Posted by: minnow | August 31, 2008

This and That

Too many thoughts are running around in my head right now so guess it’s time for another list of short (Ha!) but sweet!!


First—I am very grateful tonight that I live in America and have access to medical help.  My 16 year old son went in for an emergency appendectomy Friday night.  He spent the previous day throwing up and suffering from diarrhea.  It didn’t stop even when his stomach was empty which is why we ended up taking him to see the doctor.  After a blood test which showed an elevated white count he was sent to the emergency room to get a CT scan.  They thought the appendix might have burst so we were getting ready for the worst case scenario.  Fortunately his elevated temp (It went from 98 at the doctor’s office to 103 just before surgery.) only meant that his body was fighting the infection in the appendix and not peritonitis.  The doctors and nurses who served us—none of whom we had met prior to Friday’s event—were wonderfully kind, knowledgeable, and a blessing!


Guess I may be causing a little stir over at Inspired to Action.  (My disclaimer: I like what I read at Inspired and I am not pointing any fingers at anyone over there that I have not had to point a time or two at myself).  The topic of masks came up and I sort of echoed a post I wrote a bit ago by suggesting that we don’t have maskless (close) relationships because we prefer gossip to actually getting involved in people’s lives.  I am really weary of our tendency in the Church to use prayer requests as an excuse to gossip.  “ So-n-so could really use your prayer right now.  You may not know but yada yada.”  UGH!  If you have information about someone and you are “sharing it” the person you are talking to better be able to DO something to help or you have no business saying anything other than, “Please pray for So-n-so.”  More than that is gossip.  PERIOD.  I know, this opinion doesn’t make me very popular.  In other words, I don’t hear much gossip.  Still, if I do hear  something I figure I’m being asked to act and so I do.  Getting behind people’s masks takes an investment in their lives.  We have to be ready to be inconvenienced.  And, we have to be closed lipped when it comes to sharing prayer requests.


I just checked in at Parchment and Pen after a fairly long break and discovered that CMP wrote a piece (or rather had a guest write a piece) about Seeker Friendly churches a couple days back.  Rather then comment there (He posts so often if you don’t hit a post on the first day it often gets buried so late comments don’t really matter unless it is a particularly hot topic.) I thought I’d give my two cents here.  I was neither disappointed nor impressed with the post itself but I was intrigued by some of the comments.  In fact I am undoubtedly going to study out the topic of the purpose of Church or as it seems to be used in the P and P post, fellowship.  With regard to the comparison of the Seeker Friendly service with a more traditional format I will simply say neither and both.  Neither have it completely right and both have their strengths.  But, the fact that we are again engaged in comparing and bashing drives me crazy.  Why mock?  Why belittle?  Can we not simply say, “I see A, B, and C as important”  “For me 1, 2, and 3 make the most sense” “Oh, I never thought about A. That’s interesting but how does 3 fit in for you”?  Are we so afraid of being wrong that we simply cannot consider that someone else just might have a nugget of truth? 


Back to the topic of education:  Class size is only one part of the equation but we can readily see how it impacts quality teaching.  Whether looking at grading papers or answering questions there is simply less teacher to go around the more students there are in class.  In addition, large numbers negatively affect a teacher’s desire to give multiple writing assignments or offer quality feedback.  Yet, how can we expect children to learn to write when they are not given multiple assignments and timely feedback on their writing?  In one of my second son’s classes he had weekly writing assignments but was not given a single assignment back until the end of the quarter.  How can students improve when they do not get feedback before each new assignment?  An assignment returned to my youngest son received a C.  The only comment on the entire six pages was the word “good” written next to the first paragraph on the first page.  Can anyone explain to me how such a paper will help him become a better writer?  When I taught an English class (as a long term sub) for a quarter (nine weeks) my students wrote six different essays.  In addition to marking the paper itself, each assignment was returned before the next one was due with a comment sheet that detailed how the student’s paper met or did not meet quality standards in five areas: organization, development, mechanics, style and diction, and content.  I spent a half hour to forty-five minutes on each paper.  For a class of twenty-five students, that meant I spent twelve and a half hours per assignment grading papers.  Teachers with one hundred and twenty-five students simply can not afford to A). give as many writing assignments, or B). spend time writing detailed comments on each paper.  If we expect English teachers to give and properly grade multiple writing assignments we must give them fewer students. The facts are simple.  But, what will we do with them?


I guess that is it for now except to say I think I am really excited to see Sarah Palin on the ticket with John McCain but I’m still checking her out.



  1. I agree minnow – why belittle, why segregate ourselves, why make ‘groups’ or ‘types’ of churches. Why focus on our differences? Why be critical? We are missing out on SO SO much by constantly separating ourselves and not doing whatever we can to grow and join together and learn from each other…….

    I could go on and on but just wanted to say hey 🙂

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