Thursday, August 25, 2011

Questions about School - Discussion

I must apologize...I feel so strictly formal while typing this. I am not a fan of that. You may notice that I am not writing with my normal tone...I felt that way at least. At any rate, I would like to know your thoughts, and there is one final question at the end :)

Who/What are schools for?

  • Giving kids knowledge, teaching them about the world
    • Schools are for teaching children about how the world around them works. They learn the rules of language, mathematics, and even physics, chemistry, and biology as they grow older. Schools are for showing kids what is going on outside of their house and outside of their neighborhood.
  • Taking care of kids while their parents are at work
    • Schools provide a sort of day-care while parents are busy bringing home the bacon. Schools with recess provide children with an outlet for their energy and playfulness, and even for their imaginations while they play and interact with each other.
  • Kids, but also for parents and society
    • Schools are directly geard towards benefiting the children that attend them. However, as was stated above, schools also benefit parents by providing a means of childcare, and they benefit society by providing knowledge and experience for children to become functional members of society, even though it may not be until later in their lives.
  • Kids who want to be there, and for those who do not want to be there
    • Schools such as colleges/universities provide opportunities for kids who still want to learn to continue to expand their knowledge of the world around them. They may choose to pay for classes and spend extensive amounts of time learning more about language, math, science, or other people. Public schools, like elementary, junior high, and high schools, on the other hand, may be geared more towards trying to teach an appreciation for learning to pupils who would rather be somewhere else.

How do you know?

As one member of our group stated, this is a short and simple question that is deep and difficult to answer. However, we discussed the following reasons:

  • Giving kids knowledge, teaching them about the world
    • We see evidence for this from our own experiences. In early education we learn about how to speak with proper grammar so that we can understand others and so that they can understand us. We learn about how math works so that we can add, subtract, multiply, and divide. We learn simple skills early in life so that they may be built upon later, in more advanced classes in later stages of schooling.
  • Taking care of kids while their parents are at work
    • The evidence for this line is seen in parents who drop their kids off at school but then do not talk with their children about what they learned. They do not work with their children on homework problems or help to reinforce the lessons given that day. Then, if their children do not perform up to the standards that are given, the teachers are blamed. Other parents do not seem to have any interest in how their children are doing in class.
  • Kids, but also for parents and society
    • We know this by looking at significant historical figures of the past. A greater education generally leads to a greater involvement and/or impact in society. Children who grow up to be adults that do not understand what is going on around them (whether it be dealing with language, science, or politics) have little reason to concnern themselves with anyone but themselves. If a society is to continue to grow and advance, it must teach the next generation what there is to know, as well as encourage them to want to know more, as the last point shows.
  • Kids who want to be there, and for those who do not want to be there
    • The strongest evidence towards school being for those who want to be in it is seen every day by our class. We are surrounded by a thriving university that only exists because people have decided that they want to keep learning. Colleges around the country, and the rest of the world, would not be in existence if there was not a desire for knowledge among the public. The evidence that shows that schools are for the students who do not want to be there is seen in the legal mandates that state a child must attend school until they are 18 years of age, in the United States. This law is trying to keep kids in school so that they might find what they are interested in and find their passion so that they may continue to pursue it in higher education.

Final Question: If this is what schools are for, are they fulfilling their purpose?

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Storms, Clouds, and other things that block the Sun

When it is cloudy, I have a tough time seeing the sun. When it is storming outside, I usually do not see the sun at all. It is disappointing that the same happens to other things as well. Have you noticed how easy it is to get down when you don't hear positive comments? If I had to guess, I would say that you, too, have had a time (or times) in your life when it felt like there were only negative comments being directed towards you. Clouds were coming in, storms were on their way.

When it is storming, it is hard to feel the warmth of the sun. We forget that it is summer when the rain is cold and the wind is driving. We forget that the sun even allows there to be rain, for without it the earth would be a frozen ball. Have you seen Pluto lately? The sun's warmth does not extend there. It is cold. There is no rain; there are no clouds.

