Some Serious Concerns with the Gospel of John: A Memo

Some Serious Concerns with the Gospel of John: A Memo April 6, 2017

Lyons Christian College

Lyons, New York

RE: Life of Jesus 101 (Bible Department)

TO: Professor Saint-John

I know you must be excited that Lyons is soon going to be able to spread our ministry globally by taking our high quality education online. No more marketing tents while sitting in an agora.

Imagine my disappointment when you submitted your Life of Jesus 101 (According to John) for review in our program.

After putting this course, which I am sure is just fine for onsite students, through our automated AUTOPEER review process and then looking at it myself, imagine my disappointment when you came back with a GOG score of 2. As you know in order to keep the quality of our program high, we require a GOG score of at least 5.2. 

Let’s review some basic problems.

Your Life of Jesus is eccentric and unrepeatable.

495px-Konstanz_Sallust_1505_optAs we began to create the quizzes and automatic essay prompts for the course, we noticed that you refused to follow the approved outline for Life of Jesus. In fact, the entire chronology seems confused as if you had taken a pastoral or theological rather than our paradigm biographical approach (see Dr. Luke for an example)

I would suggest (as a start) dropping the prefatory material that seems like throat clearing to me.  You don’t use terms like “logos” again and bluntly our graders, who have to do a lot of the heavy lifting here, don’t know what to make of it. You also use anecdotes that other adjuncts who will mostly be teaching this class do not know from their own experiences. Bluntly, it is as if you think this is your class. 

You might be the professor of record, but do you think you are going to have time to talk through your subject with two hundred students per section? We are going to get this out to thousands of students and you are acting as if twelve in a class is ok.

You obviously have not used approved texts.

Where is Q? Where is Professor Mark? The reading list that undergirds this course and the experts used simply veer off from the approved sources for the course.

How can we expect someone grading/supervising six-eight sections of this class to suddenly sit down and catch up with your own (rather eccentric) text list? Much of your material cannot be found anywhere in our SYNOPTIC database (John 8?) and so will require separate and independent expenditure in the Online School.

This is selfish of you Professor Saint John. You might want to reflect on this fact.

Your program is not student friendly.

Far and away one the most popular parts of the Life of Jesus course is the birth narrative. You have left it out, simply ignored this important part of the class. You spend the whole Last Supper talking, but not getting to the . . . you know. SUPPER.

That might be excused, but you insist on long passages of discourse. Just as the class is wrapping up and we should be getting some buzz and reflection questions, you introduce a long written prayer. This is, bluntly, a bizarre choice. Show. Don’t tell in an online class. I suspect there is snobbery here. Not every student is going to be like Polycarp or one of your other prize “disciples.” Let’s get people through the hoops first, out there able to get a job in ministry, and then worry about the finer details.

The course PAC contains no ancillary products. 

Part of the benefit of doing a program is that we can market/up sell products produced by Lyons College. You insist on putting everything into the main class and leaving no up side to Marketing. Think Candy Crush. Schools need to be able to move product so we can help more students. 

You don’t give a  friendly bottom line to needlessly obscure teachings. 

You have students leave Jesus as if this is a good thing. You know retention is Job 1 here and you have students leaving when Jesus refuses to explain His “hard saying.” What is up with that?

We need students to know they have learned. Please either cut the “eat my flesh, drink my blood” part or tell us what it means. I am not sure and I have two earned graduate degrees!

Brand the school and the professors.

We need to build around our leadership. You insist on referring even to yourself as the disciple whom Jesus loved. No kidding. Jesus loves everyone. What is your name? How can we brand you if you refuse to use your name? This is for your good and for the good of the school.

You cannot build a social media presence as nobody. 

Bottom Line: You need to homogenize this course. 

Times have changed Professor Saint-John and our teaching style must reflect those changes. School is an expensive investment for our students and we need to cut teachers so students can afford learning. Faculty costs are the biggest line. I look at all of you and see 80% of our budget. Systems like GOG are going to help us help more students by helping the bottom line.

Imagine the buildings we will build with the profits. Did you even consider this when adding “women at the well” or attacking leaders like Nicodemus?

I am afraid you are going to need remedial faculty online training. Please call one of the admins to set an appointment. This is for your good. To paraphrase something you once said: “How can we love our online students whom we will never see, when we are loving our onsite students whom we can see?”

Think about it. These are exciting times to be here at Lyons. Make sure you tell that to anyone you hear croaking. After all, Lyons is a great place to work and we would hate to lose you from the team. Let’s get down to basics and get that GOG score to 6!

In Christ’s love,

Al Cibides D.Min EdD

Vice-President for Online Education and Marketing

Professor of Ancillary Non-Profit Profit Maximization



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