The Terrorism We Need!

The Nugget:

2Co 5:11  Knowing therefore the terror of the Lord, we persuade men; but we are made manifest unto God; and I trust also are made manifest in your consciences. (KJV)

2Co 5:11 So, since I know what the fear of God can do, I am trying to win men. My inner self is perfectly known to God, and I hope, to your consciences too. (Williams NT)

My Comment:

I believe that there has been a substitution for genuine Biblical faith going on in this country, something that takes just about all the time many people have, leaving no time for Bible reading and study in their lives.

I call this time-stealer the new, and the real, opiate of the people.

I won’t make any friends or influence many people by my observation, but I think the new opiate of the people, something like the “bread and circuses” in ancient Rome, is the wildly rampant all-consuming interest in the subject and activity of sports.

My other observation is that we need a new brand of terrorism in this country, a terrorism that would do everyone much good, and put the wrong-headed politicians and officials in government and elsewhere in their place. I am speaking of unleashing the power of the true Gospel (Romans 1:16) found only in the Bible, and terrorism of the kind the Apostle Paul was engaged in spreading:

2Co 5:11 Knowing therefore the terror of the Lord, we persuade men; but we are made manifest unto God; and I trust also are made manifest in your consciences.

That is the kind of terror we need to spread far and wide. If under God we could be successful like the Early Church was, we would see God “turn this world upside down,” and we would no longer have any need for the Department of Homeland Security. And if we saw real revival like was seen in this country during several of the last Great Revivals of the Nineteenth Century, as under Charles Finney’s ministry, among others, like Whitfield and the Wesley’s, our jails would be empty, our saloons all closed, and this nation would return to righteous living.

The Early Church succeeded in a more hostile atmosphere than we face today (though in our time things are getting worse, not better), and succeeded without modern technology, not even the printing press.

And it all starts with our becoming knowledgeable about Scripture (what this site is about!), and our obeying what we know, starting with the last command Jesus gave in Acts 1:8.

Acts 1:8  But ye shall receive power, after that the Holy Ghost is come upon you: and ye shall be witnesses unto me both in Jerusalem, and in all Judaea, and in Samaria, and unto the uttermost part of the earth.

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Daily Bible Nugget #520, Hebrews 6:9

The Nugget:

Heb 6:9  But, beloved, we are persuaded better things of you, and things that accompany salvation, though we thus speak.

My Comment:

Back on October 23, 2018, I posted an article about the hidden features in my cross-reference Bible study tools, The New Treasury of Scripture KnowledgeNelson’s Cross Reference Guide to the Bible, and The Ultimate Cross Reference Treasury. Here is the link to that article:

In The New Treasury of Scripture Knowledge and even more fully in The Ultimate Cross Reference Treasury I have included many notes about how to study the Bible. These notes are not included in Nelson’s Cross Reference Guide to the Bible because a major goal of that publication was to reduce its size and complexity.

Hebrews 6:9 is most instructive itself, especially when studied more deeply by reading the cross references given for this verse.

Hebrews 6:9

beloved. Gr. agapētos (S# G27, Eph 5:1). *Heb 6:4, 5, 6; *Heb 6:10, *Heb 10:34; *Heb 10:39, 1Co 10:14; 1Co 15:58, 2Co 7:1; 2Co 12:19, *Php 1:6; *Php 1:7, *1Th 1:3; *1Th 1:4, +*2Pe 3:17.

we are persuaded. Gr. peithō (S# G3982, Gal 1:10). Perfect tense. *+Rom 15:14, Gal 5:10, 2Ti 1:5.

better things. Gr. kreittōn (S# G2909, Heb 1:4). Heb 6:10, Heb 1:4; Heb 7:7; Heb 7:19; Heb 7:22; Heb 8:6; Heb 9:23; Heb 10:34; +*Heb 10:35; +*Heb 11:16; +*Heb 11:35; +*Heb 11:40; Heb 12:24.

salvation. *Heb 2:3; *Heb 5:9; Heb 10:25, 26; Heb 10:35, 36, 37, 38, 39, Jos 1:8, 1Sa 25:17, *Job 23:12, +**Psa 9:10 note. Psa 25:9, +*Isa 57:15, **Jer 15:16, +*Mic 6:8, *Mal 3:16, *Mat 5:3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, *Mar 12:24; *Mar 16:16, +*Joh 5:39, Act 1:8; *Act 11:18; +*Act 17:11; *Act 20:21, *Rom 8:6; +**Rom 15:7, *1Co 13:4, 5, 6, 7; +*1Co 15:58, **2Co 5:17; *2Co 7:10, *Gal 5:6; *Gal 5:22; *Gal 5:23, +**Col 1:10; +**Col 1:23, 1Th 3:8; 1Th 5:17, *Tit 2:11, 12, 13, 14, +*1Pe 2:2, **2Pe 1:3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11; +*2Pe 3:18, +**1Jn 2:3 note. *1Jn 3:14; *1Jn 5:13.

though. FS185A, +Luk 11:8.

we thus speak. +*Lev 19:17, Pro 9:8; Pro 13:1; Pro 17:10, Ecc 7:5.


Posted in Daily Bible Nuggets, How to Study the Bible, Practical Application Bible Studies, Principles of Christian Living | Tagged , , , | 1 Comment

Daily Bible Nugget #519, John 2:4

The Nugget:

Joh 2:4  Jesus saith unto her, Woman, what have I to do with thee? mine hour is not yet come.

