Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Reading and Retention: 201

I wrote yesterday about a recent Oklahoma legislative measure that would provide for secondary reviews of some 8,000 "unsatisfactory" scores from Oklahoma third graders. The test was for reading proficiency, and Oklahoma Law mandates that students be retained if they fail the test.

This reminded me of the role of reading education in the history of the Church. The modern "Sunday school" program has its roots in mid 19th century England, where poor and low-income children whose families couldn't afford tuition to private school received free lessons and tutoring in churches. Sunday school really was all about academics in the beginning. Today's children's Christian education programs aren't even a shade of their ancestry.

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Reading and Retention: 101

Today Oklahoma Governor Mary Fallin vetoed a bill (HB2625) that would have given special permission to a select committee of parents and specialists (educators) to review the scores of nearly 8,000 Oklahoma 3rd graders. These students scored "unsatisfactory" on the state's reading sufficiency test and are faced with retention - being "held back" to repeat the 3rd grade next school year. The special committee would have had the authority to review each individual test score and make a determination if that child should be advanced or indeed be retained.

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Stigmatizing Education

I really thought we were through with this guy. Well, apparently not.

Sunday, May 11, 2014


Surely you thought this was a post about the classic comedy film. I hate to disappoint, so I won't.

Now that that's out of the way, here's what we ran into on Saturday morning while enjoying breakfast at Wiley Post Airport in OKC;

Well, we didn't really run into it - but we did get to check out this very cool Bombardier 415 superscooper aircraft. It's called the Tanker 260 and was in use recently in Logan County. The kids even got to enjoy the inside, look out the bubble window and check out the tanks:

Because of the hull shape of the lower section of the plane, and the need to use that space for holding water, the landing gear fold in and upward into the body of the fuselage rather than tucked underneath as in traditional aircraft.

The massive length and thickness of the wing gives the craft the lift it needs in order to scoop and transport water to fire afflicted areas. Each wing has a pontoon to stabilize the craft while skimming the water, or while floating in stationary position. The aircraft will hold 19,000 gallons of water between 2 tanks, scooped from a lake at 90 mph through two intake ports, no larger than 5x7 inches each. Wild huh!!

For more on this aircraft and it's recent visit to central OK, check this story on the Fire Aviation website.

Garden 2014

It's been a while since we've posted an update on our garden. (with the exception of this quick post about the grapes). Mostly because we're lazy and have forgotten about keeping you informed, dear reader.

So - here's a photo essay of the garden, version 2014:

Preaching: Easter 4 "The Gift of Life, Abindant"

The Gift of Life, Abundant!
Easter 4, May 11th, 2014

If I have done my math correct, today is the 21st sermon I’ve given here at FCC Kingfisher. And in these 5 plus months I’ve learned something about myself as a preacher. I like to explain preaching in my sermons. I’ve often said things like “what makes this passage interesting to preach on is…” or “the traditional preaching of this passages includes this…” 

And so keeping in what has now seemed a pattern, I have to say, preaching on Mother’s Day is a daunting task for several reasons. One, it’s Mother’s Day and people need to hear a good word on mom’s day. Two, it’s all too easy to lump the good deeds and self sacrifice of Jesus in with the selfless acts of motherhood, which can lead to tricky and often unfulfilling promises and statements of belief. Third, and maybe most importantly is that the day isn’t celebrated by all people, for whatever reasons, and as a pastor, I have to be willing to call reality as I see it – and note the challenges with preaching on a specific day.