Sunday, December 8, 2013

The Gospel in the Classroom

At the beginning of the language learning process, the topics of conversation were pretty basic. We learned to build sentences that you would find in most children's books. We talked about farm animals, daily objects and seasons. At that time, it was very challenging to be in a room with educated and fascinating people and discuss such basic topics.

Once we reached a level that was a bit deeper in the language, we could talk about more complicated topics in class. It was fascinating to ask deeper questions and hear the range of backgrounds and stories that many people carry with them.

The last few weeks of school, we discussed a pretty heavy topic in class, namely juvenile crime. The conversations tended to wander, and we were soon talking about what causes someone to commit a crime or kill someone. A few people in class put out the idea that only "abnormal" people commit serious crimes, especially crimes like murder. 

Through this conversation I had the chance to explain the Christian view of the source of evil and the possibility for evil that lays in every human heart. I find it a truly humbling part of Christian theology to recognize how much potential for wrong-doing lives in me. I ended my statement by pointing to the good news, and that it can't really be good news unless the reality is really bad. Basically, we don't need a savior unless there is something to be saved from. And this something is not just in the life to come, but also in our daily lives here. It was interesting to share this in class and to hear other reactions.

This conversation was difficult, but it was also very interesting and rewarding. I think it is all too rare for Christians to have honest conversations about faith with people who don't agree with them.  And it was a stretching experience to discuss these topics in German. I hope and pray I have more opportunities like this!