Previous Challenge Entry (Level 1 – Beginner)
Topic: Teacher (10/26/06)
TITLE: 1 + 1 = 1
By Catrina Bradley
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My Sunday School teachers taught me about God and the people in the Bible: Adam and Eve and the snake and the apple; faithful Noah and the ark and the animals; little David slaying the giant with a slingshot; brave Daniel facing the lions; and Jesus, God’s own son, who died so I could go to Heaven.
Starting school ahead of the others in the three R’s didn’t stop me from learning from my teachers. I learned social skills, art, history, science, and nature. Like a sponge, I soaked it all in. As my knowledge grew, so did my hunger for more. I asked questions about everything. Often I wasn’t satisfied with the answers, or lack thereof.
In second grade we were taught how the earth were created in a “big bang.” I had to speak up. I had already been taught how the earth was created and that was not it. Up went my hand, and I told the teacher, “That isn’t what happened. God created the Heavens and the Earth…” I was shut down before I could say more. The answers to my stubborn arguments were my introduction to “separation of church and state.” I was frustrated and confused.
TV was another of my teachers and our family’s constant companion. From sitcoms and dramas I learned how other families lived. From the news I learned about crime and real evil. From Ed Sullivan and Carol Burnett I learned that there are lots of talented people with very different gifts. From Lawrence Welk and American Bandstand I learned about music and dancing.
TV also taught me there truly are two different worlds. I found out that what my teacher told me that day in second grade was true. “What you learn in Sunday School is for Sundays.” Only on Sundays did I see TV programs where people talked about God or the Bible. Monday through Saturday people went to movies, had fights, and ate family dinners. Only on Sundays did I watch Miss Jean tell Bible Stories, or see Davey and his dog Goliath and learn life lessons from them.
That lesson in second grade was the beginning of the separation of Jesus from my daily life. I did make attempts to rejoin them. Thanksgiving week in fifth grade we each told what we were thankful for. The other kids said stuff like, “our new car.” I stood and, trembling but determined, said, “I’m thankful for Jesus dying on the cross for my sins.” My testimony was met with stony silence from my classmates and, after a pause, an uncomfortable “Um, thanks,” from the teacher.
I tried a few more times to bring Jesus into the “real” Monday through Saturday world as I finished out my school years. Mostly I relegated Him to His rightful Sunday spot. Eventually I separated Him so far He became a well-kept secret in my heart. I even stopped going to church and reading my Bible.
Jesus didn’t like to be a secret, though. He wasn’t satisfied being kept in that dark, private, place. He started reaching out to me, like day I was stuck in a traffic jam for 25 minutes in front of a church. Then I heard about a Bible study that had been started at my office. The members were surprised when I asked if I could come. They were even more shocked at the how much I knew about the Bible. One told me, “I never knew you were a Christian!”
My insatiable need to learn led me to my most recent teacher. I knew you could find anything on the Internet, so I figured I could find Bible answers there, too. A whole new world of knowledge opened before my eyes.
I found teachers from all corners of the earth, from every faith, and from every culture. I found false teachers and teachers of truth. To some of my questions, I was given conflicting answers. To some of my questions I found out there was no answer. From this myriad of teachers I’ve been learning something even more important – how to join my two lives again; how to be a Christian in the world and not be of the world. My church and my state becoming one again.
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