Wordpoint --Part 7

Part 7

Edwin Raymond Anderson

“The Quality of an Education Is Judged on the Basis of Performance on Standardized Tests: If What You’ve Learned Is Not What’s Being Measured, You Are Presumed Not to Have Learned Anything.”

This quotation by Carll Tucker of The Saturday Review syndicate bears the peculiar reference to the manner of end-time society in which our lot and portion is cast. The manner of his quotation referred to the educational setting; yet the implications of the wording extend beyond the hallowed borders of cap and gown. More things than ivory towers must be taken into view. For all things, measure forms the ultimate basis. In the nature of the case it could hardly be otherwise, taking full account of the affairs which form the end-time mould.

In truth, we live in a measured society. We are governed by graphs and directed by diagrams. Things are proportioned by printouts. Seeing that we are surrounded by science, and drawn tight by technology, this is to form the expected portions. Standards of all sorts constitute the “bare raw bones” of mechanics. Mr. Tucker speaks of “judged on the basis of performance” as moulding the nature of “quality.” These things are in the hands of modern man, and make up his joy or sorrow, depending upon that which issues forth at “exam time.” But withal, one could hardly imagine this old “modern world” conducting its affairs upon any other basis. Man, at his best and worse, has set himself under the control of these measurings. In a very real, and perhaps tragic sense, modern man has become the servant of the rule and the scale — he must bow before figures and estimates.

It is easy to imagine the problems which are created by this state of things. It was Bowman who said, “Statistics are born losers.” Watt noted the problem in this manner, “Do not put your faith in what statistics say until you have carefully considered what they do not say.” A closing word from Pearsall Smith: “I am one of the unpraised, unrewarded millions without whom statistics would be a bankrupt science.” Our trio of sayers are quite right in considering the problem of the human element, the man behind the machine, the troubled heart beneath the fleet fingers. Where one must be guided, there lies the sense of a driving; a mere cog in the calculations.

With this, as with other matters which fill up the scene, the natural is ever the mirror of the spiritual. Scripture affords the correct measure in the words, “… that which is natural; and afterward that which is spiritual” (1 Corinthians 15:46). “Afterward” is “epeita,” “after that” suggesting the thought of development, of process. Modern man has his problems with the consequence of his measurements, and these are but compounded when the scalings are transferred to the realm of the spiritual. There are always difficulties when the soul would be treated in similar fashion to the body as, alas, the rich fool of Luke 18 discovered. Barn-rule sufficed less than naught for soul-scale.

Modern man unfortunately is too related to that fool of former scenes. He would tape his soul with the boundaries for his body, assuming that mortal measurements will carry sufficient mileage for the circumference of those matters which are of spiritual consequence. Basically, every road of man-made salvation is paved of such material. Egress in the world is equated with equal egress into states and scenes beyond the rim of time and tide. It requires naught save the convicting work of the Holy Spirit to rend such rules, strip such scales and mutilate such measurements. “Repentance toward God, and faith toward our Lord Jesus Christ” (Acts 20:21), measured, toward God, that “quality” wherein one may be, “presumed…to have learned anything.” Modern man’s basic problem in the realm of the spiritual, like in manner to the area of the natural, lies in the reluctance and unwillingness to fully abide by the consequences of his measurements. In both realms, he fain would practice subterfuge and deceit.

The modern problem breweth of ancient rootage. The apostle spoke of those who, “measuring themselves by themselves and comparing themselves among themselves, are not wise” (2 Corinthians 10:12). The “measuring,” “metreo,” and the “comparing,” “sugkrino,” alike issue into, “suniemi,” the totality of that which comprehends the ways of the Lord. Here lieth the problem holding the greater peril. Mr. Tucker referred to “the quality of an education,” and if “what’s being measured” scorns every earthly plumb line, and gathers the full measure of soul-hope to lie in that “education” which is the work of the Spirit, then alone shall “quality” ring the highest changes.