growth. A school cannot change that.
Sunday, June 01, 2008
Teaching Hispanic students
Although the editorial "Pay now or later: Education funding can save welfare, prison costs" (Our View, May 19) draws attention to important issues regarding Hispanic learners, I suggest a different focus.
Having worked primarily with Hispanic learners as a teacher and then as an advocate for almost nine years, I am convinced how bright, intelligent and talented this student population is as a whole.
Therefore, it might be wiser to focus on how to better prepare educators to be effective with Hispanic learners, whether they speak English or not, than to assume that it is the Hispanic learners who need remedial programs.
Barbara (McCauley) Lovejoy Salt Lake City
With all due respect to the letter writer, I believe she falls into the trap most of the populace seems to - let's attack these problems at the teacher level. I think this allows us to vent, but solves nothing.
My students (80 % Hispanic) are not years behind because of language, nor are they years behind because a teacher was not doing his or her job. They are years behind because within their community, education is not seen as their solution. The music my students listen to praises ignorance. Most of the adult population in the community is uneducated, so there is no push coming there. My students, for the most part, run their own lives and set their own hours .... if the choice is Playstation or reading, guess which one wins.
When one does not do any kind of reading development before kindergarten.... and then the only reading that happens is in an over crowded and chaotic classroom... and when this goes on through the entire elementary experience.... OF COURSE they are behind.
My two children have read and been read to since their youngest ages. They have heard educated adult conversation from their earliest stages. Our home is saturated with language and reading opportunities.
My students' circumstances cannot begin to keep pace with that.
Attacking this at the teacher level changes nothing.