My Comment:

On a Facebook discussion group, Muslim posters called in question John’s account of Jesus addressing His mother by the term “woman.”

Here is the discussion as it has progressed so far:

Question to my Christian brethren.

According to St. John, in the fourth verse above, describing the marriage feast at Cana,
we are told that Jesus, peace and blessings be upon him, behaved insolently towards
his mother. He calls her “woman,” and to rub more salt into the wound he is made to
say “what have I to do with thee?” What connection is there between you and me, or
what have I got to do with you? Could he have forgotten that this very “woman” had
carried him for nine months, and perhaps suckled him for 2 years, and had borne endless insults and injuries on account of him? Is she not his mother? Is there no word in his language for “mother”?


My Reply:

That is a misreading of Scripture, for it fails to take into account the culture of the time. In today’s English, to address a person as “woman” might be considered disrespectful. That was not true at the time Jesus addressed His mother.

Muslim responder:

give reference please.

Jerome Smith according to the bible, Jesus is a Jew.
Jews follow the commandments of God given to Moses.
Num. 5 of the commandments is,
Honor your Father and your Mother.


By calling his mother WOMAN, he has broken the law and his own word.

My Reply:

Apparently you did not read my comment above carefully enough. You cannot properly read back into a culture over 2000 years ago a connotation that is now true of our culture and use of language. Our present use of any English idiom using the word “woman” has nothing to do with the connotation of the use of the word “woman” in polite address in the time of our Lord Jesus Christ.

Woman. Note: The term woman, so far from implying anything disrespectful, was employed as an honourable appellation, according to the usage of the Greeks; and was used by our Lord on the most affecting of all occasions, and when he evinced his exquisite sympathy and tender regard for this very parent, Joh 19:26, Joh 4:21; Joh 19:26, 27; Joh 20:13; Joh 20:15, Mat 15:28.

Muslim Responder:

You mean Jesus was polite by calling his mother a WOMAN?

PROVE IT with your culture 2000 years ago.


My Reply:

My statement of the FACTS is proof. I also cited long-respected scholarship in my comment from The Comprehensive Bible.

You can readily check commentaries and study Bibles that focus on aspects of the ancient culture of Bible times, such as the Cultural Reference Bible.

From the Catholic Commentary:

4. His answer has created three difficulties: (1) The term of address sounds severe, if not belittling; (2) the answer seems a refusal; (3) the reason given admits more than one interpretation. As regards the first: ‘Woman’ both in Gk and Semitic is a title not indeed of domestic intimacy (our Lord would not have used it at Nazareth) but of solemn honour. This honorific solemnity of the word on the lips of Jesus himself may be tested in Joh 4:21; Joh 20:15, but most of all in Joh 19:26, when he addressed his mother from the cross.

From Barnes’ Commentary:

Woman – This term, as used here, seems to imply reproof, as if she was interfering in that which did not properly concern her; but it is evident that no such reproof or disrespect was intended by the use of the term “woman” instead of “mother.” It is the same term by which he tenderly addressed Mary Magdalene after his resurrection Joh 20:15, and his mother when he was on the cross, Joh 19:26. Compare also Mat 15:28; Joh 4:21; 1Co 7:16.

From Vincent’s Word Studies:

Implying no severity nor disrespect. Compare Joh 20:13, Joh 20:15. It was a highly respectful and affectionate mode of address.

From Clarke’s Commentary:

Our Lord’s answer to his mother, if properly translated, is far from being disrespectful. He addresses the virgin as he did the Syrophoenician woman, Mat 15:28; as he did the Samaritan woman, Joh 4:21, as he addressed his disconsolate mother when he hung upon the cross, Joh 19:26; as he did his most affectionate friend Mary Magdalene, Joh 20:15, and as the angels had addressed her before, Joh 20:13; and as St. Paul does the believing Christian woman, 1Co 7:16; in all which places the same term, γυναι which occurs in this verse, is used; and where certainly no kind of disrespect is intended, but, on the contrary, complaisance, affability, tenderness, and concern and in this sense it is used in the best Greek writers.

John 2:4

Handbook on the Gospel of John:

Jesus’ use of “woman” (RSV) in direct address was normal and polite (compare Matt 15:28). It showed neither disrespect nor lack of love, as can be clearly seen by the parallel use in Joh 19:26. TEV has omitted mention of “woman” as a noun of address, because it is not necessary in English and tends to convey the impression that Jesus was disrespectful.

A number of serious problems are involved in translating “woman” literally. In some languages a man would address his own wife this way, and so this rendering cannot be employed here. In other languages, to address one’s mother as “woman” would be insulting; it could even be interpreted to mean that Jesus was denying that Mary was his mother. The closest equivalent in many languages is simply “my mother” or “mother,” but in others an equivalent expression showing proper respect would require the omission of any expression of direct address, as in TEV.

Newman, B. M., & Nida, E. A. (1993). A handbook on the Gospel of John (p. 57). New York: United Bible Societies.