But while we are here, and we are here, it is hard to see the sun sometimes. It is hard to remember the ones who actually love us and care about our well-being. We hear the sneers, the mocking laughter, the lies that we are a waste of air. What else is there to think about when you are in the middle of a hurricane? I know for many, it is hard to imagine. I do not know what it is like to be in the middle of any sort of serious storm (at least one concerning weather)...I am thankful for that.
But when you are in a storm, when the wind is blowing and the rain is coming down; when the clouds are dark and the sun is not visible. When it feels like the night may last far longer than only until the next morning. How easily we forget that life has rhythm...there are seasons of heat and cold, life and death/hibernation. There is rain, there are rivers, there is evaporation. There is respiration, there is photosynthesis. Things go in cycles. Do you think humans are an exception to that?

What are the storms in your life? What are the clouds that try to block out the sun's light and warmth? Are you fortunate enough to have someone who holds a mirror, or a lamp, to remind you that there is still light, warmth, and hope, even in the midst of these dark clouds? Or do you keep looking at the clouds and saying, "There is no sun. I thought there was once, but now I see I am wrong."

No, you are wrong now. The sun is still there. Clouds do not negate the existence of light. Storms do not cause warmth to cease from coming to here from the sun. Simply because one essence is in abundance does not mean the opposite or alternative is no longer around. It may simply mean that it has been pushed somewhere else. We seem to forget that. People say, "There is no God, because there is evil." Would someone say, "There is no sun, because there is darkness." I should think not. Could it be that, because there is darkness, there must be a source of light? For what would shadows be, if they were not a lack of light in a certain area? Could it be that what we understand as darkness is not true darkness, but just a shadow?
This is abstract, I am aware. For those of you who have understood the metaphor, congrats, and I hope you get a lot out of it. For those of you who have not yet seen the metaphor, here it is:

God is the sun. The Son is the sun. The sun is the Son. Source of light, warmth, and life. God may seem to be blocked out by things like sickness(not just of the physical variety), pain (again, not just the physical), lies, stress/worry, or just the day to day grind of this life. These things are clouds. They get in the way, they block our view, they make this world colder. But those things seem to forget that, apart from God, they would not exist. (And to not exist is not beneficial for anyone, anything, any time. As CS Lewis said, how can you say it would be better for you to not exist?) That is How often do we consider that? Without God, there would not be clouds. There would not be light, warmth, life, or rain. I'm not sure if the analogy extends this far though.

Do you know what happens when you move above the clouds, when you get closer to the sun? It gets colder. A lot colder. The temperature in the earth's upper atmosphere gets below the freezing point of water. But do you know what happens when you get close enough to the sun? It gets too hot, too bright for us to bear. We become consumed, literally, by the heat and light. If we start travelling closer to God...things may seem to get colder. Do you understand that we are in a battle? The enemy does not want you to be warm.

I think that is it. Not much else is coming. But here is the reason I wrote this:
My inspiration was disappointment. It felt like an old wound being re-opened. Like the band-aid was ripped off and the scab scratched until it bled again. It hurt. It still does...but the band-aid is back on now...and I do hope the healing process continues..
I know...well many people who are going through this I think, but there are a couple of friends in particular. When I talk to them sometimes, I can almost visualize them standing in the middle of a tornado of lies. There is no light or warmth, no truth. Only lies.
You are not a good friend.
You really messed up.
You can't do anything right.
This person doesn't really like you.
You still can't do that right.
No one wants to be around you.
They say that it is just hurting you, but it is actually good for you. Keep up the good work.
What you did was good, that person deserved that insult you gave them.
It's ok, even if you would have spoken up, they would not have listened. Just stand back and watch, after all, everyone else does that too.
You are not pretty.
You are not smart.
You are not a good person.
You are not worth their time.
You are not worth anything at all.
You are not good enough, and you never will be.

