Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Are you of sound mind?

Friday, May 20, 2011

I'm Sorry I'm a Christian - A poem by Chris Tse

Chris Tse presenting his poem at the Poetry Slam Vancouver. He was the 1st place winner on the 21st of December 2009 with a score of 57.3 with his poem.

I am a Christian. I’m sorry.

I’m sorry for the way that I come across

So fair and faith friendly and full of myself

Judging your spiritual health by

the words that you say

And the way that you dress, and the things that you do

Or maybe just judging you.

I’m sorry for the way that I live my life

So confident of my own beliefs that

I would never even think to think about thinking about yours

I’m sorry for the wars.

Ivory clad Crusaders mounting steeds and drawing swords

With such a spirit that if The Spirit spoke they wouldn’t hear

But you see the sword of the spirit was not a sword but the Word

And the Word was with God and the Word was God

And they preached this as they marched on the Holy Land

Singing and Praying and Killing and Slaying

And purging and healing and raping and stealing

It’s ironic that they lined their pockets in the name of God

Just like the priests who line their pockets in the name of God

Just like the people that you can’t stand, because they always raise their hand

And spread their faith and hate and judgment in the name of God

I’m sorry that I take God’s name in vain

Or rather I’m sorry that I stain the name of God

Defending my selfish actions as selfless actions pertaining to the will of God

I’m sorry for being intolerant

For trying to talk down to you

For trying to talk over you

For not letting you talk

I’m sorry for not walking the walk

For being a hypocritical critical Christian

Criticizing your pagan lifestyle while my lifestyle styles itself

Just like the televangelist’s hair

All slick and sly and slippery

As the silver syllables slide their way into your ear

But see that’s my greatest fear

That the steps I take won’t match the words I speak

So that when I speak all you hear of me

is a weak hypocritical critical Christian

Doing one thing, but saying another

Loving my friend, but hating my brother

It’s a show.

I’m sorry I get drunk on Saturdays

and go to church on Sundays to pray

for my friends who get drunk on Saturdays

And on that note,

I’m sorry for making the church about the pews and the cross

And the walls and the steeple

Because see, the building is not the church

The church is the people

I’m sorry that I hate you because you are gay

I’m sorry I condemn you to hell because you are gay

Instead of loving I jump to hatred

Mouth open and tongue preaching

Eyes open but not seeing that you are the same as me

Just a fucking human being

I’m sorry that I only hang out with Christian friends

And we do nice Christian things

Like pot luck dinners and board game nights

While in the night a man beats his girlfriend again

Another homeless man died again

Is this the way that my own crowd has been?

But here I am with the same friends again

But see what I always forget is that Jesus didn’t come

to hang out with the priests and the lords.

No, He hung out with cripples and beggars and whores


I’m sorry for history

For native tribes wiped out in the name of the church

Lodges burning Stomachs churning and yearning for justice

And mothers screaming and pleading

Pleading for the young ones

As they are dragged away to church schools

Where they were abused

I’m sorry for the way that I refused to learn your culture

Instead I just came to spread the Gospel

And the plague

I’m sorry that I stand at the front doors of abortion clinics

Screaming at fifteen year old girls as they enter

Instead of waiting at the back door to hug them as they leave

I’m sorry for taking my wars and my faith to your lands

When historically it was on your lands that my faith was born

And in the face of the storm, I realize that

If God is Love and Love is God

Then why are we shooting instead of sharing?

Why are we launching instead of learning?

Why are we warring instead of walking together?

Why are we taking instead of talking together?

Why are we bombing instead of breaking bread together as brothers?

You see, I think that God looks down and He’s sad

And from His right hand throne above

Jesus asks where is the Love?

And if it takes Wil-I-Am and Justin Timberlake

Asking that same question for us

To start asking that same question

Then where the fuck are we headed?

So I will take this stage to be my chapel

And this mic my confession booth

And in the presence of God, the few, the proud,

and the blessed I confess, that

I am a Christian. I’m sorry.


