The Jesusification of the American Teacher by Jesse Bluma



The Jesusification of the American Teacher





“Suspicious that our schools are not as good as they should be have led to much speculation about what might be done to correct this problem”, (Armstrong, Henson, and Savage).  In the 21st century teachers face the goal of preparing students to live in a very different world than ten, twenty, and thirty years ago.  News stories abound with tales of bad teachers and bad reviews of American education in contrast to other countries.

All this while more and more students are entering American schools from poor socio-economic backgrounds, greater numbers of English Language Learners, and more and more students and parents whose values and perspectives differ with their teachers.  One interesting fact is that the American public rates its neighborhood schools higher than schools in general.  The American teacher has thus been “Jesusified” to improve education.

The purposes for education are many, including intellectual growth, preparation for the work force, and individual growth and development.  Teachers must and do have important tasks to accomplish, such as improving the reputation of schools, finding funding for programs and classroom supplies, creating lessons for mastery and impact, and inspiring students.

Jaime Escalante called this “Ganas!”  Yes, there are teachers that do not perform these tasks.  Tiresome as it is to repeat, yet if it is not repeated there are some people that will go into a rage.  The few bad teachers that exist should be helped to leave the profession for another or prison, depending upon the severity of the situation.




“The professional teacher recognizes that the classroom is a complex environment; the most successful teacher is one who is capable of making decisions and solving problems in that environment.”  (Wong 1998).  What are the challenges?  The list is long and varied from child to child and school to school.  Among the challenges may be pop culture, media, drugs, divorce, violence, learning American English, socio-economics, lack of materials, unproductive staff meetings, cell phone distractions, large class sizes--work load, ever changing standards, unsupportive principals and vice-principals, some union leaders, helicopter parents--neglectful parents--parent behavior, and student behavior.  Once again.  Tiresome as it is to repeat, yet if it is not repeated there are some people that will go into a rage.  Yes, people know these challenges exist before getting into the teaching profession.  That does not; however, mean teachers should stay silent.  Speaking out, correcting misconceptions, and bringing to light these challenges is essential to being a good teacher.  The Jesusification of teachers says that teachers are the solution.

Parental aspirations for their children has a larger impact on student learning than feedback from teachers, study skills, homework, testing, and teacher education.  Other important factors in school:  self-reported grades--students predict their performance  1.44, reinforcement 1.13, instructional quality 1.00, testing .30, and teacher education 0.11.  Student characteristics:  prior cognitive ability 1.04 and disposition to learn .6.  Home influences:  parental aspirations for children’s educational achievement .80, home factors .67, home environment (socio-psychological) .57, parent involvement .46, transiency/mobility -0.34 (that is a negative).  Social influences:  peer .38 and television -.12 (that is a negative)  (Source:  Professor John Hattie).

How can teachers solve these challenges?  That is where politicians, voters, administrators, principals, and school boards give teachers “tools” to work miracles.  Teachers tend to be people pleasers and often go along with these programs in hopes of helping their students.  Among these supernatural tools:  Project Self-Esteem, Whole Language, Multiculturalism, Professional Learning Communities, Data Teams, Clickers, A.V.I.D., Group Work, Devices, Merit Pay, President Obama’s Race to the Top, and ever changing district, state, and national standards.  Tiresome as it is to repeat, yet if it is not repeated there are some people that will go into a rage.

No, these tools are not necessarily bad.  That does not mean they are good, that they solve problems, or that they don’t create other problems.  All to often, if not 100% of the time, these tools don’t solve the root of the problem.  If you have a bad teacher in the classroom, one bad enough to worry that children are not learning, then it is actually best to fire the teacher within the first few years before they earn the right to due process.  Firing a teacher after he or she earns due process is still doable, although at that point we need to look at those school administrators.  We can back up the scenario even further and ask certain universities to improve their teacher credential programs, as well as the qualifications they set for entrance to their teaching programs.




We don’t hear politicians and others blaming those big evangelical churches, those mega church pastors, for the sins of congregations.  Yet, politicians and radio show hosts do blame teachers.  Somehow the state of education is not the fault of principals, school boards, superintendents, administrators, society, or parents.  The next time you hear a politician, TV host, or radio personality blame the state of education on too many bad teachers, ask them for their statistics, their proof, the numbers.  Despite all the good intentions, campaign promises, political gamesmanship, and strident school revivals, we have yet to have a Great Awakening in American education.  Instead, we have hedged our bets on the Jesusification of the American teacher.

