Thursday, December 31, 2015

Much abides

Ulysses

BY ALFRED, LORD TENNYSON
It little profits that an idle king, 
By this still hearth, among these barren crags, 
Match'd with an aged wife, I mete and dole 
Unequal laws unto a savage race, 
That hoard, and sleep, and feed, and know not me. 
I cannot rest from travel: I will drink 
Life to the lees: All times I have enjoy'd 
Greatly, have suffer'd greatly, both with those 
That loved me, and alone, on shore, and when 
Thro' scudding drifts the rainy Hyades 
Vext the dim sea: I am become a name; 
For always roaming with a hungry heart 
Much have I seen and known; cities of men 
And manners, climates, councils, governments, 
Myself not least, but honour'd of them all; 
And drunk delight of battle with my peers, 
Far on the ringing plains of windy Troy. 
I am a part of all that I have met; 
Yet all experience is an arch wherethro' 
Gleams that untravell'd world whose margin fades 
For ever and forever when I move. 
How dull it is to pause, to make an end, 
To rust unburnish'd, not to shine in use! 
As tho' to breathe were life! Life piled on life 
Were all too little, and of one to me 
Little remains: but every hour is saved 
From that eternal silence, something more, 
A bringer of new things; and vile it were 
For some three suns to store and hoard myself, 
And this gray spirit yearning in desire 
To follow knowledge like a sinking star, 
Beyond the utmost bound of human thought. 

         This is my son, mine own Telemachus, 
To whom I leave the sceptre and the isle,— 
Well-loved of me, discerning to fulfil 
This labour, by slow prudence to make mild 
A rugged people, and thro' soft degrees 
Subdue them to the useful and the good. 
Most blameless is he, centred in the sphere 
Of common duties, decent not to fail 
In offices of tenderness, and pay 
Meet adoration to my household gods, 
When I am gone. He works his work, I mine. 

         There lies the port; the vessel puffs her sail: 
There gloom the dark, broad seas. My mariners, 
Souls that have toil'd, and wrought, and thought with me— 
That ever with a frolic welcome took 
The thunder and the sunshine, and opposed 
Free hearts, free foreheads—you and I are old; 
Old age hath yet his honour and his toil; 
Death closes all: but something ere the end, 
Some work of noble note, may yet be done, 
Not unbecoming men that strove with Gods. 
The lights begin to twinkle from the rocks: 
The long day wanes: the slow moon climbs: the deep 
Moans round with many voices. Come, my friends, 
'T is not too late to seek a newer world. 
Push off, and sitting well in order smite 
The sounding furrows; for my purpose holds 
To sail beyond the sunset, and the baths 
Of all the western stars, until I die. 
It may be that the gulfs will wash us down: 
It may be we shall touch the Happy Isles, 
And see the great Achilles, whom we knew. 
Tho' much is taken, much abides; and tho' 
We are not now that strength which in old days 
Moved earth and heaven, that which we are, we are; 
One equal temper of heroic hearts, 
Made weak by time and fate, but strong in will 
To strive, to seek, to find, and not to yield.

Wednesday, December 30, 2015

Some resources to check out...

Articles of Interest:



·      Kids and Screen Time


Professional Development Opportunities:








·      Engineering is Elementary Workshops (Teacher Educator Institute; Everyone Engineers!; Linking E & M in STEM)


·      Leading for Effective Differentiation – March 30-April 1








·      Everyday Mathematics




Tuesday, December 29, 2015

Important Article in the Wall Street Journal: Parenting in the Age of Awfulness



Parenting in the Age of Awfulness

Children are immersed in a culture that stokes disrespect. Here’s how to instill some civility.

ENLARGE
PHOTO: GETTY IMAGES/VETTA
Kyle was absorbed in a videogame on his cellphone, so I asked his mom, “How long has Kyle had a stomach ache?” Mom said, “I’m thinking it’s been about two days.” Then Kyle replied, “Shut up, mom. You don’t know what you’re talking about.” And he gave a snorty laugh, without looking up from his videogame. Kyle is 10 years old.
I have been a physician for 29 years. This sort of language and behavior from a 10-year-old was very rare in the 1980s and 1990s. It would have been unusual a decade ago. It is common today. America’s children are immersed in a culture of disrespect: for parents, teachers, and one another. They learn it from television, even on the Disney Channel, where parents are portrayed as clueless, out-of-touch or absent. They learn it from celebrities or the Internet. They learn it from social media. They teach it to one another. They wear T-shirts emblazoned with slogans like “I’m not shy. I just don’t like you.”
The challenge of raising children in America today is different from 30 or 50 years ago. Back then popular culture supported the authority of parents, whether it was the “Andy Griffith Show” in the 1960s or “Family Ties” in the 1980s. Kids are not born knowing how to be respectful. They have to be taught.

