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robertogreco : johnspencer   8

Education Rethink @edrethink: Lost and Found
"I lost my faith.

Lost is the right word. I know that other people speak of the process as if they tossed it aside. However, that's not how it happened to me. My faith sort-of evaporated for me. It was so slow I didn't see it happening. The moments were tiny and never felt significant at the time.

I think it started when I was holding a newborn and loving the child so much that I couldn't fathom sending anyone I love to a place like Hell. I just couldn't see a loving God doing this. Then there was the longterm effects of studying science and realizing that I couldn't justify the seven day literalist creation. It didn't help when I met really good atheists whose lives were not the mess that I was told they would be. Add to this all my gay friends who, I was sure, were created that way and I was starting to rethink everything I was taught.

It was more than that, though. I remember praying to a God who would never answer back and knowing that trying to "look" for an answer felt about as silly as reading tea leaves or jumping across the carcass of a goat. At least the Magic 8 Ball answered backI continued to pray and to read my Bible and to go through the motions, but it felt . . . gone. That assurance that I had felt before, that sense that I had the answers, was gone. Totally gone.

I hit a point where I couldn't justify it anymore. I wasn't an atheist. I wasn't anti-Christian. The truth is that I was agnostic. I didn't have the answers anymore. More than anything else, I missed my faith. I missed believing that God was present. I missed having an answer instead of waiting in agnosticism, unsure about what's real or true.

I'm not sure how long this period lasted. I just knew that it evaporated. I wasn't depressed about it. I wasn't hopeless. Unlike all the warnings about "backsliders" I didn't go on a crazy sin binge. The truth is that it felt lighter. I felt, for the first time ever, like I had the freedom to go explore.

Then it happened. There were little moments that caused me to reconsider my agnosticism. It started with realizing that, to my core, I believe that there is a spark of the divine in people and that they are inherently valuable and that they are also totally broken. I couldn't shed what I believed about humanity. It was the only story that still made sense.

Then there were all the times when I read fiction with the hopes of escaping what I believed only to be drawn toward the stories of redemption and the battle between good and evil. It hit me that the ultimate archetype that I was drawn toward was the Jesus story. I'm sure he didn't intend it this way, but The Ocean at the End of the Lane drew me back toward my belief that God is a loving parent.

I remember re-reading the Bible with open eyes and realizing that there were things that it wasn't quite so clear about (including Hell). I kept finding myself being drawn to those stories, even when I wasn't sure how historically accurate it was.

Somewhere in the midst of it, I remember reading about the Pope and being drawn toward him and thinking, "If you like the current Pope, you'd probably be crazy about Jesus." I found myself quoting scripture in moments of crisis and realizing that it wasn't a crutch so much as a part of me that I couldn't shed. It was true. I was a new creation and the old was gone and I had changed and even though I didn't have all the answers, I was still crazy about Jesus.

So, I came back. To what, exactly, I wasn't sure. I just knew that the Jesus story was the greatest story ever told and that even if it felt crazy, I wanted it to be true. Maybe that's what hope meant. Maybe it wasn't about being absolutely sure that your belief is true, but rather holding onto the story, continuing to be drawn to it even when it sounds too good to be true.

Looking back on it, I don't think I lost my faith. I think I grew out of it. I don't think it evaporated on me, so much as it slipped away from me. My conservative evangelical background became the skin that I stepped out of like a snake. I realize now that I never left the faith. It's just that it evolved on me when I wasn't paying attention.

