By G. H. Akers, Professor Emeritus, Andrews University
General Conference of S.D.A. (Education), Retired
Since distance ed is a novel instructional modality for most of us, what we say at this juncture about faith nurture via the Internet is largely theoretical. There are, however, some tried and true premises and procedures that might possibly transfer over from the conventional classroom to this new instructional frontier, and we shall attempt to review them, confident that we may learn much more about integrating faith and learning as we go, with heaven's blessing.
The Q & A format will be employed here. It's particular advantage is that it distills inherent issues and drives straight home to the point. It has proved itself through the centuries to be an effective pedagogy, because it keeps both student and teacher focused. After briefly overviewing the philosophical basis for IFL ("The Integration of Faith and Learning"), we'll move on to the pedagogical considerations.
First, there are several links to this article to which I'd like to alert you. You might want to browse them now, just for a sense of context, and then check in with them later as needed.
- Six Techniques for Integrating Faith and Learning in Teaching. This is the link we'll be touching down in often, using the schematic presented there as our basic teaching reference (we'll prompt you each time this link is required). It lays out the two general approaches to IFL --the "outside" integrative methodologies, and the "inside" ones.
- E. G. White Quotes (IFL). Here you may note some of the observations Ellen White made about the integration of faith and learning--not in that exact phraseology--of course, but conceptually they are about the pervasiveness of the religious element in true education). My students have been collecting these for the last twenty-five years, and there are more. Please help us build this link even further!
- Some More Resources. . . At the time of this writing this link is still largely in preparation, but I will endeavor to have several of my published articles on nurturing faith in the Christian classroom, and additional IFL bibliography. There are a number of excellent books and articles "out there." Do you have some nominations? (See Postscript)
- PTP (Points to Ponder). We could consider this our cyber classroom Bulletin Board. Good teachers understand the importance of creating a supportive learning "theater" where the whole instructional environment helps "get the message out." I am posting a few here that I have used in a former DE course, usually one in each lesson (or a collection for each unit). These are not necessarily ideal models, but are offered just to give you an idea as to what we might do to provide inspiration and idealism in this new medium and give our cyber course a warmer human touch. As we gain more experience we'll stumble over a number of IFL opportunities relating more appropriately to distance education. Of course, you'll likely want to give your own title to your cyber bulletin board. Again, please share your stuff; help us build this link!
- Dialogue with the Critics. The philosophical/theological/pedagogical air can get pretty thick with all the erudite debate that sometimes surrounds the IFL topic, so for those of you who want to engage these perimeters of the field, you may find this link intriguing. Again, my e-mail address is firstname.lastname@example.org
I'd be delighted to have you "jawbone" with me on some of the concepts elaborate in this link. This section, too, will be undergoing constant revision as we strengthen the foundational rationale. Come help!
So, let's get underway. Here are some of the basic questions we often get about "doing IFL in the classroom" (an expression I often hear from teachers in-the-trenches):
Q. Is there a clear Biblical mandate for doing IFL in education?
A. Deuteronomy 6, verses 3-5 come as close as I have encountered in Scripture. These are Moses' final words to the children of Israel on the banks of the Jordan, soberly warning them about permitting their children to become assimilated into the pagan world they were about to enter. It is one of the finest statements ever, in my opinion, about the TOTALITY of effective religious education. It involves home, church, and school--all pulling together everywhere, and at all times possible! (The Valugenesis Study, you recall, found the impact of this three-way partnership to be eight times more powerful than any of the three working alone!)
In his words: "Hear, O Israel! The Lord is our God, the Lord alone. And you must love the Lord your God with all your heart, all your soul, and all your strength. And you must commit yourselves wholeheartedly to these commands I am giving you today. Repeat them again and again to your children. Talk about them when you are at home and when you are away on a journey, when you are lying down and when you are getting up. Tie them to your hands as a reminder, and wear them on your forehead. Write them on the doorposts of your house, and on you gates." Deut. 6: 3-5, The New Living Translation.
Moses is talking here about pervasiveness. I'm reminded of Ellen White's incisive assessment of a truly Christian school: "It is the degree of moral power pervading (emphasis mine) the college that is a test of its prosperity." Testimonies for the Church, Vol. 5, pp. 31, 32. (Go to our Resources Link, see my JAE article, "The Measure of a School," vol. 40, No. 2, December, 1977-January, 1978 for my first published writings on IFL based on this quote.
