Category Archives: The English School

Testing professionally*

(a) Models must be testable
(b) Must generate predictions
(c) Predictions must be able to guide the discovery process.
(d) Must not be merely a default position.
(e) Must abolish counter-claim.
(f) Must extend beyond the intractable problems the opposing paradigm faced.
(g) Must deal with all legitimate scientific concerns.
(h) Must demonstrate all evidence supporting the model.
Dr. Robin Starbuck

Attitude of blatant honesty

I am deeply touched by the following message. This attitude of blatant honesty, humility and willingness to do the hard work is unspeakably encouraging. It’s such a temptation when one has broken new ground to rest on their laurels and pontificate when in fact they’ve reached a type of new beginning, where an even greater sense of awe and childlikeness should prevail.

“I have a pretty high tolerance for silliness that occurs in the name of Christianity. Everyday I let a million and one things pass by that, while vapid, vacuous, and just downright annoying, are really not worth the energy they would take to address.

What irks me, however, and what I want to strongly caution you against engaging in, is pontificating about matters you have not given sufficient thought to as though God himself has told you that your opinion is the only one that matters. Sadly, as one who served as a pastor for 11 plus years, I did much of this myself. Each time I’d catch wind of an idea being discussed that made me uncomfortable, or that (GASP) contradicted what I believed at the time, I would feel the need to publicly rail against this idea in an arrogant and dogmatic way, so as to say, “Now that’s enough of that nonsense”. The problem was that I was woefully under equipped to speak on most of the things that I did, and, 11 times out of 10, was in no position to bring correction, as I was simply reacting to things that I had taken little to no time to study up on, and when I did, it was simply for the purpose of strengthening my case against what I had already decided was a bad idea.

When I hear, for instance, pastors and teachers seek to bring correction to those who disbelieve in the eternal conscious torment model of hell, I can often tell within a matter of seconds whether or not the individual speaking has given a second’s thought or study to the issue. If they say something like, “Jesus spoke twice as much about hell as he did about heaven”, I instantly know that the actual scholarly works they have consulted on the matter equal probably somewhere right around none, and that they are simply speaking out of their emotions. If you do not care enough about such an important subject to give years to studying it out, please, don’t speak publicly about it.

The same goes for issues like biblical inerrancy, eschatology, atonement theories, etc. If you do not care enough to do the hard work of study, even if it is only independent study, please do not presume to be an expert in these areas. I will readily admit to being an absolute novice who, while I care deeply, read extensively, and consult those with brains much larger and fuller than my own on a regular basis, still have far more questions than I do answers. And the truth is, the more one cares about an issue, and the more time they give to understanding it, it is usually the case that the “question marks” in their brains outnumber the dogmatic “periods”.

Become a student again, my friends. May we all resign the position of know-it-all, and reactionary rhetorician, and return to being those with big enough b…rains to simply say, “I don’t know” when we don’t know, and to not pretend to be in possession of knowledge we have not taken the time to seek out. If an idea offends, let’s be adult enough to consider that maybe, just maybe, our personal offense is not, in any way, connected to God’s opinion, and then respect ourselves and our audiences enough to inform ourselves. May our desire to learn and grow be larger than our desire to be right, or to be admired as a “champion of truth”.

May our thoughts and our questions be numerous, and our declarative statements and dogmatic answers be few.

Jeff Turner
December 30, 2015 ·

English help

If you’re a person who needs or wants to improve their English writing skills, like E.S.L. students – for example, I have a suggestion for you. You don’t need to be deprived of the fun of writing in the abbreviated internet lingo: “Ppl cn get ‘way w a zillion mstakes coz erryone is equl on da Internet!” This writing is here to stay, but it won’t replace standard English – not for a long time, at least. The reason should be obvious: without a measure of standardization, no one would ever be accountable for what they say. So it behooves the ESL learner to practice writing perfectly as well. Both styles have their merits. My advice is as follows: NEVER MIX THE TWO. Decide (randomly is okay) which way you’re going to write and stick to it, for that particular communication and that particular time.

Writing improvement

Dear Mitsu,
I think I have understood your heart’s desire: you want to improve your writing – including poetry – but you really don’t want to take classes for various personal reasons. I happen to agree with you and believe that you have what it takes to accomplish your education goal, namely, self-expression with integrity.
You love learning new words and enjoy tossing them out – right or wrong – in your sentences. You’ve got to stop that!!! It lacks, you guessed it, integrity. Use your new words correctly. Let your dictionary become your closest, most intimate, friend.
“Integrity” in Japanese has a different nuance than in standard English, the latter being more about honesty and self-disclosure. Don’t start speaking or writing without knowing what you want to say – at least not in published form. Leave that for your singing!
Remember, I am addressing how you can improve your English. Learning to be creative in your writing is another topic and is not your personal shortcoming.
Read, listen, chat to your heart’s content, but when you’re ready to write about it, do so with the greatest measure of integrity possible. There’s a young man who is a master at combing through slews of documents, takes copious notes I’m sure, and writes all his findings in the clearest, simplest, most downright honest manner he can summon. Simeon Edigbe periodically sends out the most succinct descriptions of issues that have been dogging the Christian community for years. Even the staunchest intelligentsia read it for its clarity.
But remember (again) this essay is addressing one thing and one thing only: how to equip you with powerful English writing tools that will enable that marvelous poetic flair that you possess so brilliantly to come through unencumbered and free!
Your friend,
(Dr. Robin Starbuck)

Writing heals if honest. Alice Walker
Writing heals if honest.
Alice Walker

Writing needs the Subconscious
Writing needs the Subconscious

Writing Process LOL Chart
Writing Process LOL Chart

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