Twas the Night Before Spring Semester

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Twas the night before Spring semester when all through the house

Not a creature was stirring except my computer mouse

The syllabi were stacked in my briefcase with care

In hopes that in classrooms students would be there.

The students were nervously fidgeting in their dorms

With visions of quizzes, exams, and add-drop forms.

I pounding the laptop instead of good sleep

As I retype corrupted lesson plans, wanting to weep

When all of a sudden I see an alarm ignored for an hour

My laptop’s charger is missing and I’m low on power.

Away to my briefcase I flew like a flash

Ran into a chair and tripped on my sash

As I fell howling, grasping my knee

I recall I live in Edmond and my charger’s in Shawnee

I scramble back to my bed in a furious rave

Its too late, my computer dead, I forget to save.

Defeated, I pondered upon my unfortunate lots

Oh well, first day of class, I’ll just get them donuts.

Thou Shall Not Lie: A Brief Reflection on Ethics and Research

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It was April of 2009. I had just started my 2-month missionary bootcamp before deploying to the Middle East. During this training I heard all about how many wonderful ways I could get persecuted, imprisoned, or killed for being a missionary. While that certainly could create fear enough to lie in situations, it was always stressed that deceit cannot be used if you want to tell the truth. How can the Gospel spread if its messengers use deceit?

In journalism and research, truth and lies can’t share the same space. Deceit taints the end product. As I say this, I make the distinction between deceit and concealment. I have no ethical issues with concealment. If I participated in a report, I may want my responses or identity concealed but not lied about. On the other end, I wouldn’t want to be lied to, either. If I am part of a study that researches anxiety, let me know. Don’t lie about what I’m being tested for. When deceit is used, the variables become unreliable. Millions of variations of thoughts and actions can occur from what I understand to be reality. How does that make for accurate responses if my reality is false? Deceit directly lets the someone manipulate my reactions to meet his/her desired outcomes. While concealment will still yield different results from open revelation, at least my responses will be based on a reality I created from truth rather than lies. If the end goal is truth, truth must be embraced. I don’t necessarily need to know all the details or what is the full objective of the report or study. However, I must have truth if my reactions are to be accurate.

To bookend my response with my mission experience, I did learn about concealment in training. I learned Christ never deceived but did conceal. He never once stated to be the Son of God. He knew this would be taken as validation for the Pharisees’ charges of blasphemy. Instead, when confronted with the question, “Are you then the Son of God,” He replied, “You say that I am.” He deflected the question and answered at the same time. When I finally went to mission field, I learned that claiming to be a Christian was understood as someone who drank, hired prositutes, loved war, and hated anyone that wasn’t like them. The term Christian was a very inaccurate and often dangerous label to identify with. When I would be asked if I was a Christian, I learned to conceal but not deceive. I would reply, “I am a follower of Isa (Jesus).” This would be accepted as a good thing and open doors for the Gospel.

mhd