Thursday, January 16, 2014

32 Thoughts from Andrew Kern's Talk

Yesterday was a GREAT day!  My husband watched the kids while I went to the all day conference put on by Circe.  Andrew Kern was speaking about rest and assessment.  This isn't an attempt to outline the talk but rather to share some of the thoughts that hit me as I listened this time.  If you live around Houston it is NOT too late - he'll be there tomorrow.  

1.  He started in 1 Kings 8 - the prayer of Solomon at the dedication of the temple. Here he focused on the fact that there was an expectation of failure - they were going to turn away and mess up.  Thus much of the prayer is a pleading for forgiveness and that they would return to confess his name.

2.  The model of the temple wasn't totally unique to the Jewish temple.  What was unique was the fact that no idol or other item was put on the mercy seat - there was no physical being set on the "throne".

3.  A quick Latin lesson - audest means that you were there, interest means that you were there among and participating with - yes, that's where we get our word interest from.

4.  Prior to the 1800's the idea behind emotions is that they needed to be trained, ordered and would help us to do what is right.  Today, we think of emotions as helping us to do what want.

5.  He asserted that "In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth." is the only basis for consistent rational thought.  If you don't start there you end up with just physicality and end in nihilism.  The other side is that everything is or can be a god, it is all illusion.

6.  Your creation myth or belief will impact your political structure.

7.  If God is a good teacher and we use Genesis 1 - 3 as a model - God took 6 days to prepare the classroom in which he would teach Adam.

8.  The temptation of the fruit in the garden of Eden was essential to teach Adam how to take appropriate possession of all he had been given.  If he can't say no to the temptation then that thing possesses him instead of the other way around.  We are called, in Christ, to possess all things (1 Cor. 3), which means being able to deny ourselves and separate from those things which makes us slave to them instead of Him.

9.  The hierarchy of peace is when we are not slaves to other things but put ourselves in full submission to Christ in God.

10.  Luke 12:32 - Do not fear, little flock, for its your father's pleasure to give you the kingdom.  Do we really believe this about God in relationship to us?   We must receive what he has given us.

11.  God's pattern for a day - do your job, assess it, rest.   At the end of the week just rest.

12.  He quoted this hymn which I had never heard before:

We who mystically represent the Cherubim,
and sing to the life-giving Trinity the thrice-holy hymn,
let us now lay aside all earthly care:
that we may receive the King of all,
who comes invisibly upborne by the Angelic Hosts. 
Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia.
And talked about a people together as a body welcoming Christ in during their worship.

13.  Sabbath should be about turning away from our cares and letting the King enter into our lives and focusing on his cares.

14.  In some ways creation is about giving form to chaos, education is about filling forms with content.

15.  Luke 12 - he talked about this parable quite a bit.
If our master is celebrating his best day ever - his wedding day - we should be about getting the house ready for his return.  Keeping the lamps lit has to do with the Holy Spirit.  Shocking end to this tale - when the master returns from his wedding and sees that you have been faithfully waiting THE MASTER WILL HAVE YOU SIT DOWN AND SERVE YOU!  Remember, it's his wedding day. That's the kind of God we serve - that's the kind of love he has for us.

16.  Blessing is not about feeling good it's about being completely fulfilled.  Psalm 1 is great picture of being blessed.

17.  Forget about meditating as an activity that you do quietly, away from everyone else.  Sometimes; yes but, God was physically active while he was thinking we should hold and meditate on his law while we are doing our daily stuff.  (Made me think of David meditating as a shepherd).

18.  God is not a moralist.

19.  Kids need to be taught about their nature so that they can take dominion over it.

20.  The quality of life is determined by quality of questions. (and someone added - who you ask those questions with)

21.  Key verse on standards Phil. 4:8-9

22.  Good things can become temptations quickly.  We aren't tempted by bad things typically.  Instead, he aims at what we love and what we fear.  Temptations move us away from rest (abiding in him) and from keeping a watchful readiness (see parable above)

23,  Flattery is demonic.  If we are using manipulation to get what we want out of children we need to stop. We are very vulnerable to this because our first feeling is shame and we want someone to say that we are okay.  There is a difference between flattery and assessment and flattery and praise.

24.  In reference to the parable of the prodigal son (or two sons).  The older brother never comes home - the younger brother does.  Older brothers want things in black and white, clear, absolute truth (a phrase he hates), get invested in things, create customs to help maintain "order" which moves from blessing to preservation of self/ group.  Need to ask "Are our customs blessing us and others or just preserving the status quo?" 

25.  Fundamental questions in assessment - What can the student do?  What is the next step? 

26.  f you aren't sure about what next steps should be 50's textbooks are pretty good guides for the key principles of a subject.

27.  Form teaches more than content.  Here we talked about liturgies of the classroom (desk arrangement, going from class to class by a bell, having different teachers as "experts" in a subject area, etc.)

28. The hard work of most work is aligning our will with the task - the rest is easy.

29.  Grading should be A or I - acceptable or incomplete.  You either have mastered the standard/ skill or not - this is for memorization, skill - not truth.

30.  Compared abiding in Christ to a compass.  We are supposed to point due north but there are lots of other magnets around pulling us away. We need to repent and ask God to help remove those magnets so that we can point true North.

31.  Can't steward something if you can't name it appropriately.

32.  If we are going to restore health to a broken world we need to start with our own souls.

Honestly, this doesn't get into the time he spent on the tabernacle and the Garden of Eden and how that parallels the structure of our soul.  Afterwards we went out to dinner.  Then I visited one of my best friends. After that I stopped by my favorite Half Price books.  It did not disappoint - it had Winston Churchill's History of the English Speaking People.  All four books are in one hard bound volume - unabriged - for a GREAT deal and Greek stories in Latin.  Total winner of a LONG day!


  1. Great stuff! He is coming here (Ohio) in April and I just can't wait to meet him in person! He's such an inspiring speaker.

  2. Thought you might like to listen to a recording of the Cherubic Hymn since you mentioned you'd never heard it before. This version is in Russian:

    And this in English: