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Thursday Book Club: The Teacher

Daniel J. Estes, Hear, My Son: Teaching & Learning in Proverbs 1-9, (Inter-Varsity Press, 1997), 174 pages.

In this post, I plan to finish out my extended review of  Hear, My Son that I’ve been working through for much of this year.    The final three chapters of the book unpack the educational process and the role of the teacher and learner in that process.  In Estes’ observations of Proverbs 1-9, he finds three primary roles for the teacher that correspond with three primary modes of instruction.

Teacher as Expert Authority. Estes presents the teacher as a reliable transmitter of tradition who is qualified to speak with expert authority when he uses directive modes.  In these modes, the teacher is central, and the learner is expected to accept the teaching on the basis of his authority.  But, even when the teacher’s authority is most prominent, his most direct instruction is  crafted as part of a literary devise.   This demonstrates the Teacher’s own wisdom and humility.  In two passages where direct address is used, the speaker is not the teacher at all, but personified Wisdom (Proverbs 1:20-33; 8:1-11), a prophetic character that the teacher describes and recommends to his student.  In these texts, Wisdom speaks openly in the streets, and she denounces evil with accusations and threats of judgment.  She boasts of her own authority and the gifts that she can bestow.  She is the authority that the teacher recommends, but he is subversively recommending himself and his own tradition.  Similarly, the teacher paints a negative portrait of the evil person and evil activities that the LORD hates in Proverbs 6:12-19.  The teacher gives direct commands without literary subversion or substantiation (see below) only in Proverbs 6:1-5.  In this passage, the debtor has risked his own impoverishment by rash pledges, and the teacher directly commands him to free himself from debt.  The directness of the commands are appropriate to the conditions. Continue Reading…

Celebrating Advent!

Advent is the season before Christmas when we celebrate Jesus’ coming as a light into our dark world. Here is a great theological explanation of Advent from Sojourn member, Dr. Timothy Paul Jones. SojournKids has put together a number of resources for celebrating the Advent season.  You can link to the Bible lessonmusical liturgy and art projector download the full lesson plan (PDF).

We also hope you enjoy the video documentary of the project (below), which was created by our own Drew Layman.

The Light Has Come from Jared Stewart Kennedy on Vimeo.

Also, check out our Jesse Tree family devotions…

… and these Advent coloring sheets by Sojourn artist Mandy Groce.

Spiritual Parenting Book Blog Tour

Spiritual Parenting: An Awakening for Today’s Families by Dr. Michelle Anthony, (David C. Cook, 2010), 219 pages.

It has been said that the work of orthodox teaching is not only to present the same old truths without compromise but to present them more beautifully and believably than they were considered before the teaching began.  There is really nothing new to say about Jesus (or parenting for that matter), but there are worthy things to say, and they should be said well.

Old Things Said Well

In chapter 4 of his book, Raising Children To Adore God, Patrick Kavanaugh explored the idea of making both church and home into environments that will instill in our children a life-long passion to worship the one true God.  Kavanaugh unpacked five principles that should characterize the “home environment”–unconditional love, impartial justice, wisdom, stability, and the centrality of Jesus. That chapter is one that I’ve returned to again and again when reflecting on parenting, and I was reminded of it’s simplicity again and again while reading Michelle Anthony’s book, Spiritual Parenting.  Anthony never quotes Kavanaugh, but they see the same themes in the Scriptures.  And she does a good job of re-telling the same old truths, and telling them well.

Beyond Behavior Modification

Like Kavanaugh, Anthony recognizes that it is not the job of the parent to “merely control my child’s behavior and by doing so somehow create a spiritual life for him or her” (15).  Rather, the goal is to pass on a “vibrant and transforming faith,” the kind of faith in which children “know and hear God’s voice,” “desire to obey Him,” and will to obey him “not in their own power, but in the power of the Holy Spirit” (16). Continue Reading…

Last Sunday: New Life

This week in SojournKids, we learned from 1 Peter 1:1-12:

  • Salvation is the most valuable gift.
  • God gives new life.
  • Godʼs gifts last even when they are tested.

If you didn’t get a chance to grab the SojournKids “at home” sheet, you can download it here. Continue Reading…

Last Sunday: The Heart’s Desires

This week in SojournKids, our passage was James 4:1-10.  We learned that:

  • We fight because we donʼt get what we want.
  • Because our selfish wants lead us to be angry, we canʼt blame others.
  • Only Jesus can change our selfish desires.

If you didn’t get a chance to grab the SojournKids “at home” sheet, you can download it here.