catapult magazine

catapult magazine


Truth Paper


Apr 04 2002
11:31 am

I agree with SamIam, the paper would seem a daunting task to me(being the horrible procrastinator that I am.)
The concept is a grand idea though, it challenges the students ideas of truth (which, I do believe is the whole purpose) and I commend you for having such high goals for your students.

I too, am interested to hear the results you recieved. Were any of the conclusions startling in any way?

P.S. Just for the record: I don’t see how it is possible for there to be any universal truth outside of God.


Feb 14 2002
07:08 pm

I put this here not knowing exactly where it belongs. I’m teaching high school English and have recently given my freshmen their biggest project of the year. It is called the “truth paper”. Their job is to think concretely about an abstract topic. More specifically, they must research
-a specific philosopher (or comparable public figure),
-a particular group (whether that be geographically, religiously, socioeconomically determined or whatever)
-and their own beliefs
to come to a better understanding of what “truth” encompasses. What I would like to do, with the cooperation of C.I.N.O.’s considerate, intelligent and devastatingly good-looking members (Jason in particular) is to ask them to check in occasionally if they decide to use this group as a resource.
Sound ok?

Couple more things. If this post takes off I’d like to see it stretch to other fields. Is there an essence of truth in aesthetics? Is the concept of a Utopia worthwhile? Is there a universal truth outside of God (no matter how insignificant it may be)?
So, any takers?


Feb 15 2002
08:41 am

When I have kids I want you to teach them, Norbert.

Are you saying the students would use CINO as a particular group? Or would they use CINO’s members as a resource (to interview, question, etc.)?

Either way, it sounds fantastic and I’d be happy to help in any way I can!

By the way, what ARE we called? Members? Readers? What? CLASSIFY ME!!!


Feb 15 2002
08:48 am

I’m not sure what I would like us/you to be. Originally my thought was for them to see you as a specific group (young Christian intellectuals?, liberal Christian Dordtians and friends, whatever). This is my third time giving the assignment, but I’ve never really had a forum like this at my disposal before. Whatever way you can help Jason would be great!
P.S. I think we should be called sexy.
P.P.S. When are you going to have kids Jason?


Feb 19 2002
05:34 pm

Hi Norbert….remember me? :)

I’m curious…you said this is your third year of assigning the truth paper; what have the results in the past been like? What types of conclusions do the kids come to?



Mar 03 2002
11:47 am

Um, I’m a teacher, but I, uh, didn’t go to Dordt except for the summer graduate program. So, like, uh, is it okay if i participate? What kind of a group are you seeking? You all seem to know each other. If you’d like, I could withdrawl quietly and go hide under a rock or something. If my presence is acceptable, I’ll go ahead. I teach high achool English in a Christian school. I am really interested in this. It sounds like a fantastic paper assignment (if a bit daunting). I too would love to hear what past results have been like. Do you talk about worldviews and the like before you assign the paper, or is the paper meant to bring that sort of thing out?


Apr 03 2002
07:19 pm

As a high school senior that is taking AP English this year I find would find the assignment very daunting. (But don’t be discouraged, if assigned this I would try my hardest.) What I really meant to get at was that you must have an excellent freshman class! I definitely don’t think I could have handled such a topic freshman year.

Right now in my AP English class we have been assigned paper to read “lots” of a writer’s work and from that, and critical commentary on the writer’s works we must determine the writer’s worldview. I choose e. e. cummings. He is a poet that interests me and I have always wondered what he actually believed. I am about 90% done with the first draft right now am enjoying it, even though it’s difficult.

If you have an excellent class of freshman as I assume they would probably have the same reaction.

But I would be glad to give input on what truth is.

But for lack of time (it’s very late here and I got to get some sleep because I get to go and watch a professional Shakespeare company perform The Tempest “tomorrow”!) I will only comment on one other thing.

As a Christian artist I would definitely say that there is an essence of truth in aesthetics. I believe that as a Christian I can use my art to show people truth: Biblical and Christian truth.

According to my understanding, I cannot think of any universal truth outside of God, much less think of anything that is outside of God. But it would be interesting to hear someone?s “insignificant truth” that is “outside God”.


Apr 10 2002
11:30 am

I agree with everyone Norb, it sounds like a good assignment and I’d like to be involved. How can we help?


Apr 12 2002
07:22 am

I found a web site that might be of interest to you:


Apr 16 2002
12:52 pm

My sincerest apologies about my tardiness here. I put it on hold and then more things piled on top of it.
A bit more information I think is needed. On Friday of last week I collected the rough drafts of my students’ papers, some of which I hope to post here…eventually. I originally intended to use this side as a bit of a pasture for my students to nibble juicy bits of information (Good grief! what a dorky metaphor!). Anyway.
The paper itself is intended to get students to think. I often find that seniors and, as I am sure many of you will vouch for me, college students and people in general are a bit stupid. They are book smart, sure, but they lack the ability to perceive, to comprehend.
The assignment started with my Freshman (High School) science teacher John Andringa. He wanted to teach students how to differentiate fact from fiction, especially in the realm of science. This most likely was intended to help us with a secular science textbook that was the lesser of two evils (which is a great discussion, but best left for another time. Somebody please start a post on the evils of ABEKA). Though it was for a science class, I and the rest of my classmates, by and large, saw it as extending way beyond our tiny classroom. Though we hated the assignment and Mr. A at the time, when it was over it was, and quite possibly still is, the most rewarding assignment we were ever given. I find that this is still the case in my class.
The subject matter is, of course, way over their heads. I have 14 year olds looking at Kierkegaard, Dooyeweerd and a host of other people they can’t pronounce and I have trouble spelling. The point is not for them to become experts in Nietsche, but to recognize a world bigger than themselves, for which they are responsible. They must learn to stretch themselves and think, not simply regurgitate back to me the information that I present to them in class.
While they are working on these papers, every other Friday we have a discussion day. This gives them the opportunity to speak their growing minds about the topics that they find interesting and, therefor, are the most pressing. The first week we talked about sex. Last week was the dress code in our school. We will be getting to alcohol and drug abuse, violence, and music, hopefully, before the end of the year. I want this to be interesting and enjoyable and to be a supplement of their growing understanding of themselves as individuals and as Christians having a predetermined role in God’s kingdom.
All of these things together stretch the borders of my English class, which when I think about it, is when education really starts to take place.
I’m sorry that this may be a bit long and sound a bit pretentious, but it is close to my heart and I truly believe in it. Now I’ve started to forget some of the questions. This is what happens when you leave the door open for an English teacher to ramble.
Does this help clarify or does it bring up more questions? Any comments?


Apr 17 2002
04:41 pm

you’re super, norb. keep up the good work.

the idea of giving students an assignment that’s intentionally over their heads is really interesting. kind of like God’s Old Testament madness (to which there really was a method) of expecting human beings to follow thousands of rules, if only to teach them a much bigger lesson about the nature of being human and their need for grace.