Within the past year, I myself have grown a fascination with teaching. I can imagine telling myself this 10 years ago when I am starting secondary school, and I would probably slap myself one. One of the reasons I believe I’ve got this increased interest is because I have placed myself at university where I am very invested in the subject matter and am constantly surrounded by people who are very good at teaching the subject themselves. As I told a lecturer a few months ago, he takes as a good compliment to the teaching that I have been provided that I may even possibly want to venture into a similar vocation.
As I have been on my summer holiday, I have tried to keep challenging myself and to keep learning new things and to keep memorising topics that I have already been taught, in particular Koine Greek. As well as these posts on the blog which may be focused on simple devotion or that possible attempt of Christian apologetics. But as I have been observing the past number of months, I have now come to the conclusion that teaching is absolutely imperative for growth and further understanding on how things work.
Now there are two responses to this, and I would like to start with the simplest. Firstly, for many people it may seem that they could very easily close this tab and go on to the next web page quicker than you can say Jack Robinson. But those people I have to say, a large number of content on the internet and most people as a whole, love to learn. Whatever the topic is next is a whole different story. A large portion of the web is full of tutorials and how to’s, from your ‘How to Tie a Tie’ to ‘How to Solve Install χ’. With the click of a button you can see in what order you do actions to achieve such and such. Which gracefully brings me on to the second response. When people read the last paragraph they would have said that what I said was an obvious thing to conclude on. Now from a first glance that does indeed seem to be the case, but what I think crucial is not that we should teach, but more what we should teach.
Now everyone’s opinion may differ and what is important to teach people, if I don’t mind placing another Lewis quote, he says something which in today’s society I think is more true than ever before:
Now there are quite a lot of things which these two men
[A Christian and a Materialist] could agree in doing for
their fellow citizens. Both would approve of efficient
sewers and hospitals and a healthy diet.
But sooner or later the difference of their beliefs would produce
differences in their practical proposals. Both, for example,
might be very keen about education: but the kinds of education
they wanted people to have would obviously be very
different. Again, where the Materialist would simply ask about
a proposed action ‘Will it increase the happiness of the majority?’,
the Christian might have to say, ‘Even if it does increase
the happiness of the majority, we can’t do it. It is
unjust.’ – C.S. Lewis
His essay ‘Man or Rabbit?’ is probably one of my favourite articles and I highly suggest you have a read for yourself. You may learn a thing or two, but again I believe that what he writes here is very ideal for todays culture and society. Where many people would be happy to teach what would appease people than teach the truth. An example of this is when I was in college, a man came in for a presentation talking about the importance of taking drugs safely, I believe even now that emphasis should be necessary. The mans argument was that it is rather cheesy to tell people not to take drugs, but crucial that they teach young people how to take drugs safely (if they ever decided to take them, I don’t believe the man was endorsing drug use, illegal or not). Now for many people reading this, that may seem fair, and not forcing any agenda or bias into people’s lives. But I would like people to reread that last sentence, that was in the context of people taking drugs.
Now before I take a turn onto Bitter Road and talk about the disservice of Postmodernism, I would rather take a step back and take the route back to how the Bible tells us how to teach. It says in Deuteronomy (in context to the law given by Moses through God), that we should:
Teach them to your children, talking about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up. – Deut. 11:19
Now what we tend to do in our minds now is to somewhat take this instruction literally and non-stop do the teaching of what God has told us, but even though it does encourage constant teaching, it also encourages the idea of teaching not just with words but with actions also. Now what we can sometimes do is focus on one more than the over, I know many people who can recite Bible verses as if they are reciting their favourite song, but their actions and behaviour may seem to clash with what they were saying. But at the same time, there can be some where they can perform and follow the teachings of Christ to the best of their ability but they do not tell people why they do such things. Where we need to be as we teach (and even in many other aspects of life, as I have recently discovered) is to be in the middle, we need to both have the ability to follow what Jesus as taught us, and to be able to point to people why we take the actions that we do take.
But of course, if you have the liberty to of seen the teaching of the Bible, it is extremely difficult to follow and to be perfect all day, every day. So what we need to be more important than trying to be perfect is being fully dependant on God and be prepared everyday to keep coming back to Him and recieve from His grace and power. Then we have the authority to go out and teach what the Lord has been instructing us for many, many years, to take up our cross and follow Him through every situation, through every peak and through every valley.
Tomorrow, I return to Mattersey. The excitement to go back and to see my αδελφοι is truly real. Also, the future challenges that this next year will bring. I am truly ready for what God has got in store for me, because I know that whatever happens, He is still the King of kings and the Lord of lords, yesterday, today and forever.
Peace be with you.