Monthly Archives: May 2009

the last paper

On the left ,you see the pile of papers that have been read and had little red numbers assigned to them. On the right you see the last one. I wrote “The last one” on the cover. Its author stated in our last class meeting that he gives me five years before I’m back in the classroom. I saved his to be the last one.


The “Beliefs Thesis” is an idea that I brought to Covenant where students are given basic categories of theological query and then given reading assignments and assigned to think about this reading in light of those five categories. Then we talked about it. You don’t have to agree, just consider it. This course work is designed to prepare them to think their way through their beliefs. They must wrestle with what they believe about the Bible, God, Jesus, the Holy Spirit and then they grapple with man, sin and salvation. Heavy questions. 

I have taught church-going Christians, agnostics, atheists, Muslims, Jews, Mormans and a lot of people who just could not yet pin themselves down. In the last 14 years here and 2 back in Roanoke, I figure that I have read well over 7,000 pages of these theological musings. It has been humbling to read the honesty with which my students have written. This year’s batch (seen above) is no different.

I don’t think many remember much of what they wrote. But that wasn’t the point. The point was that they will have wrestled with thier beliefs and with God in such a way that they have, at least once, articulated them to someone (me). I am grateful to have had the chance to take part in this important exercise.

Now, on to the last paper.


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three weeks from today


I’ll be coming into Nyugati with some friends behind one one of these engines, only to get right on another one to go to Vac. What a great way to start a trip!

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Casting Crowns

We are on our way home from seeing Casting Crowns at JPJ. I was struck by the strength of the lyrics. But as the event continued I understood that the leader of this band is operating from the heart of a man who has invested his live in young people who didn’t always fit the church’s mold. The concert was well crafted and designed. I will have to hit itunes and get some of these songs. Provoking thought toward opening hearts for the Spirit to change lives, yeah.

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anticipation – a word I love… because I am a forward looker, not a now dweller.

This is good in some contexts but I must be intentional and disciplined about the now and the here. There is a saying, “he is so heavenly minded that he is no earthly good”

This is an interesting saying that should remind us NFs in the crowd who follow Jesus that we mustn’t look so far ahead that we don’t pay attention to the people around us now. And since a BUNCH of us are transitioning BIG TIME, we need to think on these things.

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standing on the shoulders of other teachers

Isaac Newton once said that if he saw further than others, it was because he was standing on the shoulders of giants. This idea seemed to be the basis of a comment by the superintendent of one of the local school systems yesterday who was among the several brief (thankfully) speakers at the Golden Apple ceremony up in the Dome Rome of the UVa Rotunda (read more here). I must be honest that this may have been the only remark I actually paid attention to, sorry. She was referring to the many teachers who are incredibly gifted back at the schools we all represented sitting there in the splendor of the Dome Room. I really resonated with that comment because I felt terribly unworthy to receive such an award. But there I sat with Sweet Anna at my side (who was, at that moment, Proud Anna). I don’t know that I have distinguished myself as a teacher, and I can easily rattle off a list of people more deserving than I, both here and elsewhere (like Hungary). But I was indeed honored that my boss nominated me for this award and, now that it is on my desk (see pic below), I am quite honored and humbled to have it. I have learned a lot about teaching over these 16 years from a lot of people like Nurline (maybe more from her than anyone else), Liz, John, Carol, Arden, Bill, David, Matthew, Anne, and many more over the years and most recently from April, Joanna and Lea (there are many others, please forgive). Additionally, I have also learned a lot from my students. All these, named and unnamed, are teachers of the past and present who are thoughtful colleagues in a great profession: a community of fellow learners. That is the thing I learned most from Nurline, the appreciation for learning, the recognition of the love of learning, the development of the love of learning in oneself, which then can infect others. So my hats off to the teachers. If you spend your day in the classroom, you are a Golden Apple.



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observations about rest

This was an awesome weekend… we went to northern Virginia so Sweet Anna and Princess Irene could enjoy Mother’s day. And a fine weekend it was. Nice meals and relaxing times, saw Star Trek and took a couple of naps. I even went of a long walk to a bakery this fine morning. Relaxation is important. It has taken me a long time to learn this but I am learning it. This is what God wanted us to learn from His requirement to take a Sabbath. For many people this is a stumbling block. They have been taught that you can’t do this, you can’t do that, and the whole idea of resting and relaxation to recharge the body, soul and spirit have been lost to law. Jesus put it best when he said man was not made for the sabbath, sabbath was made for man.

A book I read a year or so ago clarified things well. We should look at the idea of the sabbath as one in which we do not work and even work hard at not working. We live today in a time of constant work. I can (and do) check my email (mostly business of one sort or another) from my phone. So I can do much of my ‘work’ from wherever I am. Thus, it requires discipline to not work. We all need rest, diversion, and relaxation. God knows best. On six days we work, on the seventh we rest. The day that is your seventh is, in my estimation, your decision, but the day of rest is needed. Oh, and it will not happen these days if you don’t plan. So plan to have a day in which you do not work. Once you get the hang of it you will be so much better off. So plan your day of rest for this week.

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