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Five Stones and a Slingshot

According to Rick Hess, a resident scholar and director of education policy studies at the American Enterprise Institute, Common Core standards have roots in President George W. Bush’ No Child Left Behind Act in 2002. Like so many education reform initiatives that seem to arise out of nowhere, Common Core Curriculum is another example of invisible human beings endowed with inordinate power to impose their ideas on public education. If case you were wondering, you can thank the National Governors Association for Common Core Standards. This attempt to re-invent the wheel for public education has left states and students well behind. When you add new curriculum such as the 1619 Project, Critical Race Theory, and White Privilege, America’s history is being erased before our very eyes.

David said to Saul, Let no man’s heart fail because of this Philistine; your servant will go out and fight with him. 33 And Saul said to David, You are not able to go to fight against this Philistine. You are only an adolescent, and he has been a warrior from his youth. 34 And David said to Saul, Your servant kept his father’s sheep. And when there came a lion or again a bear and took a lamb out of the flock, 35 I went out after it and smote it and delivered the lamb out of its mouth; and when it arose against me, I caught it by its beard and smote it and killed it, 1 Samuel 18:32-35.

As people and societies evolve, moments arise often via technology to find a faster, more efficient and quicker way of doing things. Instead of focusing on the basics: Reading, Writing, and Arithmetic, those in charge want to place their own stamp on how things are done. Take for example the passage below as the king and military leader is trying to instruct a shepherd boy on how defeat a giant. Initially, David appeases King Saul, trying on a heavy suit of armor. After moving around, this equipment was too bulky, preventing David from using his agility and quickness. Although the conversation between these two is brief, it appears that David convinces King Saul to let him use what he’s good at. While the odds were against him, David trades in a suit of armor for five stones and a slingshot.

David said, The Lord Who delivered me out of the paw of the lion and out of the paw of the bear, He will deliver me out of the hand of this Philistine. And Saul said to David, Go, and the Lord be with you! 38 Then Saul clothed David with his armor; he put a bronze helmet on his head and clothed him with a coat of mail. 39 And David girded his sword over his armor. Then he tried to go, but could not, for he was not used to it. And David said to Saul, I cannot go with these, for I am not used to them. And David took them off. 40 Then he took his staff in his hand and chose five smooth stones out of the brook and put them in his shepherd’s [lunch] bag [a whole kid’s skin slung from his shoulder], in his pouch, and his sling was in his hand, and he drew near the Philistine, 1 Samuel 17:37-40.

In 1993, the Christian artist Wes King released the Robe, one of his best albums. While other songs from this collection receive most of the attention, one struck a chord with my soul. The lyrics of Second String begins with an 8th grade football player whose girl friend is a cheerleader. The only problem is this individual rides the bench, praying to get into the game. The second stanza fast forwards to high school to an embarrassing moment on his first date. The third and final stanza refers back to David’s battle with Goliath. Like a tee ball player who is being over coached by every parent in the crowd, David stops listening to everyone else by turning an attentive ear to God. When push comes to shove, you have to trust in your God given gifts and talents. Although you may be tempted to try something outside your comfort zones, five stones and a slingshot led a shepherd boy into the king’s castle.

by Jay Mankus

Beyond the Breakfast Club

It’s hard to believe that February 2020 will mark the 35th anniversary of the Breakfast Club’s release.  This eighties film introduced five teenagers from five distinct social classes.  An athlete, brain, loner, prom queen and rebel are forced to spend an entire Saturday together in detention.  This motley crew clashes initially as stereotypes prevent each from opening up about who these students really are outside of school.

When words are many, transgression is not lacking, but whoever restrains his lips is prudent, Proverbs 10:19.

In today’s political climate, the Breakfast Club would never occur.  Three white boys and two white girls is not an inclusive representation of modern culture.  Meanwhile, skeptics would be turned off by white privilege, offended by anti Me Too Movement messages and disappointed from the lack of diversity.  When symbolism becomes more important than the substance of a movie, meaning and purpose get lost.

Whoever covers an offense seeks love, but he who repeats a matter separates close friends, Proverbs 17:9.