Q. Agreed, but how does that relate to Academe?
A. To illustrate total integration, let us think of four levels of paired circles, like so:
The top two circles (apart, isolated) represent an instructional situation where the world of faith and the world of learning never meet. Never any reference to God, any governing spiritual authority, or value or ethical principle. In this mode, the student never gets to comprehend the spiritual implications or consequences of what he or she is learning -as if there were none! Even silence is a statement, you know. If something is never mentioned, the subliminal, non-verbal exclusion communicates strongly that it wasn't significant enough to be included. This would be total secularity.
The second level shows the world of faith and the world of learning connected in some kind of a relationship, but not yet really coming together. It's a conversation of sorts, may be an apologetic one, or even an adversarial, hostile dialogue -such as the teacher playing the devil's advocate, i.e: "The Bible says this, but science says. . . . . .." etc.) In this limpy, or antagonistic mode, the student sees religious values scorned or trashed, even if done with exquisite sophistication and learning. This is quasi-IFL at best, even though the conflict element therein provokes critical thinking. But it must be handled carefully or it can quickly turn into pseudo-integration.
The third level shows the two worlds -the world of learning and the world of faith--overlapping (shaded portion). This is where there is an occasional interface of the two can be accidental, or even managed, but it has to be said that it is an approach to fusion, so the two are partaking of each other in an integrative manner. Reciprocally symbiotic. This level shows great promise,. (If this is where you are--Commendations! Keep On Keeping On!) This might represent the beginning practitioner in IFL, or the seasoned pro.
The last level shows the two worlds totally overlapping. That is, the whole PERSPECTIVE in this teaching-learning situation is one of harmonious totality: the Christian perspective framing all the learning--the teacher talk, class discussion, the individual student work. Here it is never inappropriate for anyone to draw a spiritual lesson, parallel, or implication. This would represent a fully integrated class, one holding a unified, Biblical world view. "JUNCTION (kudos!)
Q. You mean I've got to turn my class into some kind of a religious revival or "prayer meeting" to really arrive at an acceptable level of IFL?
A. Any good thing done in excess can quickly become a travesty, and IFL is no exception. An important caveat has to be entered at this juncture: We are paid professionals to do a job, primarily to teach the subject for which our students and their families are paying hard-earned tuition $$$, and there is no amount of religious fervor that could justify defrauding them in the academic marketplace We must teach well and bring our students to mastery. This is not a question of either faith or learning: IFL presumes that we shall have them BOTH, and have them at their best! As religious educators our expertise lies in unassailable competence and uncompromising caring for our students (tough, but oh so tender).
Q. Let's cut to the chase... How would you in one sentence best describe the very essence of IFL?
A. Would you settle for three short ones? (See box below).
It's Bible principles illuminating subject matter, and subject matter illustrating Bible principles. Or to put it differently: the interplay of the natural and the supernatural. Mediating these cardinal elements is what effective IFL teachers do, all the time, wherever opportune and appropriate.
So it is the task of the Christian teacher to guide and orchestrate the study -whether it be group or individual--to trace all the linkages back to principles, and show that all assertions and knowledge at their root have ethical and spiritual implications. This requires a working knowledge of Scripture, and a creative aptitude for IFL application. Remember, this is NOT a new teaching method; each teacher fights the battle in his or her own armor, his/her own teaching style. The by-play cited above in the box is ground-zero for the committed IFL teacher, who is as comfortable in these two source sets, as he/she is in his/her own back yard! In the series of circles given above, illustrating this kind of progressive interfacing activity, level III would probably be the place where the Christian teacher operates most comfortably, and credibly. Level III would just naturally flow into level IV, given enough time and experimentation.
Q. You speak of integrating faith into learning. What do you mean by "faith"? There's really only one kind of faith, isn't there? Religious faith, right?
A. Not really, but for the purposes of this discussion, we'll just consider religious faith here, assuming that other venues can deal with the philosophical and the ethical. (See the "Dialogue with the Critics" Link). But let us here and now drive down one important stake about authority. It's simply this: whatever we stake our very life and souls on--our ultimate authority--in effect becomes our FAITH (though it may not necessarily be religious). For instance, the ultimate authority for some is rationality. (Humanism prides itself in this, the innate power of the human mind on its own, to deal logically with the "all" of life). Theists, on the other hand, rest their case on revelation. In this respect, whatever becomes the final arbiter and settles all the open questions is the ruling authority and becomes in fact a tacit faith statement, because it underscores and finalizes everything.
