Quotes by the clock

I have two small posters by the clock in my classroom. I put them by the clock so that they will be seen and seen often. What student doesn’t look at the clock? (How many more minutes before I am tardy? When does this class let out? When do we go to lunch? What time is the pep-rally? Why does time drag soooo slooooow?)

The notions they reflect represent well a good deal of what I value as a teacher. I think you’ll enjoy them:

“There are many who seek knowledge for the sake of knowledge: that is curiosity. There are some who desire to know in order that they themselves are known: that is vanity. Others seek knowledge in order to sell it: that is dishonorable. But there are those who seek knowledge in order to serve and edify others: that is love.”
–St. Bernard of Clairvaux

“Our life is full of brokenness: broken relationships, broken promises, broken expectations. How can we live with that brokenness without becoming bitter and resentful except by returning again and again to God’s faithful presence in our lives?”
–Henri Nouwen

Bernard’s comment is well-put and ought to be by the clock in every classroom. What I try to instill (even in the midst of my relentless notes; I have been called a Note-Nazi) in my students is that we apply the very best of our thinking to scripture because it deserves no less. I tell my students early on that they are not to check their brains at the door to Room 152: rather we check our assumptions, our traditions, our biases, our prejudices, our arrogance, our hard-headedness and hard-heartedness. We will explore, we will read, we will think, we will re-examine, we will learn, but we will do so to serve our churches and the world because we love God with our minds.

Nouwen’s comment is well-put and ought to be in every Bible classroom. I try to instill in my students that Scripture is more than mere recitation of historical events. Scripture is the drama of God’s pursuit of his much-beloved creation. We are part of that story and live in that story daily. God is present to us in ways beyond the sacred page; but my class is a text-based exegetical/theological academic class. I want my students to see that scripture gives us a lens through which to see God and his work in our lives and a grid in which we see meaning in our lives. So I want my students to see our academic investigation of the sacred page as one way in which we explore God’s marvelously sustaining and faithful presence.

Grace and peace.


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