Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Who is responsible?

I know there is a thin line between stating reality and making excuses, but there is a line. I don't want to dismiss problems as being unsolvable, but I think there is room for calling things as they are and not sitting in an endless cloud of idealism where no true changes are made.

I have sat through countless seminars and meetings in my 15 years as a teacher where the presenter insists that we can have across the board success with students. If curriculum is done right, if the instruction is delivered properly, if the environment is correct, etc... then EVERY child will succeed.

Do you notice anything missing in the equation?

The child's responsibility.

However, if you say that, you will be accused of making excuses. After all, if the child is unmotivated, then it is the teacher's job to motivate the student. As far as these theorists are concerned, the child plays no role in his or her outcome.

From personal experience, I reject this premise. I was the classic trouble maker as a boy. I never got anything above a C prior to 10th grade. School was at the bottom of a short list of meaningless priorities. Looking back, I recognize that many of my teachers did all that they could. They employed the right strategies, they cared, they intervened... yada, yada, yada. I simply didn't want to do it. Period. End of story.

They were powerless.

In the summer prior to my 10th grade year, that all changed. Perhaps someday on this blog I will write out my testimony. Suffice to say, I saw de' light.

I came back the first quarter of my 10th grade year and nailed 4 A's and two B's. My teachers and principal were shocked, but they had nothing to do with my turnaround. I pulled those grades because I wanted to. Period. End of story.

I believe I must do ALL that I can to help my students, but they must put forth effort. Their will affects their destiny. Like the ghosts and the Bright Ones in Lewis's The Great Divorce, the student can put nearly all of their weight on me but they must still walk.

If we take all responsibility in the equation away from the students, should we then be surprised if they approach life irresponsibly?

Saturday, May 26, 2007

An Interview with Tony Campolo

This is a great interview with Tony Campolo. He really outlines where Christianity should be going and what it should look like. I don't think that the majority of Christianity at the moment reflects his views, but I hope a generation from now they are commonplace.

Friday, May 18, 2007

What is your theological worldview?

This is an interesting quiz I found on another blog. I am sure it is in no way scientific, but I would say that it pegged me pretty well. I would probably be labeled a postmodern/emergent. Definitely putting Charismatic at the bottom of my list was spot on. I am surprised even 11 % of my theology could go there (must be the subliminal influence of growing up in charismatic circles).

The strong holiness end comes from growing up on Keith Green music. :)

I have no idea what Neo Orthodox even means.

The more I learn about reformed theology, the more it gives me the willies. They are brothers in Christ, but too depressing.

I disagree with the author's definition of postmodern. I in no way feel alienated from older forms of church, nor would most post moderns (I think). I find the reverence and touch of mysticism refreshing.

Anyway, give it a whirl and post your outcome in the comments section.
You scored as Emergent/Postmodern. You are Emergent/Postmodern in your theology. You feel alienated from older forms of church, you don't think they connect to modern culture very well. No one knows the whole truth about God, and we have much to learn from each other, and so learning takes place in dialogue. Evangelism should take place in relationships rather than through crusades and altar-calls. People are interested in spirituality and want to ask questions, so the church should help them to do this.



Evangelical Holiness/Wesleyan


Neo orthodox


Modern Liberal


Classical Liberal


Reformed Evangelical




Roman Catholic




What's your theological worldview?
created with QuizFarm.com

Thursday, May 17, 2007

The best blog on Jerry Falwell

I had a lot of thoughts on Jerry Falwell's passing. Though I had many, many disagreements with him and I felt he hindered more often than he helped; I still wished he and his family peace and I pray that a merciful Father embraces him now.

The gentleman over at Subversive Christianity had one of the best commentaries on Falwell's passing. Normally, I would simply link to it, but the blog will be erased as of May 20th. So I am going to paste it here. If you read this prior to that date, I suggest you head over there for some of the best spiritual commentary around.

May Light Perpetual shine on him
Jerry Falwell's dead.
It's hard to believe, at least for people of my generation. I was born two years before Falwell founded Thomas Road Baptist Church, and the Moral Majority was a major player on the American scene from my mid-twenties to my mid-thirties. Falwell's been a national presence during my entire lifetime. His death is strange, like the sudden disappearance of a familiar landmark. As my wife exclaimed when I told her Falwell had died: "Dead!? Jerry Falwell?! Are you serious?!"
The reactions to Falwell's passing are, I suppose, predictable. He was hated and he was loved. Those who hated him are chortling with delight. Some of their responses are downright mean (Goldbricker and the comment thread on Atheist Revolution), others (No More Hornets) joyous but a bit more precise in their reasons for celebrating, and some (Salon and Feminary) measured and reflective. Those who loved him--for example, Pat Robertson, James Dobson, and folks at Liberty University--are erring in the opposite direction by offering encomiums of Falwell that whitewash the genuine harm to others--and, I fear, to God--that some of his actions and pronouncements inflicted. Both kinds of responses are understandable.
But both are also unsettling because in their rush to vilify or sanctify Falwell, they don't bother to try to see him as a human being. This failure or refusal only encourages an "us" versus "them" divide between Falwell groupies and Falwell loathers and, more importantly, between the worldviews they represent.
Falwell's understanding of what it means to be a Christian strikes me as so obviously broken, so obviously defensive and exclusionary and judgmental, that I can only conclude it was embraced by a man who was suffering from wounds that cut deeply into his soul. A man who could condemn and thunder jeremiads as well as Falwell could is either a total charlatan or someone who's in a state of chronic anxiety, fear, anger, self-doubt, and envy--a man who exudes ill-being rather than well-being. I don't think Falwell was a fake. He was a victim whose personal suffering drove him to embrace a spirituality and value system that victimized others. He was a guy whose own wounds drove him into the arms of a god who demanded that he wound others. When I think of him in these terms, I realize that Falwell deserves our compassion more than our hatred or reverence. Nor do I mean this in a holier-than-thou, patronizing way. Because my guess is that many of the demons that haunted Falwell haunt us as well. We may not have the clout that Falwell did, and so our destructiveness may be on a less public scale. But it's real nonetheless. Admitting this doesn't whitewash Falwell's life. But it does begin the process of bridging the "us" and "them" divide.
I so dislike what Falwell did to Christianity in the U.S. But I do so hope that his demons have been at last exorcised. And even though the words stick in my throat--a reflection of the thousands of demons that inhabit my own soul--I say (and pray that I might say it sincerely): May light perpetual shine on my brother, Jerry.

Sunday, May 06, 2007

Hope and Obstacles by Brian Mclaren

I have listened to this talk by Brian Mclaren about 10 times in the past month or so. In it, he outlines some of the challenges that have faced the Church in the recent past, as well as the hope and path for the Church in the future. He addresses the relationship of the independent evangelical churches to the mainline churches. Through the strengthening of these ties, he speaks of hope for a post-christian world.

"The Protestant history has been the history of downward expansion... The interesting thing that tends to happen is that each level of the Church denies the legitimacy of the levels above it... or below it. But what I would like to suggest [is that] a Deep Ecclesiology is [an] acknowledging [of] the Church and honoring the Church in all of its forms. And instead of arguing about which narrow band is legitimate; just assume that God has lower standards than we do and is willing to bless people that we would never bless... if we were God." ~ Brian Mclaren

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