Monday, 31 December 2012

Honest Leadership



Honest Leadership – i.e. in the family
For UCB 3 min script

For many years I lead large youth camps both in the north and south of England.  I often feel I have spent almost as much time camping as Abraham!

What has camping to do with leadership? Which of course is the subject we are discussing; well on those camp sites, with almost 400 teenagers thrown together in close proximity, there were many human problems.  One of the camps regularly had young people who were referred from various departments within Social Services, so you can imagine there were lots of pastoral issues and much time spent just talking, answering questions and dealing with issues.

It may surprise you to know that the group of young people I probably spent the most time with, due to their unruly behaviour, usually after midnight sitting on a hill around a fire (well it was a summer camp) was the church leader’s kids.

My conversations with many leaders’ kids over the years became very repetitive, it went something like this. ‘I know your father and mother, they lead that large church in Anyshire, now why is it that amongst all these young people you are giving me the biggest problems?’  And their response was invariably, ‘Huh,’ they would say with a teenage shrug, ‘you might think you know my Mum and Dad, but you only see them when they are at a church meeting, you don’t live with them. You don’t see you how my Dad treats my Mum, and you don’t see how my Mum speaks to my Dad, you have no idea what they are really like!’   And of course they were right.

Out of the hundreds of disciples who followed Jesus, he chose twelve of them, then he lived with them, this was the basis of his teaching.  He didn’t give them a lecture now and then for a couple of hours, he was with them 24/7.  It’s a well known saying that you don’t really know someone until you have lived with them.  When I was at college sharing a room with 5 other students, one of the guys had a very appropriate rhyme which was, ‘to live with the saints in heaven above I’m sure that will be glory, but to live with the saints down here on earth beneath boy that’s another story.’

When we’re at a church meeting and someone asks, ‘how are you doing?’ it’s so easy for us to put a smile on our face, be very spiritual and say, ‘I’m fine.’  But when you get home, the fa├žade drops and the real you appears. That’s a rather hypocritical lifestyle. At home it’s much harder to be a Christian, a true follower of the way, a leader who maintains consistency in words and actions.

Does that mean it can’t be done?  I don’t think that’s true, but we do need, however, to change out thinking, we need to put on the mind of Christ, we need to have a servant attitude in our heart and we certainly need to loose the ‘lording it over you’ approach that so many of us pick up so easily.  Its funny isn’t it how quickly we learn to boss people around and take the high ground and I’m not just referring to leaders.
Next time you are at a Christian function, take a look around at the people who have been given some responsibility, they may be sporting a badge, or a walkie-talkie; notice how quickly they begin bossing people around, putting others down and making small rules seem like mountains to climb or an instrument with which to whack others.  This bossiness is in us all and we need to be on our guard when it rears its ugly head.

If we desire to be a Jesus-style of leader, we need to be honest with ourselves, we need a heart make-over, and we need to say to Jesus, ‘help me to be a servant-style leader that effects real change in your world.’  We need to consistently seek to maintain that attitude in the most important place, our home.

