Jan 23

Thursday Favorite Things: Teaching about Jesus

Picture1One of my  most favorite things to do in life is to teach. And after being out of the classroom for a few years while our girls were small, I am finally back doing what I love! Last night I had the privilege of teaching a class at the university where I also work writing and editing curriculum. My class this semester: Life of Christ. What an amazing opportunity to connect with others who are interested in learning about the life of our Lord Jesus! I have ten students (although one had the flu and wasn’t in class), and everyone of them has their own story to tell. I can’t wait to hear them all  ;o)

We started by discussing some of the background for Biblical studies and the theories that have come out of centuries of scholarly research into how the Gospels came to be in their current form. This is not my favorite part of this topic but it was a good place to begin this journey. There have been so many different scholars who have investigated the origins of the narratives of the life of Jesus, and many of them have taken an approach that seems rather counter-productive (in my opinion) – when one attempts to build a structure of “truth” on the foundation of presuppositions that preclude the possibility of new information, that creates a bit of circular reasoning.

Picture2If we start from the premise that “miracles cannot occur in this time / space universe,” then we automatically eliminate any possibility that Jesus actually did what the Gospels tell us He did; we dismiss outright the possibility that Jesus is and was who He said He is and was; and we can completely disregard the historical evidence that includes eye witnesses to the life of Christ.

So it was a good conversation to discuss whether we are living in an “Open Universe” in which there is the possibility of information outside of this physical, material world . . . . or do we live in a “Closed Universe” in which this physical universe contains all the information that is available to us for explaining and attempting to understand our experiences as human beings living in a world that is challenging, at best.

I had great fun putting together the PowerPoint presentations for the class, and the students really seemed engaged. They joined in the conversations and contributed a great deal of insight from each of their own experiences and perspectives.

One of my goals as a teacher is to connect with each of my students so that they can accomplish a couple of things in my class: 1. I want them to be successful in learning about Jesus. That is the most important aspect of my  teaching. 2. I want them to know that it is not my job to tell them WHAT to think, but to give them tools and knowledge so that they can think for themselves and come to their own conclusions. 3. I want my class to offer each student the opportunity to discover what God has for them as they take this one, small step on their long journey of education.

If I can achieve those goals and touch the hearts of my students, I will have succeeded. And I LOVE to teach! I am so grateful for this opportunity, and look forward to many more years of being in the classroom with students who want to learn about the life of Jesus. If they also learn how much He loves them, then I know that God has put me right where He wants me to be for this time in my life.

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