Parenting in the Age of Awfulness



Parenting in the Age of Awfulness

Children are immersed in a culture that stokes disrespect. Here’s how to instill some civility.

ENLARGE
PHOTO: GETTY IMAGES/VETTA
Kyle was absorbed in a videogame on his cellphone, so I asked his mom, “How long has Kyle had a stomach ache?” Mom said, “I’m thinking it’s been about two days.” Then Kyle replied, “Shut up, mom. You don’t know what you’re talking about.” And he gave a snorty laugh, without looking up from his videogame. Kyle is 10 years old.
I have been a physician for 29 years. This sort of language and behavior from a 10-year-old was very rare in the 1980s and 1990s. It would have been unusual a decade ago. It is common today. America’s children are immersed in a culture of disrespect: for parents, teachers, and one another. They learn it from television, even on the Disney Channel, where parents are portrayed as clueless, out-of-touch or absent. They learn it from celebrities or the Internet. They learn it from social media. They teach it to one another. They wear T-shirts emblazoned with slogans like “I’m not shy. I just don’t like you.”
The challenge of raising children in America today is different from 30 or 50 years ago. Back then popular culture supported the authority of parents, whether it was the “Andy Griffith Show” in the 1960s or “Family Ties” in the 1980s. Kids are not born knowing how to be respectful. They have to be taught.
Read it all at The Wall Street Journal

Monday, December 28, 2015

Christmas Autopsy: 5 Thoughts about the Death of Christmas

Christmas Autopsy: 5 Thoughts about the Death of Christmas

ID-100169914The war on Christmas has become an annual topic of conversation.
This year The Wall Street Journal’s Daniel Henningereven declared that Christmas is dead.
Is it time for an autopsy?
Scanning the store windows up and down New York’s Fifth Avenue, Henninger chronicled the ways in which major commercial outlets had erased even the most sentimental traces of Christmas from their windows, replacing Santa Claus and his elves with palm readers; the Roman god, Neptune; and the inebriated and seductive images of holiday revelers.  Only Macy’s, Henninger notes, held out and featured Charlie Brown and the gang.
Do these developments suggest a trend, or what Henninger describes as the “de-sanctification” of Christmas?  Probably. But it is perilously easy to overestimate the significance of New York ad agencies and window dressers.
Would Christian leaders be well advised to pay attention to what is happening in the culture around them?  Sure.
Christians need to be active observers of the world around them.
But how should the church respond?  Shall we wring our hands?  Offer new legislation?
Let’s not waste our time.
Instead, let’s strike out in a new and decisively constructive direction in 2016 and make a few notes for the future:
One: Remember that the culture is not the custodian of the Christian tradition.  The church is the custodian of Christmas. 
Nothing about our cultural traditions will ever be deeply articulate or spiritually and theologically grounded.  It will always be deeply colored by sentimentality, commercialism.  The culture will always distort and exploit the message of Christmas.
Two: Remember that your vocation is to provide leadership for the church.  You are not the custodian of the culture’s conscience.
The Constitution and the country is – by design – pluralistic and must be.  That priority preserves freedom of choice and freedom from tyranny of any and every kind.
Churches offer a place for faith formation to those who have made their choice; and clergy are charged with nurturing the means of grace that deepen the lives of those who have made that choice.
Three: Mine the rich traditions of Christmas — its narratives, its central figures, its traditions and theology. 
There are countless untapped resources in the church’s tradition, most of which go untouched in any given year.  Who needs Charlie Brown, anyway?
Four: Find ways in which to engage the members of your congregation in the active sanctification of the season, urging them to make worship a centerpiece of the celebration.
Who cares what is in Bergdorf Goodman’s window, when the smallest numbers of the year in most churches is the attendance at a Christmas day service?  The latter should concern us far more than the former.
Five: Look for new ways to engage families in the season-long observance of Christmas at home.
What our churches really lack is a sense of celebration and occasion, particularly at home.  Help the church’s families to recapture an understanding of Christmas that transcends the sentimental and you need not worry about what is in Macy’s window.