That authority base makes all the difference in the world! And that's the bottom line issue in IFL. It doesn't take students very long to determine which one of these two has the last word. For the informed and intelligent Christian, though, there is no real contest between rationality and revelation; each has its own domain and things can be pretty well sorted out on that basis. We certainly don't want to affirm the old myth about "blind faith," that in this class you check your brains at the door. But when push comes to shove, as they say, which one is on top, rationality or revelation? This can eventually become a real personal faith crisis for the intellectual Christian.
Resolving these two crucial elements, rationality and reason, is a powerful modeling assignment for the Christian teacher at every level of schooling, and helps our students deal intelligently with some of life's toughest questions. Not only now, but in the life chapters ahead. So in this respect, IFL is not only philosophic and theologic, but by implication, it becomes inherently pastoral.
Q. OK, I get the point about the generic relationship between authority and "faith," but aren't there many different kinds of religious faith? Which one of these are we integrating in IFL?
A. I see three distinct kinds of religious faith, or perhaps levels, and Christian teachers ought to be able to move freely and creatively among these as the flow of the study and discussion directs, utilizing their own distinct teaching style, of course.
(It's time to say it again: Whether we speak of "nurturing faith in the classroom" [the cyber-classroom included] or "integrating faith and learning"--however you want to phrase it--it does not call for an IFL manual, with some "cookbook" approach, with a recipe for each subject or topic. No, it is a highly creative instructional activity, and possesses no inherent methodological orthodoxy. Each teacher experiments and refines, with approaches appropriate to the subject and his or her teaching situation (student maturity and readiness, etc).
Let's list and discuss the three kinds of faith. Christian teachers understand that this faith begins and ends with God. (And we hope that every student in your class could ever miss that point!)
1. FAITH IN THE CHRISTIAN GODHEAD. The Christian teacher understands that his/her world view of ultimate reality is anchored in the Christian Gospel. This is an ultimate authority base and hence a world view that defines and frames all of mediations of instruction.
(Incidentally, if a student should say to you " Hey, Teach, what is this gospel thing you refer to sometimes?" Could you tick it right off? Would your recital of it ring with assurance and hope-and credibility? (This might be a little thumbnail test for you personally, to determine if you have a personal faith that you can integrate with the student learning you're supervising.)
The official S.D.A. Philosophy of Education sets forth the Christian Gospel succinctly in its preface, headed as Assumptions. It goes like this:
"Seventh-day Adventists acknowledge that--
- God is the Creator and Sustainer of the entire Universe--animate and inanimate.
- He created perfect human beings in His own image with power to think, to choose, to do.
- He is the source of all that is true, good, and beautiful, and has chosen to reveal Himself to humankind.
- Humans, by their own choice, rebelled against God and fell into a state of sin that has affected the entire planet, plunging it into the cosmic conflict between good and evil.
- God met the problem of sin through His plan of redemption which seeks to restore human beings to His image.
- God's redemptive plan aims to bring fallen humanity and the universe back to the original state of perfection, love, and harmony. This plan involves human choice for its acceptance and human agencies in its fulfillment.
- Seventh-day Adventists believe that under the guidance of the Holy Spirit, God's character and purpose can be understood as revealed in the Bible, Jesus Christ, and nature. The distinctive characteristics of education--derived from the Bible and the writings of Ellen G. White--point to the redemptive aim of true education: to restore human beings into the image of their Maker."
This view of God governs the Christian teacher's whole outlook. It is a "given," the Absolute (caps intended) reference point, the final Authority and Arbiter in all classwork. And we teachers endeavor to connect our students with it whenever and wherever it is appropriate. (Remember our ruling rubric: IFL must be "pervasive"). We're talking about totality. And intentionality. Later we will consider some of the particular ways Christian teachers do this.
2. THE PERSONAL, MYSTICAL, INTERIOR FAITH LIFE. Beyond the theological and the sociological, there is the deep, ineffable soul hunger of every person to have an intimate, personal walk of faith with his or her God. As Christian teachers we reverently respect this "Holy of Holies" in each student, and are loathe to intrude there without invitation. But we certainly don't ignore it, either. We endeavor to create and maintain a psychological climate of instruction and personal relationship with each student that will optimally foster individual spiritual development, one that can grow this intensely private interior faith life (often referred to as "experiental religion").
