*(We return to examining Faith Enhancing Practices – those practices that can be used effectively in a Christian school to encourage students in their faith development. For an explanation and definition of Faith Enhancing Practices see my post of February 3, 2007 entitled “What’s the difference between teachers?” It might be most helpful to begin reading forward from that point through FEP’s #1-6.)
There is no school better equipped to wrestle with students about the difficult questions of life than a Christian school. Difficult questions occur naturally and spontaneously in the lives of our youth and in our classrooms. When I use the term difficult questions I am referring to these kinds of questions:
Why doesn’t God show himself more clearly?
- If God didn’t create evil, where did it come from?
- How can Christians condemn homosexuals for being the way God made them?
- If people want to die, isn’t it more merciful to let them commit suicide than to allow them to suffer?
- If laws can’t make people good, why do we try to legislate morality?
- How should I measure my success in life?
- What happens to people who die without ever hearing about Christ? It doesn’t seem fair for them to go to hell.
- Why does a good God allow the consequences of evil to continue? Why doesn’t he simply wipe out evil as soon as it appears on the scene?
In a Christian school we see all things cohering in Christ, and through his life, death, and resurrection we have an eternal hope. We have the twin revelations of creation and the Bible with which to guide our thinking. Difficult questions that students pose give us a terrific opportunity to deal with things that should be priorities for us in Christian education – matters of life and death and faith.
Yet many of the questions we get asked don’t have easy answers. It is important for us to demonstrate to students that we don’t have all the answers – we wonder about these things too and acknowledge that our human understanding is limited. When our students raise the problem of pain – why certain people get sick or die – we like Job have to realize that we cannot expect to have the same understanding level as our almighty God. Our questions allow us the avenue into deep and meaningful discussion about things that are engaging our students’ minds and hearts.
Are we, as people who are responsible to nurture faith in our youth, prepared to deal with the difficult questions that are posed to us? Are we addressing these kind of questions in our curriculum? A good exercise is to take Chuck Colson’s book, Answers to Your Kid’s Questions, which contains difficult questions (such as the ones listed above) sent in to his organization by youth and then to see where these questions are addressed in the course of your curriculum.