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Over the Mickey Mouse Mug

February 8, 2014

It’s Saturday morning and I am watching the sun rise.  Tomorrow afternoon is our Open House at the school which, as you know, is a time for parents and prospective students to visit the school.  They’ll go from classroom to classroom, asking questions about the various subjects, techonologies and methodologies used in order to make the best learning experience possible.

I have my Mickey Mouse mug here next to my computer.  That is my mug in theimage photo here;  I bought matching Mickey/Minnie mugs for my wife and me during a Disney vacation over a decade ago.  As has been our tradition, Mickey and Minnie come out each Saturday – only on Saturday – as we share coffee and conversation together.

At this pre-twilight hour Jill is still sleeping and I find that a mug of coffee with Mickey helps me think.  I’m sitting here reflecting on how I will show the families around whenever they come by my Bible classroom.  Many will stop and ask questions which are standard:  “Do you teach New Testament?”  “Is this an elective?”  “How often do you have tests?” “Which Bible translation should my child have?” They’ll lean forward and glance into my classroom quickly, scanning the Greek phrases and the front PowerPoint screen.

They’ll often smile politely, offer a handshake and be gone within, oh, about two minutes.  They must move on and get to other teachers.

How I wish they’d spend a few more minutes and allow me time to give them a tour of the classroom.  I would be a tour guide through the vast landscape of Room 181:

“Please come with me and get an idea of what your child encounters whenever they get into a serious study of the Bible.  We think, debate, discuss, and have a time to incubate our reflection of Biblical truths.  Here, friends, is a not just a classroom, but an Adventure in Realization. There are new thresholds of mental and spiritual awakening that are crossed all through this school year.  Let me take you over here to see this desk, next the bulletin board. It is at this very place that last week we saw a breakthrough.   Throughout his whole academic career Bill had never made a speech of any kind.  At the beginning of the school year when the Bible devotionals assignments were first handed out, Bill hid out in the bathroom, so scared that he was actually nauseous. On more than one occasion he tried to dodge the assignments by trying to skip my class.”

“But part of the Bible teaching in this class is in extemporaneous speeches ,  messages which are delivered at a moment’s notice.  Bill couldn’t skip out if he didn’t know when they were coming, and so when he was called he had no choice but to drag himself to the front of the classroom and make a presentation.  We all noticed something as the year progressed – each time he got up a little quicker and made the delivery a little clearer.  And last week it hit ol’ Bill – he’s not so bad in speaking in front of a group.  Wham!  The light went on.  Bill made a realization that he could achieve something he thought would never be reached in his lifetime.”

I walk over to the front of the room.

“This desk brings me a great first-semester memory, because this is where Callie had her Moment of Realization.  She entered this room as a skeptic, one who only wanted to pass the class period quietly, take the requisite quizzes and tests, and get out of here at the end of the school year. But God moved – and is still moving in her heart.”

“It was a notable progression.  I noticed when her head first snapped to attention as we dug into the Doctrine of Heaven, especially as we worked our way through the many descriptions in book of Revelation.   It wasn’t long before her hand was going up and asking questions as we continued through our study in Apologetics,   Prophecies and even the miracles involved in the Biblical narrative of the Nativity at Christmastime.  The walls of skepticism started coming down, and soon I saw her shaking her head in wonderment of the frustrating and nihilistic views of Camus and Nietzsche. Now we’re all seeing her being one of the most active participants in our regular class debates.”

Then I gesture towards my own desk.

“See that chair right next to my desk?  That’s the most special place in the room.”

I move toward it and put a hand on the back of the chair.

“This is where Allie sat and told me that she realized that God was changing her life – she was going to start making plans to go into the ministry, looking especially at mission work.”

“In was in this chair that Mike broke down crying and said he was done with the petty life of a socially-driven churchgoer.  He realized the dead-end road he was on, and wanted to give it all to Christ.  He asked me to pray for him and for his dependence upon Christ to overcome the obstacles that the Enemy was throwing at him.”

“Carolyn sat this very chair while we shared prayer over her skeptical and antagonistic family, especially a law-breaking uncle who continually brought problems to her home each and every evening.  We started to see those answer to those prayers, too.  Through the year she reported back how God was slowly but surely giving her encouragement and boldness in standing up for what was right, and even more exciting, how the family was responding positively.”

“This chair has so many memories for me since September,” I would say.  “Jacob wanted help on witnessing to atheists online – it was his new ministry.  Lori wanted to know if she could reserve a space for every one of our weekend Theology Camps, because she wanted as much Bible training as possible.  Tonya shared with me about the loss of her parent, and the grief she couldn’t shake.  Chris also talked about life without parents, but also about how Bible class was helping him cope and realize that he didn’t need to spend a life of moping, but gain confidence and excel as a Christian.”

I’d have to shrug.  “I could go on and on, but it would take too much of your time.  What I want you to understand is that this class is more than getting a head full of Bible knowledge.  It’s more than an elective on a grade card.”

“It’s Realization with a capital ‘R’.  That’s what I see each week in many faces of students in this classroom.  That’s what your child will experience when they come in here.”

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