The Lesson Plans of Tomorrow

Faith full Circle

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As another years concludes, both liturgically and secularly, my personal health journey is beginning to take a turn. Not for the worse (though my health will if I don’t follow this) but for the better.  Diagnoses have been confirmed and now more than ever (as shawn and I want to look towards kids in the future), I want to start losing weight.  I know, same ol’ story. And if I say its different,  you’ll rolls your eyes. But hold fast grasshoppers!

I am developing a way to better my spiritual discipline along with my physical/emotional/mental discipline, I am going to be starting something new. Well–not new, but something different. It allows me to view my health as a whole and approach life in a better way. Here is the idea: following the church calendar with my weight loss…

Now, i don’t mean following every saint, reading what things they fasted from and then practicing those myself. No–God worked through those men and women for different means.  What i means is taking the basics of the liturgical calendar for some structure and apply it to the disciplines of my life that need work.

Why on earth would you do this? — mostly because I love organization and structure.  Life has taught me 1) that these can be good and 2) don’t let these run your life.  Two VERY important lessons to be applied during this change.

What liturgical elements are you going to include: My method is to use the major church holidays.

Here they are:
Marti Gras
Ash Wednesday/Lent
Holy Week (breaking up throughout the week with palm sunday/maude Thursday/good friday and holy saturday
Resurrection Sunday

the first break between Christmas and lent will have some filling in of Jesus’ life and the break between Pentecost and Advent the next year will be filled with epistle understandings.

Goals? This is actually an important part of my structure.  Thinking holistically means working towards a goal in mind, not just reaching a number. So here are my thoughts:
1) to lose 100lbs (yes, that much) over the next year and to keep it off the following year.
2) to have my cholesterol/pre-diabetes/pcos under control to where it doesn’t affect my lifestyle, my loves or my life.
3) to be exercising to the point where, as a friend of mine put it, you are “addicted to it.”
4) to have read through the entire Bible in Greek/Hebrew with assisting translation…and then go through it again… and again… and again…
5) to create a spiritual disciple of prayer, reading and communication with God

I know their small, but they are huge to me. And while they may be high jumps, I know they take small steps and practices to work through it.

So when does all this begin? I have broken up the starting plan into several ways.  The first time, like preparation for the coming of Christ, is preparation time for the health lifestyle.  I don’t wan tho waste, so my goal will be for the next couple weeks (until October 1st) I will be eating/getting rid of the things I do not need. Unfortunately, that may include my cake-baking supplies, because let’s face it, while I love them, they are not good for me and i frankly have not used them. But good news in this process is I can take the time to pray about it and make a decision.

the Second phase will “begin” on November 30th, at which point all foods will be gone. This is the beginning of advent. I am considering an advent calendar of sorts that will encourage healthy eating with messages about the coming Christ-child.

Third Phase–real life application and devotion. This time is typically devoted to following around Christ in the Bible (since its between his birth and death at Easter). This is the time I plan on still translating and exercising. Practice of discipline, of walking a mile in someone’s shoes, has value and this is about a 2-3 month period anyways…then add in Lent after Ash Wednesday which is a glorified of the same thing.

Mardi Gras–this will be a party. One day where I can eat/drink whatever I want. Where i can purposefully let go of translating commitments and spiritual study, despite my longing to always be listening. Truly.

Ash Wednesday & the beginning of Lent: this year I truly want to give up something. Something of value that others deserve more. Both spiritually and physically. Spirit-wise I may share some of my translations with people or double my discipline time. Physically I may give up red meat, or carbs, or something that I should already be sacrificing or something hard to sacrifice yet vitally important.

Holy Week: this gets its own category because every day, from Sunday to Sunday, brings out new meaning to the New Exodus and New Creation about to be formed in the dying of Jesus on the cross. Myabe I will try translating without assistance until I get it or something. Don’t know, but struggle is the key here… struggle with God. I am thinking of fasting too, maybe Good Friday. You must prepare for fasten

Resurrection Sunday–celebrate! whatever point I am at, not matter how much weight or verses I’ve translated, I plan on using this time (and other holidays sometimes) as i brief moment to celebrate and thank God to where he has brought me & where i am going. you need these days. They’re important.

Pentecost: the point of this day was that all were living in the Spirit. That’s where I want to be. whatever that looks like. This is more Spirit-guided portion of the year always 😉

Well, there you have it. My new guide & goals. And its not new year’s. Nope-its just 2015. Let the new earth and new heaven and new creation come together … in more ways than one. 🙂

This also is a good way to follow the Bible–through the Church calendar. I am in search of a liturgical reading of the Bible through 1 year or 2 years that I can follow. I want to start on advent, get prepared over the next 6 weeks as well as complete some items at work that would make room for more efficient study.

If anyone wants to try & follow with me, that would be great! I am willing to consider publishing daily/weekly reminder/tactics for review if enough people think it might be a good idea.

Little Bazinga Leaks!

