Saturday, December 10, 2016
"Stay near the shore" [project graphic of tall ship under sail] Our goal from here forward is to fulfill Romans 12:10, "Be devoted to one another in brotherly love; give preference to one another in honor." [ship adds this quote] The structure of our class will be as if we were on an island, awaiting the return of a great ship which will bear us away. Your job is not to stray from the shore. But rather await the return of our glorious LORD and Savior, Christ Jesus. Help your friends want to stay on the island, but don't encourage them if they seek to honor only themselves by retreating into the interior of the island, where there is a potentially dangerous vocano. We have gotten to know each other much better since August of last year or any number of August's prior to that. It is time for a new tack, as they say on the seas. This is a missions class in which each of us will decide the extent to which we let each other know who we are, after which, each person then decides how to respond to the other. Our normal activities may not change much, however they may change dramatically. Up until now I have been assigning a lot and working a lot behind the scenes, some might say, like the Wizard of Oz minus the flying monkeys. From here on out, I'd like to change course and allow you to make a lot more decisions. I expect you to continue to seek help if you are having difficulties. This is not becoming an independent study, but rather a Dependent story in which we may learn to depend a lot more on each other. One reason we do that is because we now recognize much more of Christ in each other and thus more and more gifts he has given us. We will not, under any circumstances, engage in voting anyone off the island. If anyone leaves the shore, it is due to his or her own actions. [project Puritans in New England] As a gathering of Christians, a small part of the Body of Christ, is a mission to each other--an outreach, as some put it--however this outreach goes both ways. It's very intimidating to reach out to others, however several forces combine to get people to open up. One is conviction. Some people know the truth and wish to fight for it. Conviction entails empathy: we strive against inequality, ignorance, poverty, evil, tyranny and, however, even against forces of good. Thus, those who act out of conviction should be monitored: James 3 begins: "Not many of you should become teachers, my fellow believers, because you know that we who teach will be judged more strictly. We all stumble in many ways. Anyone who is never at fault in what they say is perfect, able to keep their whole body in check." A second motivator is that of pain. Some pain comes from struggle, which is purely defensive. At some level of pain, empathy disappears, and one fights or retreats based on protection of self and/or others. Thankfully, the lives most of us lead are not anchored in these shallow waters, to be devastated by wind and tide. The third primary motivation we look at today in reaching out--in addition to conviction and strength--is that of strength. Some people simply garner more force, and their tendancy is to stretch out and exercise their abilities. This tends to be the case more in healthy bodies and minds. [project lifeline] One or more of you may not be a Christian, and you feel a little out of place. I assure you, all of us feel out of place, because this is not our real home. We look forward to glory one day, and regardless how good you have it, that day will outshine all of those previous. Likewise, if you do not see you life in a good light, you have a great Redemption to look forward to. Some of us reach out to act, but all of us reach inward. We all continue to be challenged by the temptations of this world. Temptations are not superficially ugly things: they gleam like the most expensive diamond jewelry and comfort like the most glorious landscape. So, first of all, you have a great need to hear someone to say that you can be o.k. living with the memories of your past. ALL of us need that. Second, we believe that ALL of us have sinned and flalen short of the glory of God. nHowever, we also beliueve that all of us are endowed by our Creatpr with certain unalienable rights, that among these are life, liberty, and the pursiot of happiness. We actually take hold of that happiness when we find the joy that comes from God. He commands us to take up our crosses and follow Him, and He will not only direct our paths but also fill us with the ultimate happiness. [back to ship slide] So, to fulfill our mission, we will attempt to outdo each other by honoring each other more than ourselves. We are all in this together. As they sometimes say in the military, "The mission is God." I will need a second in command for each class period, so we will have democratic elections to direct the chain of succession, and I will reserve the negative veto. I may also nominate, however I'd prefer if all nominations come from you. You will likely continue calling me "Mr. Nelson," however "Professor" is O.K. 'cause, as y'all know, I do a lot more professing than I do teaching. Captain would be fine, as would Field Marshall or General. Please reserve Admiral for when we Actually set sail. I have a Masters in Eduction, however I am a married man, so "Master" would be inappropriate. At my second in command's discretion, you may call him or her lieutenant or major, depending on your consensus. Out of respect, we should use only one rank (if any) to address him or her, however the rank may change under consensus rule. You may call me any of the above, at your discretion. At this stage in your lives, I expect you are ready to be challenged. I have given you many tools, however I will be expecting, more and more, for you to master those tools. We will continue to serve our LORD and King in this class, as we joyfully await His return. [Read aloud the children's book] Rhetoric grade based on essays and oral presentations. Speech and/or debate. January topics: 1. old business: federalism, rule of law, separation of powers, checks and balances, rights and liberties, tyranny, Bill of Rights, SCOTUS 2. new business: form groups: how will you be evaluated? how can you show you've learned? what will you do for the rest of the class? initiate bills, copy for all other groups, they fwd to 2nd who may fwd to the general.