Category Archives: Learning/Education

REAL LEARNING IS RISKY BUSINESS!

https://www.wordonfire.org/resources/article/ross-douthat-and-the-catholic-academy/4967/

“The letter to the Times is indicative indeed of a much wider problem in our intellectual culture, namely, the tendency to avoid real argument and to censor what makes us, for whatever reason, uncomfortable. On many of our university campuses this incarnates itself as a demand for “safe spaces,” where students won’t feel threatened by certain forms of speech or writing. For the first time in my life, I agreed with Richard Dawkins who recently declared on Twitter, ‘A university is not a “safe space”. If you need a safe space, leave, go home, [and] hug your teddy…until [you are] ready for university.'”

LAYING BLAME IN THE WRONG PLACE

I have observed the following on many occasions.

A son or daughter grows up in a Christ-professing home.  Sadly, the parents have not availed themselves of opportunities to grow in their own understanding of the Christian faith.  They can’t interact or answer any of the objections to Christianity that increasingly nag Johnny and Sally.

Johnny and Sally go off to college.  They abandon their Christian upbringing. 

The parents add to their sorrow with the misguided notion that their kiddo abandoned the faith due to “liberal professors.”

TAKE HANDWRITTEN NOTES!

Adam Sorenson graduated number one in 2017 from the University of Virginia law school.  Here is his secret for getting stellar grades:

“I can tell you what worked for me, but it comes with the caveat that I know plenty of brilliant and successful people who had completely different approaches. I preferred handwriting my class notes because it helped me retain the information. I made my own study materials rather than use other people’s outlines or hornbooks because it was the process of distilling my class notes, not the end product itself, that I found useful. And I tried to write short exams because I am a terribly slow typist and I found that communicating good arguments clearly was more important than packing in every attenuated bit of analysis I could think of.”

The rest is here:

https://content.law.virginia.edu/news/201710/how-he-did-it-2017-grad-highest-gpa-shares-his-secrets

PREACHING PREPARATION…IN PICTURES

First, bombard a notepad (find a good one) with my favorite black pen (links provided).

https://www.amazon.com/Bienfang-11-Inch-Notesketch-Horizontal-Lines/dp/B001KZH1KQ

https://www.amazon.com/Pilot-Retractable-Premium-Roller-Extra/dp/B00006JNJ8

I am taking down anything I see, questions I have, possible connections, illustrations, etc.

Second, cross off those things that start to go in the first draft.

Third, tighten and edit first draft.

Fourth, make final draft.

Fifth, practice several times in bathroom with fan on so as not disturb my wife’s own studies.  I asked if she could hear me downstairs and she said the neighbors could!  That’s good!

 

 

TRUSTING GOD IS LIKE TRUSTING YOUR MECHANIC

Esther Meek wrote a terrific book entitled, Learning to Know: The Philosophy of Knowledge for Ordinary People.  In it, she describes how finding a reliable mechanic helped her better understand how we use certain clues to determine whether God as known in Jesus Christ is who He claimed. 

More generally, how do we know what we know?  It is an important branch of philosophy called epistemology. Too many people, including plenty of Christians, don’t think about how and why they think the way they do.

I read Meek’s book several years back.  At the time, my experiences with mechanics was mixed.  Some were okay while others had clearly taken advantage of me.

Enter Joe Ruiz.  Joe’s shop is here in Austin.  Two friends I implicitly trust told me how Joe kept their cars running. Many times, Joe told Gil or Mike that they did not need all the other “recommended” stuff other mechanics had tried to sell them.  

My experience with Joe mimics what Gil and Mike have experienced.  Our car (with 210,000 miles) recently lurched forward from a stop. I figured the transmission was going since it is the original one.  I took it into Joe.  Joe told me the catalytic converter may be responsible.  He thoroughly checked out everything else including the transmission.  All looked good.  He recommended adding five gallons of high octane fuel which I did.

Our car is back running just fine.  Joe charged $107 for all the work.  I was dreading a large expense that would have been challenging on our budget.

Meek’s argument that we pick up clues to determine whether God is trustworthy is inspired by the great philosopher of science, Michael Polanyi.  I highly recommend it!

And if you live in the Austin area, I know a great car mechanic!

https://www.amazon.com/Longing-Know-Esther-Lightcap-Meek/dp/1587430606/ref=sr_1_2?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1517415640&sr=1-2

WHY THE HUMANITIES?

As Aristotle, Plato’s most famous student, suggests at the beginning of the Nicomachean Ethics, “precision is not to be sought for alike in all discussions.” Similarly, we should not expect the humanities to be driven or dominated by the objectives of science. Plato teaches us that part of the liberal arts’ enduring mission is precisely to critique these objectives.

The rest is here: https://www.chronicle.com/article/Big-Brains-Small-Minds/236480