Monday, March 28, 2011

Team Effort

I am always amazed at what a group can do when they put their mind to it.  Consider how these elephants band together to rescue a baby.  Further, notice how when the immediate solution - lifting to the nearest bank did not work - a senior entered the water to lead the baby to a more gradual beach.  What can we learn from them about times when we are feeling like we are drowning - literally and figuratively!

Monday, January 31, 2011

Rejecting Color Lines?

On January 20, 2011, the New York Times posted an article titled: "Black? White? Asian? More Young Americans Choose All of the Above."  The personal experiences of many who self-identify as bi-racial or multi-racial are stretching traditional understandings of race and how we talk about racism. Though more focused on marriage and the growing trend to cross racial lines, The Pew research Center;s June 4, 2010 report "Marrying-Out" identifies that "mixed race" is the fastest growing demographic and predicts that this acceleration will continue. This poses significant challenges for educators who maintain an anti-racist stance. 

In a Facebook reply to Gale Yee who first shared this essay with me and others, Marranda Hassett commented "It's an interesting phenomenon, but not an unmixed blessing (so to speak). When I was teaching intro anth for a couple of years, 2003-2004ish, I found that some of the kids had an attitude of, "Everybody's mixed-race now, so why do We have to learn about racism?" I vividly remember one young woman of color telling me that a fashion photo of Naomi Campbell couldn't be an example of covert racism because Campbell is mixed race, not black."

I want to be clear - I am not suggesting that stop promoting an anti-racist stance or teaching with a critical lens that is anti-racist.... I want to balance the particularity of each and honoring the union of each in the expression of a whole. I want to highlight the ever expanding matrix of elements that form us and impact our engagement with others in the world.  I am eager to engage in critical dialogue about how paradigm shifts in almost every sector of life are also impacting our understanding of race and racism and nuancing our responses.

Thursday, January 20, 2011

"Stroke of Insight": The Brain and Naravana

The TED lecture by Jill Bolte Taylor explores the insights she, as a brain researcher, gained when she experienced a stroke.  We may already know about the differing functions of the right and left hemispheres (Right being in the moment, present, kinesthetic, visual, and energy; Left connecting past and future, linerar, methodical, able to differentiate the I AM from the energy).  Jill takes us a step further to connect to what many Christians name G*d.

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Five Minds for the Future

Posted October 26th, 2010

In a time of relentless change, there’s only one thing that’s certain: the face-paced future will demand that we function and communicate in more complex ways. Howard Gardner, known for his Frames of Mind: The Theory of Multiple Intelligences (2004: Basic Books), has taken his research a step forward saying that we will each need to master “five minds” in order to excel in our ever increasingly complex world. Some of his initiatives are being lived out in The GoodWork Project.

His summary of Five Minds for the Future (2008: Harvard Business Press): In the future, individuals who wish to thrive will need to be experts in at least one area – they will need a discipline. As synthesizers, they will need to be able to gather together information from disparate sources and put it together in ways that work for themselves and can be communicated to other persons.
Because almost anything that can be formulated as rules will be done well by computers, rewards will go to creators – those who have constructed a box but can think outside it.

The world of today and tomorrow is becoming increasingly diverse, and there is no way to cordon oneself off from this diversity. Accordingly, we must respect those who differ from us as well as those whom we have similarities.
Finally, as workers and as citizens, we need to be able to act ethically – to think beyond our own self-interest and to do what is right under the circumstances.

What are the “Five Minds”?
  • The Disciplined Mind is a distinctive mode of cognition that characterizes a specific scholarly discipline, craft, or profession.
  • The Synthesizing Mind take information from disparate sources, understands and evaluates that information objectively and puts it together to build a new capacity to understand new information.
  • The Creating Mind breaks new ground by putting forth new ideas, poses unfamiliar questions, and conjures up fresh ways of thinking.
  • The Respectful Mind notes and welcomes differences between human individuals and human groups and seeks to work effectively with them.
  • The Ethical Mind ponders the nature of one’s work and the needs and desires of the society in which one lives.
Gardner believes that the future belongs to those organizations, as well as those individuals, that have made an active, lifelong commitment to continue to learn. Powerful synthesizing of all of our multiple intelligences might also include our “existential intelligence,” what he defines as the “capacity to raise and address the largest questions” Could this be the human search for the most existential forms of meaning? Our relationship to the Holy One?
He believes, “The transformational leader creates a compelling narrative about the missions of her organization or polity; embodies that narrative in her own life; and is able, through persuasion and personal example, to change thoughts, feelings, and behaviors of those whom she seeks to lead.”
In terms of educational leadership in the church, how might his new theories inform our work?

