Member since: Mon Jan 3, 2005, 12:52 PM
Number of posts: 19,448
Number of posts: 19,448
We left one church, the one we had been married in, due to a small core of lifer members who wished to control everything. They stated they wanted change, but refused everything but their own wishes. The pastor was a gifted homilist, but had no administrative ability, and no wish to truly lead the congregation. We had been there six years, but lifetime members, the head of church ministries, were leaving the church. The church had declined by about 20%.
We moved to a different church that was thriving, one of the largest in the diocese. Two weeks after we returned, the pastor announced his retirement. He left, they searched for a new rector, and hired a gifted homilist, with no administrative ability. Very poor people skills, too. He fired the popular Sunday School administrator, and lost 30% of the church, and learned nothing from the experience. In that time our daughter arrived in our lives, and we were looking for a good children's program. This rector had hired an assistant for her organizational skills, but this was a person without children and without any affinity for children. A large Sunday School dwindled down to nothing. Half of the adult attendance was gone.
In looking for a new church with a good children's program we discovered .... our old church, which had a dynamic new rector, a new choir director, a children's choir that had 80 kids in it. A great adult choir, too. This church is now a powerhouse. A fabulous, welcoming community. They have increased 40% in the past five years, and completed a $600,000 capital campaign for major renovations to our 60 year-old church.
What I learned from this ten-year experience:
1) What makes a church thrive is programming for families with young children. They build a church, and the parents are the most able and willing volunteers. In our case it was a great music program, as the Episcopal church is famous for. Without this demographic, the church will gradually wither and die. From this flows youth groups and life-long involvement.
2) The pastor must be a leader. The pastor must have strong people and political skills. The pastor must be a cheerleader. The pastor must have logical, rational management skills. Many people attracted to the ministry are very spiritual people, but lack these specific skills, and they are not taught in seminary. These skills are more important than stirring sermons.
3) In our denomination, a great music program is vital, due to the heritage of the church. We have not only the standard Hymnal with melodies going back to the middle ages, we also have LEVAS, Lift Every Voice and Sing, that contains many classic American hymns, particularly African-American hymns, as our church is extremely diverse. A great director of music is as important as the minister, and I've seen this in several very successful churches.
Those are the basics. The total story is much more complicated, I could write a major novel on all that has happened, and all that I have learned.
Posted by kwassa | Fri Feb 13, 2015, 08:41 PM (0 replies)
I have no disagreement otherwise.
I am a school teacher, in a public school system of about 11,000 teachers. We are in an incredibly diverse student population that really represents the world population in many ways. Roughly 150,000 students.
As many as 90 different nations in our local schools.
We also have ongoing years of diversity training in our schools. The current phase, and next year, focus on white privilege.
I've never heard a single complaint on the white privilege training, and people don't hide their opinions in my school. They don't hesitate.
In fact, DU is the first place I have ever heard the idea that the notion of white privilege is somehow wrong.
Posted by kwassa | Tue May 13, 2014, 12:38 AM (2 replies)
Color-blind has a very negative connotation to me, as it is simply of form of blindness, which is the original meaning of the word, literally not being able to see color. If one was literally not able to see color, this in and of itself would do nothing to rid the world of racism. To do that, one must see, and see everything. The biggest problem is ending racism is that people don't see it.
Claiming color-blindness is an easy out. It does not require that one actually engages with someone of another race in any meaningful way.
Posted by kwassa | Sun Jul 28, 2013, 11:23 PM (2 replies)
No, I have no problem with nudity at all, and most who disagree with you here on DU have no problem with nudity, either. You keep insisting on this, and you are wrong on this. It is the CONTEXT of the nudity, a point you haven't addressed at all. Nudity can and does mean different things in different contexts. Nudity in the context of public protest is counterproductive unless it is related to the subject of the protest.
Personally I don't need a lecture on women rights to understand why a woman would protest with a slogan "Fuck your morals" written on her naked body. It's self evident, just like "Fuck off, Putin" or "Ukraine is not a whorehouse".