From the Social Science Commentary on the Gospel of John:

The address Jesus uses here, “Woman,” sounds harsh to modern ears. Its use in Joh 19:26, however, makes clear that it is not. It may have been characteristic of Jesus (see also Joh 4:21; 8:11; 19:25; 20:13; Luke 13:10). The bond between mother and son is the closest interpersonal relation known in the Middle East. It is generally much closer than that of husband and wife. Hence, the mother of Jesus is able to presume upon Jesus to act as patron on behalf of this family.

Malina, B. J., & Rohrbaugh, R. L. (1998). Social-Science Commentary on the Gospel of John (p. 67). Minneapolis, MN: Fortress Press.

I have furnished documentation, old and new, that confirms what I wrote in the first place about the cultural difference in our day compared to how language was used in the time of Christ.

Jesus did not use “woman” in direct address as a term of disrespect, but just the opposite, as a term of honor.

Muslim Responder:

I can never agree in your philosophical explanation that calling your mother WOMAN is a term of honor.

I just want to give emphasis to this subject that it appeared only in the gospel according to john. And in this two separate occasions The writer John is not present or witness to the happenings.
This only means that he heard it from somebody else’s story.
Next is that the gospel according to john is much different from the three other gospels of matthew, mark and luke. Where after the baptism of Jesus, the spirit took him to the wilderness to be tempted by satan while fasting for forty days and forty nights
On the other hand john wrote that after three days from baptism Jesus and his disciples were invited to Cana wedding where he perform his first miracle where he called his mother Woman.

That,was a very far comparison of their gospel. Proving that the gospels are not words of God.

My Reply:

You are entitled to believe what you want. My purpose has been to provide evidence, in this case, abundant scholarly evidence, to show that you have misunderstood how the term “woman” is used by Jesus when he addressed his mother.

References to the use of the term “woman” are not confined exclusively to the Gospel of John. I already gave you the cross reference to Matthew 15:28.

Matthew 15:28
28 Then Jesus answered and said unto her, O woman, great is thy faith: be it unto thee even as thou wilt. And her daughter was made whole from that very hour.
King James Version

The Gospel of John is different from the other three Gospel accounts on purpose. John wrote the Gospel of John long after the other three Gospels were written. John, therefore, was able to include details the other writers had not mentioned.

To suggest that John was not present at the scenes he gives witness to is very mistaken. John was present at the trials of Jesus. John was present at the crucifixion of Jesus. Read the Gospel of John carefully for yourself, and you will see that I am correct.

In context, “the third day” of John 2:1 is being counted in this narrative from John 1:43 when Philip was found. It is a week after what transpired in John 1:19. The chronology here has no reference to the baptism of Jesus, which is not recorded in John’s Gospel. Reading a good harmony of the Gospels, such as the one written by A. T. Robertson, will clarify the order of events mentioned in John and their relation to events recorded in the synoptic Gospels, Matthew, Mark, and Luke.

Muslim Response:

I can say that you are drunk and are not fit to give lecture about what you are reading.

Where in the bible did you read that John was present during Jesus trial.

Only peter was present. He even denied Jesus three times.
And in crucification Jesus saw the disciple whom He loves together with his mother, that was Peter not John.

Calling other ladies a woman is but natural, compared to his own mother which is a sign of disrespect.

A T Robertson is not a disciple nor a writer in the bible how can you refer from his own opinion. The bible is the true reference not the explanation that was already twisted by other scholars or professors.

It is clearly mentioned in the bible the days from baptism to his schedule to Cana.
day 1: the baptism
John 1:33
I did not recognize him but he who sent me to baptize in water said to me. He upon whom you see the spirit descending upon him this is the pne who baptize in the holy spirit.
Day 2, 1st day after baptism
John 1:35
Again the next day John was standing with two of his disciples.
Day 3, the second day after baptism.
John 1:43
The next day he purposed to go into Galilee.
Day 4 going to Galilee
John 2:1
On the third day (from his baptism) there was Cana of Galilee.

There was no chronology from John 1:19 where John de Baptist denying that he was Elijah and the prophet.

I can sense that christian scholars are foolish.
Just yesterday May 7, catholics commemorate the day when king herod of Jerusalem have ordered his soldiers to kill all children whose ages from two years below. This is to get rid of the messiah that was born in Bethlehem who will save the Israel from the rule of the Roman empire.
Romans invented the birthday of Jesus to be celebrated on December 25 the birthday of Zeus their myth god. Meaning that the census on Bethlehem lasted for 5 months and the family of Jesus stayed there until an angel ordered Joseph to flee to Egypt for safety.

My Response:

Thank you for your kind responses. I believe you will greatly benefit from reading the Bible more carefully and thoroughly yourself. I have read and studied the Bible very carefully and thoroughly. I am a recognized Bible scholar with three major standard Bible reference works published under my name.

To suggest that the “beloved disciple” is not John shows you or your sources have not carefully studied the New Testament record.

To suggest that John was not present during the trial of Jesus indicates either careless or inattentive reading of the New Testament. See John 18:15.

Remember that John does not usually name himself, but when he does refer to himself he does so by saying such a thing as “the disciple that Jesus loved” (John 13:23).

Muslim Response:

Jerome Smith then you are mistaken for the real disciple that Jesus loved is Judas Iscariot.

John 21:20
Peter, turning around, saw the disciple whom Jesus loved following them.; the one who also had leaned back on his bosom at the supper and said, Lord who is the one who betrays you.
21 so Peter seeing him said to Jesus, Lord and what about this man.
22 Jesus said to him, If I want him to remain until I come, what is that to you? Follow me!
23 therefore this saying went out among the brethren that the disciple would not die yet Jesus did not say to him that he would not die, but only, if I want him to remain until I come, what is that to you.

