Theology Tuesday: A Theology of Education

I am nearly a college student again. Just the registration line stands between me and 8am classes, between me and the $2 student discount at the movies. Just that one step stands in between me and a new arena for my faith.

Driving back from the entrance assessment and advisor meeting yesterday, I asked myself, "How can I use this semester of classes and the knowledge I get there to inform my faith?" Like the Magnificat, I didn't ask it in those words on the first try, but that's the gist of it. Then I started thinking, "How will this semester of classes let me show that Christians value knowledge?"

...Actually, I've now been through the registration line and sat for my first day of class. I have not yet taken the movie discount, but only because it's retreat season. Still, I couldn't not use that first paragraph. This post just sat in my admin area for a little while while I debated how to finish it.

Frequently in the general culture, and more frequently in college/other educational settings, Christians are viewed as people who don't appreciate knowledge, especially the scientific brand. Just look at the debate over intelligent design vs. evolution in curricula. Both are interesting and provocative theories, but the publicized arguments a year or so ago stamped Christians once again as closed-minded and unwilling to allow anyone to study in a way we don't fully endorse.

Long story short, lots of secular folks believe that Christians don't like to think. Which isn't true. Reading the church fathers, their works are always full of profound intellectual arguments, wrapped in faith that makes the un-understandable parts fit into the whole. Which is as God intended us to work.

So how, in this current semester, I asked myself, can I use my time in class to show that Christians love knowledge, and love to think about God's world and how we can use our skills to make it a better place?

On the bottom line, I can follow Paul's admonition that earthly authority is part of God's plan for running the world, and be on time for class, do my homework, read the assigned chapters for each session and listen carefully to my professors.

Beyond that, I can pick essay topics and articles to analyze that mesh with my beliefs and let me show that I've considered them carefully. I can ask good questions. I can be proud of my beliefs and at the same time show that the new things I learn help to shape those beliefs and principles.

I'm a Christian who loves to think, after all. Is the educational world ready for such a thing?

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

St. Augustine talks about "stealing gold from the Egyptians," or taking helpful things from pagan and/or secular sources.

You can probably find some metaphorical gold in your college classes too. luck!