Food for Thought

What can be done?

What will you do?

What is the first step you can take?


What other questions do you have about the state of education?  





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Credits Image:  FreeDigitalPhotos.net, joshfoxmusic.com



Powerful Juices, Waters, Smoothies, and Spritzers by Jesse Bluma at Pointe Viven



Powerful Juices, Waters, Smoothies, and Spritzers





Green Juice Recipe


Ingredients

1 cup packed organic spinach leaves
1/2 cup organic flat-leaf parsley leaves, can include stems
1 rib organic celery
1/2 organic cucumber
1/2 ripe organic organic pear
1/2 organic green apple
Zest of half of a large organic orange
2 large organic oranges, peeled, seeds removed
1 piece (1 inch) fresh grated ginger
*Organic is important with this recipe as these are soft flesh items


Directions

Blend ingredients in juicer.

Makes 14-16 ounces.



Aunt Rosemary and Uncle Tom’s Cherry-Mint Spritzer





Ingredients

1 cup pitted or frozen (thawed) cherries for each glass
1/4 cup mint leaves, washed, plus 4 sprigs to garnish each glass
1/4 cup fresh squeezed organic lime juice for each glass
3 cups cherry-flavored seltzer for each glass.


Directions

Divide cherries, mint, and lime juice into four glasses.
Muddle ingredients in each glass with a wooden spoon or muddler.  
Stir in seltzer.
Garnish with mint.

For my gin twist on this recipe click here:  Black Cherry-Mint Cocktail



Cucumber Water





Ingredients

1 large organic cucumber, washed and dried
8 cups filtered water


Directions

Trim and discard ends of cucumber. 
Slice cucumber horizontally; cut into 1/2-inch rounds. 
Combine cucumber and water in large pitcher.
Steep for 1 hour in refrigerator.
Serve over ice.



Orange Citrus and Mint Water





Ingredients

1/2 tangelo
1/2 orange
3 sprigs mint
8 cups filtered water


Directions

Wash and halve the honey tangerine, tangelo, and orange.
Wash mint.
Combine ingredients in large pitcher.
Steep for 1 hour in refrigerator.
Serve over ice.



Orange Mint Water





Ingredients

2 organic oranges
Zest of one washed organic orange
1 sliced orange
3 sprigs mint, washed
8 cups filtered water

Directions

Wash, dry, and zest an orange 
(You may save the flesh to eat or use in another recipe.)
Wash, dry, and slice the other orange. 
Combine ingredients in large pitcher.
Steep for 1 hour in refrigerator.
Serve over ice.



Melon Rosemary Lemon Water





Ingredients

4 cups diced green melon
Zest of one washed organic lemon
Juice of the lemon
5 sprigs rosemary, washed
8 cups filtered water


Directions

Combine ingredients in a large pitcher.
Steep for 2 hours in refrigerator.
Serve over ice.



Rosemary Mint Lime Water





Ingredients

2 organic limes
Zest of one washed organic lime 
(Use flesh for this lime in another recipe.)
1 washed organic lime, sliced
3 sprigs rosemary, washed
1/4 cup mint leaves, washed, plus 4 sprigs to garnish each glass
8 cups filtered water


Directions

Combine ingredients in a large pitcher.
Steep for 2 hours in refrigerator.
Serve over ice.



Pumpkin Smoothie





Ingredients

1 cup pumpkin puree 
(Canned is good because it has consistent texture.)
2 frozen bananas (Freeze without peels.)
1 cup non-fat milk
Zest of one washed tangelo
1 tangelo (from above) peeled and sliced
1 organic green apple, washed, dried, and diced
1 Tablespoon flax seed
1 Tablespoon high quality cocoa powder
1 pinch fresh ground ginger
1 pinch fresh grated cinnamon 
2 scoops nutritional shake mix 
1/2 cup unsweetened coconut flakes, toasted


Directions

1.  Freeze bananas in zip baggie (3 hours minimum or overnight).
2.  Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit or 176.667 Celsius.
3.  Spread coconut flakes on a baking pan.  
Toast flakes for 3-5 minutes, watching closely, until golden brown.  
Use a hot pad to remove flakes from oven.
3.  Blend pumpkin, frozen bananas, milk, tangelo zest, sliced tangelo, apple, flax seed, cocoa powder, ginger, cinnamon, and nutritional shake mix in blender.
 4.  Pour smoothie into glass.
5.  Garnish smoothie with toasted coconut flakes.  