If that was John, why would Jesus want him to die?

My Response:

Reading the Gospel of John very carefully, you will be able to learn that it is customary for John not to name himself. But he was the one leaning on Jesus’ breast. He is the one who arranged for Peter to be able to enter the judgment hall. He is the one that was at the cross when Jesus died, and gave his sworn legal testimony both at the end of the Gospel of John and also in his letter, the book of 1 John, to the fact that he was an eye witness and wrote what he saw himself take place.


At the end of John’s Gospel, John is correcting a mistaken conception that was common among some of the Christian believers, who misunderstood the meaning of what Jesus had said to Peter and what Jesus had said to John.


Jesus was not saying that he wanted John to die. What he did say gives a hint then and is seen to be the case now that Peter died before John did. John was the longest-living disciple, as far as any evidence we have.


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My Reading Crusade, Part 10

Probably the newspaper article about “Jerome Smith’s Reading Crusade” came out too soon, before the program could be reproduced for distribution. The article generated wide interest at the time.

My school principal, Dr. Miller, said my work helps students, especially athletes, prep for and pass the ACT test. “His teaching style is effective, and he has what most teachers don’t have–keeping the students involved especially on their learning levels.”

Over the years my program has benefited hundreds of students at Denby, Southeastern, and Cass Technical High Schools.

Present and former students, counselors, curriculum specialists, and coaches give high praise to the program and the results it brings.

Cortez Lett, a fullback for Denby’s football team, and one of my most faithful and diligent students, praises my methods. Cortez received instruction in reading, English composition and writing. Twenty-one athletes received instruction using the Language Enrichment Program who subsequently received high enough ACT scores to qualify for full athletic scholarships to college.

“No matter how good a player you are, you will still need to get the right grades to succeed in college and in life,” said Cortez,  17. A senior, he is going to the Naval Academy on a full scholarship to study sports medicine.

Cortez said the program works. “I’m a living witness,” he said. “I took the ACT and got a real good score the first time.

“All praises go to God first and to Mr. Smith. I now have the chance to further my education with the scholarship.”

Today, Smith’s supplementary literacy training resource program, now called The Language Enrichment Program, aims to improve and maximize students’ reading and writing communication skills. It is available on in both printed book and Kindle format.

The 24-unit, easy-to-use program superficially looks like a “fill-in-the-blank” series of exercises. It is far more than that. Unlike any other available resource, it has been carefully tested with hundreds of students, and has been revised in response to their questions until virtually all students experience continued success as they work through the program units.

Students can use the program without a teacher’s help by following the simple directions.

“In an ordinary textbook, students need a teacher,” Smith said. “In this program, students are enabled to reach their objective and learn at their own pace.”

“Many of my ‘remedial reading students,’ who were thought to be beyond hope and certain dropouts, completed high school and went on to college.”

National statistics continue to indicate the need for academic enhancement programs such as mine.

Emery Moss, pastor of Strictly Biblical Bible Teaching Ministries in Dearborn, said my program paid off for him when he was a student at Cass.

“The program helped me to have a better grasp of English and reading comprehension,” said Moss, who subsequently earned a master’s degree in theology from William Tyndale College in Farmington Hills, and another in biblical studies from Ashland Seminary in Ashland, Ohio.

“It is a great program and it would be good if it were instituted in all public schools,” he said.

Steven Yezback, a long-time reading and English instructor with the Detroit Public Schools who now teaches at Marygrove and the University of Michigan-Dearborn, said Smith “has something to offer the students because reading forces a person to think.”

“In any group of students, even in we adults, you seldom find any two people who will read at the same pace,” Yezback said. “Each of us come from a different background and our vocabulary is different.”

Ruben Washington, Denby’s basketball, track and field and cross-country coach, said his students attend after-school tutorial sessions with Smith.

“We have been very fortunate to have Mr. Smith as part of our program to enhance our athletes’ reading, English, and composition skills,” Washington said.

Denby football coach Don Stuckey said: “We’ve got good athletes, but they were not going on to the next level as they should.

“That is, getting scholarships to college. And since Mr. Smith had volunteered to help these kids study, particularly to get them prepared for college, we have had every young man and woman going to college with his help.”

Shantee Orr, a Denby senior who wants to major in physical therapy in college, is going to the University of Michigan on an athletic scholarship.

Shantee said Smith’s remedial reading program came in handy during his college entrance exams.

“The concepts of grammar, language usage, placement of subjects and verb all came together for me during the test,” he said.

Gail Kowitz, a counselor at Denby, was an English instructor and worked with Smith at Southeastern.

“He’s so committed,” she said. “It is that kind of commitment that just makes him kind of a rare treasure in Detroit–because he is so willing to put the children first.”

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My Reading Crusade, Part 9

After nearly five years off teaching, my doctor cleared me to return to teaching. I was assigned a position to teach English at Denby High School. I made some use of my already prepared teaching materials to supplement the regular work in English class. Once again, I discovered students were far behind grade level in reading comprehension. My best students had a reading comprehension at the eighth grade level, so even they were reading at least three or four years below grade level.