3. FAITH IN ONE'S OWN RELIGIOUS COMMUNION (the "community of faith" concept). We want to affirm (and seek to integrate) this expression of faith life with each student. It is definitely a part of IFL. It's important because it addresses that sense of spiritual and social belonging we all require, that tells us that we are not alone; we are cherished by the Family of God on Earth, loved and cared for by a local religious congregation. This identity may be creedal, and it may be just sociological (and we'd like to think that translates out to "S.D.A."), but it is an extremely crucial consideration, so central to an abiding emotional security we hope goes on long after formal schooling has stopped. Yes, faith in our church is part of the faith of IFL and we want to nurture this important faith experience in our students wherever we can.
Q. Let's get down to some specifics-just how do I go about this special form of faith nurture?
A. All right, we're into pedagogy. I would suggest that we think about it as OUTSIDE of subject matter, and INSIDE subject matter.
(For a graphic display of how this plays out, as I see it, please go to the link "Six Techniques for Integrating Faith & Learning in Christian Education." Notice how the schematic is divided into these two general inside/outside divisions)
Let us establish here at the onset that although the external expressions of IFL are worthy, they are, in my opinion, the weak sister. For it is only as we use subject matter (the inside modality -getting inside the subject, with all its ramifications and implications) that we teach students how to "think Christian". And we do it mostly by modeling it ourselves-exposing our own thought processes, like "thinking out loud." before our students. (Yeah, I know, it's risky...) --And we lead them into doing the same. But that's when we hit paydirt, as they say. Let's put this into pedagogical terminology: it's primarily with the inside modality that our students get to see, and get to practice, the desired learning outcome.
But now a kind word or two about the external mode, (we're talking now about the instructional environment itself). Even though the external modality is a more passive way at coming at IFL, yet teachers do have the option of orchestrating the various spiritual influences designed to impact the student. These do not have to be "religious," necessarily; they can be wise sayings and epigrams. These can be influential in their own low-keyed way, whether tucked in along the way in the teacher talk, or dropped into a quiz as "filler," or made accessible as a convenient site for the student to visit, like a link (our new digital bulletin board"). I have used this choice-bits approach myself, and merely called the whole package "Points to Ponder...". (We have created a link for that category here, exhibiting some few choice bits and mini-devotionals, and I'm hoping that you will help us expand this link!).
With respect to the little "devotionals" --these really ought to be related to your discipline (much stronger if they are). But if you're a collector and you share all your snippets and goodies with your students, you'll be happily surprised as to how many of them will express their appreciation for the enrichment. Almost anything can be inserted under that rubric. In this new digital environment, we have to be creative and devise our own version of "bulletin boards."
Before we leave the "external" IFL modality, I'd like to have you consider the time-honored, before-class devotional. An interesting ritual, eh? A deeply ingrained legacy in Christian education. It's usually unrelated to the academic subject matter at hand, though, and seems to be staged as a little minuet for the record's sake to prove to ourselves and our patrons that the learning that's going on here is indeed "Christian," that we ourselves are Christian, or to remind our students that we're all Christians. Why do we need to play church before we get down to the business of going to school? It could be much better justified, seems to me, if it is genuine IFL -a spiritual illumination of the subject matter at hand. And would not prayer -anytime during the class period--focused on a particular need to address God or include Him in the dialogue--become more real, thus modeling it before our students as an on-going normality in the everyday flow of our lives? Why set it apart and separate?
Do you see the "hidden curriculum" aspect of this? (It isn't only students who bring hidden curriculum to school with them, is it?) The point is simply this: after we get past that "silk curtain (the unrelated devotional), which is calculated to divide the secular from the sacred, the class then proceeds to be taught as it would be in any totally secular institution! If so, we've just made a powerful subliminal statement about the moral/spiritual/ethical neutrality of the subject as well as our own dichotomized, compromised world view. (For a classic discussion of this going-through-the-motions type of teaching see John Goodlad's fine book, Moral Education. He refers to this kind of teacher behavior as the chronic plague of education, "mindlessness") It's counterpart, of course, is intentionality.
