Innerweave: The Wholeness Story
A new academic quarter is here with all of its opportunities and challenges. One of the greatest challenges is to “integrate faith and learning.” In a challenging new book by Dallas Willard with the title The Great Omission, he speaks of how Jesus is too often underestimated as The Teacher of all teachers:
There is in Christian educational circles today a great deal of talk about “integration of faith and learning.” This is in part due to the fact that it is, at this point in time, an extremely difficult intellectual task, which cannot be accomplished by ritual language and the pooh-poohing of difficulties. But an even deeper cause of the difficulty is the way we automatically tend to think of Jesus himself. It is not just in what we say about Him, but in how He comes before our minds: how we automatically position Him in our world, and how in consequence we position ourselves. We automatically think of Him as having nothing essentially to do with the “profane” knowledge, with learning and logic, and therefore we find ourselves on our own in such areas. He cannot go there.
We should, however, understand that Jesus would be perfectly at home in any professional context where good work is being done today. He would, of course, be a constant rebuke to all the proud self-advancement and the contemptuous treatment of others that go on in professional circles. In this, as in other respects, our professions are aching for His presence. If we truly see Him as the premier thinker of the human race—and who else would be that—then we are also in position to honor Him as the most knowledgeable person in our field, whatever that may be, and to ask his cooperation and assistance with everything we have to do… .
Paying careful attention to how Jesus made use of logical thinking (in His teaching) can strengthen our confidence in Jesus as master of the centers of intellect and creativity and can encourage us to accept Him as master in all of the areas of intellectual life in which we may participate. In those areas we can, then, be His disciples, not disciples of the current movements and glittering personalities who happen to dominate our field in human terms. Proper regard for Him can also encourage us to follow His example as teachers in Christian contexts. We can learn from Him to use logical reasoning at its best, as He works with us. When we teach what He taught in the manner He taught it, we will see His kind of result in the lives of those to whom we minister.
These few words can give us courage to teach and to learn, but more, to be in touch with Jesus the Master Teacher.
By Wil Alexander, PhD
Professor of family medicine, School of Medicine