It was particularly in my previous job as a teacher trainer that I used to carry on about aims and objectives. So, the aim is overarchingly what you are trying to achieve, the objective is the method you go about trying to achieve that aim. It is amazing how often one finds objectives without aims - things being done without a clear underlying reason why. This is broadly the point I was making in this blog entry in describing Sunday School preparation.
Meanwhile, I recounted in my last post of 2012 that I had succeeded in getting through the Bible in a year with the help of my Kindle. I continued to use the scheme for the Psalms, Proverbs and New Testament but instead of the Old Testament reading instead read through the history starting with King Solomon, with the help of an NIV study Bible, with the idea of then going onto the prophets. Well, I succeeded in the first objective, but then found relating the prophecies of Isaiah to the Old Testament history with the help of the study BIble quite hard, so I'm afraid I temporarily gave up on the endeavour.
Anyway, I took advantage of being back in the UK to invest in a copy of, "Encountering the book of Isaiah" by Bryan E Beyer. Have to say, working quite well so far, invite all readers to check up on me over the year ahead! So, there's an apparent contradiction between teaching in Leviticus about the setting up of burnt offerings and other rituals, and Isaiah 1:11 in which Isaiah reports God as saying that, ..."I have no pleasure in the blood of bulls and lambs and goats".
Which brings me back to aims and objectives. In teacher-speak, the objectives (ie. the burnt offerings) have become disattached from the aims (repentance, living within God's laws). The outward sign has no purpose if it does not reflect what is going on in our hearts. Objectives have no value if disconnected from their corresponding aims.
So watch this space! meanwhile, this is proving to be a bit of a strange week. We were all geared up for our new students for our new programme yesterday (Monday) to hear late on Sunday evening that the day was to be a Public Holiday. Now, Sunday was Zanzibar Independence Day, normally public holidays at weekends are not compensated for on weekdays - but because this is the 50th anniversary, in fact this did happen. Which does not explain, of course, why the decision was taken at the very last minute! And today (Tuesday) is also a public holiday - Maulid Day, celebrating the birth of the Prophet Mohammad, one of the Islamic holidays which rotates around the year - and we don't know more than a few days beforehand exactly which day it will be celebrated, depending on the sighting of the moon.
When I was Organist at St James's Church, Muswell Hill, North London, we had some part-time temporary help with the music from some students who came from Tanzania. When they arrived an hour late on the day the clocks went back in October (surely they should have been an hour early?) they said, 'This is a very strange country'. Well, with love in my heart, and some years later, I respectfully return this compliment!