Christmas Autopsy: 5 Thoughts about the Death of Christmas

Christmas Autopsy: 5 Thoughts about the Death of Christmas

ID-100169914The war on Christmas has become an annual topic of conversation.
This year The Wall Street Journal’s Daniel Henningereven declared that Christmas is dead.
Is it time for an autopsy?
Scanning the store windows up and down New York’s Fifth Avenue, Henninger chronicled the ways in which major commercial outlets had erased even the most sentimental traces of Christmas from their windows, replacing Santa Claus and his elves with palm readers; the Roman god, Neptune; and the inebriated and seductive images of holiday revelers.  Only Macy’s, Henninger notes, held out and featured Charlie Brown and the gang.
Do these developments suggest a trend, or what Henninger describes as the “de-sanctification” of Christmas?  Probably. But it is perilously easy to overestimate the significance of New York ad agencies and window dressers.
Would Christian leaders be well advised to pay attention to what is happening in the culture around them?  Sure.
Christians need to be active observers of the world around them.
But how should the church respond?  Shall we wring our hands?  Offer new legislation?
Let’s not waste our time.
Instead, let’s strike out in a new and decisively constructive direction in 2016 and make a few notes for the future:
One: Remember that the culture is not the custodian of the Christian tradition.  The church is the custodian of Christmas. 
Nothing about our cultural traditions will ever be deeply articulate or spiritually and theologically grounded.  It will always be deeply colored by sentimentality, commercialism.  The culture will always distort and exploit the message of Christmas.
Two: Remember that your vocation is to provide leadership for the church.  You are not the custodian of the culture’s conscience.
The Constitution and the country is – by design – pluralistic and must be.  That priority preserves freedom of choice and freedom from tyranny of any and every kind.
Churches offer a place for faith formation to those who have made their choice; and clergy are charged with nurturing the means of grace that deepen the lives of those who have made that choice.
Three: Mine the rich traditions of Christmas — its narratives, its central figures, its traditions and theology. 
There are countless untapped resources in the church’s tradition, most of which go untouched in any given year.  Who needs Charlie Brown, anyway?
Four: Find ways in which to engage the members of your congregation in the active sanctification of the season, urging them to make worship a centerpiece of the celebration.
Who cares what is in Bergdorf Goodman’s window, when the smallest numbers of the year in most churches is the attendance at a Christmas day service?  The latter should concern us far more than the former.
Five: Look for new ways to engage families in the season-long observance of Christmas at home.
What our churches really lack is a sense of celebration and occasion, particularly at home.  Help the church’s families to recapture an understanding of Christmas that transcends the sentimental and you need not worry about what is in Macy’s window.

Friday, December 25, 2015

St. John Chrysostom’s Christmas Homily


St. John Chrysostom’s Christmas Homily


BEHOLD a new and wondrous mystery. My ears resound to the Shepherd’s song, piping no soft melody, but chanting full forth a heavenly hymn. The Angels sing. The Archangels blend their voice in harmony. The Cherubim hymn their joyful praise. The Seraphim exalt His glory. All join to praise this holy feast, beholding the Godhead here on earth, and man in heaven. He Who is above, now for our redemption dwells here below; and he that was lowly is by divine mercy raised.

Bethlehem this day resembles heaven; hearing from the stars the singing of angelic voices; and in place of the sun, enfolds within itself on every side, the Sun of justice. And ask not how: for where God wills, the order of nature yields. For He willed, He had the power, He descended, He redeemed; all things yielded in obedience to God. This day He Who is, is Born; and He Who is, becomes what He was not. For when He was God, He became man; yet not departing from the Godhead that is His. Nor yet by any loss of divinity became He man, nor through increase became He God from man; but being the Word He became flesh, His nature, because of impassability, remaining unchanged.

And so the kings have come, and they have seen the heavenly King that has come upon the earth, not bringing with Him Angels, nor Archangels, nor Thrones, nor Dominations, nor Powers, nor Principalities, but, treading a new and solitary path, He has come forth from a spotless womb.

Since this heavenly birth cannot be described, neither does His coming amongst us in these days permit of too curious scrutiny. Though I know that a Virgin this day gave birth, and I believe that God was begotten before all time, yet the manner of this generation I have learned to venerate in silence and I accept that this is not to be probed too curiously with wordy speech. For with God we look not for the order of nature, but rest our faith in the power of Him who works.

What shall I say to you; what shall I tell you? I behold a Mother who has brought forth; I see a Child come to this light by birth. The manner of His conception I cannot comprehend.
Nature here rested, while the Will of God labored. O ineffable grace! The Only Begotten, Who is before all ages, Who cannot be touched or be perceived, Who is simple, without body, has now put on my body, that is visible and liable to corruption. For what reason? That coming amongst us he may teach us, and teaching, lead us by the hand to the things that men cannot see. For since men believe that the eyes are more trustworthy than the ears, they doubt of that which they do not see, and so He has deigned to show Himself in bodily presence, that He may remove all doubt.

