Thursday, October 18, 2012

Asian Pear Pomegranate Salad with Raspberry Vinaigrette

This is the salad recipe we used for our portion of First Congregational Church’s Progressive Dinner 10/14/2012.  Serves 4 adults as listed.

Salad Ingredients:
1 Pomegranate
1 Bunch of watercress, rinsed and dried, large stems removed, roughly chopped
2 Heads bibb or Boston lettuce, rinsed and dried, torn into pieces
2 Endives, cored and thinly sliced lengthwise
1 Asian pear, cored and cut into very thin slices
1 Jazz apple, cored and  thinly sliced (if not available use a sweet apple)
½ cup walnuts, toasted and  roughly chopped
4 ounces of Gorgonzola cheese (we forgot to add this to our salad)

Raspberry Vinaigrette Ingredients:
3 tablespoons raspberry vinegar
4 tablespoons fresh orange juice with high pulp
6-10 crushed raspberries
1 teaspoon  real maple syrup (can sub honey)
2 tablespoons sugar
1 tablespoon chopped shallot
3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
3 tablespoons canola oil
¼ teaspoon kosher salt

In a large bowl, combine the watercress, lettuce and endives.  Prepare the vinaigrette by whisking the ingredients, add salt & pepper to taste.

Just before serving, add just enough dressing to coat the greens and toss well.  Place salad on a large shallow serving platter.  Top the greens with sliced pears, apples, pomegranate seeds, walnuts and cheese.  Drizzle a little more dressing over all and serve remaining dressing on the side.

This is a beautiful and tasty salad that can be altered according to seasons to sub in seasonal fruits in the recipe.

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Startling Statistics about Pastors

Jeff Gauss who wrote the following was one of my seminary classmates and is a church planter of Epiphany Station in Thief River Falls, MN.

While preparing for a workshop I’m leading at our denomination’s annual meeting, I discovered some startling statistics about pastors (really, they are only startling to those who aren’t pastors).
(Below are just a few of the statistics compiled by the Schaeffer Institute in an 18 year long study from 1989-2007. Read the full report HERE.)
Hours and Pay
  • 90% of the pastors report working between 55 to 75 hours per week.
  • 50% feel unable to meet the demands of the job.
  • 70% of pastors feel grossly underpaid.
Training and Preparedness
  • 90% feel they are inadequately trained to cope with the ministry demands.
  • 90% of pastors said the ministry was completely different than what they thought it would be like before they entered the ministry.
Health and Well-Being
  • 90% of pastors stated they are frequently fatigued, and worn out on a weekly and even daily basis.
  • 80% of pastors feel unqualified and discouraged in their role as pastor.
  • 71% of pastors are burned out (beyond normal fatigue).
  • 70% of pastors constantly fight depression.
  • Only 23% of pastors report being happy and content in their identity in Christ, in their church, and in their home.
  • 72% of the pastors we surveyed stated that they only studied the Bible when they were preparing for sermons or lessons. This left only 38% who read the Bible for devotions and personal study.
  • 26% of pastors said they regularly had personal devotions and felt they were adequately fed spirituality.
Marriage and Family
  • 80% believe pastoral ministry has negatively affected their families.
  • 80% of spouses feel the pastor is overworked.
  • 80% of spouses feel left out and under-appreciated by church members.
Church Relationships
  • 70% do not have someone they consider a close friend.
  • 40% report serious conflict with a parishioner at least once a month.
  • 80% of seminary and Bible school graduates will leave the ministry within 5 years.
  • Only 10% of pastors will actually retire as a minister in some form.
  • Over 1,500 pastors leave the ministry every month.
  • Over 1,300 pastors are terminated by the local church each month.
  • 50% of pastors are so discouraged that they would leave the ministry if they could, but have no other way of making a living.

Click through to read the rest of Jeff's thoughts.

Friday, October 12, 2012

Why does God allow suffering?

Justin Taylor shared this on his blog & I'm posting it here because it is worth repeating.