- A poem by Chris Tse


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Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Reasons to BAN pens and pencils from the classroom

15 reasons to BAN pens and pencils from the classroom

1. Too easy to lose

How many wasted hours do learners and teachers spend getting everyone a pen or pencil? They’re thin, narrow and roll unaided, designed therefore, to be lost through any small hole and from any surface. The average person must lose dozens, if not hundreds, in a lifetime.

2. Dangerous weapons

Nothing is more dangerous in classrooms than pens and pencils. They’re used to poke, prick, draw on and even stab others. Empty plastic Bic tubes are also superb pea-shooters. They are, in effect, dangerous weapons.

3. Messy

Pens leak, clothes stain, pencil shavings get everywhere. In short, these implements are a cleaning nightmare. A leaked pen in a pocket or bag can cause havoc, staining clothes, flesh and anything else that comes into contact.

4. Notes

Encourages bullying through notes and a notes culture around going to the toilet (actually walking the corridors or a sly cig), explaining why you were off that day (forged note from parent) etc.

5. Doodling

How many learners doodle the hours away, rather than learning. They'll doodle on paper, books, plaster casts and any available surface, even their own hands and arms.

6. Pen tattoos

A bit extreme but it happens. A compass an ink pen's all you need to get your first boyfriend or girlfriend's name on your arm or those stupid words LOVE and HATE on your knuckles.

7. Limits editing

To NOT allow word processing on writing tasks is to not allow reediting, redrafting, reordering and self-correction, the essence of good writing skills. It actually encourages the regurgitation of pre-prepared, memorised answers.

8. Paper mountains

Keeps schools stuck in a world of paper, which can’t be emailed or easily stored. How many pieces of paper with writing are simply lost, deliberately or otherwise by children at school?

9. Cost of photocopying

Paper, pencils and pens cost money, but that is nothing compared to the cost of printing and photocopying, in terms of photocopying machines, printers and print cartridges.

10. Not green

Paper production, for writing assignments, destroys trees, uses nasty chemicals and if it doesn't end up as landfill. entails difficult and costly recycling.

11. Encourages academic curriculum

Pen and pencil assessment skews assessment towards writing and away from performance. This has led to an overwhelmingly academic curriculum, at the expense of practical and vocational skills.

12. Paper homework

It encourages primitive, photocopied A4 sheets for homework and mechanical 'fill-in-the-blank' assignments, with the additional problem that homework has to be physically marked by overworked teachers. Automated, online homework and assessment is surely superior.

13. Red pen assessment

It encourages teachers to use ‘red pen’ marking, highlighting failure, rather than the generosity of formative feedback. Children learn from failure which is why all feedback should be constructive.

14. Skews assessment

My kids look at pens and pencils as if they’re Egyptian artefacts. The fact is, that pens and pencils, if used in assessments, actually hinder or skew the proper assessment of attainment. Many of these kids write, incessantly on keyboards, not using pen and pencil.

15. Real world deficit

Lastly, when they enter the world of work, if they write, it will be largely on a keyboard. Surely touch typing is a skill worth learning.

This was inspired by Katie Stansberry's original idea

posted by Donald Clark at 4:14 PM

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Monday, May 16, 2011

A six-year-old girl writes a letter to God. And the Archbishop of Canterbury answers

Archbishop Williams plays God (Photo: Getty)

There’s a charming article in today’s Times by Alex Renton, a non-believer who sends his six-year-old daughter Lulu to a Scottish church primary school. Her teachers asked her to write the following letter: “To God, How did you get invented?” The Rentons were taken aback: “We had no idea that a state primary affiliated with a church would do quite so much God,” says her father. He could have told Lulu that, in his opinion, there was no God; or he could have pretended that he was a believer. He chose to do neither, instead emailing her letter to the Scottish Episcopal Church (no reply), the Presbyterians (ditto) and the Scottish Catholics (a nice but theologically complex answer). For good measure, he also sent it to “the head of theology of the Anglican Communion, based at Lambeth Palace” – and this was the response:

Dear Lulu,

Your dad has sent on your letter and asked if I have any answers. It’s a difficult one! But I think God might reply a bit like this –

‘Dear Lulu – Nobody invented me – but lots of people discovered me and were quite surprised. They discovered me when they looked round at the world and thought it was really beautiful or really mysterious and wondered where it came from. They discovered me when they were very very quiet on their own and felt a sort of peace and love they hadn’t expected.

