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Louie Crew
377 S. Harrison Street, 12D
East Orange, NJ 07018

Phone: 973-395-1068 h

Please sign the guestbook and view it.

Louie & Ernest Clay-Crew
Married February 2, 1974


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Reading Scripture with a Fresh Duracell in your Thinking Cap

I chose to teach at least one class of freshmen for most of my 44 years as
an English professor.  I enjoyed exposing myself to a wider sample of
student intelligence than I found just from English majors.   In doing so, I
found that few  assignments worked well generation after generation, but
some did, and I never tired of reading what students wrote in response to

In one of these, I gave each student 10 blank index cards and asked them not
to put their name or any recognizable self-identification on any card  Then
I asked them to write on each card a separate action they would feel guilty
doing.  "Don't think much about these at this point," I counseled; "write
just the first 10 things that come to mind.  No one will ever know who
writes what."

3-5 minutes later, I said, "Now stack your cards, putting on top the action
that you would feel most guilty doing. Then one by one descend to your
bottom card, the action you would feel "least guilty" doing.   Then number
each card in this stack 1 (most guilty) to 10 (least guilty).

1-2 minutes later, I said, "Now stack your cards differently.  This time put
on top the action you find most tempting.  Descend to the bottom card with
the action you find least tempting.  Letter those cards thus stacked 'A'
(most tempting), 'B' (next most tempting......  Use an 'X' if the action
really is not tempting to you at all, regardless of how guilty you would
feel doing it."

Only after all had completed both sets of ratings did I say, "Now please
create a short code name for yourself and put it on each card so that your
cards may be reassembled after the exercise.  Also, on each card indicate M
or F for your gender......"  Occasionally I would ask for other variables,
such as "How many weeks out of the 52 in a year do you attend some form of
public religious worship?"

Then I collected the stacks of cards and shuffled them.

"You have just re-written the Ten Commandments," I pointed out.  Here's a
copy of Moses' stack.  How did your cards stack up against his, or if you
believe it, God's?  We'll discuss those question tomorrow.  Meanwhile,

Whether in a secondary modern school in the London slums, in a black college
in the rural South, in a foreign language institute in Beijing, in a
University in Hong Kong, or in state universities in Alabama, Georgia,
Wisconsin, or New Jersey, no one -- NO ONE -- ever came close to matching
Moses' big ten.  Many wrote lists much more sophisticated and morally
challenging for our time than Moses did -- at least that was the consensus
of most who participated in the assignment.  Many more revised their own
lists radically when they had the opportunity to be persuaded by their
classmates' lists or by Moses'.

Students were rarely bored.  Often they wrote much better prose than they
had demonstrated in other assignments of the course, especially when they
took at random a stack of someone else's anonymous 10 cards and wrote an
essay on that person's moral values.

How different the outcome would have been had I said at the beginning of the
class, "Now you will read the Ten Commandments and write an essay on whether
you agree or disagree with each one."

Those who defend the faith must work very hard to keep it a faith, not a set
of edicts from on high mindlessly (or fearfully) absorbed and consented to.

God is alive and well.  She made our brains and She expects us to use them.

Few people violate the third commandment so routinely as those of us who are
'religious' and glibly speak God's name without respect for the Creator, for
Creatures, or for Creation.

Newark deputation

Louie Crew, 377 S. Harrison St., 12d, East Orange, NJ 07018.  973-395-1068

Please sign my guestbook and view it.

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