Quarry the granite rock with razors, or moor the vessel with a thread of silk; then may you hope with such keen and delicate instruments as human knowledge and human reason to contend against those giants, the passion and the pride of man.
From the website on Scenes from the Passion of Christ "Hans Memling combined all passages from the Passion into one painting, adding the Resurrection and three appearances, creating a total of 23 scenes on one small panel. The praying figures in the lower corners are probably Tommaso Portinari, who commissioned the painting, and his wife.
"The story of Jesus' last hours begins far left in the corner with his entry into Jerusalem, then winds its way through town into the Garden of Gethsemane, bottom left, to continue in the middle, where we see Jesus brought before Pilate and the scourging, only to leave town and to end with the Crucifixion on the Mount behind the city. After Christ's death and resurrection he appears a number of times."
If you search on the top right of the second column of text, you'll find that you can start a lo-tech animation which shows all the episodes in sequence. Each vignette is also number-keyed in the explanation.
Once upon a time, a brother pastor took me to task for lifting up the offering plates after the offering higher than I lifted up the elements of Holy Communion during the consecration -- or for not elevating the host and chalice at all. His position was that by failing to elevate the elements sufficiently I was not holding them in proper reverence and esteem.
This seemed like nonsense to me because the altitude of the host is not what determines a proper attitude of the celebrant or the communicant in the Lord's Supper. Additionally, I didn't want to give the impression to unwitting observers by elevating the host that I was in any way offering it to God as a sacrifice. (There is no sacrifice to God for the forgiveness of sins other than Christ's death on the cross.)
Then, this past week in reviewing the doctrine of the Lord's Supper (since Christ first instituted it on that night when He was betrayed which we now celebrate in the liturgical year as Maundy Thursday), I came across this treatment in Luther. (AE 38:316)
"Before I would admit to or take upon myself such a guilty conscience, on account of which I would have to drop the elevation because it would make me feel like a murderer, crucifier, and hangman of Christ, I would still today not only retain the elevation but, where one would not be enough, assist in introducing three, seven, or ten elevations.
"Therefore, I wanted to have it regarded as a free choice (even as it is a free matter and must be that), in which no sin could take place, whether one upheld it or dropped it. For this reason the elevation was retained among us. For whatever is free, that is, neither commanded nor prohibited, by which one can neither sin nor obtain merit, this should be in our control as something subject to our reason so that we might employ it or not employ it, uphold it or drop it, according to our pleasure and need, without sinning and endangering our conscience.
"In short, we want to be free lords and not slaves, who can proceed in this matter how, what, where, and when they wish. We do not want to be compelled to abolish the elevation because it is such a grave, great, and horrible sin, as Karlstadt’s spirit wanted it to be; we also do not wish to be forced to retain it because abolishing it would mean the loss of the soul’s salvation, as the pope’s devil wants to have it; but it should mean:
"If you do not want to elevate, then let it lie; if you do not want to let it lie, then elevate it. What does God care about that? What does my conscience care about that? It is as little concerned about that as the altar is concerned about whether you want to elevate something above it or place something on it; both procedures are a matter of indifference to it."
In his exposition of 1 Peter 2:12, Martin Luther takes issue with Christians who thought that after absolution or baptism they could take it easy and relax . . .
"If you want to go to confession and be absolved, you must act like a soldier who takes the lead in battle when this is really important and the war begins. Now one must fight in earnest, just as though previously this had been sport. Now one must draw the sword and lay about with a vengeance. But there must be vigilance as long as the battle lasts.
"Thus even if you are baptized, you must realize that you are never safe from the devil and from sin. Indeed, you must remember that now you will have no peace. Thus the Christian life is nothing but a battle and a camp, as Scripture says.
