Posts Tagged ‘teaching’

1st Day

August 31, 2010

Today is the first day for the classes that I teach at the college.  The start of a new semester brings with it a variety of feelings.  I did not get as much done over the summer break as I would have liked to get done.  So there is the vague sense of disappointment that there was more work to do, and more fun things to do,  that just didn’t get done.  There is the sense of weight that comes with the addition of weekly responsibilities that need to be squeezed into an already full schedule.  There is also a sense of hope and anticipation.  You see, I still enjoy teaching.  Even though I have been teaching the same courses, and the same basic material for years, every semester is different.  Each class is composed of a unique combination of students so that no two classes are alike.  It makes every semester a new experience.  My classes include discussion and I learn something new every semester.  I challenge my students to think…and they challenge me to think as well.  It is a learning experience for us all.

Today is the first day.


Chi Alpha @ CCC

August 26, 2010

I have been pastoring the same church since 1991.  I have been teaching at CCC since 1998.  This fall there is something new.  In a way, it is a combining of the two jobs that I have been doing for so many years.  This year we are hoping to start a Chi Alpha group at CCC.

Chi Alpha is a student ministry organization affiliated with the Assemblies of God.   Frequently Chi Alpha groups are led by individuals who act as campus missionaries, or pastors, on a full-time basis.  They raise their support from churches that support their vision of reaching out to the college students.

I am not becoming a full-time Chi Alpha worker, but none-the-less, will be working in campus ministries on a volunteer basis.

We are starting with a light schedule.  We will have bi-weekly meetings consisting of a time of sharing, a time of prayer and a time for Bible study and discussion.  We may have occasional outreach or fellowship activities as time and interest dictate.

At this time I have fulfilled the school requirements for a student group, except that I need a sufficient number of students indicating interest.  I have sign up sheets around the college and hope to have enough names shortly after classes begin in the fall.

I would appreciate your prayers as I begin this new endeavor.

Inform or Inflame?

August 24, 2010

A partial truth can be more damaging than an outright lie.  I have had conversations with people who had a small piece of the truth, but that piece had been taken out of context, or misapplied for the express purpose of provoking an emotional response.  Emotions can be powerful motivators to get a response, but it might not be the right response.

It would be best if we responded with both reason and emotion.   In fact, perhaps we should take a lesson from Mr. Spock, and allow reason to guide our decisions, free from the entanglement of emotion.  Once a decision is reached, then our emotions can come on board.

Be careful of the sources of information.  They may be telling the truth, but is it the whole truth, and nothing but the truth?  Or are portions of truth being used to manipulate a response that is desired for reasons unknown to the recipient?   We are responsible for our actions, and we should be careful of the informational sources that guide our decisions.

It Is NOT Hate

July 22, 2010

Recently, Kenneth Howell,  an adjunct faculty at the University of Illinois was removed from teaching the two classes that he taught on Catholicism.  He had been accused by a friend of one of his students of “hate speech”.  Specifically, he had stated that he agreed with the Catholic doctrine that homosexual sex is immoral.

So he was fired for saying he agreed with Catholic doctrine?

What happened to religious freedom?

What happened to free speech?

What happened to academic freedom?

The case is under review and I certainly hope that he is reinstated.

Perhaps it would be better if it was called a sin, rather than immoral.  Calling it a sin would clearly identify it as a religious position.  We all know that we have religious freedom in this country.  No one accuses the Mormon church of  hate speech for their position that drinking caffeine is a sin.  If you don’t believe it to be true, it shouldn’t bother you.

Of course, Dr. Howell has no control over what the Catholic church teaches. They have their position.  He was hired to teach the class.  He has the right to  believe in what Catholicism teaches.  He has the right to say so.

It is not hate.

What Do You Want?

July 6, 2010

In Exodus 33:18, Moses asks God “Please, show me Your glory.”

This is an amazing passage because by this time Moses has already experienced the burning bush, the exodus from Egypt, the revelation at Mt. Sinai, multiple miraculous encounters and the daily presence of the column of smoke by day and the pillar of fire by night.

What more does he expect?

He recognizes that, even with all that he has experienced, there is still more to God and he wants more knowledge of God.

What about us?

I am concerned that far too many of us are quite content with the little, bitty, revelation of God that we have received.  We have received a taste, and it is enough for us.

Instead of desiring more of God, we want more stuff.  We want a new computer, phone, television, or some other thing of this world.  We have an insatiable appetite for the material, but are content with a small dab of the spiritual.

That is exactly reversed from what it should be.  We should be content with a dab of the material, and hunger for more of God.

I know that I have been challenged by these thoughts, and just wanted to share them with you.