Adrian Hawkes
For UCB 3 min script
W. 702
Editor: A Brookes

Monday, 10 December 2012

Leadership of Self


Leadership of Self
Script for UCB
Leadership

The most important person we need to learn to lead is our self.  In other words, we need to be in charge of ourselves. The thing is if we cannot govern, control and lead our self, how would it be possible or even thinkable to lead others?
It is obvious from scripture that Jesus thought of himself as under authority, that is, under the authority of his father and was doing, saying and being all that his father wanted him to be and do.
In servant leadership, the style of leadership that is required by God, the phrase ‘do as I say not as do’ just does not hold water!  Self discipline is a must, but what does that mean.  Well it includes things like controlling our tempers, or should I say temperament.  The excuse that I often hear from people who loose their temper is, ‘well that’s just how I am’, that excuse will just not do.  It might be how you were before, but now that you are a new person in Christ, as it says in 1 Corinthians 5 verse 17,  Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come’.
Many times I hear people say, ‘accept me for who I am, God does!’  Well of course, in some senses, that is true, God does not wait for us to change before we come to him, so in that sense he does accept us for who we are and just how we are,  as the old hymn says, ‘Just as I am, I come’.    But hang on, it doesn’t stop there, the scripture is very plain about this, God’s plan for us is to change us.  There are many references similar to the one I quoted from Corinthians, here is another example, Colossians chapter 3 verse 10, and have put on the new self, which is being renewed in knowledge in the image of its Creator.’  So it’s obvious that God does not plan to leave us as he found us in that ‘just as I am’ state.  The plan is to change us and to make us like his son Jesus.
So how does he do that, or how do you or I do that, that is, how do we change to be more like Christ?  It’s not as complicated as you might imagine, though it does take some action on our part, but God is alongside us helping us, encouraging us, strengthening us, being with us every step of the way.  I often ask people what it is that God or we use to change and I get  a variety of answers including: praying, going to church, reading the bible, the Holy Spirit. They are all good answers, but not the right one methinks.  The right answer is ‘think’.  The battle ground from God’s perspective and from a biblical perspective is our thinking, our minds, and it is the changing of our thinking and our minds that makes us into good leaders, in control of ourselves, able to lead ourselves and therefore others.
The bible has lots to say on this subject, about ‘putting on the mind of Christ’, there are so many references in the New Testament about having the mind of Christ that I decided to encourage you to get hold of a concordance and have a look for yourself.  You could start with Philippians 4 verse 8, ‘whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable, if anything is excellent or praiseworthy think about such things.
 And you could also take a look at Romans chapter 12 verse 2 which tells us we need to renew our minds. ‘Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is, his good, pleasing and perfect will.
If you do that it changes everything.  Computer geeks say that if you put rubbish into your computer, then you will get rubbish out, they call it GIGO, Garbage in, Garbage out.  It’s the same with our minds, what we need is right thinking; that will change us so that we can lead ourselves and then lead others.


Adrian Hawkes
For UCB 3 Min Script
W. 768
Editor A Brookes

Wednesday, 14 November 2012

Leadership - Servant Style



Leadership – Servant style

UCB 3 min script

I was in one of those meetings where the preacher goes and on and the more he went on the more irritated I got, not because he was going on, but because he was getting it so badly wrong. He was preaching from Luke 7 v 8 where the centurion seeks healing for his sick servant. The preacher had obviously not read the passage, or at least had not paid attention when he read it because he kept saying that the Centurion said to Jesus that, ‘he could see that Jesus had authority like he had authority.’  How embarrassing, what the centurion actually said was that he was under authority and perceived that Jesus was also under authority.
Jesus saying he was under authority is a very interesting and enlightening fact, he was telling us that the things he was doing were at the command of the will of his Father and not his own will.
In Matthew 20 it’s interesting to see that there were those amongst the twelve disciples who wanted to be in the top tier of leadership, and they asked Jesus if they could be at his right hand and left hand, (actually they got their Mum to ask, but anyway, I digress) But Jesus demonstrated a completely different style of leadership, one I am afraid that the church as a whole still does not seem to grasp, the style is called servant leadership.
Jesus outlines the style very clearly, both in words and actions in Marks gospel, chapter 9 verse 35, when he says if you want to lead or be the first, you need to be the last, or rather the servant of all.  Then he demonstrates this very process as he takes a towel and a bowl and washes the disciple’s feet.   In the account in John chapter 13 verses 5 Peter is very upset, he does not think that master Jesus should be washing people’s feet.  But Jesus carries out this act to clearly underline and promote the servant style of leadership.
It’s helpful for us to understand who, in the culture of the time when Jesus was here, would be doing the foot washing.  I’ve walked around in Africa quite a bit and I can understand the need to wash my feet, even when I am wearing socks and shoes my feet still need washing, my socks need changing and my shoes need shining because the roads are so dusty.  So who exactly would have had the responsibility of washing feet in that culture?  It would have been the job of the very youngest, most junior servant, if the home did not have servants, then the youngest child would do the job.  I guess now we can see how mind-blowing it would have been to the disciples to see Jesus taking up a towel and washing their feet.   The King of Kings, the Lord of Lords, the creator of all things, in fact the very reason why all things were created, is now washing feet!  It’s mad isn’t it, but that is the kind of leadership that those who lead in the church need to practice.
Being a follower of Jesus is unusual, if it’s real it is counter-culture and so at odds with what people would think normally, and that’s what makes it so fantastic.  It is so very different; totally opposite of what is the expected norm.  The trouble is we are so influenced by our culture and the way the world runs that we don’t realise how different we are called to be. The early church had the same struggle, as we can see in 1 Peter 5v2, Be shepherds of God's flock that is under your care, serving as overseers—not because you must, but because you are willing, as God wants you to be; not greedy for money, but eager to serve; not lording it over those entrusted to you, but being examples to the flock.
 Have a look at it and you’ll see the words ‘serve’ and ‘not lording it’ (that is being the big heavy handed boss) all in one sentence.
So you feel God has called you to lead, but its servant leadership that he’s called you to and that is so different to what we see in the world around us.  But it’s God’s way; this is the way he wants us to lead in his world.  Are you ready to lead?

