Tag Archives: Education

A Long 179 Hours (5 Years After the Fact)

It’s hard to believe, but it’s been 5 years since I finally finished my Masters in Ministry. The following was first published in January of 2013. On a side note, I also received the seminary’s Theology Award – yay me!

Woo Hoo!

Finally, at the end of this spring semester, I will be graduating seminary with an M.Min. It has been a long time coming, too. As a matter of fact, there are people who were born after I started college who already have doctorates and are practicing medicine!

Nevertheless, even though it is not a Doctorate of Divinity or a Doctorate of Philosophy, it is still an accomplishment. It is an accomplishment that has been brought about by the accumulation of 179 credit hours. If you add to that the hours I completed that were not accredited, I would have close to 225!

How Long?

But what does all that really mean? How long did it take to complete 179 hours? Seven and a half years? Far from it, my friends. Far from it.

The average college student, if he didn’t do anything else, could have completed all of the above hours of courses in 6 years.  Add in the total amount I have taken and an average student could have done it all in 8 years, if not sooner. So, when you stop and look at how long it took me, well, let’s just say I am not average.

Here are a few points to put things in perspective…

  • 1971 Press ReleaseRegGas was less than $1 per gallon. The year after I graduated high school, a friend of mine and I took a 1971 Chrysler Imperial on a road trip from Tennessee to Florida. That car could only get 200 miles to a tank of gas, and we still had money to spend.
  • Cassette Tapes to Clouds. When I first started college I was so excited to get a Pioneer cassette deck for my 67 Mustang. Now, my iPhone can hold more music than I could have afforded to own in the 80’s.
  • Bag Phone to iPhone. The first cell phone I used was bolted to the floor of a truck and had a rotary dial, not buttons. The first cell phone I owned came in a bag with a battery four to five times the size of an iPhone. I couldn’t always afford to talk, but I would hold it up to my ear while driving (it was legal to do that back then), especially in the dark, just to show off.
  • Typewriters and Printers. Most people don’t remember typewriters, but I had to use them in high school. Later, after the advent of personal computers, I was able to snag a Tandy 1000. But do you remember those old printers that used paper that had to be guided on rollers? It would take 10 minutes to print a 10-page paper! Still, it was better than typing.
  • Textbooks to E-books. When I first started college an e-book was unheard of. Now textbooks are offered for iPads, Kindles, and phones. I still prefer something with paper, however.
  • Babies to Baby Makers. I have been going to college for so long that babies born when I started have already graduated college and started families! Those babies are now older than the age of girl I was dating in 1987!

It has been a long 179 hours, that’s for sure. Sorta reminds me of eternity. The big difference is that I’m actually looking forward to eternity 🙂

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Filed under Future, General Observations, Life Lessons, wisdom

“The Worst Field Trip Guide”

Since our spring break in Chattanooga is just about over, I thought I’d share a chapter (Stop #15) from my little book, Life Lessons from the School Bus.

One day I transported 80 kindergartners on a field trip to a mountain forest. Do you have any idea how loud 80 excited 5 year-olds can get when confined in a 40ft.-long steel box on wheels?

Teacher Talk

I couldn’t help overhear the advice school teachers were giving to the little crumb crunchers on the bus, then later after they unloaded. One warned, “Don’t pick anything up from the ground; you won’t be able to keep it, anyway.” Another said, “Don’t bounce on the swinging bridge; just look over the side.” Seriously? How can you tell a 5 year-old not to jump on a swinging bridge and then expect him not to jump on the swinging bridge?

SIDE NOTE: I remember when our oldest daughter, Alicia, who was around 12 or 13 at the time, went with me to visit the old capital building in Frankfort, Kentucky. In that old landmark is a genuine floating staircase on which Alicia decided to jump up and down. I asked, “What are you doing?” She calmly replied, “Trying to see if it will fall.” I said, “Two things…First, it’s been here since 1827 and hasn’t fallen, yet you think your scrawny self is going to break it? Second, why would you want to be on it if you could make it fall?”

Anyway… the best piece of advice from the teachers was clear enough: “Do NOT get off the trail!” But again, honestly, how many kids actually listen to instructions that make sense? I mean, you take a child that’s never been out of the suburbs to a forest with plants taller than their apartment buildings and you expect them not to run amuck? Therefore, I decided to speak up and add some clarification to the teachers’ warning. I said, “Because if you get off the trail, we might have to send the DOGS after you.”

Who knew one little girl was afraid of dogs? I didn’t! …Cry baby.

Bad Advice

So, that got me to thinking: what would be the worst advice to give 80 children before a trip into the woods?

  • photo 3 (4)Don’t worry about your lunch box; the forest is full of pretty berries.
  • As long as the animal is smaller than you, go ahead and pet it. It won’t mind.
  • Hey, bounce on the swinging bridge! It’s just like a trampoline.
  • Of course! Rules are meant to be broken.
  • Bears? What bears? This is Tennessee, kid. We don’t have bears. You’re thinking of Chicago.
  • I don’t care what your mom said, poison oak is a hoax. Don’t your parents have oak furniture? Does it make you itch? See, she lied.
  • Who can get closest to the edge? Let’s find out.
  • Whatever you do, don’t stay on the trail. Trails are for babies.
  • Snakes are overrated, misunderstood jump ropes. They want you to play with them.

