The Chair and the Desk, 9/18/15

From the chair:

41 And he sat down opposite the treasury and watched the people putting money into the offering box. Many rich people put in large sums. 42 And a poor widow came and put in two small copper coins, which make a penny. 43 And he called his disciples to him and said to them, “Truly, I say to you, this poor widow has put in more than all those who are contributing to the offering box. 44 For they all contributed out of their abundance, but she out of her poverty has put in everything she had, all she had to live on.” 

13 And as he came out of the temple, one of his disciples said to him, “Look, Teacher, what wonderful stones and what wonderful buildings!” And Jesus said to him, “Do you see these great buildings? There will not be left here one stone upon another that will not be thrown down.” 

-Mark 12:41-13:2

This passage reminded me how quickly we forget what God prioritizes. In the story, I’m like the disciples who want to talk about beautiful buildings while Christ’s attention is fixed on this un-cared-for and faith-filled woman.

From the desk:

Instead of thinking about the topics you want to teach, focus on learning outcomes: What do you want your students to be able to do after they have studied the material and completed their assignments? What knowledge skills, attitudes, and ‘habits of mind’ do you want your students to acquire during the semester?

-Barbara Cross Davis, Tools for Teaching, 2009 ed., p.3

This one goes out to my mom. The phrase “learning outcomes” is actually very familiar to me, because I think all along she’s been teaching me to be a teacher. Nonetheless, this, on the first page of my first teaching textbook, was a good reminder. Sometimes the process of academia makes it seem like it’s all about me. I’ve had to work on building my CV to show my knowledge and my experience to get into my program to write my dissertation to earn my degree to get my job. Yet, teaching isn’t about me, especially teaching in a seminary. Teaching is about students, and teaching in a seminary is about the pastor-students, which means it’s really about the Church, which means it’s really about Christ. This was a good reminder that it’s not about packing my brain or launching my career or writing my ideas. It’s about developing theoretical and practical wisdom to serve the servants of the Church, which serves God.

“The chair” is the one Annie aptly chose for the corner of our living room, and it’s where I am committed to daily hearing from God’s Word–the Word I above all else hope to speak to others. “The desk” is the one by my coffee grounds and spare charger (if I get to the library early enough); it’s where I have the privilege of reading and thinking all day, where I intend to learn for others’ sake.

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