You want to more effectively help your students connect what they study and God's overarching story of creation-fall-redemption-restoration. So, you want to deepen your own understanding of the connections between what your students study and creation-fall-redemption-restoration.
Question: How can you do this?
Answer: By reflecting on what your students study and then identifying the connections between what your students study and creation-fall-redemption-restoration.
Question: Can you give an example of what this looks like?
Answer: Yes. Kim Essenburg (English 10 teacher at Christian Academy in Japan) wrote out her reflections and connections for her introductory unit. Take a look.
What my students study:
- Allende, Isabel. “Writing as an Act of Hope.” Contemporary Chilean author describes her vision for literature in South America to undermines totalitarian regimes, tell truth, and help people love each other better.
- Solzhenitsyn, Alexander. From “Nobel Lecture.” Winner of the 19XX Nobel Prize for literature, whose fictions depicting life in Soviet prison camps first raised the world’s awareness of human right’s abuses, describes his vision of how world literature promotes human understanding and undercuts lies and violence.
- Marquez, Gabriel Garcia. “A Very Old Man with Enormous Wings.” Well-known short story by the Colombian winner of the 1982 Nobel Prize for literature. Using his signature magical realism style, Marquez critiques society by the various reactions to a storm-battered angel marooned in a small village.
- Narayan, R.K. “Like the Sun.” Contemporary Indian writer explores in a short story form whether it is possible, or even good, to tell the whole truth all the time.
- Confucius. From The Analects. These aphorisms have shaped Chinese culture for over 2000 years.
- Hillary, Sir Edmund. “The Final Assault.” New Zealander conqueror of Everest describes the final ascent with great attention to detail, describing the difficulties of his assistant, and Hillary’s own arrival first at the peak.
- Norgay, Tenzig. “The Dream Comes True.” Hillary’s guide and assistant describes the beauty of the mountains and asserts that he and Hillary were equal partners, helping each other, and arrived at the peak together.
Connections to creation-fall-redemption-restoration:
- Creation: People, as God’s good creation in His good image, can use the good gift of language to reflect that image, create beauty, communicate truth, and shape culture as they participate with the Creator in unfolding the possibilities of the creation. Fiction writers like Marquez and Narayan mine the truths permeating creation, using creativity of subject and style; essayists like Allende and speakers like Solzhenitsyn note the role of literature in promoting truth, justice, and beauty; autobiographers like Hillary and Norgay describe the wonder of creation and of human achievement.
- Fall: As a result of the Fall, God’s image in people is distorted. They refuse to acknowledge God and become blind to Him and His truth. They abuse each other and His gifts. Violence, lies, injustice, suffering, hypocrisy, power-mongering abound. Writers speak from a limited human and individual perspective, making truth sometimes difficult to discern for a reader (Hillary/Norgay).
- Redemption: God has not left us without hope: He is the author and the ground of hope. Jesus’ death rescues people from hopelessness, reconciles us to God and empowers us to join him in restoring hope, truth, love. God’s word tells us how and why to live as beacons of hope, truth, and love. He is the one who has promised to complete the restoration.
- Restoration: Because people retain a marred image of God, they can dimly sense that the way things are is not the way they are supposed to be, that there is a meaning which must be looked for, a standard of truth and justice and love and right that must be fought for. These writers deal a lot with truth: its power for overcoming lies, violence, and injustice (Solzhenitsyn, Allende); how we can tell what it is (Marquez), how we should wield it (Narayan), how we should live it (Confucius). As Christians, we rejoice in all efforts to restore creation, we search the scripture to affirm the truth authors have seen, and we rely on the Holy Spirit to make our efforts effective.
Your turn: Reflect on what your students study and then identify the connections between what your students study and creation-fall-redemption-restoration.
Target Biblical perspective. Deepen your understanding of the connections between what students study and God’s overarching story of creation-fall-redemption. Today.
©2009 Michael B. Essenburg, Close the Gap Now