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This Sunday and beginning this month-I will be teaching a class at church called “Biblical Words with Bazinga.” Yes-I did it! It is meant to be a class that looks at the original meaning of words and demonstrates how they may enhance our faith. Here is a snidbit of what is to come. If you want to check me out–I’m at Messiah Lutheran Church on Tuesday nights at 7pm and tomorrow, Sunday, Feb. 2nd at the adult forum at 9a after first service.

Now, before I get too deep into my topic, I do want to introduce myself a little and hopefully give myself some credibility. I am a Anaheim native who grew up with a deep desire for languages. Before I got to Jr. High and High school, i was planning out what languages I wanted to learn. Growing up in a methodist church that had a relationship with a Jewish synagogue encouraged a curiosity for Hebrew. I remember asking my mom what the characters on the wall were when I was young. She explained that Jewish people knew hebrew, and that things on the wall were written in that language. Well–I figured since Jewish people were like Christian, it couldn’t hurt to want to know Hebrew, right? Honest–I even asked my mom if I could go to Hebrew school. I told this to a Jewish person once and he cracked up because all he could do was to try & come up with reasons NOT to go when he was young.

When I entered high school, I originally had chosen German to study (since that’s my heritage) but our school dropped the program so I was forced to learn Spanish. Some of my friends learned Japanese (Anime-Japanese comic art was big in my high school) which sparked my interest in looking at things I was not familiar with. Then I went to college and heaven forbidden LATIN was available. I personally thought everyone should learn Latin liked they did when my mom was young–I know it helped with grammar and syntax along with understanding the root for Romance languages, which included spanish, french, Portuguese and the like. While I was taking latin, I got a sudden urge to study theology. Once I figured there was a degree in studying religion and God and everything related to that, I was full force. I grew up in church, loved church and was excited that it was an academic field of study. I know, I’m crazy. But I guess God has something planned for it all–we’ll see. My junior year, though not required to take anymore languages–our biblical studies department offered HEBREW! I was so excited-I even studied from England while I was abroad. My last year I also took Russian. Why? Because my dad had tried to learn Russian for work with his involvement with the NASA shuttle program and I always remember seeing the dictionary on my bedroom shelf in the “old” books pile.

Currently I have moved onto a Master Degree from Fuller Seminary in theology with a biblical studies emphasis. I have since taken Greek, tried to teach myself German and Italian, made it a bucket-list goal to learn some eastern asian language (probably Korean) and feel I am being called to dispense this chunk of knowledge somewhere. I have always felt that language-how we say, what we say & the different ways we have to say things–always expand our understanding of our world and especially our understanding of our faith. As you will see, there are several words in the Bible that in their original languages provide a much greater definition of certain faith concepts than the English allows us to permit. Now, don’t get me wrong–I love English too. However, our words do not by themselves define concepts. For example–think of the second person plural concept. In different languages, there are different words that describe when you are taking about “you” referring to a group of 2 or more doing something. The closest we get in English is “y’all” which is discouraged in proper English.

So I am going to be going over some of the words I plan to look at in my weekly class starting Tuesdays this month. Each week will have a theme to it: Words for God, Words from the OT, Words for Christ and New Testament Jargon. I will be looking at 4-8 different words in the Bible that by just looking at their original meaning will hopefully help expand or help define you faith a little better.

WORD FOR GOD– Let’s first open our BIble up to page one.. start reading from a Bible that has introductory pages… Bazinga!
Ok, but seriously, let’s open our Bibles to Genesis 1:1-5. Now, I know many of you have heard this before–but what I want you to do is look for how God is described. Here we go

So, here In the first creation story (what!? yes, there are two creation stories–see Genesis 2 for the other) we hear about God creating the world. In this section there are two very distinct descriptions of God-can anyone name them? nothing complicated, not tricks [[God-Creator and God-Spirit] and we’re going to look at both of them real quickly.

Meaning: God (or gods)
Genesis 1 uses the term elohim as the description for God. In “standard” Hebrew, this term is actually the plural form of the word for God. However, if you were Jewish, in NO WAY is God multiple gods. And, ironically, a Jewish description of God would not include the Trinity since Jews don’t believe in Jesus or even know about Him when they were writing this.
elohim has a singular meaning to demonstrate the greatness of God’s Mighty Force. Think about what God is doing in this section.

He’s creating, He’s God over EVERYTHING, He’s turning on lights and He’s making things from nothing. CRAZY, isn’t it? The Hebrew uses this same term (elohim) throughout this entire section to re-emphasize the importance of a Mighty Creator. Even the verb that indicates “to create” is only used in biblical text for divine creation.

Language and Linguistics

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I have a great desire to teach, learn and engage in language.  This is more like a “work in progress” but I think I could put together a linguistics/intro to language class.

Objective: Understanding how language works between humans.  Looking at basics for understanding a second language.

Books: Contemporary Linguistics by O’Grady; the Language Instinct & The Stuff of Thought by Steven Pinker and the Atoms of Language by Mark Baker. It’s said I would want to use the books i’m reading right now but I really enjoy them and they help explain things well.  And one is a textbook…and I definitely want to include some evaluation if Chomsky and Greenberg ..both founders in the modern linguistic scholarship

Weekly schedule

1) What is Language– What defines language.  How are they grouped? Review divisions, similarities and differences.Read first chapter in O’grady, first three chapters in Baker.

