Today the second video produced by the Federation was published. We are very thankful for the willingness of the individuals in these videos to put themselves out there by being interviewed. We pray that God blesses these efforts and that prospective teachers have a better understanding of the interview and hiring process. Although, there is much more I’m sure that could have been said or added, this video captures the essence of the interview and what education committees and school boards are looking for. Before publishing the video, we were able to give some sneak peaks to various school board members and were excited by their comments as well. Many stated that the content in the video will help them in their own work of conducting interviews and interacting with applicants. Please help spread this video to those who you believe would benefit from it.
A big thanks to Mr. Kyle Bruinooge, a teacher at Covenant Christian High School for putting together this wonderful bulletin board and sending us a picture. He stated that as his students passed through his classroom, many of them were unaware that there were so many Protestant Reformed schools throughout the U.S. and Canada. Many a bulletin board has been done showing where our churches or ministers are located, but this is the first I’ve seen of the locations of our schools. Well done, Mr. Bruinooge!
This moved me to consider how we can best make our children aware of our churches and schools. Children often view things very locally and yet the church is universal as we express in the Apostle’s Creed, “I believe in the holy catholic church”. Children often learn and understand through experience. As a child, I was blessed to experience visits to our churches in South Holland, Bethel, Pella, and Loveland. During my years in Young People’s, I became acquainted with the cities and follow believers in Redlands, Lynden, and Kalamazoo. Because of these visits, these places became tangible in my mind and I was more aware of them and the saints living there. Even as an adult, places and people still become more real when I visit them; this was my experience this past summer when visiting the Edmonton Family Conference with saints from Edmonton and Lacombe (it was a remarkable and blessed time–I highly recommend going the next time they host it). So here is my plug for parents: please, from time to time, plan your summer travel and vacations so that you and your children can visit and experience fellowship with the saints in other churches and schools so that they become real to them and they can better understand Revelation 7:9-10, “After this I beheld, and, lo, a great multitude, which no man could number, of all nations, and kindreds, and people, and tongues, stood before the throne, and before the Lamb, clothed with white robes, and palms in their hands; and cried with a loud voice, saying, Salvation to our God which sitteth upon the throne, and unto the Lamb.”
What’s going on in our member schools? These four newsletters from Adams Christian, PRCS/HCHS in Dyer, Faith in Randolph, and Hope MI will give you a little insight. Enjoy them over a cup of warm coffee in your easy chair and read about the teaching and work going on in our Protestant Reformed schools.
For this post, we return to Veith’s book Reading Between the Lines: A Christian Guide to Literature. Throughout Chapter 1, Veith emphasizes that the Word of God and reading are foundational to Christianity. God has revealed himself in His Word and reading the Scriptures is one of the foundational aspects of a Christian and flourishing society. Veith also writes in-depth about how viewing screens and consuming media is changing both society and the habits of the mind and man has made “electronically graven images” out of media. He lays out how he sees a shallowness within society developing that he ties back to media and regularly quotes Neil Postman from his book Amusing Ourselves to Death. Read discerningly as Veith shows that the danger of common grace has seeped into his thinking when he supports religious drama as a means to redeem the sinful use of drama by the world.
Here are some quotes from this chapter:
“Will reading become obsolete? Some people think that with the explosion of video technology, the age of the book is almost over.” (pg. 17) (For more on this, I suggest reading Chuck Terpstra’s blog post “A Plea to Read — Reformed Perspective”)
“The centrality of the Bible means that the very act of reading can have spiritual significance. Whereas other religions may stress visions, experiences, or even the silence of meditation as the way to achieve contact with the divine, Christianity insists on the role of language” (pg. 17)
“Just as human beings address God by means of language through prayer, God addresses human beings by means of language in the pages of Scripture. Prayer and Bible reading are central to a personal relationship with God. Christians have to be, in some sense, readers.” (pg. 18)
“It is no exaggeration to say that reading has shaped our civilization more than almost any other factor and that a major impetus to reading has been the Bible.” (pg. 19)
“Like the ancient Israelites, we live in ‘the land of graven images,’ amidst a people who are ‘mad upon their idols’ (Jeremiah 50:38). Also like them, we subtly drift into the ways of ‘the people fo the land’ unless we are rescued by the Word of God.” (pg. 24)
“Christians must become conscious of how the image-centered culture is pulling them in non-Christian directions. The priority of language for Christians must be absolute. As the rest of society abandons language-centeredness for image-centeredness, we can expect to feel the pressures and temptations to conform, but we must resist. One way to do this is simply to read.” (pg. 25)
“A growing problem is illiteracy—many peoples do not know how to read. A more severe problem, though, is ‘aliteracy’—a vast number of people who know how to read but never do it.” (pg. 25)
We can be thankful for the emphasis on reading in our Protestant Reformed schools. Families and Boards need to continue to support and emphasize our school libraries. I am encouraged by the many classrooms that I walk into and see shelves of books. By the grace of God, may our schools continue to be beacons for reading the Word and consuming books and other good Christian literature.
Quoted from Reading Between the Lines: A Christian Guide to Literature by Gene Edward Veith, Jr. and published by Crossway Books in 1990. These quotes are found in the Preface (pgs. xiii-xvi).
From time to time, the TED Committee has considered putting together professional videos to help explain who the Federation is, why teaching is great profession, and information for prospective teachers about the interview and hiring process. Rubber finally hit the road this past summer when we hired O’Rourke Media out of Byron Center to help professional produce these videos.
About a dozen teachers, parents, Board members, and past Executive Directors were asked if they would be willing to come in and allow themselves to be recorded. Potential questions were sent to the interviewees and a full day was scheduled to do the recordings. We met with Rick O’Rouke the day before to go over locations, set-up, and to make sure we were on the same page. Recordings took place at Adams Christian School starting around 8 a.m. with the final interview finishing up around 4 p.m.
As those who were interviewed can attest to, it’s no easy task to sit in front of a camera with the bright lights on and keep all of your thoughts together when answering questions. Our interviewees did a fabulous job of giving us great sound bites, laughing at themselves when they messed up, and being willing to do take after take. Mr. O’Rourke was also very professional and make the process move along smoothly. In the end, about 2 hours of raw video was created.
We’ve begun the process of going through the videos to determine what questions and answers fit best with each video. We focused on the video “Why Teach?” first because there is a dire need within our schools for more teachers. After many hours or reviewing video, we were able to narrow a rough cut of the video down to twenty minutes. However, our stated goal was to produce a 3-5 minute video filled with positive sound bites about teaching that we could put in front of our young people to encourage them to think about teaching as their calling in life. We ended up choosing ten short clips to produce a five minute video. You can check it out here.
We decided that we will still use the lengthier twenty minute video. A link to this longer video will be inserted at the end of the five minute video. There was just a wealth of good material and we really desire that our young people will check it out. We’ve enjoyed producing these videos and are excited about the potential for their use. Please share them and especially encourage parents to put them in front of our juniors and seniors in high school in order to inspire them to consider teaching.