Category Archives: Education

The Four Faces of God

Discovering Biblical Personhood

I recently attended a men’s breakfast at our church where we heard an excellent lecture from Dr. Robert Lewis on “The Four Faces of Manhood”. Dr Lewis describes the four faces of biblical manhood as follows: King, Warrior, Lover and Friend. He plots these on a graph as follows:

King

Lover —————–  Friend

Warrior

 

God has intended for the King to lead, for the friend to be faithful, for the warrior to be a protector and for the lover to love sacrificially as Christ loves the church (Ephesians 5:25). He then describes how God’s design for man can be perverted by “ugly caricatures”. The King becomes a cruel tyrant or a weak abdicator. The friend becomes a loner or a user of others. The warrior becomes a destroyer or a wimp and the lover becomes critical or cold.

It seemed to me that an unbalanced man would tend to lean in a circular direction and that the ugly caricatures would follow in a predictable pattern so that a tyrant king would be a using friend, a destroying warrior and a critical lover. On the other hand, if the unbalanced man leaned in the other direction he would be a weak abdicator, cold lover, a wimpy warrior and a loner rather than friend.

As I contemplated this, I was reminded of some scriptures about “four faces”. The first was in Ezekiel chapter 1 where Ezekiel has a vision of God’s throne and he describes four creatures (some call seraph) that stand guard around God’s throne:

As for the likeness of their faces, each had the face of a man; each of the four had the face of a lion on the right side, each of the four had the face of an ox on the left side, and each of the four had the face of an eagle. Ezekiel 1:10 NKJV

The Apostle John had a similar vision described in Revelation chapter 4:

Before the throne there was a sea of glass, like crystal. And in the midst of the throne, and around the throne, were four living creatures full of eyes in front and in back. The first living creature was like a lion, the second living creature like a calf, the third living creature had a face like a man, and the fourth living creature was like a flying eagle. Revelation 4:6-7 NKJV

It is interesting that the two visions vary slightly, but to my mind it only lends credibility to the authenticity as the scriptures are inspired by God and penned by men with different perspectives. One can only imagine how frightening such a vision might be and how each might have a different memory of it, just as two people observing a horrible accident might have different accounts. If John had meant to copy Ezekiel he would have done it word for word, but he didn’t. But the two accounts are so similar as to confirm that they were seeing the same throne room.

We must understand that all creation is intended to glorify God as originally created. The creatures guarding God’s throne can be considered to display the character and nature of God just as mankind is made in the image of God. So, what do these creatures tell us about God and how does that apply to mankind?

I believe that the seraph show us that God relates to us as a man and a friend. God came to earth in the form of the man Jesus who referred to Himself as “the Son of Man.” God relates to us as King over all creation as the lion rules over all other creatures. Jesus is referred to as the Lion of the tribe of Judah and revelation assures that He will reign over all creation forever and ever (Rev. 11:15). An ox or a calf is a sacrificial animal. Jesus is the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world (Jn 1:29). An eagle is the swiftest of hunters and warriors. In the Psalms God describes Himself as an eagle protecting His flock.  He shelters us beneath His wings (Psalm 17:8).

So the new chart is this:

King/Lion

Lover/Ox —————– Friend/Man

Warrior/Eagle

As I have repeatedly read these scriptures in Ezekiel and Revelation I have wondered at their meaning and significance. I believe through this study that the Lord has granted me a measure of revelation. The four fold nature of God is even displayed in the different gospel accounts. Matthew depicts Christ as King beginning with His royal lineage (Mt. 2:2). Mark, written from Peter’s memories (Mark was Peter’s scribe), describes Jesus as a friend and a brother (Mark 3:35). No one was closer to Jesus than Peter. Mark reveals Jesus as a man (Mark 9:12).

Luke, written from Paul’s memories (Luke was discipled by Paul), displays Jesus as the warrior, the defender of the faith and the faithful. We see in the gospel of Luke the accounts of Jesus’ battles with the religious leaders and Pharisees (those accounts don’t name Paul, but I believe that he was among those who followed Jesus constantly seeking to trip him up; Luke 6:7). It is interesting that Jesus chose Paul, a fanatical defender of Judaism, to be the primary evangelist and his Acts and his letters portray how he battled like an eagle to defend the gospel.

