|Teachers' Christian Fellowship of NSW|
|Article: Educating in a post Christian society: Part 1 Simplicity|
Christians, I find myself increasingly challenged to live and work in a
world that seems to pay less and less attention to the God to whom I am
committed. Recently, I came across an old book, Celebration of
discipline: A path to spiritual growth, by Richard Foster. I
remembered enjoying reading it some years ago and found that I was
quickly challenged by its contents. I thought it might be my challenge
to relate of the issues raised in this book to us as Christian teachers
Do we live in an age of eat, drink and be merry etc? How are we as Christians dealing with today’s economics and what are we modelling to students in our classes by the content we chose to study, the discussions we have and the lifestyle we model.
In these matters the Bible is clear. Jesus’ words seek first his kingdom and his righteousness (Matt 6:33) provide the perspective and the following words do not worry about tomorrow (34) are complementary. We need to continually challenge ourselves about seeking the kingdom of God first and what it means in 2003, particularly if we are worrying about money. What are we teaching our students about money, consumerism and financial responsibility?
am involved in producing some materials for primary schools in the area
of financial literacy and we are using a definition from Scotland that
builds on the knowledge and skills to include how individual decisions
affect others and the environment. This acknowledgement of the social,
ethical and environmental impacts of financial decisions relates
When we teach personal skills and knowledge to students do we raise the ethical, community and environmental issues? Helping students to think of others, their communities and the environment will help them to be less focused on themselves and more open to seeking first God’s kingdom.
The greater challenge for teachers is to be themselves what they want their students to become. Teaching about conservation, the importance of democratic practices, acceptance of difference and care for others is negated if these are not demonstrated features in our teaching and classroom environment. When it comes to these matters what do students observe? For instance, do students perceive any difference in us as Christian teachers in our attitude to spending, wealth accumulation and possessions?
These are difficult questions because some Christians seeking first God’s kingdom will be wealthy and some will not. Wealth is not a product of faith and nowhere in the New Testament does it suggest that the Christian life will be anything but difficult. There will always be rich Christians and poor Christians. It is the recognition that whatever we have is God’s and that our role is one of a steward that frees up our thinking, and our giving. in these matters.
Irrespective of our financial circumstances, Foster provides some interesting insights to the Christian discipline of simplicity. They challenge my thinking and actions and I thought you might like to share the challenge. I have stated the principle and asked some questions for us as Christians and as teachers. There is nothing right or wrong about the illustrations and the question, they are there to help reflection.
Shun whatever distracts you from seeking first God’s kingdom.