I don't understand why a woman would protest with "Fuck your morals" written in English on her body in the first place. This seems to be the Femen slogan, but it doesn't make much sense. Everyone has morals of some kind; is this a statement that morality is wrong, or the idea of moral behavior is wrong? This is one of the contradictions in their stand, as they are claiming to take a moral stance themselves. It is hardly a discussion of moral systems, one way or another. It is not self-evident, nor are the other slogans. Why not just use a large sign to express your point of view?
Nakedness just amplifies the message, in part because it points out the hypocrisy of those people who associate someone being naked with an invitation to have sex with them or to treat them as sexual objects.
There is no evident hypocrisy here. This association is the current societal norm, not the exception. Please point out what is hypocritical about it. Nakedness distracts the message, and does not amplify it. It destroys the message, in fact.
Sorry to tell you, but they "become sex objects" only in eyes of those who equate nudity with invitation to have sex.
This group includes almost the entire world. This makes Femen's tactics utterly unsuited to their stated purpose. If they wish to persuade an audience to join them in their causes, they need to find an effective communications strategy that reaches their audience. Nudity won't do it.
Posted by kwassa | Sat Apr 13, 2013, 11:48 AM (0 replies)
It works like this: since would-be reformers can't control any of the variables in the education process BUT the teachers, the teachers must be the problem. Otherwise, the "reformers" can't actually change anything.
The teachers can't control the real variables, the reformers can't either.
This other point: the reformers HAVE NO IDEA how to improve teacher effectiveness. All they do is to place the RESPONSIBILITY on teachers to figure that out for themselves by measuring their effectiveness, though they don't know how to do that either. All the "reformers" are doing is to look for someone to blame for educational failure, without anything substantive to add to the conversation.
The problem is poverty, and all the associated conditions that go with it.
I teach in Montgomery County, Maryland. We are one of the best public school systems in the country, and have done more to narrow the achievement gap than any other system in the country. We are just north of the District of Columbia schools, some of the worst performing schools. I would point out that we are highly diverse in Montgomery, and have just become a majority minority county.
Some of the highest rated public school systems in the country are in the DC suburbs in Maryland and Virginia, also highly diverse. The top-rated high school in the country is in Fairfax County Schools.
What do we all have in common? Affluence. Five of the top ten income per capita counties in the entire US are in Maryland and Virginia, and most are DC suburbs.
But we can't talk about that. This subject is off the table in the modern "reform" movement. The idea that the teacher is the single most important factor in improvement is absurd in the lack of societal will to address the real factors that create a permanent underclass in this country.
Posted by kwassa | Tue May 29, 2012, 11:49 PM (3 replies)
Because of human nature and its offspring mores in current US society, religion has a protected, elevated status as a motivating factor in behavior, and is given a latitude far beyond any other influence. Because liberal believers dare not or cannot challenge this, they indeed have some responsibility for the nefarious actions it permits in their less liberal co-believers. Human nature per se has no such status and no such willing defenders among the liberals who understand it.
First, in terms of elevated status in motivating factors, religion is not the only game in the US. Capitalism is equally, if not more exalted. Individual freedom is the paramount value, often to absurd, anti-social, and destructive excesses in it's name, looking at libertarians, survivalists, tea-partyers, and any of the extreme small-government crowd. The right to bear arms as percieved by many Americans as absolute, and excuses all kinds of bad behavior. Look at the "Stand Your Ground" laws.
Secondly, a liberal believer has a different belief than a conservative believer, and that conservative is no more likely to listen to a liberal believer than a liberal atheist. A conservative Christian would not even probably consider the liberals Christian at all, because they define membership in the group differently.
Third, liberal Christian protests are often not covered by the press, or if they are, they are not prominately featured, as they are simply not controversial enough to be interesting news. We have put links in this forum to actions taken and groups protesting, but that has done nothing to prevent this meme from circulating over and over again in this forum that liberal believers are not doing anything. It is utterly false, but it persists.
We are each individual actors; we have no responsibility for the behavior of others, nor could we control them even if we wanted to. Liberal Christians have no greater responsiblity for the behavior of conservative Christians than atheists do. Liberal Christians have no greater control over conservative Christians than atheists do. That is just the way it is. It is neither our responsibility or within our power.
Posted by kwassa | Fri Apr 20, 2012, 04:15 PM (0 replies)
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