John, the mystic, the romantic, depicts Christ as a sacrificial lover. He tells us that God so loved the world that He gave and describes Jesus as the Lamb of God. John records Jesus saying, “A new commandment I give unto you, That ye love one another; as I have loved you, that ye also love one another. By this shall all men know that ye are my disciples, if ye have love one to another.” (Joh 13:34-35)

These scriptures revealing God’s nature and our response pertain to all mankind, including women. They show us what biblical personhood is. Women are created to reflect God’s image as well. Women are called to lead, love, protect and befriend all be it in a unique way.

As I looked further into Ezekiel’s vision I discovered that it reveals not only the nature of God, but it speaks about how we must walk with God. The vision shows us how not to become unbalanced, fall into sin and display a false, ugly caricature. I noticed that the creatures walked in the Spirit, that is they followed the Holy Spirit. They didn’t become unbalanced and turn to the left or right.

And each one went straight forward; they went wherever the spirit wanted to go, and they did not turn when they went. Ezekiel 1:12 NKJV

The vision goes on to tell us that a strange object followed each of the creatures.

Now as I looked at the living creatures, behold, a wheel was on the earth beside each living creature with its four faces. The appearance of the wheels and their workings was like the color of beryl, and all four had the same likeness. The appearance of their workings was, as it were, a wheel in the middle of a wheel. When they moved, they went toward any one of four directions; they did not turn aside when they went. Ezekiel 1:15-17 NKJV

The scripture goes on to describe how the wheels are covered with eyes, depicting the all seeing, all knowing nature of God. This strange object, like the Seraphim, does not turn to the left or right, but follows the straight path, the narrow way. It reminded me of a gyroscope. I searched the definition/ function of a gyroscope.

Gyroscope: an apparatus consisting of a rotating wheel so mounted that its axis can turn freely in certain or all directions, and capable of maintaining the same absolute direction in space in spite of movements of the mountings and surrounding parts: used to maintain equilibrium, determine direction, etc.

Gyroscopes are used in aircraft instrumentation to show relative position to the earth. They help the pilot to know where straight and level is. A gyroscope has two perpendicular axes. One is perpendicular to the earth and the other is parallel. The axes of a gyroscope make a cross.

Our church has recently been studying the book of Romans. Last week I heard a message from chapter 7 by pastor Keith Knight. Chapter 7 is about struggling with sin. The conclusion is that there is deliverance from sin through Jesus Christ. At the climax of the message Keith turned to a cross on the stage and told us that when the struggle is there, he turns to the cross and reminds himself what Jesus did there to save us from sin. That is the key! That is what will keep us on the straight and narrow road.

I know that this vision is meant to show us that God has provided us with a holy gyroscope to help us follow Him. If we focus on what happened on the cross we will keep our spiritual bearings and not wander off to the left or right displaying an ugly image.

It’s interesting that such a mysterious vision should boil down to such a simple truth that is spelled out in the New Testament: that the way to overcome is to walk in the Spirit and keep your focus on Christ’s finished work on the cross. That is exactly how God revealed Himself in the old covenant. Jesus spoke in parables because He searches for seekers who will find revelation in ALL of scripture.

 

 

 

 

 

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Answers to the Most Common Objections to Privatizing Public Education

As I am working to restore the republic by dismantling public education I find many parents and teachers that are furious with our public education system. Most want to simply reform the system. I would caution them that the likelihood of success at reforming the system is small. Reformers have been working at it for half a century without much success. I would liken it to reforming federal spending. It’s too big. We’ve passed the tipping point. There are too many powerful entrenched interests opposing them including big government progressives, big union bosses and giant corporate moguls. They have billions of dollars to spend. I want people to consider a radical solution that could be achieved outside the normal political processes. It involves your choice in the limited time that may be available. I want to address the most common objections I hear to privatization.

“It would be impossible to accomplish.” True, through normal political/ legislative processes. Maybe not as impossible as overturning Common Core! The entire funding system is based upon daily attendance. A sizeable boycott (25%+) would bankrupt many school districts, thus forcing legislative relief which would trigger the debate. A large scale boycott would make enforcement of truancy laws impossible. Social media can be exploited to enable a boycott to go viral. Parents would not have to make immediate alternative plans. You could say that you were home schooling, do it in the evening or work with other parents. A viral boycott could shut the system down within a few months. There would be a transition phase where private alternatives would arise. There would be thousands of teachers seeking employment. There would be empty real estate available for lease at bargain prices.

I hear this objection: “Most people do not or cannot home school and cannot afford private school. What would happen to poor and inner city children?” Federal and state income and sales taxes could be reduced by eliminating education spending. Education spending is the largest budget item in most states. Total taxpayer investment in K-12 education in the United States for the 2004-05 school year is estimated to be $536 billion. Most property taxes could be cut by 60 – 75%. See: http://febp.newamerica.net/background-analysis/school-finance

Source: National Center for Education Statistics

“Federal K-12 education spending—including spending in the Department of Education and other departments—has increased rapidly. Spending jumped from $12.5 billion in 1965 to $72.8 billion in 2008—a more than five-fold increase.”

See more at: http://www.downsizinggovernment.org/education/k-12-education-subsidies#sthash.OJihhsTC.dpuf

As property taxes are reduced, housing expense will be reduced. Even landlords are subject to competition. This would help pay for private education or make it possible for one parent to stay home to home school. The cost/ pupil in private education is less than a public education now. As competition and choice increased, private education costs would likely decline. Private schools and charities could offer scholarships for poor children who are committed to learning. Typically, especially in inner city schools, a number of students disrupt the learning environment because they have no interest in being educated and parents are either absent or disinterested. Too many kids aspire to a life of crime or dependency. Teachers and schools spend a disproportionate amount of time and money attempting to control/ educate these students to the detriment of other students. The success rate with these students is low. Many aspire to a life of crime and that is where many end up anyway. After all of the time and expense a large proportion of these end up incarcerated or on public assistance. In a private school, disruptive students and uncooperative parents would be expelled. We really don’t have much to lose by letting many of these kids go. Perhaps some will wise up through the school of hard knocks.

I hear teachers say that they would suffer pay reductions and many good quality teachers would quit. Teacher pay reductions would probably be temporary. As the number of private schools expanded dramatically, demand for quality teachers would increase proportionally. In a private environment teacher pay would be based more on performance than seniority. Privatization would eliminate much of the dead wood in the teacher corps. Teacher performance would be evaluated more by the teacher’s direct supervisor rather than some nameless bureaucrat and it would not be based upon some bogus standardized test. With reduced class sizes and fewer disruptive students, teachers would be able to focus on teaching. The job experience would be much more enjoyable. With privatization, there would be much more diversity in styles of teaching and curriculum as different schools sought to carve out their own niche. Teachers would have more of a say in developing curriculum and teaching methods. Teaching would be a more rewarding career in more ways than just money. Too many teachers today are burned out because of the system they are forced to work under. 10 years x $100,000. = $1,000,000. 25 years x $75,000. = $1,875,000.

Learn more: https://www.facebook.com/groups/536415279763727/

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Radical Solution to the Education Problem

Radical Solution to the Education Problem

Perhaps the solution, just as with the Post Office, is to privatize the entire  system. Can you hear the screams from the left? But, think about it. What would  this involve? First of all, this would open up a huge market for private  enterprise. Well organized private companies would have an opportunity to earn a  profit while providing superior service. By introducing choice and competition,  parents and students would be able to spend their money where they can get the  best results.