Adrian Hawkes
For UCB 3Min Scripts
W. 726
Editor: A. Brookes

Wednesday, 10 October 2012

Leadership For All


Leadership for all

3min script for UCB

Hello, it’s nice to be with you again, we shared some time together a few weeks ago chatting about prayer. For the next few weeks I am going to be talking to you about another subject, Leadership.  I’ve written a book on this subject and it’s called ‘Leadership and…’

I wrote this book for anybody and everybody, so far it’s sold very well and it’s on its third re-print.  The problem is a number of people have said to me, ‘I’ve seen the book but didn’t buy it because I’m not a leader.’  I think perhaps I should have given it a different title.

The thing is, from God’s perspective, he has called us all to be leaders.  Yes, that means you, even though you may never have thought about being a leader until I just said it.  I watched a programme today on TV, there was a discussion on whether or not it’s okay for women to be in leadership.  Obviously it was one of those theological type discussions.  I was puzzled; I thought that in the body of Christ that there was neither Jew nor Greek, in other words our earthly citizenship type does not matter, our ethnicity has no bearing in the new kingdom. Neither does our gender, as there is neither male nor female, we are all sons.  This is what Galatians 2 verse 26 to 29 says

  26You are all sons of God through faith in Christ Jesus, 27for all of you who were baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ. 28There is neither Jew nor Greek, slave nor free, male nor female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus. 29If you belong to Christ, then you are Abraham's seed, and heirs according to the promise.

 

So we are all sons of God. That might sound funny if you are a female.  But don’t worry, the men have issues to, we are also called the bride of Christ.

 

Some of our words just don’t quite explain it accurately when we are talking about the kingdom because we are trying to use concepts that perhaps don’t apply in the new kingdom of God dimension.

 

What about the leadership angle that I just mentioned and the fact that perhaps you didn’t even know you were a leader?  1 Corinthians 6, 1-3 says 1If any of you has a dispute with another, dare he take it before the ungodly for judgment instead of before the saints? 2Do you not know that the saints will judge the world? And if you are to judge the world, are you not competent to judge trivial cases? 3Do you not know that we will judge angels? How much more the things of this life! 

 

What this is saying in simple terms is that the saints are called to ‘rule’, ‘judge’ or to use my word, ‘lead’ because that is what leadership is, judging, discerning, ruling and everyone is called to do that in the world to come so perhaps we had better get into practice.

 

God has called us to be many things, prophets, priests and kings to our God.  All of these are leadership based and that leadership preparation does not start when you die.  Here’s the thing, we need to learn and understand how to be good leaders, we need to start learning now and that includes you.  All of us are sons and all of us are called.