Sport Shake 





Ingredients 

1 large scoop of ice (2 cups)
2 scoops nutritional shake mix (Herbalife24 Formula 1 Sport)
1 cup non-fat milk


Directions

Crush ice in blender.
Add banana, nutritional shake mix, and milk.
Blend until smooth.

Serve with fresh fruit.





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Image: http://www.freedigitalphotos.net" target="_blank">FreeDigitalPhotos.net, 
Serge Bertasius Photography,  khumthong, Gualberto107, khumthong, phasinphoto, khumthong, justingun

Dark Shadow's Burger Recipe by Jesse Bluma



Dark Shadow's Burger



If you are looking for something new, make these burgers I designed.  Inspiration for these burgers came from the TV show and movie, hence all the garlic.  A bit messy, so this is one burger you will need to use your hands and a fork.  A great game day or Halloween burger.  



Ingredients

1/3 pound veggie patties

organic lettuce, for wrapping veggie patties

Garlic aioli 
3 garlic cloves
1 large organic egg
1 tablespoon organic lemon juice
1 tablespoon chopped parsley
1/4 teaspoon salt
4 twists of freshly groung pepper
1/2 cup olive oil
-----------------------------------------

"Vampire dip" 
2 cups grated parmesan
1 cup grated mozzarella cheese
1 cup mayonnaise
1 can (14) oz artichoke hearts packed in water, drained
1 whole pod (not clove) garlic, minced
-----------------------------------------

1 organic cucumber, washed, dried, ends cut off,  sliced into thin rounds

1 white onion, peeled, sliced, grilled

1 red onion, peeled, sliced raw

Sweet relish

Pickle spears


Directions

1.  Prepare "Vampire Dip"
Mix ingredients together in a bowl.
Bake in oven covered, for 45 minutes at 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
Bake for an additional 10 minutes, uncovered. 

2.  Grill white onion.  

3.  Slice cucumber.

4.  Slice red onion.

5.  Prepare Garlic Aioli
Mix garlic, cracked egg, lemon juice, parsley, salt, and pepper in a food processor or blender, then puree.  
Add oil slowly while continuing to puree.  
Process until mixture is thick.
Yields 3/4 cup.

6.  Cook veggie patties according to package directions or use a homemade recipe.

7.  Wash and dry lettuce.

8.  Assemble burgers, wrapping veggie patties with lettuce and add toppings.  
Serve with pickle spears.   





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What to do in a Community Conflict




What to do in a Community Conflict





Warning:  This video contains strong language and violence.




In case you do not wish to watch the video here is a brief summary by Chelsea Schilling, a commentary editor and staff writer for WND:  "Hundreds chant, 'Allahu Akbar!' while hurling urine, eggs, bottles, concrete.  The city of Dearborn, Mich., hosted its annual 2012 Arab International festival on Father’s Day weekend.  As can be seen in a video of the attack, a group of Christians holding signs were viciously assaulted by an angry mob of Arabs – as the crowd chanted “Allahu Akbar!” – Arabic for “God is the greatest!”


It is important in circumstances like these to be reasonable, responsible, and look at the large picture.  Important questions to consider if you find yourself in a similar event.

What is proper to do in a situation like the one in the video?

How should you respond?

What should you say and not say?

Whom should you contact?

What other actions could have been taken?

Is there a lesson in all of this to learn?


Emotions run strong in public discourse.  It is important for all parties to make good choices and follow the Golden Rule.  Also important is paying attention to these stories and following them through the legal system.  Getting all the facts and information is essential.