No, life is not fractured, divided up into two distinct parts; it's a wholism. The very message we want so much to convey to our students -that to the Christian the artificial partitions melt away and all life becomes one sacred territory--can easily be nullified. But when we practice IFL we make an opposite, powerful statement about the natural fusion of the two, and our own personal comfort with the phenonenom. We bring credibility to it as we show that we are at home with the sacred and secular flowing along together.
The class devotional, then, must be managed with consummate care and skill, lest we make a contradictory statement about the unity and totality of ultimate reality. Let's not bifurcate or splinter ultimate reality. When we use the class devotional segment, let us be attentive to bridging it to our discipline, wherever possible, and particularly and what is to follow for the class period.
So while we're on the external aspects, let's not forget that the teacher is a very real component here too. He or she is the maestro who operates in and orchestrates both domains, one who is always--high key or low key --"the meaning maker." His/her conduct with the student (including the non-verbal communication, especially) is critical, an IFL statement in itself! The caring and compassionate attitude of a Christian teacher will burn through anywhere, and is powerful--despite the cold, so-called impersonal nature of digital technology. I certainly don't want to knock "the good guys up front" IFL ethic, but then again I don't want us to rely on that exclusively, as if this is the only thing we have going for us in Christian education. Somehow, integration has to connect with subject matter. Good teachers, just being good emulatable people, have an enormous lot to say to youth (and adults) about genuine Christianity in action!
True, this new teaching tool that has been handed to us tends to be overpowering, and the medium can override the message if we let it, but with a very deliberate commitment--and benign persistence--the Christian teacher can relate warmly with his or her class and find ways to give personal, affirming and encouraging attention to each student. That's "faith in people" (Maybe actually a fourth kind of faith we might have included back there, eh?)
Q. You mean it is all there -how to effect IFL--in just that one-page schematic ("Six Techniques"??
A. I think so, in essence. So I suggest that you spend 10-15 minutes, alone, just studying this chart. I think you'll find it quite self-explanatory.
(I have provided this chart as grist-for-the-mill also for your on-line chat together, in the hope that you will discuss each IFL level and its opportunities--and share together how your discipline has some unique opportunities for IFL themes and illustrations. Incidentally, can you think of several such pervasive themes, which are fairly common to your discipline? Say, like four or five? If so, cherish these as your crown jewels in the diadem of your subject, something for which your students will remember you for years. Think about those natural junctures in your subject where you can play them out for maximum impact. Plan the "Heroic Encounter" with your students!)
For your personal reflection: are you working still at only the external level, hoping that the external environment you create (what I call mere props and scaffolding) will carry the IFL load? I suggest that you look long and hard at # 6 in that schematic!
You recall, in that four-layered series of circles sometime back in this article, where we moved from disjunction -> to injunction ->conjunction -> to junction, that the third layer, conjunction, has proved to be made to order for the creative teacher. That's where there is a natural overlap between the two worlds of faith and learning, and it's in this overlap zone that the skillful IFL practitioner operates best, pointing out (or helping the student discover) the inherent correspondence and interplay of the two. If that is done regularly and appropriately (being careful not to wrench subject matter or faith), the fourth level, total "junction," is eventually realized).
I've found myself saying, more than once, that if there is a methodological name that we could attach to this pursuit of IFL, it would be "opportunism." I sometimes wonder if that's what the Apostle Paul had in mind when he spoke of the Christian being "in season, and out of season." Again, speaking of thematic teaching, Christ was certainly the master teacher in this respect (and in all others!). If you analyze the prevailing subjects and general focus of His parables and other instructional episodes--whether private tutorials or public teaching--He stuck by His two major themes: "What is the Father like?" and "What is the Kingdom like?" And He consistently knitted everything around these two. We can do the same with our students, using the instructional principle of reinforcement without apology. It's good teaching!
Maybe the four soul-searching questions offered there at the bottom of the schematic (under "Course Planning" will spur your creativity. (Are you ready for my quiz over it? Or ready to write me a "thought paper on it?) Determine for yourself just which of these emphases would seem to work best for your discipline, considering the maturity of your student and your own distinctive teaching style.
This is probably a good place to alert you to another link that underscores the point we're generally making here--the pervasiveness of the spiritual perspective. See the link entitled "E. G.White Quotes on the Integration of Faith and Learning."