 

Life Lesson

Thankfully, when it comes to the wilderness of life, there is One who always gives good advice.

In his famous Psalm 23, David wrote, “Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for thou art with me; thy rod and thy staff they comfort me.” God urges us to stay on the path that He has already walked, which is why Jesus said in Matthew 4:19, “Follow me.”

He knows the difference between good fruit and the forbidden kind.

Route Suggestions

  • Don’t give vague instructions to children; they need specifics.
  • Go check out the old capital building in Frankfort, Kentucky – but don’t jump on the staircase.
  • Never get to the point where you are too proud to listen to instructions or advice. For example, you may have been down this road before, but your tour guide has been down it more recently. There may have been some changes of which you are unaware, like a washed out bridge or recently released bears. Oh my!
  • Read Psalm 23. Was David walking alone? How could this Psalm relate to your life?

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Filed under Humor, Life Lessons

An Article Regarding Gender Ideology and Uncommon Allies

“The belief that one’s internal sense of self determines maleness or femaleness and that subjective feelings take precedence over an objective physical reality constitutes a severing of mind from body. Our sex is who we are: it can’t be amputated from our body like a limb. But the true believers in gender ideology are hard at work, pulling in converts to this gnostic worldview that shuns the material that we humans are made of: the body. You can be assured that an ideology like this will, to use Pope Francis’s words, lead to the “annihilation of man” in our culture, in the law, and in the lives of those who fall prey to the tenets of this weaponized “civil rights” movement.” – Emily Zinos

The above quote comes from an article published in Public Discourse, a publication of The Witherspoon Institute. I would encourage you to read the article as I have included a link to it for your convenience. 

Biology Isn’t Bigotry: Christians, Lesbians, and Radical Feminists Unite to Fight Gender Ideology” http://www.thepublicdiscourse.com/2017/03/18894/

Why did I choose to share this article? Because I, too, reject the subjective and arbitrary “gender identity” craze. Emily Zinos makes some very strong arguments  with which I agree. 

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Filed under community, Culture Wars, current events, World View

Fairness Straws

Complaining Children

It may have never crossed your mind, but it’s pretty common to have complaining children on a school bus. Really? Yeah, really.

But every once in a while this fortunate driver is blessed with a child or two who has no concept of social skills, much less an understanding of what is or isn’t fair. Therefore, should anything at all not go their way, the usual response is a river of tears, an emotional breakdown, and the inevitable attempts to make deals.

Honestly, these kids will drain all the energy from you. Had we not already had three children, I would have been the one in the marriage to claim a headache, even on the honeymoon.

First One Off

This week, the big argument with my ever-complaining, ever-competing, socially-challenged, inconsolable brother-and-sister tag-team was who would be the first one to get off the bus when they arrived at their stop. Dear Lord! Help me! Why??

“Can I get off first, Mr. Baker?” came the first request. Then, from a panicky sibling, “Can I get off first, Mr. Baker? Please!” Back and forth, pleading like people about to face the death penalty, the brother and sister would argue their cases.

At one point they started playing “Rock, Paper, Scissors,” but they ended up finding ways to cheat. Then they tried a game of “Quiet Mouse,” but who were they kidding? Nothing they tried helped them decide who would get off the bus first, especially when the loser of any game they played wanted a do-over.

Finally, I came up with an idea.

Straws

These are the actual straws I used.

At first I thought about the whole “short straw” thing, but then I decided to modify it for the occasion. Since a total of four elementary children would be getting off at the last stop, I took four drinking straws, grabbed a Sharpie, and marked on each one.

I said, “I have four straws, and each of you are going to pull one out of my hand. If you pull out the one with only one mark on it, then you can get off the bus first.”

“Can I have that straw,” asked the little girl?

No!” I replied. “That wouldn’t be fair, now would it? You have to pick it from my hand.”

The little brain surgeon never missed a beat, “Well, can I pick that one, then?”

Life Isn’t Fair, Or Is It?

So, as you might have guessed, once it got down to actually drawing straws with marks, nobody got the straw they wanted, except the kid who drew the straw with one mark – and that kid didn’t really care!

Picture, if you would, a little boy flopping around in the seat, kicking, and bellowing out through snot and tears, “But my sister CAN’T go in front of me! It’s not FAIR!”

After having all I could take I looked in my rear-view mirror and said, “You know what? Life isn’t fair! You don’t always get what you want!”

Then something profound hit me: “What if life IS fair, but it’s just that we are selfish and don’t want to accept the results of the straws?”

Learn to be Content

If there was anyone in history who could have claimed that life wasn’t fair, it was the Apostle Paul. I mean, good grief, this man had everything in the world happen to him! He was beaten, shipwrecked, imprisoned, starved, and a whole bunch of other things – all for trying to do what was right. Was that fair?

