Helping your child develop a growing relationship with Christ — from by Dennis and Barbara Rainey
These six spiritual disciplines helped our children on their spiritual journeys.

From DSC:
In the world of K-12 education, it seems that we end up putting a lot of responsibility for “success,” growth, and performance on the teachers and on the school districts themselves. But what about the parents? What about the families (or lack thereof) that do or do not value education? Aren’t they part of the answer/equation?

Along these lines, I appreciate the work of those organizations who are trying to support and build families up around the world; to keep marriages and families from declining even further (esp. true in the U.S.).  One of these organizations is Family Life, where I appreciate the work of Dennis and Barbara Rainey as well as the work of Bob Lepine. Though I don’t always agree with everything they say, I love their intent, what they are trying to do, and the tools that they create and/or provide for families.

I do not post this to point fingers at people or to be “holier-than-thou”. I post it in the hopes that someone out there will benefit from the wisdom that comes from the Word. That families, marriages and childrens’ futures will be built up, not further destroyed. I appreciate the work of these types of organizations.

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Banned in School — from The Innovative Educator by Lisa Nielsen

From DSC:

This item caught my eye because this very sort of thing prevented me from helping some of our remote student teachers this week. The schools that they were in did not permit access to the servers that provided web-based collaboration software.  The reasons I picked up from the email-based correspondence was that the schools were concerned about the misuse of such technologies — based upon actual acts of digital vandalism they had occurred at their schools or other schools.

Though I understand the concerns of the administrations — especially in light of the litigious society that we live in — I couldn’t help but reflect upon how incredibly unfortunate that — again — a small percentage of bad apples ruins it for the rest of the students.

What can we do to promote better digital citizenship? Ethics? Morality?

I agree with Lisa when she asserts that it is no longer acceptable to have disconnected teaching and learning environments. It is not ultimately beneficial to ban teachers and students from the Internet.

P.S. If we can’t help our student teachers out in such matters, it makes change all the more difficult to implement.

Surviving the Future

From biotech visionaries growing new body parts, to in vitro meat, from a global sensor web that monitors the health of the earth’s biosphere, to a massive effort to reverse-engineer the human brain, Surviving the Future takes a disquieting and astonishing look at some of science’s most radical new technologies.

The film also takes a hard look at the ‘new normal’ of the climate crisis, as we balance our desire to be environmentally responsible—to ‘do the right thing’—and still participate in the consumer economy that is, for better or worse, the basis of our society.

Surviving the future is an unsettling glimpse into the human psyche right now, as our culture staggers between a fervent belief in futuristic utopian technologies on the one hand, and dreams of apocalyptic planetary payback on the other.

Thought provoking and visually stunning, Surviving the Future looks at the stark and extreme choices facing our species as we prepare ourselves for the most challenging and consequential period in our history.

From DSC:
These are some of the things I was alluding to in my post here…I’d be more comfortable with many of these things if the state of the heart were in better condition.

We need to be constantly checking and praying about the state of our hearts.


The State of the Heart

From DSC:
My conscience prompts me to write this…as my recent posting on developing and using web-based learner profiles was not meant to try and ultimately recreate the human brain.  I don’t think that’s possible. Rather, I was hoping that we could use such methods and breakthroughs to promote the personalization, customization, and engagement levels of the learning materials and experiences that we are able to offer each other.

But the posting got me to reflecting on a variety of technological advancements…and I couldn’t help but wonder about the motivations at play sometimes here.

That is, things can begin innocently enough and with excellent intentions.  For example, with stem-cell research, such research can offer understanding on how stem cells might be able to help treat debilitating conditions such as Parkinson’s disease, traumatic spinal injury, or be used for positively affecting other clinical and therapeutic applications. And that’s great! Excellent!

But the problem for me in many of these endeavors lies in the hearts of mankind. Because, who knows where things could go from there…

Will we one day find ourselves being able to create fellow human beings? If so, who determines what those fellow human beings are like? Will we be able to program a robot to continually learn? If so, how will such devices be used by individuals? Corporations? Governments? Nations?