"Therefore our Lord God is also Dominus Sabaoth (Ps. 24:10), that is, a Lord of hosts. Likewise, Dominus potens in proelio, “the Lord mighty in battle” (Ps. 24:8). He shows His might by letting His people wage war constantly and by letting them take the lead where the trumpets always sound. They must constantly remember to exclaim: “To the defense here! To the defense there! Thrust here! Strike there!” Thus this is an everlasting struggle, and you must do all you can to strike the devil down with the Word of God. Here one must always resist, call upon God, and despair of all human powers." (AE 30:71-72)
In Chapter 2, the heroine and main character of "To Kill A Mockingbird," Scout (daughter of Atticus Finch), is in first grade on the first day of school. The new teacher, Miss Caroline (who is apparently an advocate of what we might call the new education promoted by John Dewey) was attempting to find out what the first graders know. Scout narrates the story beginning with what happened when Miss Caroline wrote the alphabet on the blackboard and showed it to the students:
I suppose she chose me because she knew my name, but as I read the alphabet, a faint line appeared between her eyebrows, and after making me read most of My First Reader and the stock-market quotations from The Mobile Register aloud, she discovered that I was literate -- and looked at me with more than faint distaste.
Miss Caroline told me to tell my father not to teach me any more; it would interfere with my reading.
“Teach me?” I said in surprise. “He hasn’t taught me anything, Miss Caroline. Atticus ain’t got time to teach me anything,” I added, when Miss Caroline smiled and shook her head. “Why, he’s so tired at night he just sits in the living room and reads.”
“If he didn’t teach you, who did?” Miss Caroline asked good-naturedly. “Somebody did. You weren’t born reading The Mobile Register.”
. . . “Now you tell your father not to teach you any more. It’s best to begin reading with a fresh mind. You tell him I’ll take over from here and try to undo the damage – “
“Your father does not know how to teach. You can have a seat now.”
[Note: A bit later, Scout carries on a discussion about this with her brother who says . . .]
“Don’t worry, Scout,” Jem comforted me. “Our teacher says Miss Caroline’s introducing a new way of teaching. She learned about it in college. It’ll be in all the grades soon. You don’t have to learn much out of books that way – it’s like if you wanta learn about cows, you go milk one, see?”
. . . I contented myself with asking Jem if he’d lost his mind.
“I’m just trying to tell you the new way they’re teachin’ the first grade, stubborn. It’s the Dewey Decimal System.” [sic]
Having never questioned Jem’s pronouncements, I saw no reason to begin now. The Dewey Decimal System consisted, in part, of Miss Caroline waving cards at us on which were printed “the,” “cat,” “rat,” “man,” and “you.” No comment seemed to be expected of us, and the class received these impressionistic revelations in silence.
I was bored [n.b.], so I began a letter to Dill. Miss Caroline caught me writing and told me to tell my father to stop teaching me. “Besides,” she said. “We don’t write in the first grade, we print. You won’t learn to write until you’re in the third grade.”
[Note: And all of this on the first day of first grade for Scout! And then at the end of the chapter, we find this little discipline encounter . . .]
Miss Caroline stood stock still, then grabbed me by the collar and hauled me back to her desk. “Jean Louise [Scout], I’ve had about enough of you this morning,” she said. “You’re starting off on the wrong foot in every way, my dear. Hold out your hand.”
I thought she was going to spit in it, which was the only reason anybody in Maycomb held out his hand: it was a time-honored method of sealing oral contracts.
Wondering what bargain we had made, I turned to the class for an answer, but the class looked back at me in puzzlement.
Miss Caroline picked up her ruler, gave me half a dozen quick little pats, then told me to stand in the corner. A storm of laughter broke loose when it finally occurred to the class that Miss Caroline had whipped me.
When Miss Caroline threatened it with a similar fate, the first grade exploded again, become cold sober only when the shadow of Miss Blount fell over them.
Miss Blount, a native Maycombian as yet uninitiated in the mysteries of the Decimal System, appeared at the door, hands on hips, and announced: “If I hear another sound from this room I’ll burn up everybody in it. Miss Caroline, the sixth grade cannot concentrate on the pyramids for all this racket!”
My sojourn in the corner was a short one. Saved by the bell, Miss Caroline watched the class file out for lunch. As I was the last one to leave, I saw her sink down into her chair and bury her head in her arms. Had her conduct been more friendly toward me, I would have felt sorry for her. She was a pretty little thing.
(Note: And at the end of Chapter 3, Scout doesn’t want to go back to school the next day because what she wants more than anything is to keep reading with her father. If going to school meant giving that up, she wanted nothing to do with school.)