Common Core Stimulates Strange Alliance

Controversy over the implementation of the Common Core State Standards has served to highlight the sorry state of public education. According to its own website, The Common Core State Standards provide a consistent, clear understanding of what students are expected to learn, so teachers and parents know what they need to do to help them. Common Core was supposedly a state led initiative created by state departments of education. But the adoption of Common Core by 42 states in 2010 occurred in such rushed fashion with pressure from the Obama administration that it reminds many opponents of the adoption of Obama Care. Like Obama Care, the standards seem to have been developed by faceless bureaucrats in secret. Both teachers and parents feel that there was little to no input from them. Beginning in 2009, states were pressured to adopt the Common Core Standards through the lure of competitive federal Race to the Top grants. The adoption of a one size fits all national standard and pressure to quickly adopt it from the Obama administration, confirms, in the minds of many who mistrust big, overreaching federal control, that this is a top down approach to control the education of our children.

It has been said that politics creates strange bedfellows. Opposition to Common Core has arisen from such divergent groups as the Tea Party and teachers alike. There is opposition developing in almost every state and some states are beginning to back off. The Michigan legislature voted last week to withdraw funding from Common Core implementation and there is similar legislation pending in other states including liberal New York. Along with the Tea Party groups and Freedom Works, other conservative groups such as Concerned Women for America have rallied against Common Core. There is an active Facebook group with over 4200 members coordinating opposition. But, opposition is not confined to conservative groups. Teachers are leaving the profession out of frustration because control of what and how to teach has been taken away as they are forced to use scripted lessons or online curriculum to teach to tests. Frustration about “teaching to the test” dates back to the implementation of No Child Left Behind. In spite of assurances from Common Core advocates that academic freedom is preserved, the pressure to teach to the tests is overwhelming due to the high stakes nature of the results – no pass, no money, no job for teacher and student alike. The adoption of a nationwide curriculum is precisely what conservative parents fear, as history has demonstrated that such a curriculum will most likely have a liberal bias.

One teacher website dedicated to the opposition goes so far as to postulate a big corporate conspiracy to control education. Like many conspiracy theories, it is founded in a fair amount of truth. The author points to the undue influence of such corporations as Pearson over textbooks, curriculum and assessments. As a former Pearson employee, I can attest to the validity of her concerns. Having had personal discussions with Pearson executives, I can attest that the company was intimately involved in the Common Core initiative. Not surprisingly, the current Executive Director of the Common Core State Standards Organization (CCSSO) is a former Pearson employee. Pearson is a publicly held international corporation headquartered in the U.K. They are the leading educational publisher in the world. In addition to publishing textbooks, they develop curriculum and assessments as well as score the assessments. I was employed in the scoring division. I can assure you that their primary interest is in making a profit for their investors. As you might expect, the management is stocked with personnel from the educational establishment, many of whom have a very liberal viewpoint. Pearson aims to please its customers. Its customers are state boards of education, bureaucracies, not parents, students or teachers.

The aforementioned conspiracy teacher fears a private corporate takeover of education and advocates for the preservation of public control. He or she longs for the good old days when teachers were not measured for any objective standard of success. News flash: we’ve had a federal government controlled education system since the Dept. of Education was founded in the 1970s and like all socialist systems, it has failed miserably. Thus, we have the pressure for accountability through assessments. We are currently burdened with a government system controlled by unions and corporate cronies. State boards are appointed by politicians who are funded by unions and corporations. Teacher unions take money from teachers, who then give it overwhelmingly to Democrats who then legislate for more teachers, higher teacher pay and benefits and larger education bureaucracies. In return, the bureaucrats make sure that the schools educate the next generation of Democrat voters. Thus, kids graduate knowing how to put on a condom, and that the earth is on fire and that Republicans and capitalism are evil. But, they cannot read a set of instructions.

So, what’s the solution? As I have penned before, the best solution would be a private system where schools would be accountable to consumers, namely, parents. I agree with the conspiracy teacher that a private system controlled by Pearson or any other corporation would be a nightmare. But, privatization does not mean corporate control. Under such a system, funding (taxes) would be restored to the consumer. Competition would lead to quality and success. Companies that create textbooks, curriculum, and assessments and score assessments would be accountable to parents instead of politicized bureaucrats. Good teachers that love to teach would actually be paid better and deadbeats would be canned. Kids would grow up to be productive citizens rather than liberal Democrats.

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