Eventually, some school counselors and athletic coaches learned of the help I was giving in my English classes. One student in particular had received help from several of the outstanding English teachers in the department, and was still unable to get a satisfactory score on the ACT test to qualify for an athletic scholarship. He came to his counselor, asking for more help. She asked him, “Have you gotten help from Mr. Smith?” The student said he did not know anything at all about Mr. Smith. She brought him to my  classroom, and I volunteered to tutor him after school, using my Language Enrichment Program. As a result, he was able to get a score high enough on the ACT test to qualify for a full athletic scholarship to college. I used his results to motivate other athletes. I showed them that the monetary return for that student was about $1,350 an hour when I divided the dollar amount of his scholarship by the hours required to complete my self-instructional reading program. I told the students that was pretty good hourly pay, if you ask me.

My parents were getting very elderly. My family and I were able to visit them in the state of Washington. While there we took some time to visit Mount St. Helen. It had recently erupted, and we saw the many fallen trees on the sides of the mountain. I was telling one of my uncles about my recently published book, The New Treasury of Scripture Knowledge, and someone standing nearby overheard our conversation. He introduced himself, and asked if I had any other books ready to be published. I mentioned I had a reading program that I had developed over many years that has proved highly successful to help students of all ages boost their academic achievement by raising their reading comprehension. He gave me his contact information, and I gave him mine. He said he was from Detroit, and would love to help me publish my reading program.

Mr. Curtis Woodson got in touch with me, and I shared my program with him. I was able to scan in my typewritten masters to my computer, and using the OmniPage program, convert the scanned documents to MSWord files. Mr. Woodson was able to get several different schools to try the program. In each case, the program worked very well, exactly as I had described that it would.

Mr. Woodson had me come to the Chandler Park Charter School in Detroit to explain to the teachers how to use the program. The teachers had great success using the program with their students. I was told that of the three charter schools that were in some kind of group and associated together, the Chandler Park Charter School did the best, by far, of the three. The other two schools in the group were suburban charter schools. For the first time for this charter school group, the urban school now had a far higher achievement rate on the MEAP Tests for all subjects than the other two.

Mr. Woodson was quite good as a publicist. He arranged for my classroom to be visited by a newspaper reporter and a photographer. I’ll tell more next time.

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My Reading Crusade, Part 8

I saw the electronics teacher walking to school, and he must have seen much of what happened. The drafting teacher just pulled into the parking lot to park next to my car. Both teachers united to give chase to the van that was speeding out of the parking lot. They were able to get the license number of the van, but it turned out to be a stolen vehicle, so my assailant was never caught.

The Latin teacher just arrived at the upper parking lot. He carried my briefcase and assisted me to the school office. The athletic department head was on duty and immediately came to my assistance. He called for the ambulance, and also called my wife. My wife was on the phone talking to an appliance repair person at the time of this call, and the operator broke in on her call and informed her that I had been shot. My wife’s mother drove her to the hospital where I had been taken.

My science teacher friend, Mr. Hackett, helped the athletic department head take me to the awaiting ambulance. The students cheered and clapped and called me by the name they usually did to deride and frustrate me. Mr. Hackett rescued almost all of my teaching materials from my padlocked closet in room 307 and took the many selection boxes to his law office where I later was able to come get them. He told me that because of the disrespect he saw the students give me, he submitted his two-week notice immediately after all this happened and left his teaching job. He mentioned to me that the young lady who processed the forms at the Schools Center Building recognized my name when he mentioned what happened to me as the reason for his decision to retire from teaching. She was shocked at what happened to me. She was a former student of mine that I still remember from when I taught English at Cass Technical High School.

While I was at the hospital, I was visited immediately by Mrs. Malik (I worked with her at Cass Technical High School in the Programmed Instruction Laboratory some years before), who had heard that an unnamed teacher had been shot at Southeastern High School. Mrs. Malik told me that she just “knew” it was me and came directly to the hospital to see me and my wife and children. My oldest son was just three years old when this happened, but he remembers this event to this day. The athletic department head came to see me, and brought me my broken glasses he had retrieved from the parking lot where I had told him I had fallen. He warned me in no uncertain terms that whoever it was who had shot me meant to kill me. He said no one shoots someone in the back of the head without intending to murder them.

I seem  to recall that after leaving the hospital my mother-in-law drove us to Southeastern High School to retrieve some things of mine before driving me home. While I was seated in the car, the last student I saw was a student named Anthony. The special education teachers had learned how I used a program I had written for my students to greatly help them improve in their reading comprehension. They asked if they could have one or two of their students enter my class to see if they could be helped this way. Anthony did very well, getting an A in my class, and advancing his reading comprehension test score by a couple of years.

That reminds me. Mr. Hackett and some of the social studies teachers were very interested in what I was doing to help my students read better. They frankly did not believe my claims that my program worked so well. Mr. Hackett asked me if I had ever met Dennis. I did not know that student. Mr. Hackett described Dennis as one of the most well-mannered, cooperative, and helpfu students he ever met. Later, Dennis was enrolled in my American History class. Mr. Hackett regularly asked me how Dennis was doing. I said he had earned a B so far in my  class. He laughed, and said, “Yes, but I bet he didn’t learn anything!” When I gave the reading comprehension post test, Dennis had improved by two years. That surprised and impressed Mr. Hackett and a couple of the social studies teachers who knew the student.