Christ, finding the holy body and soul of the Virgin, builds for Himself a living temple, and as He had willed, formed there a man from the Virgin; and, putting Him on, this day came forth; unashamed of the lowliness of our nature’. For it was to Him no lowering to put on what He Himself had made. Let that handiwork be forever glorified, which became the cloak of its own Creator. For as in the first creation of flesh, man could not be made before the clay had come into His hand, so neither could this corruptible body be glorified, until it had first become the garment of its Maker.
What shall I say! And how shall I describe this Birth to you? For this wonder fills me with astonishment. The Ancient of days has become an infant. He Who sits upon the sublime and heavenly Throne, now lies in a manger. And He Who cannot be touched, Who is simple, without complexity, and incorporeal, now lies subject to the hands of men. He Who has broken the bonds of sinners, is now bound by an infants bands. But He has decreed that ignominy shall become honor, infamy be clothed with glory, and total humiliation the measure of His Goodness.

For this He assumed my body, that I may become capable of His Word; taking my flesh, He gives me His spirit; and so He bestowing and I receiving, He prepares for me the treasure of Life. He takes my flesh, to sanctify me; He gives me His Spirit, that He may save me.

Come, then, let us observe the Feast. Truly wondrous is the whole chronicle of the Nativity. For this day the ancient slavery is ended, the devil confounded, the demons take to flight, the power of death is broken, paradise is unlocked, the curse is taken away, sin is removed from us, error driven out, truth has been brought back, the speech of kindliness diffused, and spreads on every side, a heavenly way of life has been ‘in planted on the earth, angels communicate with men without fear, and men now hold speech with angels.

Why is this? Because God is now on earth, and man in heaven; on every side all things commingle. He became Flesh. He did not become God. He was God. Wherefore He became flesh, so that He Whom heaven did not contain, a manger would this day receive. He was placed in a manger, so that He, by whom all things arc nourished, may receive an infant’s food from His Virgin Mother. So, the Father of all ages, as an infant at the breast, nestles in the virginal arms, that the Magi may more easily see Him. Since this day the Magi too have come, and made a beginning of withstanding tyranny; and the heavens give glory, as the Lord is revealed by a star.

To Him, then, Who out of confusion has wrought a clear path, to Christ, to the Father, and to the Holy Ghost, we offer all praise, now and for ever. Amen.

Source

Tuesday, December 15, 2015

Take our minds, and think through them




Take our minds, and think through them.
Take our lips, and speak through them.
Take our hearts, and set them on fire with love for thee.
What we know not, teach us.
What we have not, give us.
What we are not, make us.
For Jesus Christ's sake.  Amen.



By Donald Coggan (1909-2000) - former Archbishop of Canterbury

Sunday, December 13, 2015

Stir up your power!



Stir up your power, O Lord, and with great might come among us; and, because we are sorely hindered by our sins, let your bountiful grace and mercy speedily help and deliver us; through Jesus Christ our Lord, to whom, with you and the Holy Spirit, be honor and glory, now and for ever. Amen.

Collect for the Third Sunday of Advent

Thursday, December 10, 2015

Thomas Merton - 31 January 1915 - 10 December 1968

Thomas Merton - 31 January 1915 -  10 December 1968


My Lord God, I have no idea where I am going. I do not see the road ahead of me. I cannot know for certain where it will end. Nor do I really know myself, and the fact that I think that I am following your will does not mean that I am actually doing so. But I believe that the desire to please you does in fact please you. And I hope I have that desire in all that I am doing. I hope that I will never do anything apart from that desire. And I know that if I do this you will lead me by the right road, though I may know nothing about it. Therefore will I trust you always, though I may seem to be lost and in the shadow of death. I will not fear, for you are ever with me, and you will never leave me to face my perils alone. Amen.

Thomas Merton - 31 January 1915 - 10 December 1968

Thomas Merton - 31 January 1915 -  10 December 1968


My Lord God, I have no idea where I am going. I do not see the road ahead of me. I cannot know for certain where it will end. Nor do I really know myself, and the fact that I think that I am following your will does not mean that I am actually doing so. But I believe that the desire to please you does in fact please you. And I hope I have that desire in all that I am doing. I hope that I will never do anything apart from that desire. And I know that if I do this you will lead me by the right road, though I may know nothing about it. Therefore will I trust you always, though I may seem to be lost and in the shadow of death. I will not fear, for you are ever with me, and you will never leave me to face my perils alone. Amen.