 

I have a friend who leads a church community who often receives requests for the leadership team to visit conferences and the like, I asked her, ‘How do you decide who you will send?’ Her answer was funny but appropriate, ‘I send anyone from the community who is willing to go, the whole church is full of leaders.’  Her answer says it in a nutshell, we are all leaders and you are one of them, God the father makes us sons, prophets, priests and kings no less.
 
 

 

Adrian Hawkes

For UCB

Leadership 3 min talks

W. 678

Editor: A Brookes

Thursday, 20 September 2012

Is God Into Fashion?

Is God into fashion?

A few years ago we were visiting some friends in a small church in the Cheltenham Area of the UK.  On the way home I remarked to my wife, Pauline, that the couple leading the church community appeared to be very hard up financially.
My wife agreed and told me she had left them an envelope on their mantelpiece containing some money, to help them out a little.  My reaction was very godly.  “Where on earth did you get the money to leave them a gift, we are broke too!”  Pauline explained that she had been saving up to purchase a jump-suit she had seen in a local boutique.  She had been squirreling the money away into an envelope at the bottom of her handbag, it had taken her a while, but finally she had saved up enough and was all set to go and purchase it.  This is the money that she had left on the mantelpiece; so no jump-suit for Pauline!
I congratulated her and commiserated, it was rare for her to have any new clothes.  Pauline explained, “It’s not as bad as all that, I saw two jump-suits one was really nice but very expensive, one was okay and cheaper.  I had just saved up enough for the cheaper one, but it was really a compromise, because the expensive one was the one I really wanted, so I haven’t lost that much by leaving them the money.”  This kind of feminine logic does not always make sense to the male species.
We arrived home, unlocked the door, and walked into our London home; to our surprise, hanging over the door to our lounge area was a piece of clothing in a cellophane cover.  My wife hastily pulled off the cellophane and held it against her.  There was a catch in her voice as she explained, “This is the jump-suit I was telling you about, the more expensive one, and it’s the exact colour I wanted, and it’s my size!”
There are always other people living with us, so we rounded them up and asked them why a jump-suit was hanging in our lounge.  They explained that a man had delivered it earlier in the day, he said that Pauline had done him a favour a couple of years ago and he had never said thank you, the jump-suit was his way of showing his appreciation.  He also said that if it was the wrong colour, the wrong size, or the wrong item, that it could be changed.  But it was perfect in every way. 
I know there are those of you who will want to say that this was a strange coincidence, but that is one word I am extremely sceptical about.  Rather I think that Father God does care about and love his children, he cares about every detail of our life, and he loves us passionately and profusely.  But I know some of you will prefer to cling to that doubtful explanation of coincidence.
Adrian Hawkes BlogSpot
Edit - Technicolour Text
W. 513
190812

Monday, 13 August 2012

Do Angels smoke pipes – part two


 Do Angels smoke pipes – part two

I thought you would like to know what happened next, the sequel to my story about the pipe smoking angel who gave me £200.  A friend was supposed to meet Pauline and I in Lagos airport but he did not turn up.  We made our way through passport control and customs; then found ourselves stuck in the airport not knowing where to go or what to do next.

While I was sorting the final paperwork, my wife was standing by a barrier just inside the country, feeling traumatised by the few hours that we had just gone through of being marched up and down by a rather, in our opinion, unstable gun-toting boarder guard.  I think Pauline had been crying a little due to the intense pressure and was still feeling stressed and wanting to immediately fly home to the UK.  As she waited for me a young Nigerian man came up to her and said, ‘you seem to be in trouble, can I help?’  Going on her very recent experience she was unwilling to trust any stranger, in what was to her a strange country.  As she was responding, ‘no thank you I do not need help.’  I arrived back at her side with cases and completed paperwork.  The young man said to me, ‘I’m not sure what has happened to you but obviously you have been through some kind of difficult time can I show you where the airport restaurant is, I’m sure you would be glad of a coffee.’  It had taken a great deal of time up to this point, due to the gun happy guard and the stringent passport control so I said, ‘yes okay, it would be a good idea to sit down with coffee to sort out our next move.’ Plus I now had lots of Naira in my pocket and it was a long time since our last meal.  The young man escorted us to the restaurant and the staff seated us.  The young man said ‘let me leave you to it, you have obviously had a hard time I will come back in an hour or so see if you are ok,’ we thanked him, ordered food and coffee, and tried to unwind a little.

