Never Dis-appointed!

1 28 07 Bishop Carelton Leonard preaching at Mountaintop – These few notes are offered in obedience and hope that they will meet you where the need is.

2 Chronicles 20:17 Victory Without Conflict

“Ye shall not need to fight in this battle: set yourselves, stand ye still, and see the salvation of the Lord with you, O Judah and Jerusalem: Fear not, nor be dismayed; to morrow go out against them: for the Lord will be with you.”

God needs a champion in you. This test is His way of revealing it to you; all He has deposited through the years of prayer and fasting.

Start praying His promises. Now, Lord, you said, that you would supply all good things for my use. You said, no weapon formed against me shall prosper. The promises of the Lord are yea and amen in Him. If I can stay out of ‘me’ He can have his way.

Praise redirects your focus. Praise heightens your revelation about God. Praise God not for the stuff but the God whose unmerited favor (mercy) gave you the stuff!

I was appointed to praise and therefore cannot be disappointed!

Listen for the prophetic after you have prayed His promises.

Jael = snatched away by God – don’t give the devil so much credit.

Let go of good because God is trying to give you great!

Prophets are speaking now, into your future. Notice who God is using to stretch you! “Folk who’ll tell you 1+1=11! I can’t flip out behind them, they aren’t qualified! No one can bring you terror without bringing the treasure attached to it. You don’t have to fight or throw a single punch, but you have to show up – in the right attire – dressed for battle and STAND – hold your position.

See this trial not as a test but as an opportunity to be on display for God. God is saying it was necessary for you to come against the enemy at this level because the enemy brings a blessing you will be 3 days in gathering when it’s done!

2 Chronicles 20:21-30 See the enemy as your servant, let him bear it, bring it, let him come. God has set the enemy’s boundaries. If God didn’t give the devil permission to operate you wouldn’t have been prepared to receive these gifts and offer this praise. Don’t give the enemy permission of your praise!

It has to happen to you before it can happen for you!

You are a royal priesthood, a peculiar people!
What you go through will change but why you go through it will not: I will bless the Lord at all times!

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Challenge & Opportunity

The challenge / opportunity is to do effectively more than one thing at a time, consciously. Un or subconsciously, we are multi-tasking all the time, but to multi-task consciously raises the bar quite a bit. I feel stymied when I attempt to tease out of my daily teaching life the several strands of activities, and ways to represent them clearly, that collectively produce or enhance knowledge, research and writing skills, civic awareness and democratic values & outcomes.

I have written with my classes each day, (though neglected to upload them to the internet) turned over more of the control of the learning experience to students, (with deeply & historically satisfying results, though not as consistently as I’d like across the board) thought about or contacted my own colleagues and/or classmates regarding our own and collaborative research and professional projects. This morning alone I left a message for a former professor, encouraged a junior colleague, read a chapter in Obama’s Audacity of Hope, a chapter in Stringer’s Action Research in Education, jotted notes about where our lives otherwise intersect and the several strands of dreams I had, loaned my car, read three chapters from several books in the Bible, today’s devotional in Chambers’ My Utmost for His Highest, cleaned the shower and toilet, brainstormed a list of contributors for a collection of essays on moving from theory to practice with self acceptance that empowers and helps organize others to do likewise, unloaded the dishwasher, prepared and consumed a bowl of oatmeal with craisins, coconut, nutmeg, cinnamon and almonds, thought about what next to add to my wiki, blog and class blog, decided against singing at the old folk’s home with a choir member and going to volunteer in the NICU (accepting my own limits the better to fulfill the obligations of my own public service & writing ministries) and I’ve only been out of bed for three hours!

When will I purchase and organize my binder for this semesters’ classes, upload all students names to my online grade book, read the assigned chapters for each class, finalize the documents needed for the various service learning projects and refresh the twists in my hair? I realize that even listing these concerns contradicts this morning’s commitment to take no thought for [my] life… but at least I remembered I made it!

