Wednesday, October 24, 2007


O Spirit of God.
Help my infirmities;
When I am pressed down with a load
of sorrow,
Perplexed and knowing not what to do,
Slandered and persecuted,
Made to feel the weight of the cross,
help me I pray thee.
If thou seest in me
any wrong thing encouraged
any evil desire cherished,
any delight that is not thy delight,
any habit that grieves thee,
any nest of sin in my heart,
then grant me the kiss of thy forgiveness,
and teach my feet to walk the way of
thy commandments.

Deliver me from carking care,
and make me a happy, holy person:
Help me to walk the separated life with
firm and brave step,
and to wrestle successfully against weakness;
Teach me to laud, adore, and magnify thee,
with the music of heaven,
And make me a perfume of praiseful gratitude
to thee.
I do not crouch at thy feet as a slave before a tyrant,
but exult before thee as a son with a father.
Give me power to live as thy child in all my actions,
and to exercise sonship by conquering self.
Preserve me from the intoxication that comes
of prosperity;
Sober me when I am glad with joy that comes
not from thee.
Lead me safely on to the eternal kingdom,
not asking whether the road be rough or smooth.
I request only to see the face of him I love,
to be content with bread to eat,
with raiment to put on,
if I can be brought to thy house in peace.

Feel me with peace, that no disquieting worldly gales
may ruffle the calm surface of my soul.

from The Valley of Vision

Saturday, October 06, 2007

Reasons: Thoughts from a Logic Teacher

Our favorite word in Logic class is "tangible". Not because it seems to contradict what Plato is known for, but because it best describes our worldview in teaching logic. I want my students to be overwhelmed by the breadth and depth of the world of thought. But in the end I want them to have such a practical grasp of the scope of thought that it prods them into deliberate awareness and attentiveness. In other words, I want them to think about what they are thinking about and act accordingly.

Our second favorite word is "obstreperous". Not because it seems to contradict the lessons of "tangible", but because I was once called that by one of my teaching mentors who happens to be of Welsh birth. I want my students to see me modeling tangibility. I have come to be more aware than they are about themselves at this point of who I am, why I do what I do, and the people that have helped shape that awareness most. And now I want to share that realization with them. Do they know at the beginning of the school year why I use the word "obstreperous" so much? No. But that too is intentional. I want them to be curious about the word, to be annoyed by my frequent use of the word, to call one of their friends "obstreperous"—after they have used our class dictionary to look up the word—and then I will share my Welsh "obstreperous" story.

Everything in life has a meaning. Everything a purpose. As teachers, we must be deliberate about thinking through such things ourselves then walk with—and sometimes pull along—our students as we discover together.