Q. Are there some instructional techniques that you favor above others, for the optimum realization of IFL?
A. Definitely--the Socratic and the Thematic. Either, well done, seem to mark the master teacher. And they tend to go together, have you noticed? In these two teaching styles the prominent themes and principles of the subject are best highlighted through gentle probing questions and follow-through dialogue. In fact, some educational theorists maintain that the art of teaching is essentially the art of asking questions, because they promote issue-centered teaching, which challenges students to deeper, critical analysis. In this respect, I favor the 1-2 page "thought question" technique. Through it you can learn a lot about your students and individualize your instruction naturally and non-invasively, and help them more. It often gets intimate and becomes a therapeutic counseling tool, as well as a higher order thinking-writing exercise. It's amazing what these students will share about their inmost feelings and values-and dreams-once they trust you for total confidentiality.
So I would suggest that you try to find some really big problems, or internal tensions, or apparent contradictions for the student to resolve. Some true moral dilemmas in each unit of study,. Study the internal section of that schematic again, "Six Techniques .." and note that creative teaching-learning can take place from both sides of the desk. Your students will surprise you, too, as to how penetrating they can be in their grasp of the spiritual dimensions of your discipline. They will help you teach the class and keep the IFL going.
Q. Do you have any special words of caution?
A. Yes, don't over do it. As we have just observed, IFL is essentially a disciplined form of opportunism. Discretion and appropriateness mean everything if you are to "keep faith" with your students. Hit your IFL point deftly and unobtrusively and move on. We are not authorized under the guise of a religious mandate to defraud our tuition-paying students with protracted homilies or sermonettes. Academically, we have to "deliver the goods." We are professionals.
And finally, keep it un-preachy and pleasantly engaging. Remember, if your IFL attempt is a "tack-on," not connected in any way with your discipline, it loses its pertinence and comes off as phony as a three-dollar bill. It insults the intelligence of your students and they end up losing respect for you (and your intelligence). But when integration occurs naturally, and logically, within the subject and the topic under discussion, then it is authentic and serves as a dynamic component of the Christian totality. Students will notice that here was a total teacher, one who had it all related, and "had it all together."
Q. Any last words of advice?
A. Yes, attempt IFL only as it is natural to you. With a little experimentation and experience, you'll come to speak as naturally about the supernatural as you do about the weather. Then you'll have real credibility and influence with your students, for you will have earned the distinguishing mark of a truly Christian teacher: "power with," not power over... It's a monumental principle at work: the superiority of persuasion over coercion, and the ineffable consequences of inspiration. We must ever keep in mind that we as religious educators must be experts in the inspiration business, as well as the information business
And I would add here: don't be afraid to drop in a calculated and well-rehearsed, heroic "one-liner" now and then right in the middle of your academic discourse (a casual "throw away line"as they say in show biz). It is very much in place, and especially effective when it is appropriately in the flow of content (the "inside" variety of IFL). Don't underestimate this IFL technique, it has all the potential of a time bomb inserted deep in the psyche of your students, one that can go off with its explosive life-changing potential long after you're off the scene.
Q. Does this IFL focus make Adventist education "unique"?
A. No, not at all. Religious education institutions worth their salt are deep into this and have been for decades! What makes us all distinctive, however, is a common intentionality concerning moral/ethical WISDOM. (Read Proverbs 3 & 4). And always our grand objective is to produce an on-the-way being redeemed and transformed graduate. Few secular schools are committed to partnering with the divine supernatural agencies! This is the well-considered focus that sets Christian schools apart.
Here's our basic ethic of education: We believe that the cardinal contribution of religious education is its deliberate and unapologetic impartation of wisdom, as opposed to the passing on of mere knowledge and skills. That's why IFL is so important in the sacred work we've been called to do! Is it too much of a stretch to say that we have been put here to put our students personally in touch with The Holy Spirit? Our primary vehicle for this is our academic discipline--subject matter. (Awesome, eh?) So that's what we mean by "Integrating Faith and Learning."
To be a Christian teacher-what a privilege! What a what a way to spend a life!
(A postscript. The beauty of this new modality is that this week's hurried composition can be revisited at any time at my convenience and edited, and refined. (I hope!). I don't have to be intimidated now by the horrendous thought that this published piece is "poured in concrete," inexorably exposed to rise or fall before posterity, locked in for the duration. No, I have the luxury of improving this as I am advised, and inclined to, in the future. I know now tha