Monthly Archives: August 2014

12th Week PhD: Stories and Shalom

This week in the Advanced Worldview course, we were asked to discuss two questions:  “Why is the concept of narrative important to a Christian worldview?” and “What are practical ways we can communicate hope in our professional environment?”

Narrative is the bread and butter of Christianity. The Bible is a narrative of creation, sin, redemption, and eternity. Jesus was a master storyteller, using parables to send powerful messages about how we are to act and treat one another (Parable of the Prodigal Son and the parable of the Good Samaritan). The Ethiopian eunuch listened to Philip tell the good news of Jesus and immediately believed and was baptized (Acts 8:26-40). Peter told the crowd in Jerusalem about the redemption story and “three thousand were added to their number that day” (Acts 2:41, New International Version). Narrative paints pictures when mere words are not enough.

Shalom, according to Plantinga (2002) “means far more than just peace of mind,” since in the Bible it means “universal flourishing, wholeness, and delight” (p. 15). Delight as a definition of shalom is powerful. Plantinga (2002) entitles one section “Hoping for Shalom” in reference the Holy Spirit’s influence to use Jesus as hope for all mankind (p. 12). Hope only for ourselves is selfish. When we hope for others, we are “enlarged by the Holy Spirit” (Plantinga, 2002, p. 12). When we hope for shalom, we are hoping for a brighter future for others, not only ourselves. We are hoping for shalom as Jesus did for us on the cross.

Blessings to you and yours.


Eleventh Week PhD: Advanced Study and Research

Hello fellow bloggers and blog readers! This is my eleventh week in the PhD program and my respite is over. This semester will be long, but in the end it will be worth the many hours of discussion, reading, writing, and researching. My two classes this semester are Advanced Study of Worldview and Research Design and Analysis. More on Research Design and Analysis in a bit. The first impression of Advanced Study of Worldview is there will be a lot of reading, I get to write a book review, and I get to read “God is not great: How religion poisons everything” by C. Hitchens. I am really not looking forward to reading the last book, but I am pretty sure it will challenge me, and I am always up for a good challenge.

As a librarian, I live for research. I research everything–buying a new phone, a new car, a new stove, a new computer, couches, desks, books, hotels, activities, etc. I help students research. I help faculty research. I teach how to research. I research for the fun of it. The textbook for this class (as seen in the photo) is “Educational research: Planning, conducting, and evaluating quantitative and qualitative research” by J. Creswell (5th ed.). The textbook is full of information, a lot of which I know, a lot of which I don’t. One little thing that bothers me about this book in chapter 3 is a section on how to conduct research in the library. This edition was updated this year–the copyright date is actually 2015–and it is only available in a loose-leaf version. However, the information on library resources is a tad outdated. I am sure some academic libraries (somewhere) still use CD-ROMs to access databases (there could be some). Creswell (2015) even suggests that a researcher “go to the bookshelves” and “scan the table of contents of education journals from the past 7 to 10 years” (p. 82). I might possibly do this while working on my dissertation so that I leave no stone un-turned, however it would only be if my library (I have access to two wonderful academic library resources) did not have electronic access to what I needed or if the only copy of a journal was in print. This scenario is highly unlikely since most academic libraries (including the one in which I work) have removed some print journal copies (given away, donated, sold, etc.) if available elsewhere electronically to make room for other collections, services, or partners, etc. in the library. I realize that not everything is available electronically and in those cases, yes, I will use the print copy to browse the table of contents, but it is only as a last step (depending on my topic).

The author fails to mention the most valuable resource a doctoral student will need–WorldCat–the catalog of almost every book known in the world in every kind of library imaginable, most of which are connected to a lending system. He does mention the Library of Congress, which is a wealth of information (especially their online collections), but it is not primarily a lending library. There is one mention of interlibrary loan which is also of utmost importance to a doctoral student, or any graduate student really. Try as it might, there is not one academic library that can purchase every single database, book, resource, media, etc. in the world. Interlibrary loan covers this by creating a lending library of thousands of libraries across the world–not only for books, but for journal articles, toowpid-img_20140819_225139_124.jpg. I think Creswell should have consulted a librarian on this chapter because this librarian is not impressed.

So, off my soapbox, I am excited for this new semester to begin. Reading, discussing, networking, writing, and researching will be the thing for the next few months.

Blessings to you and yours.

Creswell, J. W. (2015). Educational research: Planning, conducting, and evaluating quantitative and qualitative research (5th ed.). Upper Saddle River, NJ: Pearson Education.

Tenth Week PhD: Respite

For over a week, I have had no homework, writing, or discussion posts for doctoral work. I have started reading two textbooks for two of my classes, but I have also been reading a book for enjoyment. The Minor Adjustment Beauty Salon by Alexander McCall Smith–one of the books in The No. 1 Ladies’ Detective Agency series. If you have never read any of these, please consider it. They are set in Botswana and follow the detectives Precious Ramotswe and Grace Makutsi in the town of Gabarone. They spend most of their time thinking their way through cases, traveling to the bush in an old white van, and drinking tea. If you like books that are peaceful, insightful, and pleasant, with a touch of mystery and pluckiness, then these books are for you. You can check one out at your local library (electronic or print–whichever you prefer).

Speaking of electronic or print, as for me, I recently purchased a Kindle HD on a whim. Reading books on an electronic screen is different than a print book, to be sure. However, for books I read for pleasure that I don’t need to make notes in or re-read to take a test, this format works very well.  I love the smell of books–of which I have plenty. I still have to print out articles for research. Highlighting and underlining help me remember and study. There are ways to do that with an electronic book, but I haven’t figured out how to do that in a way that will help me. To me, reading for pleasure is a respite and a stress reliever. It will help me get ready for new doctoral courses this semester by clearing my mind and filling it with pleasant thoughts, well-developed characters, and a craving for red bush tea.

Blessings to you and yours.

Listen to Mr. Smith here:

Ninth Week PhD: Been There, Done That

This Monday, my final paper was due for my first doctoral class. Christian Worldview for Educators was a great first doctoral course as there was the appropriate amount of APA style, assignments, readings, and discussions. This course was a good introduction to the doctoral mindset. I had never given much thought to the Christian worldview as a way to relate to my profession. As someone who works in Christian higher education, a  Christian worldview is important since it is the reason Christian higher education exists and why I have chosen to work in its environment.

Another lesson this class has taught me is time management. Having one course in the summer has been a challenge, but having two courses this fall will be even more challenging. Without a set schedule for dealing with two courses at once, I will surely get behind and will probably not be able to catch up.

So, now that this course is over, I will rest a little, read for pleasure a little, and read ahead a little for the start of a new semester.

Blessings to you and yours.

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