Posts Tagged teachers

Tears and Cheers – The Daily Cup – The Rev.

New post on The Daily Cup

Tears and Cheers

by jimq2012

When I was a kid my mom used to say, “Jimmy, you cry at the drop of a hat.”  I never considered this to be much of a compliment but never took it as much of an offense, either.  In fact, crying at the drop of a hat has turned out to be something of a gift as I’ve gotten older.  Nowadays my tears are rarely the result of injury but rather of pardon or deliverance – a sign that something wonderful is happening.  My first mentor in the Episcopal Church, Robin Jennings, told me once that tears were a sign of the presence of God.

I’m serving my Daily Cup later than usual today because last night, during the hours I usually write my contribution, I spent the evening with God’s presence rolling down my cheeks.  I was blessed to attend the National Education Association Foundation’s annual gala.  The event had been described to me as the Academy Awards of Public Education.  As apt as that description is and despite the vast similarities between the two events – the venue was grand, the lighting was theatrical, the attire was black-tie optional and there were photographers and film camera crews running about – there was one exceptional (and holy) difference.  The “film shorts,” video montages of the award winners at work, featured public school teachers and their kids rather than actors on movie sets pretending to be people they are not.  Again and again throughout the night, amidst raucous applause and the whetted cheeks of cheerers, each exceptional educator – dressed as if they were receiving an Oscar – was escorted to the stage to receive the honor of a lifetime – oh my.

Since last night I’ve remembered many teachers of my own – Mr. McCauley who was infamous for the admonition (which he shouted regularly) that all students “Keep all four points of the chair on the floor!” and who’s dripping forehead sweat would smear the math problems he was illustrating on an overhead projector;  Mrs. Wrede, a creative writing instructor who introduced the emotive adolescent that I was to Hugh Prather’s Notes To Myself (and who once returned a paper I wrote with a hand-written apology explaining that the top right-hand corner was missing because her rabbit chewed it off); and Mr. B, who, without doubt, is the reason I have lived much of my life as an artist.

I’ve also been thinking of the teachers in our own midst at St. Alban’s.  Our lay leaders at Children’s Chapel and Sunday School, our Acolyte leaders, watching Ron lovingly instruct youth during worship, hearing the beautiful voices of chorister’s led by Sonya and regularly witnessing Lorena and Matthew endeavor to teach God’s statutes to our children and young adults.  I’m also reminded of the ongoing educational work we support as a parish – the Bishop Walker School in DC and our recent and overwhelming Mustard Seed offering which helped to build two dormitories for young girls in the Sudan.  Last night an award was given to a DC based initiative whose mission is to reduce illiteracy for children growing up in poverty.  Check it out online at firstbook.org.

For all those whose teaching has enriched our lives and our minds, for our ministry to  children at St. Alban’s and for all those who’s work in public schools makes a holy difference in the lives of children, let us pray:

Almighty God, the fountain of all wisdom: Enlighten by your Holy Spirit those who teach and those who learn, that, rejoicing in the knowledge of your truth, they may worship you and serve you from generation to generation; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.

jimq2012 | February 9, 2013 at 2:51 pm | Categories: The Rev. Jim Quigley, Uncategorized | URL: http://wp.me/p1oOBV-Xm

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SBC’s Anti-Public School Crusade Is Off Course

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Posted: Monday, May 24, 2010 8:15 pm

SBC's Anti-Public School Crusade is Off Course | Mitch Carnell, Public Education, Schools, SBC

I am dismayed to learn that the Southern Baptist Convention is criticizing public schools as bastions of anti-Christian attitudes and urging churches to foster private schools or home schooling, Carnell writes.

I grew up in a small cotton mill village in upper South Carolina during the last years of the Great Depression. Churches and schools were the town’s foundation. I was fortunate to have teachers who were not only skilled and caring academics, but who lived Christian lives before us. I never had any reason to believe that my teachers did not care about me as an individual; in fact, I have great evidence that they did. My parents and all the parents that I knew held public school teachers in the highest regard. 

When I left the hallowed halls of two Christian colleges and made my way to the University of Alabama and then to Louisiana State University, both public institutions, I found dedicated Christian men and women. I was astounded because I had been warned to look out for the sinful state universities. I have never known stronger and more radiant Christians. 

Many years later, I married a public school teacher. She toiled in the public schools of South Carolina for 28 years. Day and night, she was concerned for her students. The only night she took a respite from her school work was for Wednesday night choir rehearsal at our church. She even persuaded me to volunteer at the impoverished inner-city school where she taught. 

Now I am dismayed to learn that the Southern Baptist Convention is criticizing public schools as bastions of anti-Christian attitudes and urging churches to foster private schools or home schooling. Most churches can hardly meet their current expenditures, much less operate a quality school. Both local and foreign mission programs are suffering from lack of funding. Is it ethical or even Christian for a church to operate a school that offers less than a quality education? Is it Christian to rob mission programs to duplicate services that are already available in the public schools? Is the cause of Christ served by a so-so educational program even if it is labeled Christian? 

Would the Southern Baptist Convention and its many constituents not be better served by investing time, money and energy to strengthening local congregations, equipping ministers and other staff members in new and innovative ways of implementing the Great Commission? 

Will the convention profit by denigrating the vast number of public school teachers and administrators who make up its membership? Why would any group want to alienate this great army of supporters? The laborers are few and dwindling. What we need are women and men who live out their Christianity day in and day out. Of course, they cannot promote religious causes in their classrooms. Who would want them to do so?

 What they can and do on a regular basis is live exemplary lives before their students. During their careers, teachers influence thousands of students directly and thousands more indirectly. Where else can you obtain that kind of result? It is past time for the SBC to reverse its course. Offer scholarships to potential and current public school teachers, develop academic mentoring programs for all students who need them, and promote public school bond issues.

I am grateful to my public school teachers and to those of my children and grandchildren. I am also grateful to all of those public school teachers who worked tirelessly with me during my work with the PTA. 

I am in no way opposed to excellent private schools. I am opposed to those that short-change students under the guise of being Christian. I am heartbroken that the Southern Baptist Convention, which is faced with many real problems, has chosen to paint with a broad brush dedicated men and women who are devoutly Christian simply because of their career paths. 

The leaders have fallen prey to false prophets. 

Mitch Carnell is a consultant in organizational and interpersonal communication. He is the editor of “Christian Civility in an Uncivil World” and an active member of First Baptist Church of Charleston, S.C.

 

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