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  • Writer's pictureChristina

Teaching at ABC: Greg and Christina's March 2023 Update

(Picture of Greg Looking for Monkeys)

“Alright class, I have some good news and some bad news. And then maybe some good news.” Greg smiles as he begins his third week teaching Exodus to a class of about 80 first year liberal arts students. “The good news is that I finally got a copy of the book assigned for this class.” In the time it takes him to take a breath, a student from the front of class pipes up, “You didn’t like it.” As usual, he’s right on the mark. “No, I did not” Greg says. Then he challenges the class. “Why do you think I didn’t like it?” After a bit of mumbling, he has them turn to a passage in the book discussing the biblical event the class discussed last week – when Moses murdered an Egyptian. “What does the author say about that event” Greg asks. “That Moses likely killed the man in self-defense, because murder is bad and Moses was good” they summarize. “And what did we talk about last week?” he challenges them. “Moses looked to the right and the left before killing the man… It was premeditated!” they decry. “Exactly!” Greg says. “And we read in Acts that this can be seen as Moses, in his own strength, trying to help deliver Israel, so there is some good reason for his actions, even foreshadowing God’s actions in the story, but it still definitely seems to be murder.” Greg spends a moment reflecting with them about how the Bible is filled not only with people like Joseph who has close to no flaws, but also with very flawed people who make some bad decisions, and largely with people and scenarios that don’t fall neatly into either category, portraying things we really have to wrestle with to try to understand them for what they are. The brokenness and failures are just as important for us to remember as the triumphs and goodness of people, Greg explains, it helps us see God’s relationship with the world more for what it is than what we might imagine it to be. “Have you heard of eisegesis?” He asks the class. Even though these students are in the first year, they could explain the definition, that it was reading one’s own thoughts into the text. “This book is an example of eisegesis; the author wants to put a lens of positive morality on all that the characters do and to draw personal application from that. The book might have good insights in it, it might be a good devotional, but it’s not a book that you will need to read for this class.” Right about the time the students started to celebrate for this news of less required reading, Greg jokes “don’t worry, I’ll find you a bigger book to read.” Turning back to seriousness, he talks with the class about online resources, about ways that they will interact with the text for this class, about potential topics for the final. That last topic really gets the students’ attention. “Do you remember our first practice quiz question?” Greg asks, “The final won’t be as easy as that, just naming something that happens in the chapter. But it might be like the second practice question – name an event that happens and why it was important. I won’t be quizzing you about names and places, but you need to be prepared to say why something was important.” After talking a bit more about the overall story of the Bible and a bit of theology to add to understanding, Greg looks at his watch. “Well, we have half an hour left in class,” he says (this class is 90 minutes twice a week). A surprised gasp comes from the girl in the front row, which brings a smile back to Greg’s face. “Always a great sign to hear exclamations and groaning when students hear that there is time left in class…Alright, let’s end early today, I’ll go to the registrar and see if the class roster is ready for this class yet.” After a few minutes to make sure nobody came up for questions, Greg finds that the list is not yet ready and heads home. I’m happy to see him, to have a bit of extra time to walk around the yard and talk, to hear that things are going better than expected in my husband’s first-ever Bible class. This month, please pray for Greg as he continues teaching from the Bible. Please also join us in prayer for upcoming trainings with village pastors. Please pray for those who are hungry during this season before harvest. And thank you to everyone who prayed for our employment permits. We received them last week and we’re good through January 2025 - Greg + Christina

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