I thought this to be an interesting exchange for a fictional account which has been one of the most popular works in American literature of all time -- which celebrated its 50th anniversary last year.
Miss Maudie settled her bridgework. "You know old Mr. Radley was a foot-washing Baptist -- "
"That's what you are, ain't it?"
"My shell's not that hard, child. I'm just a Baptist."
"Don't you all believe in foot-washing?"
"We do. At home in the bathtub."
"But we can't have communion with you all -- "
Apparently deciding that it was easier to describe primitive baptistery than closed communion, Miss Maudie said: "Foot-washers believe anything that's pleasure is a sin. Did you know some of 'em came out of the woods one Saturday and passed by this place and told me [that] me and my flowers were going to hell?" [Miss Maudie liked gardening and spent a lot of time thus engaged as the book earlier describes.]
"Your flowers too?"
"Yes, ma'am. They'd burn right with me. They thought I spent too much time in God's outdoors and not enough time inside the house reading the Bible." My confidence in pulpit Gospel lessened at the vision of Miss Maudie stewing forever in various Protestant hells. . .
"The earliest medieval references to pretzels, including the earlier reference by Isidore of Seville, share the common theme that pretzels were associated with fasting. They were food for monks, and, for the most part, it was in the bakeries of monasteries that most pretzels were made. This connection with suffering or abstinence is vividly illustrated in the book of hours belonging to Catherine of Cleves, an illuminated manuscript in the Pierpont Morgan Library that shows the sufferings of St. Bartholomew completely framed by a border of pretzels."
(The complete exposition is found in the April 1991 issue of The World and I magazine, pp 616-623)
I came across this article the other day and think that it is worth re-posting on this blog. It has numerous applications undermining some of the assumptions people hold in churches and schools.
FOR MANY YEARS, VERSIONS OF A CLAIM that students remember "10% of what they read, 20% of what they hear, 30% of what they see, 50% of what they see and hear, and 90% of what they do" have been widely circulated among educators. The source of this claim, however, is unknown and its validity is questionable. It is an educational urban legend that suggests a willingness to accept assertions about instructional strategies without empirical support.
In a popular book on children with ADHD, the author makes the following claim:
According to statistics, students retain:
10% of what they read;
26% of what they hear;
30% of what they see;
50% of what see and hear;
70% of what they say; and
90% of what they say and do." (1)
The claim is startling. Any instructional method that could deliver on a promise of 90% retention would revolutionize education. Moreover the claim is framed with impressive exactitude. The reader would like to know more but, alas, no source is given other than "statistics." The figures are passed along like memes. A book on accelerated learning, for example, claims:
It has been said that on average, we remember:
20% of what we read
30% of what we hear
40% of what we see
50% of what we say
60% of what we do
90% of what we see, hear, say, and do" (2)
But no source is acknowledged and no evidence is given. A slightly different version of the claim is presented in a recent issue of the Stanford Business Review: "Some research on learning indicates that we may retain only about 10% of what we read, maybe 20% of what we see and hear in a lecture, and perhaps 80% of what we experience personally. Learning may increase even more to the extent that we take what we have experienced, put it into our own words, and then explain it to others." (3) But just what is this research and who conducted it? On this point the article is silent.
An Internet search reveals dozens of versions of this claim. While they are all essentially similar, they often differ in the specific percentages they assign to the various instructional modalities. For example "20% of what they read" is far more common than "26% of what they read." Some versions add the final claim that students retain "95% of what they teach to someone else." What is the origin of this claim and why have educators accepted it uncritically?