Summer Session

May 19, 2010

For the next three weeks, Monday through Friday, from 12:00 to  4:00,  I will be teaching a summer course.  It is Survey of World Religions.  Basically, each day will cover a primary religion, with several days containing multiple religions.  It is a fast-paced introduction to the religions of the world.

This class actually works quite well in the min-session format.  This year is the second year that I have taught this course in the May session.  The only adjustment that I had to make was to shorten the research paper requirement by a few pages.  The class is off to a good start, and I hope that all will go well.

Two days down, twelve to go.

A Shield About Me

March 30, 2010

On Sunday morning in the second service we were singing the old song based on Psalms 3:3, “A Shield About Me”.  My wife, who was leading worship felt impressed to linger for a while on this song, which was the last in our list.  It contained both a statement of faith, and the response of worship.

I later preached on the triumphal entry, it was Palm Sunday after all, but I included the prophetic word that Jesus spoke over Jerusalem, and the episode of Jesus driving the merchants, and money changers out of the temple.  I refered to judgement against the city, and in the temple.  I connected these to a warning that judgement could come against our country, and even against Christianity.  Would anyone deny the presence of sin in our land, or in the church that calls itself Christian?

However, the good news is; for those who are trusting in the Lord, for those who are faithful and obedient, God will be a shield about them.

Common Courtesy

March 29, 2010

What has happened to common courtesy?

I just finished watching an interview on television, never mind who it was specifically, I have seen others just like it, and much worse, in the last few months.  In the interview, both individuals were frequently interrupting each other.  When interrupted, they both just kept talking.  I am not able to follow two people speaking at once and so did not get very much out of the exchange.

In my class, it is not uncommon for there to be people talking quietly among themselves during the class time.  Sometimes I will ignore it, and sometimes I will point out their rude and distracting behaviour, depending on how tolerant I am feeling at the time.  I teach an ICN class, which means that it is telecast by cable to remote locations.  I am told that at the remote locations, there is often a lot of talking taking place.  I am unable to hear what is going on at remote sites without a microphone being keyed, so I rarely address that situation.

I was brought up to understand some basic points of common courtesy regarding conversations.

1.  Only one person should be speaking at a time.

2.  Let the person who is speaking, finish what they are saying.

3.  Allow opportunities for response.

4.  Invite others to share their thoughts.

5.  Listen to what people are saying.

6.  Avoid vulgar or profane language.

7.  Stay on topic, unless it is agreed to move on to a new subject.

(Feel free to add some more rules in the comment section.)

In our country, there seems to be a trend towards rudeness.  I recognize that we have serious disagreements about many issues, but can we at least discuss them in a civilized manner?  Can we show, even the people who we disagree with, a little common courtesy?  Maybe, just maybe, they will return the favor.

Spring Break 2010

March 18, 2010

Spring break is not just for the students.  As a college instructor for over ten years, I can confidently say that faculty members also very much enjoy a little time off in the springtime.

Most years, for me, spring break means that, for a week, I can focus on my primary job, which is pastoring a church.  For this week, I have a little more time in my schedule.  I can catch up on a few items on my “to do” list. 

I can catch my breath. 

Today, here in eastern Iowa, it is supposed to be sunny and in the mid-sixties.  I will ride my bicycle to the church this morning, and this afternoon, for my exercise, I will both ride, and run outside.  It should be a beautiful afternoon for exercising outdoors.

A breath of fresh air!

Last week, I enjoyed a week with my son and his fiance, who were down for their spring break.  They are planning their upcoming wedding and are excited to begin their life together.  I suppose that you could say that they are in the springtime of their lives.

Excitement is in the air!

Spring break is good.  You don’t have to go to some far off location.  You certainly don’t have to party, and get drunk, and behave stupidly.  It is a wonderful opportunity to catch your breath, take a break, enjoy the changing seasons, relax a little, and refocus on what is important in your life.


March 1, 2010

The movie Avatar finally came to our local theatre and my wife and I went to see it last Friday.  I thoroughly enjoyed the movie and will try to get to see it again when it is in a nearby IMAX.  I am sure that it will be highly entertaining.

It should be noted that it presents, in a very favorable light, a philosophical view called “deep ecology”.   This view suggests a very stong, living, connection between all things on the planet, especially living things.  It is a common feature of nature-based religions.  The native religion plays a major role in the movie, and so, even though the movie is obviously fictional, the similarities between the religion in the movie, and actually practiced religions, can result in an increased interest in nature based religions.

That is good news if you are seeking to promote nature based religions such as Daoism, Native American Spirituality, and Wicca.

Not so good, if you are seeking to promote Christianity.