But what did Paul have to say about all the things he endured?

“…I have learned to be content, whatever the circumstances.” Philippians 4:11b (NIV)

Maybe if we were a little more like Paul, having the mind of Christ (Philippians 2:5), drawing the wrong straw might not matter as much. Maybe we could better accept our position in line and wish the best for others going before? Maybe we could see the sovereignty of the Master Marker of Straws at work and learn to be content?

Maybe more of us should just be happy we were allowed on the bus in the first place! 

 

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Filed under General Observations, Life Lessons

Wisdom vs Knowledge 

There’s nothing wrong with getting an education – I have one. However, we should first desire to learn of Christ, the Wisdom of God, rather than knowledge for knowledge’s sake. An ignorant wise man is far more profitable than an educated fool.  – A. Baker

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Filed under Jesus, wisdom

Morning Advice for an Arrogant Student

Today I asked a high schooler if she had ever been homeless or had to beg on the street. With a cool tone she responded, “Uh, no.” I then said, “Then you’re missing out on some really good resume enhancers.”

For example, here are a few skills learned on the street, yet rarely appreciated:

1. Creative self-marketing.

2. Product placement.

3. Location research and acquisition.

4. Creative use of recyclables in advertising.

5. Ability to adapt to ever-changing socio-economic, legal, and geo-thermal climates.

See, just doing my job to help out kids on the bus, especially those with little or no vision.

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Filed under Humor, Life Lessons, Uncategorized

“The Worst Field Trip Guide”

Since it’s the last full week of school (only 2 days next week), I thought I’d share a chapter (Stop #15) from my little book, “Life Lessons from the School Bus.”

One day I transported 80 kindergarteners on a field trip to a mountain forest. Do you have any idea how loud 80 excited 5 year-olds can get when confined in a 40ft.-long steel box on wheels?

Teacher Talk

I couldn’t help overhear the advice school teachers were giving to the little crumb crunchers on the bus, then later after they unloaded. One warned, “Don’t pick anything up from the ground; you won’t be able to keep it, anyway.” Another said, “Don’t bounce on the swinging bridge; just look over the side.” Seriously? How can you tell a 5 year-old not to jump on a swinging bridge and then expect him not to jump on the swinging bridge?

SIDE NOTE: I remember when our oldest daughter, Alicia, who was around 12 or 13 at the time, went with me to visit the old capital building in Frankfort, Kentucky. In that old landmark is a genuine floating staircase on which Alicia decided to jump up and down. I asked, “What are you doing?” She calmly replied, “Trying to see if it will fall.” I said, “Two things…First, it’s been here since 1827 and hasn’t fallen, yet you think your scrawny self is going to break it? Second, why would you want to be on it if you could make it fall?”

Anyway… the best piece of advice from the teachers was clear enough: “Do NOT get off the trail!” But again, honestly, how many kids actually listen to instructions that make sense? I mean, you take a child that’s never been out of the suburbs to a forest with plants taller than their apartment buildings and you expect them not to run amuck? Therefore, I decided to speak up and add some clarification to the teachers’ warning. I said, “Because if you get off the trail, we might have to send the DOGS after you.”

Who knew one little girl was afraid of dogs? I didn’t! …Cry baby.

Bad Advice

So, that got me to thinking: what would be the worst advice to give 80 children before a trip into the woods?

  • photo 3 (4)Don’t worry about your lunch box; the forest is full of pretty berries.
  • As long as the animal is smaller than you, go ahead and pet it. It won’t mind.
  • Hey, bounce on the swinging bridge! It’s just like a trampoline.
  • Of course! Rules are meant to be broken.
  • Bears? What bears? This is Tennessee, kid. We don’t have bears. You’re thinking of Chicago.
  • I don’t care what your mom said, poison oak is a hoax. Don’t your parents have oak furniture? Does it make you itch? See, she lied.
  • Who can get closest to the edge? Let’s find out.
  • Whatever you do, don’t stay on the trail. Trails are for babies.
  • Snakes are overrated, misunderstood jump ropes. They want you to play with them.

 

Life Lesson

Thankfully, when it comes to the wilderness of life, there is One who always gives good advice.

In his famous Psalm 23, David wrote, “Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for thou art with me; thy rod and thy staff they comfort me.” God urges us to stay on the path that He has already walked, which is why Jesus said in Matthew 4:19, “Follow me.”

He knows the difference between good fruit and the forbidden kind.

Route Suggestions

  • Don’t give vague instructions to children; they need specifics.
  • Go check out the old capital building in Frankfort, Kentucky – but don’t jump on the staircase.
  • Never get to the point where you are too proud to listen to instructions or advice. For example, you may have been down this road before, but your tour guide has been down it more recently. There may have been some changes of which you are unaware, like a washed out bridge or recently released bears. Oh my!
  • Read Psalm 23. Was David walking alone? How could this Psalm relate to your life?

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Filed under Humor, Life Lessons