Then they invented ideas about me – some of them sensible and some of them not very sensible. From time to time I sent them some hints – specially in the life of Jesus – to help them get closer to what I’m really like.

But there was nothing and nobody around before me to invent me. Rather like somebody who writes a story in a book, I started making up the story of the world and eventually invented human beings like you who could ask me awkward questions!’

And then he’d send you lots of love and sign off.

I know he doesn’t usually write letters, so I have to do the best I can on his behalf. Lors of love from me too.

+Archbishop Rowan

I think this letter reveals a lot about the Archbishop of Canterbury’s sort of theology – more, indeed, than many of his lectures or agonised Synod addresses. I’d be interested to know whether readers of this blog think he did a good job of answering Lulu’s question.

But what the letter also tells us is that the Archbishop took the trouble to write a really thoughtful message – unmistakably his work and not that of a secretary – to a little girl. “Well done, Rowan!” was the reaction of Alex Renton’s mother, and I agree

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Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Hymn Books or Data Projectors in Church?

Opening Liturgy

I found this opening liturgy and really like it. I think it speaks for a community or group that want to travel and search together.
We gather together to explore
May we be open to see new perspectives
We gather together in awe of the world around us
May we be open to new insights
We gather together confused by things that happen
May we be open to hear new questions
We gather together to be encouraged
May we be open to each other
We gather together to journey
May we have the space to find our path

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Saturday, May 07, 2011

“Forget Google…”

Friday, May 06, 2011

Dear 16 year old me...

Wednesday, May 04, 2011

Happy Star Wars Day

Tuesday, May 03, 2011

Cambridge University: A-level scores are the best indicator of future degree success

via Mark Steed

Cambridge University has defended robustly its right to admit students on the basis of merit, without regard to social or educational background. Thus far it has resisted all pressure from Government to alter its admissions procedures to be a vehicle of social mobility. [See 'University is not for promoting social justice, says Cambridge vice-chancellor' Daily Telegraph10/09/2008] The findings of a recent study conducted by the University Admissions Research Working Party gives support to this approach and to the policy of using AS-level UMS scores as the best predictor of future degree success.

Richard Partington, the report's author commented,
"A Levels - as measured by unit scores or UMS - were overwhelmingly the best indicator available of likely future degree performance. The one exception is for entry in Mathematics, where Cambridge Assessment's STEP exam gave the best indicator of potential."
The study, The Predictive Effectiveness of Metrics in Admission to Cambridge University, analysed the those students who sat Cambridge Tripos examinations in the period 2006-2009. It also found that Cambridge students from state and independent schools are equally likely to enjoy degree success:
"School background and gender did not make a significant difference. Given the same UMS performance at admission, students from different schools and colleges were equally likely to perform well in Cambridge exams in the period 2006-2009."
The study also found that GCSE grades, the preferred measure used by Oxford University, have largely been a less effective predictor than AS UMS. Interestingly, looking to the future, the Working Group are going to analyse the effectiveness of the A* at A-level as a predictor of future Tripos success.

Long may our top universities resist all external pressures to lower their admission standards to meet a social agenda; and long may they continue to admit students on the basis of merit as demonstrated in nationally recognised examinations.

School background is not a factor in Cambridge degree successCambridge University News Website 05/04/2011

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Choices, and their importance

 ‘It is our choices that show what we truly are, far more than our abilities.’ Dumbledore to Harry Potter

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Monday, May 02, 2011

Creativity Is Not A Talent

About me

I am an African living in Scotland. A son, a father, an ex-husband, a boyfriend, a teacher and friend trying to piece together the stories that my God, my parents, my ex-wife, my girlfriend, my pupils and my friends are telling me, so that I can tell my own story. Thanks to all for your support and advice. I still love good coffee and popcorn.



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