I know that some would say that I'm not a "real" Christian anymore (what with my doubt about Hell and my belief in universal grace). However, grace is the only thing that makes sense. Redemption is the only story that works. I may not be a "real" Christian anymore, but I don't care. I'm banking on the hope that God is crazy about us and wants to spend forever with us. If that makes me a heretic, I'm okay with that."
johnspencer  religion  faith  belief  evolution  2014  christianity  christians  freedom  jesus  atheism  agnosticism 
march 2014 by robertogreco
A Late Night Chat on Assessment · willrich45 · Storify
"Proving that you can have an interesting, meaningful, civil chat on Twitter about an important topic. Next time, I hope these guys have it while I'm awake."
interruption  instruction  conversation  constuctivism  lcproject  tcsnmy  lisanielsen  heidiechternacht  standardizedtesting  schools  teaching  learning  reflection  roblyons  derekbraman  joebower  garystager  johnspencer  maryannreilly  reggioemilia  deschooling  2012  unschooling  education  willrichardson  storify  assessment 
april 2012 by robertogreco
Customized Learning - The Slideshow | Education Rethink
Great set of slides from John T Spencer. Notes are forthcoming, but the slides should speak for themselves. These were for his Reform Symposium presentation in 2011. (I missed it, so I'm glad it put them online.)
johnspencer  teaching  learning  tcsnmy  differentiatedlearning  customization  self-directedlearning  student-centered  studentdirected  pedagogy  unschooling  deschooling  standards  mastery  presentations  classideas  networking  hierarchy  freedom  autonomy  projectbasedlearning  science  socialstudies  reading  writing  flexibility  choice  dialogue  relationships  conversation  assessment  metaphor  ownership  empowerment  fear  dialog  pbl 
july 2011 by robertogreco
Spencer's Scratch Pad: Smaller Stories
"We want to believe in huge stories w/ insurmountable conflicts, bravely heroic protagonists & settings that are other-worldly…fairy tales & legends, but we want those stories to be placed w/in the non-fiction section of our bookstore…movie…"based upon a true story"…

We want to believe in these big stories, because we are convinced that our own stories are too small. All too often, the "small stories" are too subtle, too nuanced & too authentic for us to celebrate. What's the drama in pushing your daughter on the swing after realizing that you've been devoting too much time to work? Where's the inspiration in learning how to handle conflict without yelling or falling apart?

However, what if the most triumphant stories are the humble ones? What if the life-changing narratives are filled with small acts of courage & incremental moments of character development? …when you admit that you are broken and choose love over bitterness anyway?"
johnspencer  gregmortenson  truth  fiction  belief  humility  small  scale  simplicity  sustainability  otherworldly  inspiration  narrative  storytelling  2011  smallmoments  character  nuance  supersizedheroes  neighborsizedheroes  family  whatmatters  everylittlebitcounts  human  humanscale 
april 2011 by robertogreco
Spencer's Scratch Pad: 10 Ways to Help Students Ask Better Questions
"However, the deeper questions didn't happen in a vacuum. Students have spent hours learning the art of questioning. Here are ten things I've done in class to encourage students to ask better questions:"
questions  questioning  pedagogy  teaching  learning  curiosity  2011  johnspencer  via:rushtheiceberg  socraticmethod  inquiry  criticalthinking  classideas 
april 2011 by robertogreco
Spencer's Scratch Pad: educational hoarding
"My problem is not that I need professional development. It's not that I need more nifty strategies to lead me on the way toward becoming a better teacher. I don't need another conference or seminar or workshop or TEN TOP WAYS TO USE TWITTER in my classroom. I don't need more hyperbole. I need more simplicity. I don't need more, I need to learn to do less. I don't need another binder. I need an anti-binder crusader who will help remind me of the essential questions that really are essential - someone to nudge me back toward the question, "Does this help us to live well?""
johnspencer  simplicity  professionaldevelopment  planning  teaching  education  schools  curriculum  less  slowessentials  minimalism  featurecreep  features  featuritis  moreisnotbetter  experience  empowerment  technology  unschooling  deschooling  learning  innovation  focus  lcproject 
september 2010 by robertogreco
for the love of learning: Accountability
Comment from John Spencer: "I use the word accountability in my class, but I define it as "mutual trust." We keep each other accountable by giving an account of what we're learning - conferences, portfolios, informal meetings.
accountability  definitions  johnspencer  joebower  trust  tcsnmy  teaching  learning  relationships  transparenchonesty  punishment  rewards  finland  portfolios  informal  conferences  lcproject  unschooling  deschooling  transparency  honesty 
july 2010 by robertogreco
SPENCER'S SCRATCH PAD: the most dangerous show on television
"If you want to lose weight, find someone who will pay you to eat junk food. Start with ten bucks per Klondike Bar and fifteen dollars for a box of Thin Mints. The next week drop it to eight dollars and twelve dollars. Eventually, take the financial incentive away and you’ll decide that it’s just not worth it. Why eat crap if no one pays you for it?
motivation  rules  meritpay  johnspencer  tv  society  schools  teaching  rewards  weight  health  happiness  well-being  education  learning  tcsnmy 
july 2010 by robertogreco

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