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“A certain man was preparing a great banquet and invited many guests. At the time of the banquet he sent his servant to tell those who had been invited, ‘Come, for everything is ready.’

“But they all alike began to make excuses. The first said, ‘I have bought a field, and I must go and see it. Please excuse me.

“Another said, ‘I have just bought five yoke of oxen, and I’m on my way to try them out. Please excuse me.’

“Still another said, ‘I just got married, so I can’t come.'” (Luke 14:16-20, NRSV).

I have been teaching Bible classes at the local community college for several years now. The students like to make excuses. “I’m working with a youth group. I can’t be there tonight.” “My father is sick. I can’t be there tonight.” “I just got a new guitar in the mail. I can’t stay tonight.” It amazes me sometimes. 

“Do we have to stay the whole time?” “It’s so nice out, can’t you let us go early?” “The doors aren’t locked,” I tell them. “Leave if you think you must. But understand that your choices have consequences.” If you can pass the tests without the information I’m giving you (I’ve yet to meet anyone who has been able to.), I’ll not waste your time. If you don’t care about your grades or the content of the class (a more likely scenario), don’t waste my time. It’s worse when they attend and don’t want to be there. They read (other material, usually magazines), surf the internet, talk to their neighbors. I’d rather you just left. Don’t disrespect me or your classmates.

“I tell you, not one of those who were invited will get a taste of my banquet” (Luke 14:24, NRSV).

I took my home school high school team to the district Odyssey of the Mind competition this weekend. Odyssey of the Mind is an extra curricular activity that promotes creative thinking and problem solving. It was our first year competing. They’ve worked hard at the competition. I wasn’t able to be with them all the way, but part of the requirement is that they do their own work. They can’t receive “outside assistance.” There are penalties assessed for receiving help from anyone who  is not on the team. 

The Team placed first in the district. We now have to decide if we’re going on to the state competition. I hadn’t actually planned for us to make it that far. I assumed we were competing against teams that had done OM for years; knew what they were doing and how to compete. I told one mother that my goal for the team is that they not embarrass themselves. They certainly didn’t. 

I’m very proud of this group of young people. They performed admirably. 

On Friday evening I began teaching Introduction to the New Testament at the local community college. I believe this is the seventh year I’ve taught this class. This is the first time I’m teaching it as a hybrid; half the class will be physically in class and the rest online. I’ve never taught an online class. I’ve never taken an online class.

It’s taken a while to convert my two classes to this new format. After all that work, the first class, Introduction to the Old Testament, didn’t make. Not enough students registered to make it worthwhile for the college to offer it. The college had some problems registering students at the beginning of the semester. They were using new software and it crashed the system the first week. I’m hoping this is the reason the first course didn’t make. The second class is full. I didn’t have all of the students who registered show up the first weekend, but I did have my largest class yet. Evidently, this mixed format of in person and online is popular. I think I’m going to like it. It gives some new possibilities for interaction with students, and everyone has to participate.