Tag Archives: Change

Going Through Changes

I’ve recently been thinking about the idea of Christian Faith as a living, changing thing. In doing so, I stumbled across this quote and was struck by several pieces of it. Read it for yourself real quick.

 “I think significant percentages of older Evangelicals are deeply wrong on a wide range of issues – including homosexuality, our spiritual responsibility for the environment, the reality of evolution and climate change, solidarity with the poor, our role regarding peacemaking and war, equality for women, the reality of white privilege and systemic racism, and the legitimacy of torture, to name a few. So homosexuality is only one of a long list of things that I think older white Evangelicals need to rethink. Thankfully, on most if not all of these issues, younger Evangelicals are moving to a more just and wise understanding than their parents and grandparents, just as their parents and grandparents forsook much of the overt racism and anti-Semitism that were much more common among their parents and grandparents.” – Brian McLaren

 It’s pretty good. I’ll go one step further; it’s pretty good even if you disagree with him. The reason is because he’s talking about how Christian Faith changes over time and generations.

I’ll be honest; my thoughts are too disjointed to really write a great post, so I’m just going to hit some bullet points.

  1. Christian Faith changes with time. Yes, this even applies to Reformed Theology and Baptists. Things that were accepted and orthodox before have fallen out of vogue and been replaced by a more nuanced and reality based perspective on Scripture and Faith. Think of slavery. Maybe think of the priesthood of believers.  Freaking out because something changes is a proud tradition of the Christian Faith, but so is changing some pretty strongly held beliefs. That’s worth remembering.
  2. Scholarship matters. So much of what we believe is based on our current understanding of an ancient text written in a different language within a completely different culture. Trying to apply modern western thinking (or old fashioned western thinking for that matter) to such a text is rather ignorant. Ignoring modern research into the culture, language, and literature of the time when the texts were written is willfully ignorant. If our understanding of the text we base our beliefs on develops, then our beliefs will by necessity develop too. This should not scare us.
  3. In almost every case, those of us who change a belief or position do so BECAUSE we value scripture and God’s authority, not despite it. Disagreeing on what the Bible means is not proof positive that one side doesn’t care about the text. It is only proof that this thing called Faith is hard and complicated. If we didn’t care about what the Bible said we wouldn’t be making our argument from a biblical perspective; we’d just tell people they’re bigoted and hiding behind a book of lies for defense. Some people say that. Those of us who argue for change from the Bible are not those people.
  4. Those of us preaching/teaching/sharing in favor of change (especially societal and justice based changes) in the church are not doing so because it’s popular. If you’re a person who has ever made this claim, are you even listening to yourself? If we had given up on Christian Faith and left the Church, this claim might possibly, sort of make sense. But for those of us committed to faith and the Church Jesus began, the opposite is true. We’re willing to stand up for what we believe despite how wildly UNPOPULAR those beliefs are. Open your eyes and pay attention.

I know, they’re disjointed thoughts. I did warn you. I think though, if I have a primary point in all this, it’s that change happens and that’s ok. Instead of yelling at each other because things are changing or not changing, let have a real discussion about what this generation of changes should look like and why.


The Teacher’s Desk

The teacher’s desk is a mess.

True, that’s probably not the most respect or awe-inspiring way to start a description, but you must admit it’s provocative.

Besides that point, it’s true. The teacher’s desk in room 211 at Destiny Christian School is in a constant state of disarray. Papers with large red grades scrawled across the top, papers yet to be graded, textbooks, teacher’s manuals, and random office supplies are strewn hither and yon upon the wood facade that serves as a working surface for the dictator of the classroom. The teacher’s desk is cluttered with the stuff and process of learning.

Yet, in the middle of this mess, Mr. Marshall knows exactly were to find…well…most of the things he needs to have or know about; which is where this blog comes in.

Just like in the classroom, The Teacher’s Desk is a surface strewn with the stuff and process of learning.

So what is learning? That’s simple; learning is life.

Life is complicated. Not only that, but life is just plain hard. This is because life is, in essence, the never-ending process of learning. Learning is never really an easy process; or at least it shouldn’t be. To learn something is to implant something new or different in our lives. When a high school student enters his geometry class, he is presented with the same basic shapes that he learned in kindergarten. Most students realize this right off and are quite outspoken in their observation of this fact. The beauty of geometry however rests in the addition of information completely new and foreign to the kindergarten concepts they learned ten years previously. The teacher will show them facts, numbers, formulas, proofs, and equations that they never would have fathomed could be brought to bear on such a simple concept as a triangle or circle.

These facts, the basis of education, form the “stuff” of learning. These are the things that textbooks are made of, worksheets are filled with, and teachers spout endlessly.

However, this “stuff” alone is not enough to create an education or cause learning to happen. Learning occurs when we allow the facts to change us.

That geometry student hasn’t truly learned anything about a circle until he begins to look at a circle and instead of seeing a building block shape he sees a diameter, radius, and circumference. It is the change in the way we think, the way we see things, and the way we do things that is the true meter of learning.

As we mature and grow closer to God, we will change. If we are able to make it through our lives, or even just a very small portion of our lives, without making at least some changes to the way we are then the question would be begged; “Are we truly living?”

This life isn’t just about the daily grind, the American Dream, or living to the fullest. This life is about moving forward, growing closer to God, caring about others, and becoming like Christ. All of these require one very hard thing though; change.

This is the process of learning. This is where we move from having facts fill our heads to letting the Spirit lead us into all truth and mold our lives after Christ. This is where true learning takes place.

This is what this blog is all about.

As Mr. Marshall (Or Jonathan, as anyone who has earned a High School Diploma may call him) teaches high school to the next generation of learning Christians, thoughts, facts, trivia, lessons, observations, and a smattering of all the other things that are part of the “stuff” of life learning as seen from the back of a classroom will make it into post after post of randomness.

May God instill His voice in the lessons shared. May He guide the pen, keyboard, and venting of an often frazzled teacher. May He bless every random bit that makes the trek from one desk to the other.

And oh yes…if Mr. Marshall can’t keep the desk in room 211 clean from day to day, do you really expect him to keep this one clean?

No, The Teacher’s Desk is a mess.