To date, all efforts to locate the source of this claim have failed because all trails have led to dead ends. For example, a 1988 paper by Felder and Silverman repeats the claim and cites a 1987 paper by Stice as their source. (4) The Stice paper in turn speaks of "some data from the old Socony-Vacuum Oil Company. (The source indicates the data are from the 1930s or 1940s, but I have no other information)." (5)
A 1997 paper by Lee and Bowers, however, sets out on an alternative trail. These authors indirectly cite White (sic) from a 1992 paper by Hapeshi and Jones. (6) The passage in Hapeshi and Jones actually reads:
Bayard-White (1990) quotes the British Audio Visual Society, which claimed that we remember about:
10% of what we read
20% of what we hear
30% of what we see
50% of what we see and hear
80% of what we say
90% The evidence of what we say and do at the same time
The evidence for these statements is not given ..." (7)
Thus Lee and Bowers cited Hapeshi and Jones, who in turn cited Bayard-White who, they acknowledge, had no evidence for the claim. An Internet search for the "British Audio Visual Society" yielded a total of 9 hits, all of them repeating the claim and citing this organization as its source. But no record of the existence of a British Audio Visual Society has been found. It appears that once a claim has been published subsequent authors do not bother much about the actual supporting evidence.
A third source frequently cited for the claim is Edgar Dale. In fact, many on-line versions label the claim "Dale's Cone of Experience," or "Dale's Cone of Learning." In his 1946 book, Audio Visual Methods in Teaching, Dale did present a concept called the "Cone of Experience." described as "merely a visual aid to explain the interrelationship of the various types of audio-visual materials, as well as their individual positions in the learning process." (8) In the 1969 edition of Audio Visual Methods in Teaching Dale tells us:
In addition, we have suggested the narrowing upward shape of the Cone does not imply an increasing difficulty of learning. Both verbal and visual symbols are used by little children, Demonstrations may be complex and quite involved--much more a) than a map (a visual symbol) of Alaska. The basis of the classification is not difficulty but degree of abstraction--the amount of immediate sensory participation that is involved. Thus, a still photograph of a tree is not more difficult to understand than the dramatization of Hamlet. It is simply in itself a less concrete teaching material than the dramatization. (9)
Dale's Cone is really a classification of audiovisual material on a scale of abstractness and bears only slight resemblance to the claim. Indeed, it could be argued that Dale's Cone presents a much more complex model that is trivialized when associated with the claim. All citations of Dale as the source of the claim are simply mistaken.
I was only able to locate one paper that explicitly tested the claim, the research by Lee and Bowers who found:
These results do not support White's(sic) percentages for the contribution of the different components of multimedia (as quoted in Hapeshi & Jones, 1992). For example, audio did not have a larger impact on learning than text, nor did graphics and animation alone have a larger impact than audio (unless one is comparing "what we see" as text and graphics together. Actually, audio had much less of an impact and audio plus graphics and text plus graphics had an equivalent impact. (10)
Nor does the claim agree with other empirical studies of the relative effectiveness of various teaching techniques. (11)
In his investigation of the myth that people use only 10% of their brains, Barry Beyerstein noted a similarity to urban legends because "attempts to verify them invariably lead to an infinite regress." He also argued that there is a connection between numerology and the 10% brain myth: "I suspect that the lucky choice of the number 10 for the denominator in our fictitious fraction has served to enhance the attractiveness of" the one-tenth myth. Among magical thinkers, numerology--the belief in the magical power of numbers--is rarely far from the surface, and 10 is a perennial favorite in this camp. Probably because nature equipped us with 10 fingers and 10 toes, our ancestors developed a primitive reverence for them." (12)
Beyerstein goes on to give examples of how arbitrary increments of 10 are often given special significance such as the Ten Commandments, the 10 best dressed list, and the characterization of historical periods in terms of decades. The educational claim investigated in this paper is typically flamed in increments of 10, and thus fits neatly into this pattern.
A recent paper by Simkin and Roychowdhury estimated that a large percentage of authors do not actually read the papers they cite. (13) As worrisome as their findings are, the multiple iterations of the claim reveal an even more distressing pattern. Not only do people often fail to read the research they cite, they sometimes fail to see if the research was ever actually conducted!
Above all this suggests a staggering lack of curiosity and a willingness to accept findings that agree with superficial preconceptions. Perhaps the real world effects of the claim examined here are relatively benign. After all, who would quarrel with the idea that instructors need to use a variety of teaching techniques? But the larger implication is troubling. Instructional techniques affect real children, and education have a responsibility to ground their practice in actual research, not unsupportable cliches.
Author Note: The author wishes to thank Rob Waller of the Information Design Unit for his assistance.
(1.) Rief S. F. 1993. How to Reach and Teach AD /ADHD Children. West Nyack, NY: The Center for Applied Research in Education, 53.
