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Fall Newsletters

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.

Announcer – August, 2018

HCHS-PRCS Newsletter – November, 2018

Faith Christian School – November 2018

Hope Highlights – November, 2018

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The Word and the Image: The Importance of Reading

The Word and the Image: The Importance of Reading

 

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).

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Making of the Video “Why Teach?”

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.

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Reading Between the Lines: A Christian Guide to Literature

As Faith Christian School began its first year of high school with 9th graders, one course I was asked to teach was English. One of the first things I did was reach out to some of my high school English teaching colleagues and ask them for input, suggestions, and materials that would be helpful as I began putting together my classes. One area I was specific about was that of Shakespearean plays. I’m thankful for the feedback and wealth of resources that I was directed to. One book suggested to help with Shakespeare was Reading Between the Lines: A Christian Guide to Literature. I truly enjoyed this book and would recommend it not only to our English teachers, but all teachers as it helps one round out their Christian worldview on literature.

The author, Gene Edward Veith, Jr., was at the time of the publication of this book the Dean of the School of Arts and Sciences and Associate Professor of English at Concordia Univeristy-Wisconsin. This book was published as a part of the TURNING POINT Christian Worldview Series by Crossway Books. Mr. Veith and I would differ on various aspects and points that he brings up but in general the book is beneficial and helps the teacher or any individual develop their worldview in regards to literature. 

Although I read through this book the first time quite quickly as I prepared my classes, I intend to go through it more slowly this time around and will review each chapter over the upcoming months. Here are some quotes from the preface that hopefully encourage the reader to pick up a copy of the book:

 

“My purpose is to promote critical reading, the habit of reading with discernment and an awareness of larger contexts and deeper implications.”

“The capacity to read is a precious gift of God, and this book is designed toe encourage people to use this gift to its fullest.”

“The habit of reading is absolutely critical today, particularly for Christians. As television turns our society into and increasingly image-dominated culture, Christians must continue to be people of the Word.”

“From the beginnings of the church to the present day, Christian writers have explored their faith in books, and in doing so have nourished their fellow believers.”

“Although the subject of the book is literature, a host of other subjects will also be addressed. This is because literature, by its very nature, involves its readers in a wide range of issues, provoking thought in many directions. Our discussions of style and literary history will lead to the abortion controversy. Our discussions of comedy and tragedy will lead into the theology of Heaven and Hell. Our discussions of fairy tales will lead to child psychology.”

“My central purpose will be served if through this book a reader discovered the poetry of George Herbert or the children’s stories of Walter Wangerin, gains insight into Scripture by noticing its parallelism or non visual imagery, or turns off the TV one night to settle down with a good book.”

Amen to that!

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).

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March 2018 Hope Highlights

We’ve added the spring issue of the Hope Highlights to the Newsletter page. You can follow the link to it here. Some of the highlights to note:

  • Mr. Ron Koole pens an interesting article about Hope’s and his experience with a five-week enrollment of two young South Korean girls. It appears it was a success and that there was a multitude of blessings for both Hope School and the Korean family. A wonderful testament to the covenantal fellowship experienced in our Protestant Reformed schools.
  • New teachers and staff.
  • A spring break decision by the Board.
  • An article on executive functions by Mrs. Jill Reitsma from the Discovery Room.
  • And as always…an enjoyable section of student writings.

 

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