We decided to go and find a room for the night; just before the hour was up I signalled to the waiter that we wanted to pay the bill, ‘what bill sir?’ he said.  ‘For the food and drinks,’ I replied. ‘Well sir, the waiter replied, ‘your friend who brought you in has already settled the bill.’  To say I was surprised is an understatement.  This stranger who knew nothing about us had paid for us to have a meal, in a place that was quite expensive for locals.  Just as Pauline and I were discussing this strange turn of events the young stranger appeared again, and asked if we felt better. We thanked him and said that we felt much better and began to talk to him about our story, and the fact that we believed that God had been looking after us and that knowing Jesus and being in touch with the Father was great at times like this.  We then asked him why he had come to help us and why he had paid our bill.

He said, ‘I travelled a long way today, from up country, to meet a friend who was supposed to come in on a flight at the same time as you came through customs, but he did not arrive, I was feeling a little fed up thinking I have come such a long way, for no purpose and I prayed Father God  why have I come all this way for nothing, and I distinctly heard God say to me you are here today to help that couple over there, they have had a hard time.  Many years ago I went to study in the USA, at that time I did not know God, but just like you, when I got off the plane the person who was going to meet me and help me did not arrive. I was standing in the airport totally bemused as to what to do and a man came up to me and said, ‘you are in trouble can I help you?’ To cut a long story short this man really knew God, he ended up taking me to his home where I lived for two years, and he even helped me pay my college fees, I found God in his home and it has changed my life, I want to at least put some of that experience of God’s favour back into someone else’s life.’

The young man settled us into a hotel; he looked after us for three days until we finally made contact with our friend who was supposed to meet us, who somehow had the dates mixed up.

And no I did not lose his address, so perhaps he was not an angel, I rather think he was a young man listening to God and being a great help to us in our need.

I don’t know still what to think about my pipe smoking angel, but I am convinced that in times of need God is with us and cares for us.  Sometimes I don’t understand his answers, sometimes I am puzzled by events.  But  I am confident that God cares, loves and is listening to those who know Him as Father God, and yes from time to time he sends his messengers both angelic and human to assist in time of need.  What do you think?

For Adrian Hawkes Blogspot.com
Edited by Technicolour text
8th July 2012
W. 958

Monday, 23 July 2012

Do Angels Smoke Pipes?


 Do Angels Smoke Pipes?

Some years ago Pauline and I were on a visit to Nigeria.  I have a rule: don’t carry too much cash.  We had £30.00 between us.  We had flown into Lagos from Accra, Ghana.  We presented ourselves at passport control and one of the officers said, “I need to see the £200.00 that you will change into Naira as you enter the country.”  I explained that between us we only had £30.00, but I had a credit card.

This made no difference whatsoever, he insisted that I was lying and demanded to see the £200.00 or, he said, “We will return you to where you came from.”  What could I do?  The answer to this question was made for me by the officer; he lifted his rifle, stuck it in my ribs, and marched me and Pauline down the long corridor back to the aeroplane on which we had arrived.  It had taken a long time to queue to get to passport control and our incoming plane had already departed.  The soldier then decided that I would have to go to prison and, he said, “Your wife will go to the women’s prison.”  Neither Pauline or I were impressed with this idea so I said, “can I try something?”  He looked at me suspiciously, pushed the gun a little harder into my ribs, and growled “what are you going to try?”  “Well,” I said, “I thought I might ask someone to give me some money.”  He pulled the gun out of my ribs and slung it up onto his shoulder, looked at me steely eyed and said, “are you mad?”