The story of my being shot was in the news on radio and television and in the newspapers that day. The next morning I remember hearing a school system administrator on the radio saying the administration had no way of securing the over 200 school buildings in the school district of Detroit against such unfortunate events. There was a front-page article in the Detroit News the following weekend or so about how the police department in Detroit never investigated or followed up on shootings like I was the victim of unless the shooting had resulted in a fatality. Needless to say, whoever shot me was never identified and never caught.

During the time I was off teaching, I was asked to tutor a young student that lived locally to me. I wrote a new Introductory Unit to my reading program especially for him to give him enough background to be successful in working the rest of the program. The student was in the third grade and was struggling with reading. He did much better the rest of the way through school.

Some years later, my mother-in-law volunteered to serve as a “foster grandparent,” a teacher aide in the local elementary school. The student she worked with the most was still struggling with reading. At parent-teacher conference time she met the child’s grandmother and told her about how her son-in-law had written a reading program that proved quite helpful to many students. The grandmother came over to meet me. She was a retired teacher. She looked at the program, and decided to purchase a copy. I learned later that the program worked very well with the child, and instead of being a constant disciplinary problem in class, he made great progress and did well  the rest of the way through the local public school system.

It is my firm belief that all this “anecdotal evidence” demonstrates that The Language Enrichment Program certainly works to improve the reading comprehension level of everyone who uses it. It is available now on Amazon. Just search for it by title.

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My Reading Crusade, Part 7

When the principal of Southeastern High School called me into his office and asked me if I would be willing to take a new position as Reading Specialist, I said “No.”

Not long after, he called me to his office again and asked me to take the Reading Specialist position. I again said “No.”

Yet a third time I was called into the principal’s office and asked to take the Reading Specialist’s position. The principal asked me why I did not wish to take the position. I said that I was unwilling to work under the current English Department Head. I said that if he would guarantee that I would be free to use my own teaching materials, not those furnished by the Detroit Board of Education, and not have any interference from the English Department Head, I would be willing to make the change, though I far preferred working under Mr. Mercer in the Social Studies Department. The principal agreed to my requests, and I took the position in room 307 as a reading specialist.

When I met my new classes at the beginning of the semester, the students asked me on the very first day, “Mr. Smith, is this a class for dummies?” I answered, “Absolutely not! If you follow my directions you will become near-geniuses!”

The students worked well with me. They had good attendance. They presented no problems discipline-wise. They earned good grades in my class and many of them were on the honor roll. These students, though the administration had cautioned me they were likely to drop out before graduation, kept coming.

The state inspector visited my program and was amazed at what the students were accomplishing in my class. The inspector cautioned me to be sure to copyright my materials so they would not be stolen from me.

The English supervisor for the school district of Detroit came to observe my teaching one very snowy winter morning. He visited my first hour class. In his evaluation he said he was amazed that all the students were present and on time to my class, despite the bad weather. The students clearly knew what they were doing and why they were doing it. The supervisor praised my use of teacher-written, professionally-produced materials. After visiting my class, the supervisor visited the other reading specialist’s class. Because of the bad weather, the teacher was late and so were her students. The attendance to her class was very poor that day. To top it off, the teacher had accidentally left her grade book and lesson plans at home. She was a wonderful teacher, but that day she had a very bad day.

I almost never had a student drop out of my class. One time, as the Union Representative, I was secretly asked by the District Court to prepare a report on the school administrator’s compliance with the federal desegregation order. I submitted a comprehensive report. One of the pages I submitted was an attendance referral for a student who had been quite regular in attendance to my class, but suddenly stopped coming. So far he had earned a “B” in the course. The counselor returned the attendance referral sheet, upon which he had written in heavy black marker across the page, “Who is this?” Apparently, even the counselor was unaware that this student was attending school. The wife of one of the judges who was a science teacher told me some while later that the judges never forgot my report, and mentioned that page in particular. I learned from one of the union executives that my principal and assistant principal came within “a quarter of an inch of being fired” because of my report. I was warned to never breathe a word that I had authored that report!

When my students took the reading comprehension post-test at the end of the semester, they did very well. The entire class, statistically speaking, improved by two years. I noticed they did even better on the California Achievement Test than they did on the Stanford Reading Test I always used. Many individual students showed reading gains of up to five years. That made a great difference in their lives. Many of these students came back to see me years after their high school graduation to tell me how they were doing in college. I  remember one girl, in particular, who was successful in law school at Wayne State University. I will never forget her, for when she took the High School Proficiency Test, she was given a failing grade on the writing portion. I contested that evaluation for her, for I had personally graded her paper using two different evaluation scales, one the school system used, and one I devised which was much tougher. The authorities conceded that I was correct, and granted her a passing score on the writing proficiency test. Some time after that I was made a writing specialist and was one of two teachers from Detroit, and one of a half dozen or so additional teachers state-wide, appointed to set the writing standards each year on the MEAP Test, the Michigan Educational Assessment Program, a test students must pass in order to graduate high school.

