I’ve asked fellow teachers, and certainly wrestled myself with the following question: How much as a teacher of God’s Word do you introduce others to the complexity, debates, and depth of Christianity?
Teachers should seek to edify and equip. American Christians have a decidedly anti-intellectual bent coupled with an allergy to complexity. How much does a teacher push back on those by introducing topics that cause people to be uncomfortable with how flimsy their beliefs may be?
Wonderful interview with Dr. Margaret Bendroth, Executive Director of the Congregational Library & Archives. HT: www.thewayofimprovement.com
JUNTO: When we spoke, you stressed the importance of storytelling as a means of getting a variety of people interested in history. How does storytelling factor into the work that you do? How does it connect to your research and writing?
BENDROTH: I invite a lot of academics to give talks at the Library—we have a monthly “History Matters” series that brings in a mix of people in our downtown area. I get twitchy when a presenter starts talking about “negotiating” and “complicating” and “constructing.” It’s not that these words are bad—they’re great at academic conferences and I love most of them dearly. But (and I’m overstating a bit) the people in our audience profoundly do not care. It’s not that they can’t understand the concepts—I’m sure most of them could—but that’s not why there are there. I think that, like most human beings, they are looking for connection. They want to hear about other human beings, other lives, stories that make someone from the past both totally foreign and utterly familiar.
We should never forget that. I’m not saying that every historian has to be David McCullough or Doris Kearns Goodwin—would that we could sell that many books! But if we can’t explain our ideas in clear simple language that the average person, then we don’t really understand them ourselves.
The rest is here: https://earlyamericanists.com/category/special-features/where-historians-work/
Terrific interview with Tim Keller on teaching the Bible.
Interview took place at the Gospel Coalition conference.
Complementarianism is a staple of the Gospel Coalition.
Keller tells Nancy Guthrie that a woman leader in InterVarsity by the name of Barbara Boyd taught him how to study the Bible.
Thirty plus years of reading, reflecting, and definitely struggling. Excited to go through this some groups of men this fall.
The professor is in class to incite, cajole, inspire, and assign matters so that a young man or woman reads for the first time a book they may never have heard of. This is what he owes them. They want to know, moreover, not just what Plato had to say but what their teacher has to say. Yves Simon, in a famous passage, that I never fail to stress, tells us that there are three kinds of students: those only interested in grades, those who already know everything, and the eminently teachable, those who will allow him, in a short time in their youth, to take them through things which it took him into old age to figure out. The professor hopes that they all finally become “eminently teachable” and that he is worthy of teaching them.
From James Schall,”A Final Gladness,” The Last Lecture at Georgetown
Watching the video I posted yesterday reminds me of a simple, yet widely neglected truth: Christians must wrestle with the beliefs of their faith. We are now embarrassed to say doctrine and theology. Sounds too impractical. If people come to that tragic conclusion, it is either the teacher’s fault or it could be the student’s fault. But it is never the subject of vibrant and life-giving theology. And notice how I felt compelled to modify theology. Maybe I am too defensive!
What happens when we mainly attract people to church with the social benefits, yet they don’t really understand much of what the Christian faith is about? Well, if they get troubled and want to ask probing questions, they might be told good Christians don’t struggle with such things. I’ve heard my share of such horror stories.
Christianity is true, but rightly understood it is beautiful, compelling, worth everything we are and have.
One of my favorite scenes from one of my favorite movies:
TED is short for Technology, Entertainment, and Design. TED provides short and creative talks by various leaders in their respective fields.
Rita Pierson, pictured above, taught public school for forty years. She recently died, but left a terrific seven minute speech at TED:
There are events in everyone’s life which make a deep impact. One for me occurred while sitting in a Sunday School class. I was a young Christian at the time just beginning my seminary studies.
The class was being taught by a likeable Dallas seminary graduate. He had been a pastor for many years. There were about seventy of us in the class. Yes, I do recall well many of these details and you will soon know why!
Our teacher was speaking on that controversial issue of whether the full humanity of Jesus demands that He could have sinned. Jesus obviously did not sin, but does real temptation carry with it the possibility to sin?
Our teacher asked if there were any questions and here is where I learned a big lesson. A Cal Tech graduate who is a diligent student of Scripture (reminds me of my dear friend, Dr. David McCoy) raised his hand. The Cal Tech scientist graciously, but meticulously started to show the flaws in the Dallas Seminary grad’s teaching. It became painfully clear that the pastor had not prepared, not just for that particular lesson, but more broadly had not put preparation as a high goal upon leaving seminary.
The atmosphere in the room was tense, even awkward. The winsomeness of both teacher and inquisitor quelled the tension a bit, but only a bit!
So if you are called to teach don’t become so enamored with the platform of influencing people that you fail to prepare!