You know, Algernon had a post that knocked me on my duff. I actually took that lesson to church with me, to discuss with my kids. They have a fascination with the end times and Revelations. It's been a struggle for me, because I am not a Revelations kind of gal. I figure that the end of the world falls directly into God's responsibility, not mine, and so I don't give it a lot of thought. My responsibility is simply doing His will in the time that I have been placed in. Period.
But those kids are talkers, and the conversation eventually gets turned around and headed into that direction no matter what my carefully selected topic is. That darn Left Behind series has turned the apocalypse into wholesome family entertainment, and Nostradamus and Quetzalcoatl have only added fuel to the fire. But as usual, I digress. And as a side note, this is exactly how my classes always wind up in a discussion about the end of the world. Crap. I digress yet again.
Anyways, I finally decided that having their undivided attention was more important than staying in my own comfort zone, so a couple weeks ago, we discussed Jesus' description of the end times, a time that we are warned that we will be confronted by false prophets and liars. How do we tell the difference between a Godly person and a liar? For a class that has been sternly schooled in 'Thou shalt not judge,' the idea that I was asking them to do just that was astounding. They were intrigued that they might, one day, meet a false prophet face to face. How would they know? What were the warning signs? What about me? Am I a false prophet, a teacher who lies? Why? Tell me why you think that. So the debates have raged for a couple weeks. For these kids, debate in Sunday School is a new thing. They have come to my class from other classes where their little hands are folded on the table as they listen to someone tell them what the Bible passage means and then they do a craft. In my class, I expect them to figure it out, to come up with their own answers. They are not prepared to have a teacher tell them that she does not have all the answers, and has an aversion to crafts. They are not allowed to raise their hands. They are young adults now, I tell them. They are expected to listen when others speak, and when that person is done, they are welcome to speak their piece. And it works out pretty well. We sprawl around and have some great discussions. We have a pile of brightly colored flip flops. If people get off topic, I throw a flip flop at them, if I notice. Usually, sadly, I don't, but there is always a kid to gleefully point out that we've gotten off the topic.
In any case, Sunday I began with this: 'If you saw a man walking down the street wearing a tee that had a picture of our president on it and read 'Pray for our president. Psalm 109, vs. 8-9' what does that shirt say about that man? And they all decided that he was a holy man, a good person, a person who prays, a Christian, someone that they would be glad to spend more time with, etc. It entered none of their minds to look that verse up. They hunkered over their Bibles when I told them to look it up. They read it out loud. And slowly the scales fell from their eyes. For the very first time, I think that they got it. They finally understood what I was trying to say the previous week. Just because you know the Bible does not mean that you know God. And I told them that in Somalia this week, a divorced woman had been stoned to death for adultery as two hundred people watched. We talked about the dangers of religious fanatics who believe that somehow, God's judgement has become their right and responsibility. For the first time, I think that they saw how it could happen. Even here.