Luther and the Flux Capacitor, Blooms Taxonomy

Luther was knocked down by lightning… perhaps to the tune of 1.21 Gigawatts on July 2, 1505. There is no record of him achieving 88mph, but somehow or another he appears to have made it to 1955 and then returned to his own time period.

The thinking behind this, is Luther presents Bloom’s taxonomy in 1529… roughly 427 years before Bloom published it.

Image from University of British Columbia Wiki
Blooms Taxonomy

Luther was upset with the then current problems with Christian edu as evidenced by the following from the preface to the small Catechism.

The deplorable, miserable conditions which I recently observed when visiting the parishes have constrained and pressed me to put this catechism of Christian doctrine into this brief, plain, and simple form. How pitiable, so help me God, were the things I saw: the common man, especially in the villages, knows practically nothing of Christian doctrine, and many of the pastors are almost entirely incompetent and unable to teach. Yet all the people are supposed to be Christians, have been baptized, and receive the Holy Sacrament even though they do not know the Lord’s Prayer, the Creed, or the Ten Commandments and live like poor animals of the barnyard and pigpen. What these people have mastered, however, is the fine art of tearing all Christian liberty to shreds.

Luther goes on to present a solution… which mirrors much of Bloom’s taxonomy with a bit of Thorndike and Skinner thrown into the mix. Granted, he also goes go into salty sailor mode and into some off the wall stuff too.

So…. major edu problems were addressed ~500 years ago, and yet we find Biblical literacy is still not good, being often more culture driven than church driven. I wrote a bit on this before with God Helps Those Who Help Themselves Not!.

Doctrinal literacy is likewise pretty bad… as is the shredding of Christian liberty. Just ask most young folks about Christianity and more likely than not, you some form of moralistic law thing rather than grace.

I think there are 3 factors at play as to why this is the case.

1. Behavioralistic learning (Thorndike, Skinner) plateaus pretty easily except for the most driven students… often times folks reach the first or second step on Blooms taxonomy and that is where it ends. Consider that many pretty much end their formal Christian edu when they get confirmed… some of that is cultural, some of it is plateau driven.

2. Christian edu has a puritanical cultural component almost ascetic in nature… In some cases it seems as if it was intentionally designed to make the scriptures and Christian life as boring as a board and then some. Consider devotional reading… it puts me to sleep in a flash, on the other hand, give me something to chew through and I may be up until 6AM. Zukey Jones presents his views on this as a pastor.

3. Culture drives Christian edu more than the church does. We see this in the news media, in the movies, and in the Christian Industrial complex… Such makes a boat load of money for a few, but it often takes great liberty or even goes against the scriptures in the pursuit of mammon.

As far as whats the answer… that’s a tough one as there are additional compounding factors that change the landscape. The ever declining size of Sunday School makes critical mass difficult. Likewise, the loss of Christian privilege equates to more and more sports and academic schedule conflicts as far as Sunday goes. Its too bad Luther didn’t make it to 2013 prior to writing the small Catechism.

On the other hand, we’ve identified where the problems are. We have tools that Luther only could dream of, or even the folks back in the 50’s and 60’s when Sunday schools were full. Consider that an individual Sunday school teacher could flip their class, provide midweek encouragement and review for almost zero incremental costs with only a modest additional time investment. The doors are open for some amazing things to happen.

Roads? Where we’re going, we don’t need roads!


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