Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Encouraged by my colleague

The Reverend John Franklin Hay, who I have never met, inspires me in many ways.

I share his reflections from a common source of encouragement and motivation, Nicholas Wolterstorff.

Directly from his blog - his words, shared here:

Nicholas Wolterstorff's biblical perspective shapes the underpinnings of my activism and politics more than any other.

"It is against God's will that there be a kingdom in which some are poor; in God's perfected Kingdom there will be none at all. It is even more against God's will that there be a society in which some are poor while others are rich.  When this happens, God is on the side of the poor..."

"We must work patiently and persistently to show people the causes of mass poverty, and we must do what we can to convince them that the fundamental criteria by which all political and economic institutions and practices must be tested is just this: 'What do they do to the poor?' If they perpetuate poverty, they fail the most important test of legitimacy, and in that case we must struggle to alter them. We must work for the day when practices which perpetuate poverty have lost their legitimacy in the eyes of people."

Nicholas Wolterstorff in Until Justice and Peace Embrace

Monday, February 27, 2012

Made for goodness

“You and I, and all of us, are incredible . . . . We are, as a matter of fact, made for goodness.”
~ Desmond Tutu

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Shared, collaborative, peer-learning


I’ve been teaching professionally for 15 years consecutively – and I’ve been engaged in teaching in more than one way or another for more than 20 years.  I am still not convinced that I’m a good teacher, that I “know” “how to” teach with demonstrated excellence in all ways.  (There are so many variables!!!)   Yet, I do know this, collaborative and shared learning – when a class of learners “takes on the task” of learning together – makes the learning experience(s) much more enjoyable!  And, when learners share the task of learning – researching, reading, thinking – the learning itself takes on more value, has more personality and has greater effect in shaping a person’s real life.

Several years ago, I was “the expert” who was “the teacher” that received, read, and graded the work of a few specific persons.  These same specific persons have become, thanks to grant funds from the Lilly Foundation, Inc. in this past year, shared learners together in a new way without me being “the expert.”  It was different than me “teaching” and them “learning” – but us learning together.  Five former students and I spent, in intentionally funded and supported ways – time learning together, thinking together, eating together, and becoming friends.  It’s been a delight.

When I was in high school and doing my B.A. work at the University – no one really came alongside me and became my friend and invested in me.  I had good professors – experts – and I enjoyed many of them.  I remain professionally connected and in a true friendship with them – but it is not the same as what has happened for this “group of guys” over this past year.

Because “no one” “helped” me know how to queue up for things – because no one told me what it means to get engaged in a Scholarly Community or the Academic Guild – I didn’t really know how to do it.   I have no expectation that the majority of learners in my classes will become my friends.  And, I have no expectation that the majority of learners in my classes will embrace life-long learning.  And I have no expectation that the majority of learners in my classes will go on to become “Academics.”  Nevertheless, I am sure thankful that over time I’ve learned better ways that I can extend friendship with learners – so that – even when the “expert” “classroom” relationship ends – and I stop receiving, reading, and grading their work – we can be friends together who partner in peer learning that will shape our lives, our work, and our identity for a lifetime!

I am inspired to be more collaborative and intentional – more relational and connected with learners in and through classroom experiences – and outside of classroom experiences!

If you’re a professor or teacher and you’re reading this – let me encourage you to build relationships in the classroom that can serve as the “soil” to foster other kinds of relationships when the classroom experience ends.

If you’re a professor or teacher or pastor and you’re reading this, let me encourage you – find a way to connect with peer-professionals and share and learn and live together.  I realize that making connections can be difficult because we’ve all too often been taught to “look out for ourselves”  And yet, I can assure you – routine connection with a vibrant group of shared, invested peer-learners – can give life a whole new energy that is exciting!

Thanks Wendell, Levi, Eli, Stephen and Jeremy.   And . . . as we start new year . . . welcome Paul!

And Jonathan . . . I hope the application gets accepted!  We’ll know soon!


Saturday, February 11, 2012

Nazarene's in the Holy Land

I am delightedly part of a core group of persons who are working to establish greater educational connections for Nazarene persons - and pastors! - in the land of the Bible's Origin!

We hope to have some space for official announcements in a few weeks - as key leaders in the Church of the Nazarene must first give permission to our hopeful vision.

In the meantime - here is a link to some of the pictures of our connections, food, meetings and even some fun while in the environs around Jerusalem!