“Not really,” I replied, “but anything is better than going to prison, so will you let me try?”  “Who will you ask?” he said.  I looked around for a friendly face in the myriads of people waiting to fly out, which is what Pauline wanted to do right there and then.  I spotted a man leaning against a wall smoking a pipe, I said to my gun totting guard, “him over there.”  He shrugged and said, “this should be fun, I am coming with you.”  Our party of three made their way over to the pipe smoker.  I opened the conversation, “excuse me do you speak English?”  The man replied, “Just a little.”  I explained that the gun wielding soldier was inclined to put me in prison as I did not have the required £200.00 to change into Naira, could he help.  Much to my guard’s amazement the man said, “of course, I will go to the bank outside and get it for you.”  A few moments later he was back with £200.00 Stirling.  “There you are,” he said.  I thanked him profusely and said, “I need to pay you back, when I get back to the UK where should I send it?”  He laughed and at my insistence wrote something on a piece of paper which I carefully stowed in my wallet.  We said our farewells and my now, somewhat quieter, guard escorted us back to passport control.

At the counter he announced, “They have the £200.00!”  “Oh they’ve found it have they!” The man in the booth responded.  “No,” the guard said, “I have just seen the most amazing thing; a man gave them the money”.  I chipped in, “Well I did pray to God before I spoke to him.”  A hush descended, they stamped our passports, and we were waved through.

There is more to this story which maybe I will save to my next blog, however, while in Nigeria, I took many the names, addresses and business cards of many people, all of which I tucked into the same place that I had put pipe-smoking-man’s piece of paper.  My intention was to write to everyone on my return to the UK including writing to and repaying Mr Pipe-smoker.  On my return to the UK every piece of paper was still safely stowed, and I started and succeeded in writing to every person, all except Mr Pipe-smoker.  His piece of paper was missing, and even though I turned out my wallet and luggage, it was nowhere to be found.  All the other address details were there. 

I wanted to pay back my friend, but as his details had disappeared I was not able to do this.  Who was he, where is he, why he gave me the money I have no idea.  Perhaps if he reads this, he will let me know.  My thoughts about it, perhaps, maybe, it was no ordinary man.  How extraordinary that he gave me £200.00 very quickly, very easily, without any argument, debate, and with very little forethought.  At the time, because I was so stressed, I did not think these elements through.  If angels smoke pipes I want to say thank you to God for sending that particular pipe-smoker at the perfect moment.

Adrian Hawkes
Blogspot.com
Edited by Edited by Technicolour text
W. 827

Sunday, 27 May 2012


A yellow duck dancing – Again.
In 1970 I was leading a church in the North of England, one Sunday, as I was speaking, I noticed that people were getting very distracted and giggling at inappropriate points in my talk, I also observed that they got especially boisterous when singing, even in the slow songs. I later discovered that one of the young people had rigged up a line on which a large yellow plastic duck danced aloft behind me, becoming especially mobile when people sang. See my story on my Blog 26th May 2010. In November 2011 I published my sixth book, my first fiction book, and as part of the publicity I sent out a picture of the book via email. Imagine my surprise when the book cover came back somewhat adjusted.  I just thought you would all like to see it.
Here is the link to the original story...

