Thursday, February 26, 2009

I'm a Mean Old Man

"Mr. Prindle, I hear your all strict this semester."

The student was mine during first semester's General English, one noted by the goods times had by most. Apparently, one of my students that still has me this semesters relayed to her old comrades that I have slid to the stricter side of things. I laughed. To my knowledge, I am the least strict teacher I know. The amount of stuff that kids get away with is insane, and I know that any other English teacher would have destroyed half my kids within the first week. So in my new Composition class, I've instructed that students need to stay in their assigned seats. Everybody's makin' a fuss. It's like I ask them to sit on red-hot shards of glass for an hour.

"Why can't I sit over there so I can talk with my friends?"

I give a stare that I hope comes across as, "Did you just hear what you asked?"

I think the message gets through because they follow up with, "I won't talk. I'll work hard."

"You're absolutely right, you will work hard...from right here, in your assigned seat."

So I've finally done it. I'm a mean teacher. O joyous day!

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Creation vs Evolution

Ever since high school, I have been interested in the various ideas and theories behind the origins of our world. How long has the planet been here? For how long did people live on it? How have we reach the point we are at now? From both sides, I've heard a lot of excellent and pathetic possibilities and interpretations.

Evolution is a fantastic theory, one that I think proves itself all over the planet. To think that Darwin was the first to notice it kind of surprises me. It doesn't seem to take much to see and compare varieties of creatures and see how they have adapted to stay alive. My problem, however, shows up when people place that theory in place of origins of the known universe. Though I can see how molecules can combine to become something new, I don't think I can ever be convinced that different chemicals, organisms, or molecules can reach a point that they can
become something completely different. When a people live in a new place, they will change features to become better adapted to their surroundings, I don't think that we will reach the point of becoming a new creature.

Creation, honestly, just make more sense. I picture God playing with elements to create different things, like a chemist mixing things in his laboratory. Without a guiding force I don't think that even the fittest could have survived everything that the planet has dished out.

More importantly, though, I believe that we need Creation to become better people. Without the belief that humans were once perfect and awesome beyond our comprehension, there is no reason to hope that we can become great again. If we were not a fallen race, there is no need for Christ. Why redeem that which was never perfect? On a humanitarian level, why help anybody out? Evolution teaches that the fastest and strongest survive and the weakest become lost. So where could we ever get the concept of helping out our fellow humans?

Though I believe both theories are at work on this planet, I can't deny the feeling that people need help. For that, I have no choice but to believe that we are not just animals in the evolutionary process, striving only to survive. We live and want others to live, which does not compute in an evolutionary way of thought.

Friday, February 20, 2009

Belief Structure

I had a student ask me in class once, "What do you believe?"

I assumed she meant faith-wise and answered, "That's a big question."

She helped me out a little by asking if I was Catholic or Baptist or some other denomination. So I told her I was a Seventh-day Adventist. But it bothered me that I couldn't really get into it that much. A person's belief structure is so much more than the church they attend and the scriptures they read. The experiences, people, situations they encounter and find themselves in shape what they think of life, the universe, and everything.

Because it's Friday, it only seems right to begin with my belief in rest. I believe that we are created (another belief to be explored later) to break down if we don't take time to stop. A lot of people believe this, hence the concept of a weekend that many people get to take advantage of regardless of religion or spirituality. But even with this weekend, people need to really unplug.

Enter the Sabbath. Since the beginning of their recorded history, Jews have kept every seventh day as a day of rest with guidelines about what people should and should not be able to do. Growing up, of course, these "limitations" from the Bible were just that. But as I work and stress and strive and fret, removing the sense of obligation from my life for 24 hours is the most rejuvenating experience. There could be no way I could last from week to week without taking time out and focus on what God has provided for me.

I struggle with some Sabbath issues still. Are there things that I should be giving up ever Saturday? For now, though, I need to hone in on God for my strength, from there, "the things of earth will grow strangely dim in the light of his glory and grace."

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Education: The Conclusion

So, I've hit almost every aspect I can think of when it comes to Adventist education (or all I want to actually get into). What does it all come down to? I would hope that it comes as no surprise that I don't have a solid opinion of the system. Throughout the weeks, the pros and cons balance each other out fairly well, really.

The potential of such schools is incredible, but the support of those schools is so small anymore that I don't see that they will demonstrate that potential very often (at least not in the Midwest). Shame.

I'd love to see the schools thrive again. Unfortunately, the schools are so connected with the Seventh-day Adventist church, that with their falling, the church is aching as well. I've felt for a while now that the schools should be cut off as if they were a rotting limb that would contaminate the body--and I still think they are contaminating. However, the good done at the schools is irrefutable. Whether it's for the student body or an individual student, the schools show and nurture in Christ in a way equal to no other ministry in the church. I may say all sorts of things against them in the long run, but I still love the idea. I'll defend them against many, and abuse with many more because they aren't perfect.

Whether souls have been also lost is something that people will have to answer. But souls have been won in those buildings.

Sunday, February 15, 2009

Education: The Parental Perspective

I've heard a lot about private education, and boarding schools in general, from a lot of parents. And from those conversations, I've learned a good chunk about people in general.

On the negative side, I've heard a lot of parents complain about Adventist schools ruining their children. "I sent my child to that school, and they came back with a more foul mouth, and more destructive habits than they had before they went."

That sucks. But it's true as well. While I went to Campion, I began learning all sorts of new words and word combinations. I still remember some friends of mine swearing in the dumbest ways possible. "That girl is shit-fine." Sorry, Jon. Doesn't sound as cool as you would like.

But look at this a bit more logically. Teenagers are teenagers.

On the positive side, some kids need the environment of Christian education. They need a smaller student population, they need teachers who will see and talk with them almost everyday. They need to have the options of spending 24 hours a day with other people to build up some kind of social skills. For many, it is crucial that they interact with people who believe the same things. If a person watches the way kids interact on the campus of a Christian boarding school, he or she will see a difference from any other school.

My mother-in-law and I were in a discussion about the future of Christian education. I was on the offensive, picking apart all the little things that could be picked. But in the end, she said something that totally shut me up.

"I've watched my daughter grow and become wonderful adults with interests in God. They have made great friends, and one of them has found a husband that we couldn't be more proud of. I have never had to worry about so many of the things that other parents have to worry about. So whether it's about money, academics, or was worth it, completely."

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Not so Much of a Break

So after a movie-fest this last weekend, I took Monday off to recover. I was starting to see things Sunday evening decided I wouldn't be much good at work anyhow. I had some of the strangest dreams of my life, then. More hallucinations and the like. I had multiple wives, but they were all Amy...very bizarre. There was something about snow and mountains in there, too.

So yesterday brought me back to school in a pretty good and energized mood, but it didn't last. I'm not sure why, but I feel that I wasn't planned at all for anything. I think the rest of the week will be better, but it's put me in a bit of a funk for now. Mostly, it's noticing what day it is and knowing what you still have to do before the end of the week. My sermon is my main concern now. I think I'm going to speak on one thing, but I don't know how that will go, or how I want to put it together. Alas.

Tis unfortunate when I realized that under certain stressful times, I tend to shut down completely instead of rise above it. That's the funk talking.