Related Links










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Credit:  wnd.com, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vnJBW49afzg

The Roots of Christianity



The Roots of Christianity





Understanding the roots and origins of religions, art, food, sports, government, and the like helps us understand our world.  Studying the past also instructs us about ourselves; it in part forms who we are, what we think, and shows us what we have in common.  Discovering about the lives of others and their stories gives us respect and understanding.  The stories, history, and understanding we learn leads to a better understanding of religious, political, economic, familial, and community situations.  

"During the beginning of the first century AD, a new religion appeared in Judea. This religion was Christianity. Christianity had its roots in Judaism, and was based on the teachings of Jesus of Nazareth. 

When Jesus was born, there were several Jewish groups in Judea. The largest group of Jews followed the laws of Moses very strictly.  Many of these Jews believed a new leader would appear among them. They believed that if they followed the rules, the leader would appear more quickly.  This leader was called the Messiah (muh-SY-uh), which means 'anointed' in the Hebrew language.  For generations Jewish prophets had said that the Messiah would be a descendent of King David.  They said that the Messiah would restore the greatness of David’s ancient kingdom in Israel.  When the Romans took over Judea, many Jews felt the Messiah would be coming soon. 

Jesus of Nazareth was born at the end of the first century BC.  Much of what we know about Jesus is contained in the Bible, the holy book of Christianity.  The Bible is made up of two parts.  The first part of the Bible is called the Old Testament, which is mostly the same as the Hebrew Bible.  The second part, the New Testament, tells the story of Jesus and the early history of Christianity. 

According to the Bible, Jesus was born in Bethlehem (BETH-li-hem) to a woman named Mary and her husband, Joseph, who was a carpenter.  Christians believe that God, not Joseph, was the father of Jesus.  When Jesus was about 30, he left his home in Nazareth to travel and teach.  He gained many followers, and also made enemies.  The Roman leaders thought Jesus’s teachings challenged their authority.  Jesus was arrested and executed by crucifixion.  Jesus was buried; Christians believe he rose from the dead three days later.  This is called the Resurrection.  The Bible says that Jesus made many appearances to his disciples, or followers, during the next 40 days. 




Jesus chose 12 of his disciples, the Apostles, to spread the message of Christianity.  They were close friends and followers chosen and trained by Jesus himself.  However, another man, Saint Paul, was the most important figure in the spread of Christianity, although he never met Jesus.  Paul traveled to many cities and wrote long letters explaining the meaning of Christianity.  Paul did more than anyone else to spread Chrisitian ideals.  After he died, Paul was named a saint, a person known and admired for his or her holiness. 




Apostles and teachers like Paul quickly spread the message of Christianity throughout the Roman Empire.  As Christianity became more popular, Roman leaders began to worry.  At first Jesus’s followers had focused on converting only Jews.  Soon, Christians began preaching to non-Jews.  They offered copies of the gospels to everyone. 

Some local leaders arrested and murdered Christians.  These Christians then became famous as martyrs, people who are killed for their religious beliefs.  Saint Peter, an Apostle and the first bishop of Rome, and Saint Paul were murdered for teaching Christianity.  Some Roman emperors outlawed Christianity and persecuted Christians for their beliefs.  Christians wore secret symbols, such as a fish, to identify each other. 

For centuries, Christians have honored key events in Jesus’s life.  Some of these events inspired holidays that Christians celebrate today.
    
The most sacred holiday for Christians is Easter, which is celebrated each spring. The exact date changes from year to year.  Easter is a celebration of the Resurrection.  Christians usually celebrate Easter by attending church services.  Many people also celebrate by dyeing eggs because eggs are seen as a symbol of new life.

   Another major Christian holiday is Christmas.  It honors Jesus’s birth and is celebrated every December 25.  Although no one knows on what date Jesus was actually born, Christians have placed Christmas in December since the 200s.  Today, people celebrate with church services and the exchange of gifts.  Some, like people in this picture, reenact scenes of Jesus’s birth."

Many things have changed, many events occurred, and many generations have come and gone sine the beginnings of Christianity.  If you, your neighbor, your schoolmate, or co-worker are a Christian, what should you know?  