(2.) Rose, C. and M.J. Nicholl. 1997. Accelerated Learning for the 21st Century: The Six-step Plan to Unlock Your Master-Mind. New York: Delacorte Press, 142.
(3.) Joss, R. 2003. "The Value of Learning by Doing" [Electronic version]. Stanford Business Magazine. Retrieved June 28, 2003, from http://www. gsb.stanford.edu/news/ bmag/sbsm0305 /deans.shml.
(4.) Felder, R. M. and L. K. Silverman. 1988. "Learning and Teaching Styles in Engineering Education." Engineering Education, 78, 674-681.
(5.) Stice, J. E. 1987. "Using Kolb's Learning Cycle to Improve Student Learning." Engineering Education, 77, 291-296, 293.
(6.) Lee, A. Y. and A. N. Bowers. 1997. "The Effect of Multimedia Components on Learning." Proceedings of the Human Facets and Ergonomic Society 41st Annual Meeting 340-344.
(7.) Hapeshi, K. and D. Jones. 1992. "Interactive Multimedia for Instruction: A Cognitive Analysis of the Role of Audition and Vision." International Journal of Computer--Human Interactions, 4, 79-99.
(8.) Dale, E. 1946. Audio Visual Methods in Teaching (1st ed.), New Dryden Press, 37. The full text of Dale's Pyramid, from base to apex, reads: "Direct Purposeful Experience, Contrived Experience, Dramatic Participation. Demonstration, Field Trips, Exhibits, Motion Pictures, Radio Recordings, Still Pictures, Visuals Symbols, Verbal Symbols" (p. 39).
(9.) Dale, E. 1969, Audio Visual Methods in Teaching (3rd ed). Hinsdale, IL: Dryden Press, 110.
(10.) Lee and Bowers, op cit. 343.
(11.) Bligh, D. A. 2000, What's the Use of Lectures? San Francisco: Jossey-Bass Publishers.
(12.) Beyerstein, B. L. 1999 "Whence Comes the Myth that We Only Use 10% of our Brains?" In S. D. Sala (Ed.). Mind Myths: Exploring Popular Assumptions About the Mind and Brain (3-24). Chichester. UK: John Wiley and Sons Ltd, 23. 12.
(13.) Simkin M. V, and V. P. Roychowdhury. 2002. "Read before you cite!" [Electronic version] Retrieved June 28, 2003, from http://arxiv.org/ ffp/cond-mat/papers /0212/0212043.pdf.
(An audio version of this can be found here and clicking on "Stream.")
On the third day there was a wedding at Cana in Galilee, and the mother of Jesus was there. Jesus also was invited to the wedding with his disciples. When the wine ran out, the mother of Jesus said to him, “They have no wine.” And Jesus said to her, “Woman, what does this have to do with me? My hour has not yet come.” His mother said to the servants, “Do whatever he tells you.” Now there were six stone water jars there for the Jewish rites of purification, each holding twenty or thirty gallons. Jesus said to the servants, “Fill the jars with water.” And they filled them up to the brim. And he said to them, “Now draw some out and take it to the master of the feast.” So they took it. When the master of the feast tasted the water now become wine, and did not know where it came from (though the servants who had drawn the water knew), the master of the feast called the bridegroom and said to him, “Everyone serves the good wine first, and when people have drunk freely, then the poor wine. But you have kept the good wine until now.” This, the first of his signs, Jesus did at Cana in Galilee, and manifested his glory. And his disciples believed in him.
The apostle Paul writes: “For Jews demand signs and Greeks seek wisdom, but we preach Christ crucified . . .” (1Cor. 1:22-23). The Gospel appointed for today seems to have a little something for everyone. For Jews demanding signs we have Jesus changing water into wine. For Greeks seeking wisdom, we have a little moral of the story: “Save the best for last.” But what’s in it for those who are looking for Christ crucified? What’s in it for those who are not merely looking for miraculous manifestations or for a revelation of common sense?
It is really no big deal for Jesus Christ, true God and true man ,to be changing water into wine. What could be more simple for the One by whom and through whom all things were made? Why, if He wanted to, He could turn YOU into a stone jar of fine wine — or a pillar of salt.
