Questions and real learning

I’m actually missing one of my classes from last semester.

I wasn’t too sure about the old testament class at first… I actually only took it because I would need it at the catholic college and new testament didn’t fit my class schedule.

And the instructor from the start gave a feel of having a not particularly supernatural interpretation of things.

But, the class ended up being one of my favorite classes, maybe ever.

It skipped the law books, and focused more on the history books and prophets, and included some of the apocrypha… which made it much less intimidating than it could have been.

And the instructor really knew his stuff… actually being on the translation committee for some random translation that I’d never heard of, and google pulls up many many places where he’s cited in various scholarly things. The main copy he was teaching from was in hebrew, not english.

And nobody stumped him…. no matter what they asked, if not the exact verse he at least knew the chapter and what part of the chapter it was found in. But, he stuck really close to the material, point blank admitting places where there wasn’t a clear answer because the text just didn’t give us that information, though usually offering the primary theories that have been offered while clearly stating they were just that.

But what made me so impressed even more than the instructor was the format.

He assigned certain chapters to be read by a particular class period, generally keeping the reading a bit ahead of where discussion was.

And then, on thursdays, we had to turn in three questions from the reading. Any questions at all… not graded on content, just marked as completed or not.

He would collect them as we came in the door, and sit there and read through them before the class started, and then, the entire class period was spend holding that stack of papers and going through and answering each question.

The ones that were connected with the plot of the story he would set into another stack as he worked through them, and tuesday’s class would be more explaining along the plot of whatever we’d read before the thursday before and working the answers to those questions in as they came up.

And then thursday repeated the process.

So the first week or two, the questions were obviously just written to be putting something down to show they’d at least halfway done the reading.

But after everyone figured out that they really mattered and would be answered by someone who really knew what he was talking about… the questions got really good! We were actually learning things we didn’t know or didn’t understand well, instead of just going through the plotline of the wandering through the desert for what for many of us was probably the dozenth time.

And I think it even changed how I was reading, from glossing over random mentions of things as just being some weird old testament ritual or whatever to really wondering what that was all about.

And so I find myself reading sometimes, and wishing I just had this as an ongoing permanent class. I suppose this is supposed to be what bible studies are supposed to be about… but then, I don’t think I’ve ever been in one with someone who was really good with the information we were going over, usually it’s more of a fellow student and we’ll all figure it out together approach.

I’m wishing he taught new testament too… but he doesn’t. I actually suspect he’s probably jewish just from inklings in the class, so maybe that’s a better thing as far as being a wider difference.

But he also had an interesting grading system. More traditional, based on essay tests for all except the 15% that the questions counted for. And sticking closely to the average work earns a c system thats usually stated, but not often practiced.

But how the tests worked was that he would give the questions a week ahead of time, then during the class period before he would review… aka give you the base details of the answers he wanted, pretty much setting the baseline guaranteeing you a c. But then, every little extra detail you added in from the discussion in class or just from reading that hadn’t been mentioned in the review session would give you extra points above the c level.

I was rather proud of the A I got on one of the tests… but also thrilled that he took the time to email me when he graded it to let me know I’d gotten an a rather than my waiting to see when we got the tests back.

The only thing that kept me from a 4.0 on the second semester in a row was a B+ in that class. And I’m totally ok with that.

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Asking specific

p 85

By pinpointing what you want from the Holy Spirit, you are more likely to get it and recognize it for what it is when it actually comes.

This struck me as interesting… and not even really in terms of creativity.

And in thinking about it, I realize I’m really bad about this most of the time. Especially in things address directly to the spirit, I tend to be really really vague.

“Lead me” I say. Lead me where?

  • “in a straight path” from ps 27:11,
  • ” to the rock that is higher than I.” from ps 61:2,
  • “in the way everlasting” ps 139:24
  • “on level ground.” ps 143:10
  • “down to this raiding party” from 1 sam 30:15? (actually, that does sound fun out of context)
  • etc etc etc

Ok, so I usually mean “in the way I should go”… but still… it’s really massively openly vague.

Maybe if I ask more specifically, it will be more apparent when I’m getting a specific answer to that specific question, where when i’m asking vague, i’m not really even sure where to be looking for my answering to be.

lead me to the right job could be anything… where give me guidance on whether or not think specific job is the right one focuses thing down to looking for pointing towards or pointing against. much easier to look at the trees and forget the giant overwhelming forest.

But I think I’m a bit scared of being pushy.

With formerly attending a church that seemed to me to run straight off the deep end of prosperity gospel more and more each week and lots of hype and experiences over substance… I think I’m a little skittish about stepping on “toes” by getting myself too close to that sort of “you said i can have whatever i want, so i say its mine, do it now” sort of mentality.

Or of overly limiting with what I know is my very limited perception. if i’m concentrating on this specific possibility, then this one, then that one, am i completely and totally missing this thing he’s trying to do way off over here?

but then… that’s why he can answer “no”.

and then hopefully clue me in a bit better to where the yes’s are… lest this become a process of elimination…. or reason start quoting proverb 16:33 and grabbing dice and coins lol

something interesting to think on anyways.

Reading in public

I can understand why authors title their books with clear indication of the contents. Because it sells books off the shelf that people may not have even known that they were looking for.

But it is rather annoying when you are trying to read in public, such as in a breakroom.

The only time “Facing” is good as the first word in your title is if what follows refers to something physical (east, left, toledo, whatever…).

Other word get the same effect I suppose…. recovering from, living with, coping with, escaping…. etc etc etc. People don’t label books like this when it’s something positive unless its designed to inspire you because you currently aren’t whatever it is, which goes back to the original issue.

Yes, it gets the point of your book across easily. But when it’s in 4 inch high letters, is anyone going to actually have it with them much to read it?

Particularly if they are reading on recommendation of a friend vs personal purposes. Though with some titles, maybe worse if it is actually a current struggle.

And yes, positioning of book while reading can help. But only if you aren’t friendly. “So what are you reading today?” isn’t a question I feel like to have to give a 5 minute explaination into, or fear consequences of assumptions that will be made otherwise.

Plus… just on the principle. Creativity anyone?

Though, to be fair, it’s probably still better than the title of a book that should be arriving here any day now. “Power Points: Your Action Plan to Hear God’s Voice, Believe God’s Word, Seek the Father, Submit to Christ, Take Up the Cross, Depend on the Holy Spirit, Fulfill the Great Commission” is a bit of a handful. But, at least it has a nice “:” to show you where to cut it off at! LOL