Friday, May 06, 2005

They'll Know We Are Christians by Our...what?

The semester is almost over.
I teach at a local Community College (a great job I don't deserve - note to self: post in the future on your job, file under "cushy"), and I am often struck by a surprising aspect of my job: as a Christian, it is stunningly easy to be a light in a dark place.

I always thought I would love to teach at a Christian college/university - what better place to live out your faith than surrounded by fellow believers? I did teach for one year at one, and it wasn't a very good fit (more on that later, maybe).
On the heels of that, I got my current job, and have basked in the glorious job that is Community College teaching.

It is a "secular" campus, filled to the brim with "heathens" adorned with piercings, tattoos, and every now and then, some clothes. Lots of international students - mostly from asia. And finally, the campus is crawling with tenured faculty who can't get fired unless they eat one of their students.

What this all adds up to is a place where the sins of pride, arrogance, apathy and the like abound. And, because of this, I have found that if you just treat people with what I would call basic decency, it is often seen as astounding kindness.

Example:
I teach graphic design, and during "critiques" - a public analysis and evaluation of student projects - I will not berate or degrade or belittle a student. I will not at any time intentionally humiliate a student (in public or private).

What I find is that these kinds of "basic decencies" stand out and are noticed. And with some, questions start to be asked: Why is he different? What makes him tick? etc.

Do these students know I am a Christian by my theology? my doctrine? even by my faith? No.

They know I am a Christian by my love.

2 comments:

AuntieJeanne 8:05 PM, May 27, 2005  

Hi Steve,

I just checked my blog and I saw your comments about how to deal with things after the death of my mom. Thank you so much for your words. They really do help me to see that this isn't supposed to be easy and that I will someday get to the point where I can handle it and where I'm not crying on a daily basis. It's been almost a year and a half and I'm still upset a lot. I've been going to therapy and it helps a little. I would like to get more spiritual/religious because I feel that would help. Not sure how to go about that though. I am Catholic. I suppose I could join a local church and see how that goes, but would you have any suggestions on reading material for a lapsed Catholic? Thanks. Your words help more than you know...

Jessica 5:00 AM, May 28, 2005  

I have thought about being a professor also at a secular university...Your right about a supernatural love being a defining point of a Christian's character. It is so important.

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