Sometimes good things come to an unexpected end. In the middle of the second semester one year, the administration determined that the eleventh and twelfth graders I had been teaching were not supposed to be in the program I was teaching. The students were arbitrarily transferred to other senior English teachers classrooms, and I was given a new set of ninth and tenth grade students to teach. My English department head realized this was very unfair to my original class students, so he secretly allowed me to retain these students on my class rolls. The teachers to whom my students had been transferred agreed to let me grant these students the grade they would have normally earned had they stayed in my class. It gave us all some extra work to do, but it avoided having the students utterly disadvantaged by having to catch up in a new class. Some of the teachers had told me that they would not compromise their standards and this would result in all of my students receiving a failing grade and thus delay their graduation.

In the meantime, I was able to have my new students do very well, using the linguistic program, now available from Amazon under the title, The Language Enrichment Program. One of my better students talked to me after class one day and warned me that I must take a job immediately at some other school. He said to me that I would be killed if I continued teaching at Southeastern High School. I took his warning with a “grain of salt.”

About three weeks later, on March 13, 1986, I arrived at the back teacher parking lot at about 7:00 am. I listened to the end of the Southwest Radio Church program until 7:15 am. While I was listening to the program a van parked beside me. I figured it was some maintenance workers. The van then was moved to the driver’s side of my car. I got out of my car and proceeded to walk the other way across the lot toward the entrance door I usually used. Someone called out and ordered me to stop. I did not stop. I figured a few more steps and I would be in sight of the ROTC class which met at that early hour before school. The windows of that classroom looked out on the parking lot, and I might be seen. The person who had called for me to stop caught up to me, walked beside me to show me his gun, then stepped behind me as I continued walking, and shot me at point-blank range in the back of the head.

The force of the shot knocked me down flat on my face in the snow and mud of the parking lot. My glasses were broken. When I “came to,” he asked me for my wallet. I refused to give it to him, but handed my money, about thirty dollars, and put my wallet back in my pocket. He was most upset that I carried so little money. He ran back to his vehicle and drove off.

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My Reading Crusade, Part 6

Upon my return from Gainesville, Florida, I began teaching world history and American history at Southeastern High School.

I was blessed to have a very kind and understanding department head, Mr. Bill Mercer. He brought me a box containing 8 world history textbooks, not all of them the same title, as the only textbooks he had available for me to use with my 5 classes of 35 students.

I asked Mr. Mercer if I could use my own materials to teach my classes. He encouraged me to do whatever I could do to help the students.

I tried several things. I used daily proverbs and quotations. I posted an outline of world history on the blackboard. I typed up history-related reading selections arranged in topical units. I put the pages in sheet protectors and put the sheet protectors in covers with a binding strip that held them together. I typed up a reading motivation unit.

It was at this time that I began typing up my programmed instruction units to help my students improve their reading comprehension skills. Now, instead of using the little steel boxes and 3 by 5 file cards, the program was typed up on normal loose-leaf-sized sheets and placed in sheet protectors and translucent covers.

The students in my own classroom generally responded well to my teaching. It was students that I did not know who constantly harassed me, calling me by a name that surely was not mine.

One day, two students who had tried to cut in front of me in the lunch line, who I politely invited to take their place behind me, came to my classroom after lunch hour and attempted to gain entrance to my first-floor ninth-grade classroom. They stormed the door repeatedly, trying to kick it in. Finally, one of my students at the back of the room unfortunately unlocked the door for them.

The two students entered my room, ordered my class out of their seats, and told my class to line up against the walls of the classroom. Then, the two students proceeded to hurl the student desks at me, striking me in the forehead. I left the classroom and went to the office to report the incident. I was taken to the hospital for treatment, with stitches for  the wound. I was off teaching for a month.

The Detroit Board of Education school attorney pressed charges against the two students. When I was in court, and confirmed my story about what happened, the judge was very supportive of me. He sent the two students to jail for a two-year sentence.

Not long after that, the principal of Southeastern High School spoke to me and said she never had a teacher like me who had so much trouble from the students. She  said she would like to speak to me in her office the following Tuesday. I said that I looked forward to any constructive suggestions she might have so that I could avoid any further problems from students that did not know me.

The meeting was cancelled and never re-scheduled. I believe the trouble was not with me, but with the inability of the school administration to maintain control over the students in the school. There were more students “hanging out in the halls” than were in their classes. It was those students who were causing the most trouble.

I was eventually given a classroom to use that did not open out onto the hallway. It was a kind of classroom within a classroom. It was a science demonstration room with tiered seats like a small theater.  I had to take off the gas jet handle to keep students from turning on the gas. This room worked out better, but I still had students who found out where I was and came into my classroom to give me trouble. Once, a girl in a very short skirt entered my room and sat up at a higher seat level, and proceeded to harass and berate me. She said that she bet that I had never had sex with a person of her race and worse things than that. I left the room to report her to the security guards on duty just down the hall at the school entrance. It took them some time to respond, and by then she had run out of the classroom and mixed in with the crowd. I filled out a report, and because she had once been in my class, I was able to look back at an old seating chart and so recall her name and counselor. To my knowledge, nothing was ever done by way of followup to my written disciplinary referral.

The athletic department discovered that I was able to help their top athletes improve their reading comprehension skills. I practically “shepherded” one student I recall, who ultimately secured a full athletic swimming scholarship to college. But one day he was missing from class. I checked with the coach, who said he could not tell me anything about what happened to the student, but I discerned from the probable nature of the case that this student, who had such great potential, was sidetracked as a result of some kind of moral issue. That motivated me to put more stress on my daily proverbs and quotations after that.

