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Personally, I think the hammock office in Zurich could be pretty rad to work in.
One day, as several of us sat in the break room together, the television news blared out a story about a hate crime. The victim, a gay man, had been brutally beaten and murdered. Mark glanced around the room, then looked down and shook his head.
At that moment, a vague unease about my normal no-comment stance prompted me to pray, Lord, if you want me to speak, make it perfectly clear what I’m supposed to say. Amen.
One millisecond later, another co-worker, Emily pointed to the television and asked, What do you make of that, Gaye? Is that a hate crime?
Mark’s grin had vanished.
Emily pressed me for an answer.
For the past few weeks I’ve been discussing this question with my high school theology class. Although most of my students have been brought up in the church, I know they’re going to face challenges to their faith when they go off to college. Many will hear jarring claims from classmates and professors about the “real” Jesus—claims contradictory to the church’s confession of Jesus as the risen Son of God.
So I want my students to be prepared. I want them to know these claims have been around for a long time, as have Christian responses. Despite what many critical scholars claim, there is no contradiction between the “Jesus of history” and the “Christ of faith.” In fact, studying Jesus as a historical figure can often strengthen faith. But that requires honestly engaging the critics and evaluating their claims.
I’m a professor of philosophy and religious studies, but on this night, my classroom sits behind the walls. I’m teaching at the Maryland Correctional Institution at Jessup as part of the Goucher Prison Education Partnership.
Back in August, the Department of Education announced the Second Chance Pell Pilot program, which provides a waver of the 20-year ban on providing federal funding to prisoners, and highlighted the Goucher Prison Education Partnership. The newly announced program is an “experiment,” as the department calls it, modestly seeks “to test whether participation in high-quality educational opportunities increases after access to financial aid for incarcerated adults is expanded.”
Won S. Kwak:
The Scriptures aptly describe the church as God’s family made up of members who fulfill roles within this family. Vital for a family’s health is a proper understanding of mutual submission and authority and responsibility and accountability, with sacrificial love as the relational bond-thread that weaves through and joins people together as family.
Such biblical principles are what provide the family with structure, order, and even an ethic. When the household of God actively repents of (turns from) the sins of selfish ambition and vain conceit and actively pursues love and care for one another cross-generationally, a beautiful gospel prism emerges that displays the broad and diverse spectrum of God’s people. This living, breathing amalgam of gender, class, generations, ethnicity, and affinities will not only reflect the unifying results of the gospel, it will also communicate the barrier-breaking power of the gospel.