Jared Wilson, in Gospel Deeps, writes that “while we may not be satisfied with what God has revealed about his purposes in suffering, we cannot justifiably say he has not revealed anything about his purposes in suffering. We may not have the answer we are laboring for, but we do have a wealth of answers that lie in the same field.”
Here’s an outline of ten reasons he identifies in God’s Word:
  1. To remind us that the world is broken and groans for redemption [Rom. 8:20-23].
  2. To do justice in response to Adam’s (and our) sin.
  3. To remind us of the severity of the impact of Adam’s (and our) sin.
  4. To keep us dependent on God [Heb. 12:6-7].
  5. So that we will long more for heaven and less for the world.
  6. To make us more like Christ, the suffering servant [Rom. 8:29; 2 Cor. 1:5, 4:11].
  7. To awaken the lost to their need for God [Ps. 119:67, 71].
  8. To make the bliss of heaven more sweet [Rom. 8:18; 1 Pet. 4:13; Ps. 126:5; Isa. 61:3].
  9. So that Christ will get the glory in being our strength [John 9:3; 2 Cor. 4:7].
  10. And so that, thereby, others see that he is our treasure, and not ourselves [2 Cor. 4:8-9].
See Jared C. Wilson, Gospel Deeps: Reveling in the Excellencies of Jesus (Wheaton, IL: Crossway, 2012), pp. 114-120 for an elaboration of each point.

Monday, October 08, 2012

So you think you can multitask?

I've always known this was true for me.  Focus has always been a issue for...what was it I was saying?  I've never been able to study (well) in public places.  I don't read books in coffee shops etc.  I don't even like studying in most libraries because I'm too easily distracted!

Students Think They Can Multitask. Here’s Proof They Can’t.

With easy access to all sorts of technology, students multitask. So do lots of us for that matter. But students are way too convinced that multitasking is a great way to work. They think they can do two or three tasks simultaneously and not compromise the quality of what they produce. Research says that about 5% of us multitask effectively. Proof of the negative effects of multitasking in learning environments is now coming from a variety of studies.

The question is, how do we get students to stop? We can tell them they shouldn’t. We can include policies that aim to prevent it and devote time and energy trying to implement them. I wonder if it isn’t smarter to confront students with the facts. Not admonitions, but concrete evidence that multitasking compromises their efforts to learn. The specifics are persuasive and here are some examples to share with students.
  • In an experiment involving 62 undergraduate students taking a principles of accounting course, half of the cohort was allowed to text during a lecture and half had their phones turned off. After the lecture both groups took the same quiz and the students who did not text scored significantly higher on the quiz.
    Ellis, Y., Daniels, W. and Jauregui, A. (2010). The effect of multitasking on the grade performance of business students. Research in Higher Education Journal, 8
  • This research focused on the use of laptops in a 15-week management information systems class enrolling 97 upper division students. With student consent, researchers used a spyware program that tracked the windows and page names for each software application run during class time. Students were encouraged to run “productive windows”—those that related to course content. Spyware also tracked the number of “distractive windows” students ran, including games, pictures, email, instant messaging and web surfing. Students had these distractive windows open 42% of the class time. Students who tried to listen to the lecture while using these distractive windows had significantly lower scores on homework, projects, quizzes, final exams and final course averages than students who looked at mostly productive windows. Researchers also found that this population under reported the extent of their multitasking.
    Kraushaar, J. M. and Novak, D. C. (2010). Examining the affects of student multitasking with laptops during lecture. Journal of Information Systems Education, 21 (2), 241-251.
  • Students taking a general psychology course were asked to read on a computer a 3,828 word passage. One group used instant messaging before they started reading, another group used instant messaging while they were reading and a third group read without instant messaging. The group that used instant messaging while they read took between 22 and 59% longer to read the passage than students in the other two groups and that was after the time spent instant messaging was subtracted from the reading times.
    Bowman, L. L., Levine, L. E., Waite, B. M. and Dendron, M. (2010). Can students really multitask? An experimental study of instant messaging while reading. Computers & Education, 54, 927-931.
  • A cross-disciplinary cohort of 774 students responded to a survey which documented that the majority of them engaged in classroom multitasking. Their multitasking was significantly related to lower GPA and to an increase in risk behaviors including use of alcohol, tobacco and other drugs.
    Barak, L. (2012). Multitasking in the university classroom. International Journal for the Scholarship of Teaching and Learning, 6 (2)
  • Students in a general psychology course completed weekly surveys on various aspects of the class. They reported their attendance, and if they used laptops during class for things other than note taking (like checking email, instant messaging, surfing the Web, playing games). They also rated how closely they paid attention to the lectures, how clear they found the lectures and how confident they were they understood the lecture material. The level of laptop use negatively correlated with how much attention students paid to the lectures, the clarity of the lectures and how well they understood the lecture material. “The level of laptop use was significantly and negatively related to student learning. The more students used their laptops in class, the lower their class performance.” (p. 910)
    Fried, C. B. (2008). In-class laptop use and its effects on student learning. Computers and Education, 50 (3), 906-914.