Tag Archives: school

What Will Your Song Be? part 2


When you hear of Miriam, the sister of Moses and Aaron, do you immediately think of her quick thinking that allowed her mother to be the nursemaid for her brother under the protection of the
Pharaoh’s daughter?  Maybe you think of when she and Aaron challenge Moses’ authority since God had also spoken through
both of them at which time she was punished, being struck with leprosy and Aaron and Moses plead for her healing.  I think she is most readily associated with this simple song of celebration at being rescued from a terrible fate.  Scholars believe, in fact, that the original song on the shore of the sea was the simple two line celebration song of Miriam and that the longer version, attributed to Moses and the men, was actually written much later.  If you study the lines in terms of poetry this makes a lot of sense as there is no use of simile or metaphor in the two lines, no sign of exalted language, just the most basic and important facts.  Miriam is known for her song, for what will you and I be remembered?

Mary, unlike Miriam but much more like most of us, was a total nobody to the greater community of the tribes of Israel.  She
was pregnant but not married, the father was God.  What she had to look forward to was being the central figure of all the local gossip, being shunned, and probably losing her fiancé.  She sang in thanksgiving for news which most young women would have thought was going to totally mess up their lives!  Mary sang when she greeted her cousin Elizabeth, also pregnant, whom she visited right away after receiving her news.  There were no
instruments, no dancing, and no big crowd.  But she sang about being the most fortunate woman on earth and of all the good things that God had done for Israel since the days of Abraham.  She praised him for showing strength to bring down the tyrants, and his mercy in pulling up the victims, filling the hungry, and his faithfulness in remembering his promises to Abraham.  Obviously Mary is known for much more than her song, and yet it is the Magnificat, a song sung with almost no audience at all, which has become a part of liturgy.  We don’t need a crowd, we don’t need drums and trumpets to sing our songs.

Our children have begun another school year complete with the new shoes, the indoor and outdoor, the backpacks, binders, duo tangs, pens, pencils, erasers, etc. and a teacher/student ratio of no more than 1:29.  In Dadaab, currently the world’s largest
refugee camp, there are currently 156,000 school-age children.  Of those, 40,000 children now prepare to go back to school as well, but at a ratio of 1:100.  According to the UN, the camps are in desperate need of 1,800 more classrooms and the teachers to go with them. 

Whatever our place in the world, whatever our status in our culture, whether we are “somebodies” or “nobodies” we have a call to sing.  To be clear, while I firmly believe that everyone can sing music, it is not necessarily singing music to which I refer.   Anything you do to create harmony in the world, whatever you do in praise of God, whatever you do at God’s urging can be your song!  The feature of the September, 2011 issue of The Presbyterian Record is all about the Presbyterian women’s gathering which was held in the spring.  The theme was “Looking In, Shouting Out”.  At this event women from every province in Canada as well as from 12 partner countries met for workshops and worship on topics ranging from Caring for Creation, Nurtuting a Christian Family, Muslim Women-Myths and Facts, Yoga as Christian Practice, Bullying in Canada, and Women in Poverty.  The presenters of the workshops were shouting out!  They were
singing their songs!  And what of the over 500 who attended these workshops and worship services?  You don’t attend this kind of conference unless you already have a deep desire to make a change in the world, and these women were there preparing themselves to sing at home in their churches and communities, and perhaps even beyond.

I’ve been watching a British TV show lately called Ballykissangel.  It is about an English Priest who ends up
posted to a church in a little town in Ireland and all his misadventures.  Recently I watched an episode in which there
was a reporter who uncovered a scandal involving a local businessman and political candidate.  When the politician
suggested that the reporter was just, “whistling in the wind.”  the reporter’s response was that he was unable to whistle but he could  certainly sing really well!  He was not going to
keep a lid on the story; he was going to sing it out so that everyone would know.  Whether or not we can whistle, we
can all sing in some way or other to let everyone know about the great things God has done for us through his son Jesus.  In the words of a song by the Carpenters;

Sing, sing a song
Sing out loud
Sing out strong
Sing of good things not bad
Sing of happy not sad.
 
Sing, sing a song
Make it simple to last
Your whole life long
Don’t worry that it’s not
Good enough for anyone
Else to hear
Just sing, sing a song.
 
Sing, sing a song
Let the world sing along
Sing of love there could be
Sing for you and for me.
 
Sing, sing a song
Make it simple to last
Your whole life long
Don’t worry that it’s not
Good enough for anyone
Else to hear
Just sing, sing a song.