During an eighties weekend on AMC, I watched the Breakfast Club from beginning to end for the first time in years.  Beyond the plot of this classic film, I was struck by the courage it takes to get beneath surface level conversation.  Looking back on my own years in high school, I rarely took the time to fight through the BS.  I shied away from unpleasant encounters, afraid of what I may find or what others might recognize about me.  If you want to go beyond the breakfast club, press on until you discover what makes someone behave the way they do.

by Jay Mankus

How to be a Man

In March 2009 The Rick and Bubba Show was heard on XM Radio channel 158.  Today, Rick Burgess and Bill “Bubba” Bussey appear each weekday morning on their flagship station WZZK-FM along with several other radio stations in 15 different states.  Last week, Rick and Bubba were guests on Fox and Friends to promote their new book entitled How to be a Man.  The content is based upon the Bible, using biblical principles to highlight how to become a spiritual man of God.

When I was a child, I talked like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child; when I became a man, I did away with childish things, 1 Corinthians 13:11.

If you listen to college professors or pay attention to recent trends at higher education institutions across the country, manhood is under attack by feminists.  Courses on losing your manhood, white privilege and becoming gender neutral is confusing young men.  Unfortunately, recent college graduates are rejecting the values taught to them by their upbringing.  As post-modernism and secularism humanism is being embraced by millennials, the Bible is no longer considered a credible source for how to become a man.

For now [in this time of imperfection] we see in a mirror dimly [a blurred reflection, a riddle, an enigma], but then [when the time of perfection comes we will see reality] face to face. Now I know in part [just in fragments], but then I will know fully, just as I have been fully known [by God], 1 Corinthians 13:12.

The apostle Paul became a spiritual father to thousands of converts to Christianity.  Some of these believers lived in the city of Corinth.  In the passage above, Paul refers to times in life when things are blurry.  Perhaps, Paul is referring to boys who are struggling to become a man.  Since perfection does not come quickly, learning to become a man takes time and years of practice.  Therefore, if you find yourself stuck, confused by the enigma of manhood, take time to study the book of Proverbs.  These godly instructions should give you the information you need to transition from a boy into a man.

by Jay Mankus

I Get It or Do I?

Each year television offers a plethora of programing that debates who is the best.  Categories include athletes, politicians and specific occupations.  One of the measuring sticks often applied is education.  Anyone who attends an ivy league school is automatically given high marks.  Well, unless of course your name is George W. Bush or Donald J. Trump.  This method of judging subtract points for possessing the wrong political affiliation or unpopular worldviews.  In other words, if you are conservative, you must not be that intelligent.

We do, however, speak a message of wisdom among the mature, but not the wisdom of this age or of the rulers of this age, who are coming to nothing.  No, we declare God’s wisdom, a mystery that has been hidden and that God destined for our glory before time began, 1 Corinthians 2:6-7.

As I recount the words of the apostle Paul within 1 Corinthians 2, I understand the mindset behind this earthly logic.  There is an elitism that exists among the ruling party and upper class.  Thus, standards are developed by leaders of each age, encouraged, promoted and supported by journalists and members of the media.  Whenever anyone strays from these bench mark ideas, educators attempt shame people into adherence.  This plan is being executed daily at colleges and universities throughout the country.

The person without the Spirit does not accept the things that come from the Spirit of God but considers them foolishness, and cannot understand them because they are discerned only through the Spirit.  The person with the Spirit makes judgments about all things, but such a person is not subject to merely human judgments, 1 Corinthians 2:14-15.

If you don’t believe me, you might want to check up on the assignments your children are being asked to do for homework as well as the topical papers that play a big part in the overall grades for this class.  Whether it’s embracing progressive ideas, global warming or white privilege, anyone who rejects these teachings are automatically labeled as bigots, racists and sexists.  I’m not sure the exact issues the apostle Paul was fervently debating in the first century, but I get what the Bible says about being foolishness in the eyes of the world.  Only through the power of the Holy Spirit does someone see life clearly.  Those who rely too much on human logic end up becoming blind to truth.  I think I get or do I?  What do you think?

by Jay Mankus

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