Some years passed, and I was given more eleventh-grade American history classes and fewer ninth-grade world history classes. Once again, I encountered the pattern that students were far behind grade level in their reading comprehension. I devised more reading selections of my own about American history. I also had the students work the units of my programmed instruction resource, now called The Language Enrichment Program.

Every year, the eleventh-graders were required to take the California Achievement Test. Some short while after the testing was done, Principal Isaac Wordlaw called me to his office. He showed me a page from his Principal’s Notes that indicated that Southeastern High School was the most improved secondary school of Detroit’s 22 high schools for reading comprehension. The Principal told me that they had traced the reading improvement to my American history classes.

The principal asked me to take the position of Reading Specialist at Southeastern High School. I’ll continue this story in the next installment.

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My Reading Crusade, Part 5

During the time I was developing and validating my reading program, various publishers of programmed instruction resources were entering contracts promising great success to schools who would use their materials. I noticed that most programs did not live up to the “hype” of those promoting them.

The use of programmed instruction may have brought about wider attention to the importance of specifying the goals of instruction and stating how it would be possible to demonstrate that those goals had been reached. There were more calls for “accountability,” and in my experience at least, the whole culture of education and teaching changed, not for the better, but for the worse. Teachers who know their subject and understand how students learn were less free to develop strategies and materials of their own to meet the needs of the students they taught.

Programmed instruction was no longer the latest fad in education and gradually fell out of favor. The Programmed Instruction Laboratory at Cass Technical High School was dismantled and discontinued. Its books were transferred to the school’s science library. Mrs. Malik and I were given other “duties” that did not involve our talents and expertise to help students. I was assigned the duty of monitoring a large study hall.

About this time, I received a call from a former college classmate of mine, Dr. Carl George. He asked me how I was doing, and what I was doing. I mentioned that I was continuing to help students boost their reading comprehension with a programmed instruction resource I had written and carefully tested. Carl invited me to visit him over the Thanksgiving holiday, and paid my air fare and otherwise took care of every detail. Once I was there, he asked me to speak to his church for the Sunday evening service. I had not expected to do any preaching! But I presented a message about the reliability and divine inspiration of the Bible. After the service many people came up to welcome me and told me they appreciated my message. Then Pastor Carl George came to me and said, “You are hired.” The church board had just met and approved me to be hired as a teacher at the Heritage Christian School.

Carl explained that the students who had been in the school from elementary through high school were doing very well. Students who were entering the school at the junior high school and senior high school level were depressing the school’s overall achievement in reading according to the standardized tests that were regularly administered. The school was doing very well in mathematics and science, but they found it difficult if not impossible to solve the reading issue.

I applied for a leave of absence from the Detroit Public Schools and was able to come to Florida. I developed yet more units of my reading program while there. The whole school used my reading program. When the end of semester standardized tests were given, the whole school improved dramatically. Carl told me his school was now as high in reading achievement as the school had been in mathematics and science.

Due to unforeseen economic circumstances involving school and church bond issues, I decided it was best for me to return to teaching in Detroit so as to not lose my teacher tenure there and pension benefits. When I moved back, the Detroit Board of Education claimed they had not received my notice of desire to return, and said I no longer had a teaching position in Detroit. I challenged their claim, for I had sent my notice early, and had sent it by registered mail, signed receipt requested. Therefore, I had their dated signature as proof of receipt of my request. Then I was told I could not be returned to teaching at Cass Technical High School because of the “racial balance policy.”

Instead, I was placed at Southeastern High School to teach social studies, world and American history. Southeastern was quite a difference for me, being a neighborhood school, and I experienced undreamed of difficulties when I took my position as a teacher there. I’ll tell that story next.

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My Reading Crusade, Part 4

The chemistry teacher and I had both written separate articles about the effectiveness of using programmed instruction materials to assist students in science learning. After the articles had been published, we were both invited to make presentations at a science teacher’s convention in East Lansing, as I recall.

I presented my experience of writing a programmed instruction resource to boost reading and writing skills. I explained that I discovered, quite by accident, that my linguistic program did more to raise student reading comprehension than the regular materials I was furnished to teach reading did.

As part of my presentation, I posted on the blackboard the first name and final reading score of the top eight students in each of two reading classes. One class, the lowest ability group of seven groups in the school, was allowed to use my program in the little steel boxes. The other class, the sixth lowest group of seven groups did not use my experimental program at all.

It was the lowest ability group that scored highest (by two years) when the end-of-semester standardized reading test was given.

After my presentation, the floor was open for questions from the audience. One gentleman stood and announced his name, stated he was the principal of Western High School, and proceeded to tell me that the improvement I claimed was impossible. This principal had a Doctorate, by the way, a PhD. I responded, “If you come up after this session, I will furnish the last name of each of these top scorers, and you can check the results for yourself, because all of these students now attend Western High School!”

He did come up, and took down the names.

Not long after–a matter of a few weeks, the principal of Western High School called my principal at Cass Technical High School, requesting to have me come to Western High School to present the information to his teachers that I had shared with the science meeting.

The principal at Western High School explained to me that he did indeed check out the names of the students I had listed as making such dramatic reading improvement. He discovered they were doing exceptionally well as students at Western High School. He decided to establish a Programmed Instruction Laboratory at Western High School, and had several of my former students help out in running it.

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