Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Shocking behavior!

Teachers grade papers. Some of us love reading student work. Some of us find it tedious.

I'm in both camps. Learning is fun so it's interesting to see what students come up with. But how I hate assigning grades to student work! If I taught the same courses over and over, it would be easy to come up with a metric and adjust it by student level and culture. But, because I've been teaching such a variety of things over the years, I keep having to reinvent the grading system to fit the course.

I've just gone through the batch of "Research Methodology" papers that arrived last week from my summer class in SE Asia. The students made great progress. They have done interesting research. Now I have to assign grades.

Sometimes we're tempted to rate our fellows, as though we were giving marks for personhood or accomplishments.
  • She gets an A+ for niceness, but a C for the way she dresses.
  • He gets a D for a messy apartment, but a B for generosity (he picked up the lion's share of the tab at the restaurant).
  • She get a C+ for effort but an B+ for friendliness.
  • He gets an A for accomplishments, but it comes so easily that he only gets a C for effort.
"Who are you to judge another person's servant?" Paul asked church members who were criticizing those around them. "God decides if he's pleased or not."

I'm surprised by the furor recently over CEO Marissa Mayer's Vogue fashion shoot and the  VMA performance of Miley Cyrus. I'm especially puzzled by Christian chatter: after all, what do we expect of another's servant?

Mayer was a good model for Vogue - they do "artsy" anti-expectation poses. I don't see the appropriateness but again, am not shocked by it. Mayer was modeling: haven't we seen similar poses on America's Top Model and other TV shows?

I agree that it's completely inappropriate for Cyrus to gyrate in public at a show that families watch and attend. But I'm not surprised. Attention-getting is for the insecure, and some will pursue attention by being outrageous.

(Back to the papers I'm grading) One of my students researched how Christians are perceived by their peers and non-Christians. He wanted to know if we portray the transforming power of the gospel, if we are like Jesus in our interactions of love, kindness, goodness, and morality.

He concluded that many of us act like Jesus makes no difference in our behavior and attitudes. We may attend our religious club (church) and consider ourselves members in good standing. Yet outside its walls, we live as though Christ has little to say to us. We lie, steal, cheat, and sleep around like the world does.

I think that's the real shocker. We ought to be completely, totally outraged. At ourselves.

Read more:
*O grant us help against the foe, for human help is worthless. Psalm 60:11 NLT

*Jesus said, "Young man, I say to you, rise!" The dead man sat up and began to speak, and Jesus gave him to his mother. Luke 7:14-15 NLT

*Jesus answered them, “This is the work of God, that you believe in him whom he
has sent.” John 6:26 NIV

Moravian Prayer: Eternal Creator, we are in humble awe of your grace and forgiveness. At the same time we thank you for also challenging us for personal betterment and improvement. Restore us and shine upon us as we bow before you. Amen.

*CS Lewis wrote a letter to Genia Goeliz, who had asked Lewis for a prayer in her struggle to believe: Lewis’s prayer for a daily increase in obedience and faith. (18 March 1952)

... Don’t bother at all about that question of a person being ‘made a Christian’ by baptism. It is only the usual trouble about words being used in more than one sense. Thus we might say a man ‘became a soldier’ the moment that he joined the army. But his instructors might say six months later ‘I think we have made a soldier of him’. Both usages are quite definable, only one wantsto know which is being used in a given sentence.

The Bible itself gives us one short prayer which is suitable for all who are struggling with the beliefs and doctrines. It is: ‘Lord I believe, help Thou my unbelief.’ Would something of this sort be any good?
     Almighty God, who art the Father of lights and who has promised by thy dear Son that all who do thy will shall know thy doctrine: [John 7:17] give me grace so to live that by daily obedience I daily increase in faith and in the understanding of thy Holy Word, through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

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