How can the Church be ready to face the future of our rapidly changing world?

A Study in Perceptions

As this video illustrates, our perception of reality is often colored by preconceptions and prejudices.  It is important to recognize that our contexts shape our experiences of and in the world.  This, in turn, informs our assumptions and leads to conclusions that may be wrong. The challenge is for us to find ways to approach new experiences and information from a stance of openness. Consider how our interactions would change if we engaged others with an appreciation for the differences our contexts create. 

Monday, December 20, 2010

Jesus' Words Rock: The Red Letter Project

Christianity Today Reviews TRLP
Jul. 07 - 2010

Style:A plethora of rock genres; compare to Stone Temple Pilots, Casting Crowns

Top tracks:"Sacrifice," "70x7," "You Must Love"

Overtaking the New Testament with pure rock, The Red Letters Project have constructed a wide-ranging, 40-song, 3-disc collection featuring every word spoken by Jesus in the Gospel of Matthew (as presented in the New Living Translation). Not an easy task, especially considering the heady objective of musically appropriating verses by the Son of God.

Lest one dismiss it as a mere publicity move, the creators' sincere desire is apparently to see Scripture made famous—or at least better known for those who might otherwise ignore its life-changing inspiration. The project uses every influence of rock imaginable to dynamically impress the Bible's truths in the hearts of listeners.

With the rock opera flair of�Jesus Christ Superstar, albeit more modern, the�Red Letters�set list ebbs and flows between hard-hitting anthems (a la Aerosmith), energetic post-grunge (Foo Fighters, Creed), and acoustic-driven pop/rock (MercyMe).

"70x7" conjures up the infectious vocal hooks of southern outfits like DecembeRadio and The Black Crowes, wailing Jesus' command to issue forgiveness generously (Matthew 18:21-23), and "Cornerstones" continues the trend with a Lynyrd Skynyrd-ish acoustic/electric hybrid. "Oh Jerusalem" supports a top-notch choir of raw southern ardor, belting:�"Blessings on the one who comes in the name of the Lord!"�(Matt. 21).

"Fish for People" lyrically portrays Christ's temptation (Matt. 4:1-11), the calling of the first disciples (Matt. 4:18-22), and The Beatitudes (Matt. 5:3-10), and contends musically with Casting Crowns straightforward rock/pop—an easy appeal for Christian music fans who enjoy the platinum band's Scripture-based radio fare. Meanwhile, "I Was Hungry" musically imitates Steven Curtis Chapman's lighter fare a la�Speechless.

"You Must Love" is akin to Audio Adrenaline's "Hands and Feet" days, with the lead vocal uncannily resembling Mark Stuart's raspy inflections. "Sacrifice" mixes up the cutting-edge riffs of Skillet with tobyMac's rap and rhythm tracks.

Red Letters�is certainly done professionally, but the recitative nature of cramming historic, and sometimes-antiquated, language into songs is hard to leisurely digest. Will the intended audience of teens, young adults, and music fans find it relevant? Hard to say. But whether the project reaches one or one million, good things will happen. According to some black letters of the Bible—those spoken by the Father, not the Son—putting God's Word out there "always produces fruit. It will accomplish all I want it to, and it will prosper everywhere I send it" (Isa. 55:11).

Hip Hop Bible

The Christ Transforming Culture vs the Christ Against Culture debate has found a new battlefield.... a Hip Hop Bible.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

CHanging Educational Paradigms

This creative animation by Sir Ken Robinson provides a helpful analysis of the current educational paradigm operative in the majority of American educational settings. It parallel's Michael Schiro's analysis of Curricular ideologies, notably Schiro's "Scholar Academic" paradigm.

Thursday, October 7, 2010

PBS' God In America

Watch the full episode.

Faith and Pop Culture

I'm always interested in how faith and pop culture interact.... here is an interesting commentary about the most recent episode of GLEE

Thursday, September 16, 2010