Original cover
Cover with added duck


The cover of my new book got a makeover....
www.adrianhawkes.blogspot.com

Wednesday, 4 April 2012

Running an Independent Sector School

Running an Independent sector school

I have been running independent sector schools for over 30 years.  We are still small; if I had more money I would have bigger buildings and more students.  Why do I do it?  I believe in it, it works, it’s value for money, and most important of all it gives young people a head start in their lifelong educational journey.
Over the many years that I have been managing Christian schools I have received plenty of flack, partly because of the system that we use; Accelerated Christian Education (ACE).  I am well aware that this system is not perfect.  Has the perfect education system yet been devised?  To quote the inventors of the system, “ACE is a system of education, it’s a tool, and you have to make it work.”  Which we do, we adapt and tailor the system to meet the requirements of our students; a system of education which in my opinion is better than most.
I have keenly watched the success of our students as they go into their chosen life pathways, I know, and they know that some of the success they enjoy is down to the hard work of our school staff as they have guided the students through their early educational journey.
Over the 2011 Christmas period I had the pleasure of meeting some of the older students who have since progressed to college and university.  It was good to chat with them and to ask some pertinent questions.  I think it would be useful to share this anecdotal information with a wider audience.
I asked one student how his first year at Canterbury University had gone. 
He responded, “I missed my London friend but the studies were fine.” 
I asked him for his opinion of our school system; here are some of his comments. 
“One of my uni modules is accounting, I had already done that subject that for my Intermediate exam with International Certificate of Christian Education (ICCE), so of course I had that down as one of my options from the advanced level course.  However when I saw the stuff at University I had to laugh and I said I wish my school studies had been this easy!”
I asked him if there was anything else he had noticed about his uni studies.
He said, “The Algebra, as with accounts, I wish that the school stuff had been as easy as the university material.”
His final comment was, When you have been to a school using the ACE system a fundamental element that you learn is how to manage your study time and how to complete work within a given period. I am finding that my stuff gets  done whereas lots of other students seem to have problems completing work and bringing it in on time.  We all have the same amount of time, and I think some of them are possibly brighter than me, but what they lack is the discipline that has been put into me over the years to complete the work on time.”
I also got the chance to talk with one of the lads who had completed his General Certificate at ICCE level, and asked him how his college studies were progressing.
Great!” he said, “but what is funny is how the other students don’t seem to be able to complete work on time, I have just handed in one of my first essays, the  lecturer said 1,000 words, I was about 400 over so I went to him and asked how critical is the word count?”
“Oh” he replied, “I only ask for 1,000 as most of the students cannot get anywhere near that number, I am happy with anything up to 2000 words, but I would be surprised if many can even achieve 800.”
I asked him if he had made any other observations since he had left school.
He said, “A friend asked me if I could help her with her GCSE material as she had to take an exam in Maths, so I said I would come around and try. I was very surprised at the level, and helped her to complete the work and showed her how to work out the material.  I then asked if I could take a copy of the paper with me.  She agreed and explained that it was an old exam paper used for practice.  I took it home to my younger sister, she is just 13 years old, and said can you do this maths? She said, ‘ Oh crumbs, yes of course, I am doing that stuff now.’”
 For those who know anything about the system this girl is on PACE 1083 which according to ICCE is two units below where we would say a student is who has begun General certificate work.
There was another young lady at the New Years Eve party who had been to a school using the ACE system, but not at one of the schools that I run; she is currently reading English at Liverpool Hope University.  I asked how she had found it, and if anything she had learnt from the system was useful in ongoing university studies. 
Her reply was amusing, “Well,” she said, “I am the only student in my group who knows how to  break down an English language sentence into its component parts, the whole class were saying, ‘we don’t even understand what we are being asked to do.’  So I ran my own tutorial group for my friends.  They asked how I knew how to do this, and I told them that I did it all when I was quite young in my Christian school, that it was standard practice.  I am just surprised that such basic things are part of this English course at university.”
Flack or no flack, the results speak for themselves.  You might say to me, are you trying to sell your system to us?  The answer to that is; you bet I am!

W. 1011
Adrian Hawkes for adrianhawkes.blogspot.com
Edited by Technicolour Text
Christian schools can get a lot of flack, but is it justified? www.adrianhawkes.blogspot.com

Saturday, 10 March 2012

In the Beginning there was nothing - which exploded.