The marvelous epiphany in this text is not that Jesus did a miracle, but rather that the Lord God Almighty should have anything to do with the cares and concerns of sinners. When His mother expressed a need, Jesus replied, “Woman, what does this have to do with Me?”
Are you looking for Jesus to do something for you — something miraculous perhaps? Do you call on the Lord God Almighty to get you out of a jam, to make you feel better when you are in pain, to grant you success in the face of failure? What does that have to do with Him? Why should He care? As the Psalmist wrote, “What is man that you are mindful of him, and the son of man that you care for him?” (Ps 8:4) Or as the prophet Isaiah wrote (Is. 40:17), “All the nations are as nothing before Him, they are accounted by Him as less than nothing and emptiness.” By comparison, if you went to the mayor and said, “I’m broke,” what would that mean to him? If you went to the state rep or governor or president on up the line to the Lord God Almighty, what makes you think they would care?
Jesus shows that the Almighty God has something to do with us. Ultimately, it isn’t what is miraculous. It’s what is marvelous. It isn’t changing water into wine. It’s when His hour comes. When in this text Jesus says, “My hour has not come,” He is pointing to what lies ahead. That something is noted later in the Gospel of John (17:1), in Christ’s prayer in the Garden of Gethsemane, “Father, the hour has come; glorify your Son that the Son may glorify you.” And again in the Gospel of Mark, “The hour has come. The Son of Man is betrayed into the hands of sinners.” (Mark 14:41)
God didn’t send His Son into the world to do miracles. He gave His Son for the forgiveness of sins. If the Church were about doing miracles every Sunday . . . but no. He forgives sins every Sunday. And we act as though that were boring.
Like a teenage daughter who wants an expensive prom dress and is told “No.” She throws a fit and accuses her parents of not loving her. She doesn’t consider the fact that she has a roof over her head, food to eat, clothes to wear, free taxi service, an ATM machine that looks like her mother’s purse or her father’s wallet. All of that is boring.
Christ crucified is the ultimate epiphany in which God reveals that He has something to do with us. There is no miracle on the cross; only what is marvelous. On the cross Jesus says, “I have something to do with you. Your sins I atone for with My own blood. Your lying and your self-centeredness and your disrespect I atone for with My innocent suffering and death.” If God has not spared His only begotten Son, will He not give you all good things?
Jesus shows that He has something to do with us today where He joins His body and His blood to bread and wine according to His word. At this Lord’s Table this morning, there is no miracle going on. As Lutherans, we categorically deny both transubstantiation and consubstantiation, that the bread is changed into Christ’s body or that the wine is changed into His blood. That would seem miraculous. In fact, the magical term “hocus pocus” comes from a misunderstanding of the Lord’s Supper. The Latin, which few could understand, was “Hoc est corpus meum” or “This is My body.”
We do not practice miracles here in this sanctuary. We are stewards of what is marvelous. Jesus unites Himself with us, meets us, cares about us in this blessed communion. Whether we run out of food or money, and when it seems as though we are of no concern to Him, we live by faith not by sight. “Lord, it seems like You’re not going to have anything to do with me. But I know better. You took on this flesh. You suffered and died for my sins.” Cast all your cares upon Him, for He cares for you. Worries, anger, sins. Bring them here. He has something to do with them. Another Krueger child . . . Amanda . . . Alexandra, Annabel, Abigail, Cast cares.
Confident of this marvelous fact, knowing that the Lord God Almighty has something to do with us in a gracious way, we in turn may ask others “What have I to do with you?” Whether it be to tsunami victims or our military abroad or children in the school, we are a concern to each other. We are no longer anxious for ourselves. We are anxious for each other. Jesus has something to do with you. Now you have something to do for others.
We have not gathered here this morning for Jesus to do miracles. We are not gathered here to get some interesting perspectives on life or Ben Franklinesque helpful advice for living. We are here because it is marvelous in our eyes that the Lord God Almighty should have anything to do with us. Therefore, do not look for a miracle as proof of God’s love for you. Look to what is marvelous, the innocent suffering and death of God’s Son, our Lord Jesus Christ. Amen.