Winning the War

There is more in us than we know. If we can be made to see it, perhaps for the rest of our lives, we will be unwilling to settle for less.” Kurt Hahn, Outward Bound

I write that quote with the intention of copying yesterday’s free writing below and uploading it to wordpress. Instead, what happens is I begin to reflect on what it might mean to communicate what I figured out to my students as we work through the text, explaining up front, that we need more efficient and effective ways of making progress as a species. But in order to do that I realize I need to know what I’ve figured out and then figure out how to embody and reinforce with words that very thing. Something in me wants to list and rank but the reality is more akin to my hair which, for the first time in months, I have washed by myself and decided to let it do what it does. I have promised my other self satin pillow cases for the indignation of staring down Buckwheat in the mirror or in others’ eyes for as long as I shall be made to endure this visual ignominy. I am certain that making the decision this morning (perhaps all my life and I’m just now acting on it?) to the Lord in this unadorned shape has made such thoughts possible. I always imagined hair as a kind of antennae but who’s to say? Samson? Perhaps.

In any case, what I’ve figured out so far is that you’ve got to get person out of the way to let Person in. That will go over like a lead balloon. Well, I could use these things I’ve figured out as decoding exercises for the class. The Black Lit students seem very good at having and holding onto their own thoughts and sharing them. I’ll have to write Z and ask him why he was so very quiet. What have I figured out, perhaps it’s the phrase that dries up the thoughts even as my un chap-sticked lips curl back into a sneer and my un-shea-buttered hands turn ashen before my eyes the further minutes take us from the over-long shower. If I asked instead, what have I learned, maybe that would provide a more beckoning doorway for answers to flow. Perhaps just transcribing the notes will do it. To it, then.

Okay, so the contest begins early. It’s a good thing. Get it out of the way early. In my second semester of teaching it was Ray, the cab driver, I believe, in 104. He admitted he simply needed to eat. I didn’t want to belabor the point but you simply have to obey me and then things will go well. I have the traditional power buttons as everyone else but in the classroom, obedience is merely an efficiency, the conditions I require in order to continue thinking about the whole. (Until students take it on – which means until they begin to understand the rights and responsibilities of belonging and move from theory to practice and apply them without being prodded to do so by a grade or an authority ‘perceived’ to be greater than themselves – other than God that is. I’m thinking those are a few things I’ve learned – or that my students have taught me. And not what I’d written during the original writing. I hope James joins the African American Lit class. Perhaps he’d also be a guest lecturer in my 098 classes….hmmm…that’s an idea!) I wish I could put it another way. So many people (myself included) have been sorely disappointed obeying someone else. Obeying someone who implied, was expected to or said outright that they loved s/he who should obey. The book on Beginner’s Mind must say something about it. I know the I Ching does – Lao Tsu calls it sweet limitation. It is when we agree to accept a discipline even of ourselves, the better to achieve a greater goal. This is a yoke that is easy to bear. It is something, though testing, we endure for the prize is more to be desired than the punishment required to achieve it. It is the kind of thing that keeps us humble and increasing in confidence as well as competence and that is indeed something to be prized. When one considers all the unjust laws that we neglect, ignore and fail to resist with the moral obligation Martin Luther King, Jr. said was ours, we participate in our own destruction, our own oppression. The great Brazillian educator, is that spelled with two Ls? (no) Paulo Freire said the goal of all education is breaking the silence, coming to consciousness – conscientiçazaon (sp) in Portuguese, of the oppressed and so named his book Pedagogy – teaching or instruction of the oppressed – those who are subjugated to unjust conditions, (who among us isn’t!) unjust laws. He and other philosophers through time have said without apology that the only weapon [and therefore the only thing strong enough to liberated the oppressed and the oppressor] is the mind of the oppressed. Here is where we begin – in our own minds and hearts to win the war for our own freedom.

Favor!

Hallelujah!
God is to be praised. From the man on the bus who began reading aloud scriptures related to parents and children to the simple searching of my luggage to navigating a new bus connection that dropped me within a parking lot of the hotel to receiving the hotel room at the old price in the new year – favor – the Lord is greatly to be praised.

Among other things, I am a professor of English, a born-again Christian and doctoral student. Once a month I fly to Phoenix, ride the bus to the hotel and devote myself and my weekend to academic achievement and the research and people skills that entails. It’s an interesting life. Today I sat next to a man who arrived from Texas just over a week ago and re-read most of my team’s chapter despite awareness of the youths who boarded while extinguishing a blunt and the conversation they were having about a 30-second high.

When I’m not reading, I focus on hair: who combs, who doesn’t. I fall in between. I have consistently groomed locks and the opportunity to pay to have someone else do them. So, technically, I don’t comb my hair. Many on the bus appear unable to even afford a comb or the memory of its use. I leave that world and enter this.

The rooms contain a full-sized refrigerator, microwave with free Orville Reddenbacher’s, a kitchenette, with coffee and maker, a bedroom, bathroom and sitting/living room. Both sections have large television sets, nicely appointed furniture and walls and telephones. For the fee, I get a great night’s sleep, free internet access and hot breakfast.

On the way, after my seatmates disembarked, I placed calls to colleagues and the Help Desk. Something told me to check the computerized classroom I’d be teaching in come Tuesday evening and lo and behold, it does not have the system I’m familiar with. As Vartouhi suggested, I’ve called for a Help Tech to meet me an hour before class to walk me through the system. Despite the fact that she uses the Cornerstone textbook and I use Becoming a Master Student, Linda agreed to send me her ALS syllabus, course outline and courage, and shared some ice-breakers she uses on the first day of class. She reassured me that I know and do all that needs to happen: teach students how to succeed. She also reassured me that somehow, I’d be able to remember that.

Retention Pre-Assignments

Today’s Field Experience journal entry will be short. I hope to do a few phone interviews today with relevant members of the retention program at CCSN today. Though Dr. C didn’t ask for solutions, in my table (Obstacles and Workarounds for Action Research on Retention) I included a column for ‘workarounds’. When I ask students to brainstorm I include it to draw on past experience and successes. It makes the task seem less daunting.

Change by Consensus vs. Mandated Change

Okay, while reading the assigned chapter, light dawned on marble head: the change we set out to study should be ‘needed’. Why this only now occurs to me as Ohio State and Florida square off, I know not but it does put a damper on this morning’s revelation. I can’t have students survey peers about the need for an African American Lit class that is already in session now, can I.

As I read further in the chapter about whether or not change was mandated, I was reminded of the difference between diversity trainings that are required and those that are voluntary; training criminal justice students vs. training students from other disciplines. Believe me, I’d always prefer to be on the team whose audience wanted to be there but then, you never can tell, the greatest gains can be had among those who resist.

Saturday I reflected on past experiences with group work. I decided not to post it to minimize the change of misunderstanding with former teammates.

Does objectivity exist?

“Descartes argued, human beings would be able to understand the world in an unbiased way, unaffected by the imperfections of their sensorial organs.”

I disagree w/ Descartes if I understand this as his suggestion that ‘objectivity’ is possible. I believe even math and ‘science’ are coloured by personal experience and expectation and that there is perhaps an opportunity to neutralize, but not negate, their effects on our observations. Pop culture icons Dan Brown and Anais Nin introduced a counter perspective to the masses: ‘we see the world not as it is but as we are” or, we see what we intend to see. I believe this to be closer to the truth than anything else. It is in part why I left journalism and the crux of my great argument with educators who claim we teach something other than values and who we are. Clinging to notions of objectivity reduces us as Subjects (see Paulo Friere on conscientizaon) in our own lives and leaves the door wide open for objectification of other. Through this door enters oppression.

1/4/7: Posted 1st AR entry
Surfed the Action Research website
Downloaded the Diary How to:

“It is often useful to make entries under the headings: Reflection, Plan, Action
Observation – or at least separate your reflection from recording of events and observations.”

Downloaded article on: rigor in AR for Positivists from http://www.scu.edu.au/schools/gcm/ar/arr/arow/kms.html
Read sections on Positivism & AR’s origins.