Friday, March 23, 2007

TIME Mag: The Case for Teaching the Bible

TIME Magazine's current cover story: "Why We Should Teach The Bible in Public School," by David Van Beima, has totally side tracked me from my Master's thesis (I'm in a big crunch right now! But I couldn't avoid posting - I get excited about this kind of stuff.)

TIME magazine actually makes an excellent case for studying the Bible in public school. And part of the gist of the article dovetails with my earlier posting about the horizontal and vertical aspects of being "missional." Van Beima writes:

"Without the Bible and a few imposing secular sources, we face a numbing horizontality in our culture--blogs, political announcements, ads. The world is flat, sure. But Scripture is among our few means to make it deep."

Okay, I'd take out the part about a few imposing secular sources, or maybe ask him what he thinks they are and perhaps use those as a bridge to further dialogue. However, he is sort of seeing the same trend, I think. These are moments in the arena of public debate that we might see as opportunity to engage.

Here is one snapshot of a high school class discussion as observed by the author of the article:

Explaining why Jesus' famous sermon took place on a mount, (the teacher) reminds the students that Matthew was writing for Jews, and a mount is where Moses received the Ten Commandments. "So, supposedly," she says, "Jesus is the new covenant, the new law, for the Jewish people."

(...snip out some of the discussion about the meaning and application of the Beatitudes...)

Student in the third row: "Does that mean that the Ten Commandments are exceptions?"

(The teacher) Kendrick: "That they're literal?"

Everyone: "Yes!"

Trying to make sense of both this consensus and his possible future, an ROTC cadet notes, "Some people say, 'Thou shalt not kill' is really 'Thou shalt not murder,' and in Ecclesiastes it says, 'There's a time for war and a time for peace.'"

The author's response to these observations:
"I could find little to object to here and much to admire."

Aside from theological critiques of 11th graders, does anyone else see a big, huge open door here? Remember a couple of months ago, TIME featured Albert Mohler, Jr. in the article: "A Calvinist Faces Death." This and that to me are exciting! Okay, back to my research (ugh) ...

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