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Do you think Jesus graded on a curve?

I doubt it.

Did he reduce people to numbers or letters?

Can’t think of one instance like that.

Does giving grades help us follow Jesus?

Nope. I’m not up with that one either.

So why must we grade our students’ work?

It’s complicated.

Jesus didn’t get married, play the guitar or drive either, did he?

Not as far as we know. None of these are devoid of value, and neither is grading per se.

Must we?

Not necessarily.

Then why do we?

A long and tangled relationship between theological education and the university.

Should we?

Maybe not.

How can we refuse with integrity?

Grade . . . with a generous helping of commentary, to keep a learning conversation going.  Maybe.

What about humility?

Use a pencil. It can be erased.

And what about humor?

It is an artless task, grading. And a lot like chasing the wind.

So how do we know if learning is happening?

There are thousands of ways to discover that, and grading is not even necessarily related.

Is there any room for wise judgement in grading?

Let’s hope.

What about injustice?

No doubt.

And love? Can there be love in grading?

All things are possible.

As my high school physics teacher liked to say, When you are on the receiving end of a grade it is better to plead for mercy than to demand justice.

Right about now . . . I’m thinking this one is right, whether you are on the receiving or the giving end of a grade.

God have mercy on us all at this end of the semester.


  • #faculty 2019-20
  • #repost 
#backtoschool means so many things. God’s mercy on every child who struggles with these questions.
  • What a beautiful day to start the fall teaching term!
#TeachingSelfie #EveningClass
#WishMeLuck @unionseminary #BackToSchool #BackToSeminary
  • What a full day it has been! The first day of orientation is done. I’m delighted to meet the incoming students and imagine our work together this year in pastoral theology and care as well as the death, dying, and bereavement course next spring. It is also joyful to meet colleagues in the work of theological education. And this evening on a walk I even spotted @alexisinnyc having dinner with her family along Broadway. [This is the part where you break into it’s a small world after all.] . 
many things will no doubt “pull me up short” in the days ahead. And you can read about my first experience of that at my blog. Today’s #Episode39 of @threeminuteministrymentor is about learning from the moments that happen when we don’t know how to respond. From this kind of pain can come truly transformed learning. #backtoschool #BackToSeminary #3MMM #3MinuteMinistryMentor #TheologicalEducation #Seminary #SeminaryLife #MinistryLife #PulledUpShort #Learning
  • Last gasp of #summer at the #mnstatefair 😎🤩😍
  • Advanced my summer writing projects and turned in one more this week. The grading is all finished and posted. New haircut yesterday. Now I have one more decision to make… Which T-shirt should I buy? ‘Cause Orientation is next week and I wanna look sharp. 😎

#VisitingProfessor #UTSNYC (Translation: This year I‘ll be a visiting assoc. professor of pastoral theology at Union Theological Seminary, New York.)

eileen.campbellreed @ Instagram

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