31 May 2013

10 Things Religion Professors Wish Their Students Knew

10. We are people, too. 

9. We love questions. Each of us is a "geek" in our field, and we don't get to talk very often about the things that really interest us. Questions don't scare us; it's scarier when people don't have questions.

8. We see everything that happens in the classroom. You may think you're being subversively sneaky by texting underneath the desk, but it doesn't fool us.

7. We put our very souls into our lessons (well, some of us do). We put a lot of thought into not only what to say but how to say it. We spend a large portion of our time researching and then translating this research into language that students can understand. We try to make the content creative, engaging and interesting. You could even say that the final product is a piece of art that bears a part of our souls.

6. We take risks every single time we get in front of a class and start teaching. We risk messing up. We put our humor on the line. We worry whether our creative ideas will be effective.

5. We believe the risk is worth it.

4. We genuinely care. We want our students to succeed. We pray for you and ask that God will speak to you in ways that we cannot.

3. We find no greater joy than when a student "gets it." It could be evident from a submitted paper, a comment in class, or a personal email, but we love it when a student critically engages in a way that they maybe hadn't before.

2. We sometimes doubt ourselves at the end of the day. We wonder whether our efforts were truly worth it, whether it even mattered that we showed up to class that day. We worry whether we communicated clearly. We often secretly are dismayed with the thought that maybe weren't as inspiring as we had hoped to be.

1. Each and every day we stand back up in the classroom, we die to ourselves once again. We teach for our students, hoping that we can awaken them to the beauty and the awe of the Biblical narrative. We teach for ourselves, processing thoughts and ideas so that they become even deeper convictions within our own selves. And finally, we teach for God, hoping that somehow, someway, our Creator will find pleasure in our efforts and at the end of the day he will say to us, "You gave everything I gave you, and that is enough."

27 May 2013

Honoring While Lamenting

Photo from Boston.com
Military holidays are difficult for me. Honestly, I'm never sure how to react. As someone who is vehemently opposed to all acts of violence, I am very much reluctant to honor those who engaged in such acts, regardless of whether it is for a "greater" cause.

Yet, I understand that not everyone feels as strongly as I do about war. Many of my family and friends believe that their service in the military was part of the calling that God placed upon their lives. They believe that protecting others via violent means is a virtue.

While I strongly disagree with their theological/ethical reasoning, I don't want to demonize them for trying to follow God in the way that they see fit. At the same time, I don't want to condone their acts of violence and glorify war as something that is God-sanctioned.

I would gladly give up my American "freedoms" if it meant the prevention of war's horrific consequences. My "freedoms" are not worth the countless lives of so many around the globe.

So how do we, who are adherents of non-violent resistance, honor without condoning? How can we celebrate while lamenting?