  In the Beginning there was nothing – which exploded


My Blog: ‘Where does my tax pound go?’ has generated a lot of comments, thank you for joining in the big bang conversation.  I note also that some of the ‘followers of the way’ are getting a little excited by my response about the need to have the right and freedom to talk in school about creation and actually to teach creation.
I am not, at this stage, concerned with the thought of evolution or not, but want to make you aware that there are many people who want to silence the those who are followers of the way; who believe that Jesus Christ rose from the dead; who believe that there is a ‘God who is there’ who is the source of all things; who created the universe and the earth, time and space outside of himself.
Those who oppose the teaching of creation are not just advocating ‘you must teach evolution’; what they are advocating is that you must not say that there is a God who created the world, however he did it.  God must be kept in the private place of religion so called, or special dedicated buildings, or maybe we will let you talk about that ‘myth’ in the confines of religious instruction, though we rather you didn’t!
I listened to humanists discussing the subject on TV last Sunday morning they were vehemently opposed to bishops in the house of Lords, I might even agree with them there, but when pushed they slipped back into the usual rhetoric, ‘why should we allow schools to talk about God or faith, these myths belong outside of those areas and should be stopped as well as bishops in the House of Lords.’  It isn’t evolution that they want taught, it’s God and the fact of the Lordship of Christ, and the fact of the resurrection that they do not want taught, or talked about in the public arena.  That has always been so, there has always been the pressure to keep your beliefs private, but that is not the way of it.  We are commanded as followers of the way to share the good news that God is a personal God, He is there, He is not far away and a way of reconciliation has been made to Him via Christ and that all goes back to the beginning, that likeness that we have to the God who is there, that ultimate responsibility / answerability we have to Him and that we actually, as humankind, rebelled against Him.  That is a public place announcement and must remain so!
Let’s go back to the beginning shall we.  Which beginning? The humanist theory of beginnings is that there was nothing, then there was a big bang and after billions of years you have you and me, and a few billion others.  However because the bang ‘just happened’ we need to understand that there is no meaning to it,  as many of the people I am talking about, when pushed will of course be honest enough to tell you.  There is no meaning in love, justice, and morality.  When you are dead you are dead there is nothing else to it, no purpose, in life it’s all just a really bad joke.  Of course you can enjoy life while it’s there but don’t think that any of it means anything, Love is just the firing of neurons in the brain, a chemical reaction with perhaps a physical outcome.  It is about pointless survival, there is nothing there and no reason for it, a great big accident of nature, whatever nature is.  God is dead, in fact God never existed, man is also dead.  If we think about it for a moment we will move into total despair at such a pointless, meaningless existence.
Rather I would want our students and everyone else to know, the fact that we do have meaning, because we were created in the image of a personal and loving God.  That gives us meaning, that actually is true truth.  That is why we need to respect each other, that is why we can have meaningful love, both to other humans and to God.  That is why love can be reciprocal, that is why life, the universe, me, and you have real meaning and value.
My old friend George Canty used to say to me, ‘why do people think that they can have faith in faith that is so irrational.’  If you are in despair, without faith you might have faith in faith, or drugs or alcohol or sex without love, or take a leap into any nonsense.  Rather George would say, ‘put your faith in God that is something rational, true, checkable, reasonable, and verifiable.’  Being a follower of the way is not illogical or irrational it is truthful and sensible and rational.
There are those who would say science has replaced the need for God; interestingly Julius Robert Oppenheimer, a scientist, theoretical physicist and professor of physics, who was not a Christian but acknowledged Christianity was needed for modern science to exist for the simple reason that Christians create a climate of thought which put men in a position to investigate the form of the universe in which he exists. 
Many early scientists had the view that a reasonable God had made a reasonable universe, and having created reasonable man we could scientifically examine this reasonable universe and discover how it works.  The problem for the modern humanistic is that all the time they try to examine the irrationality of the universe and the accident that we are here they discover that they are examining a rational world.
Going back to that TV programme the other Sunday morning, I noted what they said about bishops in the House of Lords, the humanists said, ‘we don’t want them there,’ and as I have said, maybe I agree.  Then they said we don’t mind people being Christians, but they must not impose their ideas on others, particularly children in schools, even though they feel it is perfectly okay for them to impose their ideas wherever they like.  I know their answer to that criticism, as I have discussed it with them, they say, ‘ah but what we are teaching is true!’ As if they have the monopoly on truth!
Well I don’t want what I have discovered to be pushed into some private corner, limited to a religious education class, or a special building.  And what I have also discovered is truth; it’s a person!

Adrian’s Blog
W 1110
Edited by Technicolour text
Thanks to Mal Kelly for the title