Are you familiar with these voices? Have you been surrounded by lies, so thick that the truth seems no where to be found? Have you noticed that sometimes, the lies are just missing a piece of truth?
Your friends appreciate you for who you are.
You may have messed up this time, but I am a God of second chances. I will not leave you.
I have put my Spirit inside you. Whatever you do with me is good.
This person loves you more than you know; they just don't know how to tell/show you.
You will learn, just keep trying, don't give up! You are a work in progress, and when I am finished, you will hardly recognize yourself. I will not leave you.
You have no idea how many people would love to spend a day with you, and only you.
You have been seeking things that are not Me. You have been hearing voices that are not Mine. I will give you a new heart, and you will be healed. I will not leave you.
Do not repay evil for evil; let every word that comes from your mouth be uplifting and encouraging. You do not know what that person is struggling with, just as they do not know what you are struggling with.
Have you read the story about Jonah? He spoke up, the city listened, and thousands of people were saved. You have the chance today to change at least one life.
You are made in My image, and you are beautiful. When I look at all I have made, I cannot keep my eyes off of you. You captivate Me.
I want to teach you so that you will know, and give you wisdom so that you may teach others.
You are not a good person, but because of what My Son has done, I now see you as holy, righteous, and blameless. And guess what? I love you just as much now as I did then.
I have been with you every second of your life. I will not leave you. You are worth it. I have thought about it since the beginning of time, and you are worth it.
You are worth more than anything else in creation to Me. Because of My love for you, I have given Myself in your place. I have purchased your life with Mine.
On your own, you are not good enough, and never will be. But with Me by your side and in your heart, there is not stopping us. I am always with you, and I will never leave you. You are mine, and I am yours.

Do you feel the warmth? I do...these things do not come from myself - if they did, I would not put them up for many to see.
Do you see the light? I have, and I long to see it again.
Do you have clouds and storms in your life? I sure do...and it is always nice to be reminded of the sun- to be reminded of the Son. God is good, all the time. I hope you are reminded of the Son, even when the storms are coming in.

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Honestly (Oooh, Ooh)

Honestly is a song by VOTA, and when they sing the word 'Honestly' it is followed by some "oohs" which is why they're there.

anyway. Honestly. Do you feel the weight of this world caving in on your heart and soul? Do you feel the lies of this world eating away at your thoughts and emotions? Have you been deceived by all the pretty things that steal our eyes away from what is truly important? Do you seek satisfaction by the creation instead of the Creator?

Honestly. Would you rather live in a world of lies? Would you rather have the truth, even if it tore you to pieces? If living in a world of lies was comforting, but the truth hurt...which would you choose? Would God be enough for you? (check out John 14:6)

Honestly. Have you felt that pull, that tug, that shove, that sting, that comes from trying to be 'different' while living in the same place as everyone who is 'normal'? Have you been hard-pressed, struck down, left in the dark, perplexed? (check out 2 Corinthians 4:8-9)

It is the night, but joy comes in the morning. Though we will have trouble in this world, He has overcome it. The fear of being alone is nonsense in the presence of God. (check out 1 John 4:18)
Did you read that? Perfect love drives out fear...I have written about that before, somewhere on here :P Have you experienced that perfect love? Do you thirst for that perfect love? Or do you settle for a cheap shadow, a counterfeit that is used to deceive and spread lies and more fear? Don't settle for what is less. Seek and you will find, that is what I read and that is what I believe. (check out Jeremiah 29:10-14) If you think God is a liar, and He doesn't mean it when He says that you will find Him when you seek Him with your whole heart, but aren't willing to prove it by actually seeking Him....then I would say you are still unsure. You are afraid that He won't be there. I am afraid that He won't be there. But I know that His love, His compassion, His timing, is perfect. And nothing in this world is going to change that.

Then you will be handed over to be persecuted and put to death, and you will be hated by all nations because of me. At that time many will turn away from the faith and will betray and hate each other, and many false prophets will appear and deceive many people. Because of the increase of wickedness, the love of most will grow cold, but the one who stands firm to the end will be saved. And this gospel of the kingdom will be preached in the whole world as a testimony to all nations, and then the end will come. [Matthew 24:9-14]