I know…it sounds rather bizarre and far-fetched. But with the rate of technological advancements, I just think we need to take a pulse check on the motivations involved. I’m suspect that the motivations of many folks out there are not in mankind’s ultimate best interest…plus…sometimes these individuals and organizations just don’t have the heart.

Ezekiel 11:19 (NIV)
I will give them an undivided heart and put a new spirit in them;
I will remove from them their heart of stone and give them a heart of flesh.

P.S. from DSC:
I need to say that my heart is in constant need of attention as well;
I don’t claim to be perfect…but I also don’t claim to want to play God.

From DSC:
I read two things this morning that were very disturbing:

1) The first was an email from Senator Levin, where he summarized the Financial Crisis Investigation Hearings. He provided a link to his Senate website where it concludes with the following:

These findings are deeply troubling. They show a Wall Street culture that, while it may once have focused on serving clients and promoting commerce, is now all too often simply self-serving. The ultimate harm here is not just to clients poorly served by their investment bank. It’s to all of us. The toxic mortgages and related instruments that these firms injected into our financial system have done incalculable harm to people who had never heard of a mortgage-backed security or a CDO, and who have no defenses against the harm such exotic Wall Street creations can cause.

Running through our findings and these hearings is a thread that connects the reckless actions of mortgage brokers at WaMu with market-driven credit rating agencies and the Wall Street executives designing the next synthetic. That thread is unbridled greed, and the absence of a cop on the beat to control it.

As we speak, lobbyists fill the halls of Congress, hoping to weaken or kill legislation aimed at reforming these abuses. Wall Street is on the wrong side of this fight. It insists that reining in its excesses would unduly restrict a free market that is the engine of American progress. But this market isn’t free of self-dealing or conflict of interest. It is not free of gambling debts that taxpayers end up paying.

I hope the executives before us today, and their colleagues on Wall Street, will recognize the harm that their actions have caused to so many of their fellow citizens. But whether or not they take responsibility for their role, I hope this Congress will follow the example of another Congress, eight decades ago, and enact the reforms that will put a cop back on the Wall Street beat.

2) …and I thought of posting it. But I thought, no…I won’t go there. Who am I to point this out? How does this affect higher ed and the rest of us? (BTW, I don’t know enough about Senator Levin to support or not support him or his efforts here). But then I saw this article immediately after that:

E-mail Suggests Goldman Knew Harvard Would Lose –The Boston Globe

A Goldman Sachs e-mail from February 2007 acknowledged that a large trade in complex mortgage-related securities would be “good for us’’ but bad for several customers, including Harvard University.

The e-mail was part of a large batch of correspondence released over the weekend by the Senate subcommittee that grilled Goldman executives yesterday about their alleged role in the financial crisis.

The Harvard e-mail was one of many portraying the Wall Street giant as having profited on the housing bust — indeed, betting against the sector — while rivals and even esteemed clients lost money.

Harvard declined to disclose how much it lost on the trade. The Senate-released e-mails, however, show Harvard was on the losing end of a $500 million derivatives trade. Essentially, by entering into an exotic collateralized debt obligation — a wager on the direction of mortgage securities — Harvard lost money when the mortgages went bad. Full Story

From DSC:
…and when I saw this second item, I had to write something here.

We are affected by the actions of others. We impact others with our actions. We are all in this boat together.

Is there — or should there be a place for — a role of those of us in higher education to attempt to instill some morals and values into our students?  It seems to me we at least need to point out that the future actions of our students will have positive or negative affects on others, and to not just look out for themselves, but also look to the interests of others.

I don’t mean to come off as high-and-mighty, full of finger pointing. But it seems to me that during an influential point in our students’ lives, we should be helping make the world a better place…not raising up students who hungrily move into the Wall Street offices and repeat the same types of behavior that got us into a heap of trouble — or to students who can’t wait to get into a lucrative lobbying position, while shutting off their consciences in their pursuit of obtaining the almighty dollar.

© 2021 | Daniel Christian