2)History of Language–Review the historical grouping, see how languages are interconnected.  When did language begin? How languages have processed over time.

3)Elements of Language–Grammer, universal? new theories; Synatx; Words; Do these items differentiate language?

4)Parameter Theory, pt1—Review major type of parameters

a) Polysynthetic

b) Head Directionality

c) Subject side

D) verb attraction.

5) Parameter Theory, pt2 — subject placement, serial verbs, null subjects, adjuster neutralize, ergative case, topic prominent.

6) Language & culture: How culture and language interact.

Language and Thought process really interest me.  It’s intrigue that we can associate certain words with things and it creates certain thoughts.  I’m actually going to be playing on this in my Bible Study/Adult Forum class on Biblical Words.  I’ll post a blog about the class when its closer to its fruition and probably a blog on my opinion of Scripture…if you were waiting for something else to read.

Research Writing Class

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I am going to admit something very nerdy: I LOVE TO RESEARCH.  It’s what I do at home all day on the computer.  Give me a topic and I will find everything I can on the subject.  I realized this when I was asked in class to provide some initial items on the final research paper and only after 3 hours I was able to have the required amount of resources (articles, reviews, online sources and books), a temporary thesis, a pseudo outline.  And the only reason I stopped looking into the topic is because the coffee shop was closing.

So out of all of this–I decided since I enjoy researching things for papers I would teach a seminar/class on the topic. So…here it goes! FYI the Chicago/Turabian has this section in the beginning– i HIGHLY recommend reading it.  It is absolutely useful and where I got several of my methods from.

1. choosing a topic. — This is probably the worst feeling in the world.  When you get the syllabus at the beginning of the class and you see “research paper” on topic of your choosing. People generally freak out.  And (Surprise!) I don’t like this part either.  WAY TOO VAGUE in my mind.  However, here’s how I approach.  First, read over the syllabus VERY carefully.  Check for any guidelines or instructions.  Currently one of my professors handed out with the syllabus a guideline for both critical reviews & the final research paper along with an well written paper.  Utilize anything like this to your advantage because it will help with your grade.  Second–choose something you like.  Something that keeps your interest.  Because if you do not like “the history of the fly” and you choose this topic, you may be stuck with it.  I learned this the hard way in biology class in high school. 2 term papers. First term I chose the black panther. I learned very quickly that there were problems with the term & I didn’t get a good grade.  However, second term when I chose to study & write about my mom’s stem cell translate, because the topic personally interested me, I got a far better grade.  And in high is not the only time this has happened to me.  Third, TALK to your professor.  It does not help to sit in silence wondering what you could or would do.  Your prof will be the one grading & red marking, so its best to make sure he/she is on page with you.  And many times, the good profs will give you direction on where to go with your topic.  Remember, usually when you’re choosing a topic or just presenting the initial findings, you do not need to have a thesis statement or something already planned out. It’s the point of research.

2. Finding material— this is probably my favorite part of research papers. Finding all the information.  In today’s age, you can look for all kinds of things–from eBooks, articles online (especially in a university database) and even blogs & discussions about the topic if you’re doing something contemporary.  And don’t just take everything at first site.  Keep track of what you look at, take some notes if you need.  Get creative of topics to look under.  If you’re doing a research on someone’s viewpoint on a topic, consider learning about the person as well.  The history of someone can definitely help you write better about their topic.

3. Some other helpful points:  WRITE AN OUTLINE.  Trust me. I don’t care how silly it sounds.  But when you have writer’s block the entire week before the paper is due, an outline can truly save you.  And it helps you stay focused.  Also, I would write a thesis first then the outline.  Again helps with structure & focus.  I know from my perspective, its much easier to judge how much I need to write with an outline instead of keeping it inside my head.  Most of my grad professors have a word minimum–so it doesn’t matter what margins or font I use–so an outline helps extremely with judging word length.

4. Make some drafts.  and then some more…and then more.  🙂

I hope this helps someone. I know if I had known about writing research papers in this extensive amount of detail and emphasis early on I think I would have learned to write better papers.


Book of Exodus

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Another one of my favorite books of the old testament is exodus.  Not only do you get the story of Israel’s prototype prophet Moses, but you also hear the stories of Israel roaming in the desert.  Also included are the 10 commandments, stories about spirits and snakes and the children of Israel just NOT getting it.  Similar to how the disciples acted around Jesus.. 🙂

For books I would want to use a scholarly commentary and then 2 otber books presenting perspectives, one from Christian and one from  Jewish/rabbinical text.  It would give students a  broader perspective on such a action packed book.

A breakdown of the class would mostly consistence of running through the chapters in sections, similar to the Isaiah class i posted about earlier. I agree with my professor Dr. Tremper Longman in spending some time on covenant and its meaning in the Hebrew context because that is the WHOLE point sometimes in the story.