The bible was originally written in Hebrew and Greek by those that lived during and after the times.  "When the translators came to the Greek word πισευω (pist-yoo’-o) they didn’t always adequately translate it. πισευω is a word with compound nuances. At once it roughly translates as the verbal phrase 'to faith in' and the noun 'faith.' The word 'faith' in English is an abstract noun, it is not a verb, such as πισευω is. If the KJV translators already used the noun 'faith' in a sentence, they would use the verb 'believe' later on in the same sentence, even when πισευω was used in both instances in the original text. This is likely because their style wasn’t conducive to using the same word twice in the same sentence."  We would have to invent the word "faithing" to describe the Christian relationship with God.

Pastor Gene Scott "described πισευω with the 'A-B-C’s' of Faith: 'Action based upon a Belief sustained by Confidence.' Since there is no action word for Faith in English, the KJV translators chose the closest one they could find - believe. Unfortunately, to ‘believe’ is only a portion of the essence of πισευω. For example, you can believe the railing on the edge of a great cliff overlooking the Grand Canyon will hold you, until you actually walk over to it, lean your weight on it and see that it does, you never know for sure. That is what πισευω means. It means you acted upon a belief, sustained by confidence and found a level of knowledge you never had before."

Dr. Gene Scott was a "pastor and religious broadcaster in Los Angeles, California.  Scott showed disdain for other religious broadcasters like Jerry Falwell and Jimmy Swaggart and bristled when people referred to him as a 'televangelist,' preferring to be regarded as a teacher and pastor.  Melissa Scott, is the widow of Gene Scott, an ordained minister and religious broadcaster.  Since her husband's death in 2005, she has led the congregation at churches in Los Angeles and Glendale, California as the executive pastor."

“The light illuminates me; I stand here-’that I might be made right 
for my faith.’ No movement. No works. No moving around. No 
mulling around. No doing. No don't doing.”

- Pastor Scott

Jesus said, "I am the way, and the truth, and the life, no one doth come unto the Father, if not through me".  Unlike other religious and philosophical figures, Jesus sat himself at the center of authority, perfection, the eternal, and the religious universe.  

Buddha equated life to suffering (part of his Four Noble Truths), focused on ignorance rather than sin, and offered his Eightfold Path to nirvana, escape from suffering (right view, right intention, right speech, right discipline, right livelihood, right effort, right mindfulness, and right concentration).  Buddhist monks are to adhere to the Five Precepts, which prohibit killing (including animals), prohibit stealing, encourage abstinence, prohibit wrong speech (including gossiping), and prohibit drugs and alcohol.    

Muhammad, the founder of Islam, described himself as a prophet that received a vision from God.  

Confucius provided a logical analysis of living in his culture.  The aim of man, according to Confucius, was to discover our real self, to learn--gain enlightenment, develop shame, and become good. 

Han Fei and Li Si, the founders of Chinese Legalism, provided a political philosophy about power and did not address the purpose of life.  The premise of this philosophy is that man is self-centered and must be controlled by a strong hand.  Shi Huangdi wrote, "The ruler alone should possess the power, wielding it like lightning or like thunder."

 Lao-Tzu was a philosopher of ancient China and is the main figure in Taoism/Daoism.  Taoism is polytheistic and holds a reverence for ancestor spirits.  Deceased ancestors are said to give wisdom and guidance to harmony.  The aim of Taoism, wu wei, is for man to place himself in harmony with the universe.

Keeping in line with placing himself at the center of autority, Jesus said, "Go ye in through the strait gate, because wide is the gate, and broad the way that is leading to the destruction, and many are those going in through it; how strait is the gate, and compressed the way that is leading to the life, and few are those finding it!" (Matthew 7:13-14).  Christianity places at its center God as eternal and all powerful, "That is the true born-again experience – a generator of life, a regeneration, a new creation that penetrates my cell structure and is placed in me as a gift from God when I connect by trusting His word.  That's the genesis of all Christianity, properly seen, that Christ is in us the hope of glory.  God puts a life in us capable of regenerating, and that's why spirituality is the expressions of the spirit, and why righteousness is called the fruit of the spirit. It is that new life growing out through us which can only be maintained by faith in His word...", Pastor Melissa Scott.






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Credits:  hrw.com, biblebrowser.com, mainemediaresources.com, wiki.org, melissascottpastor.com, onlinetvcast.com, twitter.com/pastor_scott


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