The students had been given the morning off.
Seniors from my classes were assigned to visit local college campuses.
They had been given four questions to ask:
Who is Jesus?
What is truth?
What is my purpose in life?
What is the basis for right and wrong?
College students then and now are fairly open.
They generally don’t mind mugging for a video.
“After you get a number of responses to these questions,” I began, “Huddle up and pick out the one response which you want to share with the class. Your assignment is to give an oral report of your findings with the video clip.”
My students could not wait. For most, any day outside the classroom, is a good day.
Upon their return, the class and I heard many interesting responses.
One report stood out to everyone.
The team showed their video clip without preamble.
Then the team leader spoke.
“I was shocked,” she began.
“I kept thinking of Escher staircases while each person responded to our questions.”
One of the other members of the group held up an Escher painting (see above).
“Do you see that each flight of stairs leads to no-where?” she continued.
She pointed to the picture her teammate held.
“Steps leading no-where is exactly what we heard from our respondents.”
She paused. “Their views of Jesus, truth, purpose, and ethics go no-where.”
“It’s one thing to hear about these ideas in class,” she smiled at me. “It is something else altogether to hear these ideas expressed by real people who believe these ideas work.”
“I will never again separate the importance of ideas from people or the world.”
Now I was smiling.
“What I learned today will stay with me the rest of my life,” she concluded.
I noticed heads around the room bobbing up and down.
“That’s exactly what we found!” someone excitedly blurted out.
And we were off. The classes’ discussion was no longer an assignment.
The discussion was now a theological-sociological commentary about life.
Without a standard outside ourselves, our views of Jesus, ethics, purposes, and truths go no-where.
Classroom stories began to flood my mind after I read Alana Massey’s article from 1 May 2015 Washington Post, “How to Take Christ Out of Christianity.” I will be recounting stories in response to Ms. Massey’s views of Jesus and The Church. Dr. Mark Eckel cares deeply about Ms. Massey’s comments because he has encountered them over and over again in his 30+ years of teaching.