10 Ways Understanding the Bible is like Solving a Crossword Puzzle


flickr.com/photos/cayce/6286070/

Several years ago my spouse gave me a big book of crossword puzzles for Christmas.  There were 316 puzzles in the book, with solutions provided at the back.  Over time I have worked away at the puzzles, sometimes losing track of the book for months at a time (housekeeping is not my forte).  I found it and have been working on it again since I began my fast at Lent (see Turning it off for Lent http://wp.me/p1hsO8-8T ) Most evenings in the past several months have ended with me curled up in front of the TV with my book on my lap and a pencil in my hand.  The challenge of the puzzles is refreshing and the delight when I manage to complete a puzzle without peeking (cheating) is amazing!

By lovelihood Kim Love

So, what does this have to do with the Bible?

  1. Like Bible reading, crossword puzzles are something we often begin to do early in life when we first begin to read and write.  I’m sure you remember doing them when you were in grade school.

  2. The older you got, and the more education you gained, the harder the puzzles you were able to solve.

  3. Many people wouldn’t have bothered with another crossword once they got out of public school.

  4. Some continue to challenge themselves and work at the NY Times puzzles daily.

  5. They will go better if you do them in a quiet place without too much distraction.

  6. These puzzles can be affirmation of your knowledge and thinking abilities at times and baffling and completely unclear to you at other times.

  7. Every time you revisit a puzzle you see it differently.

  8. It is nice to have someone with you off whom you can bounce ideas.

  9. The remaining questions sometimes stay in your head for days as you puzzle over their meanings.

  10. If you really can’t get something, there is no shame in peeking, or asking someone for help.

By baslow Barry Solow

Last night I filled in the last puzzle in the book. Don’t get me wrong, I haven’t completed all the puzzles as many still have holes in them.  Some which I started in pen and then got muddled up have a big X through them.  Every time I get the book out I go through it to see if I can fill in any more of the holes.  It is amazing what a little time and perspective can have on the problems.  There are some which I just don’t know, like the names of certain towns in Great Brittain, and those I will look up and hope to remember for another puzzle at a later time.

By jaybergesen Jay Bergesen

 

Unlike crossword puzzles I expect to continue puzzling out and exploring the Bible for the rest of my life.

Dating Violence, Childbirth and Cowboy Day


What do dating violence, childbirth and cowboy day have in common?  These represent my work day today.

March break is next week and that makes this winter carnival week at my high school.  A regular part of this week every year is that we have theme days.  Today is cowboy day and many of the teachers and students are sporting plaid shirts, jeans, cowboy boots etc.  As a result of this I am sitting here during my break in my jeans, plaid shirt, cowboy boots and spurs writing my blog.

 

As for dating violence and childbirth, these are today’s topics in my two classes.  There was a time when these were topics you didn’t hear about, or which your parents were supposed to cover.  How did this sort of thing end up being on the school’s plate?

 

Dating violence is one of the adolescent issues we cover which include eating disorders, STIs, birth control, stress, depression etc.  Our ideas of what is acceptable behaviour in a relationship have changed a great deal over the past 50 years and I firmly believe that it is important to teach our kids how to be safe in their relationships.  As a former victim of emotional abuse in my past marriage I wish someone had taken the time to teach me the warning signs, because they were all there. The value of the units does not explain how they came to be part of the curriculum though.

 

Childbirth is the next stage in the child’s development after prenatal, so it is time to cover that.  The folks from the VON program Healthy Baby and Me come in to do  one class on childbirth and a second class on breastfeeding.  While we do have a couple of students who are pregnant, this is not just for them.  The sooner you know the process and stages of labor and delivery, the better prepared you will be and most students will some day become parents.  Again a good reason but not really an explanation.

 

I guess that question comes down to, “who used to be responsible for these things?”  Most of these issues would have been handled in one way or another by our families.  With many generations of families all living in close proximity you may not have been warned about dating violence but you had a whole network of people in the community watching out for you.  Girls were warned to stay away from the “wild” boys, those with temper problems etc and in smaller communities it would be rare to be dating someone about whom nothing was known.  This doesn’t mean that there were fewer relationship problems, but parents were more aware of where their kids were, whom they were with, and what they were doing.  Social expectation for dating were very different at the time as well.  Of course some people had sex when in high school, but with poor birth control methods it was much more risky than it is now.

 

Similarly, when you had your children you used to have your mother, aunts, grandmother to help you out and offer advice.  Families are so geographically dispersed now that this is not viable.  What we see on TV shows about childbirth tend to focus on the problems that may happen and are unlikely to make people feel confident in their body’s ability to give birth which we do get from the fact that our female relations survived.  Similarly, it is pretty hard for a grandmother to help sooth your baby through a Skype connection.  For basic information exchange the world has become much smaller through technology, but this is not a benefit for real human relationships and the comfort of touch.

And so we come to my work-day today where I dressed differently, talked about avoiding abuse, and delivering babies!