Summary: 3rd in the Spiritual Transformation Series of Sermons
Our Spiritual Metamorphosis: Step 2 – Learning
The time is here! The summer is over and school is back in session! The time for our children’s learning process is back on schedule. Teachers are all geared up to instruct their students in all the skills of mathematics, language usage, social studies and the sciences.
Last week I found a very unusual song online that is presented from the viewpoint of a student about his return to the classroom after a summer of tremendous fun and adventure. This song is to be sung to the tune of “My Bonnie.” It is written by Kenn Nesbitt and entitled “Welcome Back to School.” (Also found in a compilation of his poetry about school life [I’ve Been Burping in the Classroom; Purple Room Publishing; Spokane, WV; 2007]):
“Dear students, the summer has ended.
The school year at last has begun.
But this year is totally different.
We’re going to only have fun.
[Chorus] “Sit back. Relax.
The school year is gonna be fun, so fun.
We’ll play all day.
The school year is gonna be fun.
“We won’t study any mathematics,
And recess will last all day long.
Instead of the Pledge of Allegiance,
We’ll belt out a rock-and-roll song.
“We’ll only play games in the classroom.
You’re welcome to bring in your toys.
It’s okay to run in the hallways.
It’s great if you make lots of noise.
“Your video games are your homework.
You’ll have to watch lots of T.V.
For field trips we’ll go to the movies
And give away candy for free.
“The lunchroom will only serve chocolate
And triple fudge sundaes supreme.”
Yes, that’s what I heard from my teacher
Before I woke up from my dream.
Preschool; Kindergarten; primary and elementary education; Middle School and Junior High; High School and Technical/Trade School; College and University; and postgraduate work are all the American Way of learning. From 3 – 4 years of age through the teenage years into early adulthood and sometime beyond we strive to learn all that we can to be a success in our vocations. Sometimes we even return to the educational system in our later years of life to brush-up on current trends in business and trade. Continuing Education for the mature and aged are commonplace among our Junior and Community Colleges of today.
Getting a good education is preached to us by our parents beginning at a very early age. Placing us in the “”right” schools is of utmost importance; sometimes leading to great competitiveness between close friends and family members. Receiving accolades for brilliance and educational competence is desired by many a parent for their children; even if it means forgoing all evening activities to get the job done. To see our kids names on the Honor Roll or Dean’s List is self-satisfying and allows us to be proud of not just the child but also ourselves; after all we were the ones that pushed them to excel.
Yet as we look at humanity as a whole we see lives falling apart; marriages being destroyed, relationships broken, homes devastated and families disrupted; even within those individuals who are very well educated. Common sense seems to have “gone out the window” along with the influx of grasping more and more book knowledge. Knowing how to deal respectively with interpersonal relationships has slipped out of our hands; while at the same time we strive to gain more knowledge from worldly theories and philosophies. The spiritual precepts of morals and ethics have been replaced by doubt and fear that is the outcome of the learned lifestyle of secular and humanistic thought.
Education is costly; in more ways than one. As a matter of fact, I would have to agree with the statement made by Derek Bok, the former president of Harvard University: “If you think education is expensive, try ignorance.” I know that sounds a little strange after me kind of spouting off about the shortcomings of our educational process. But I really have nothing against anyone receiving a good education as well as the praise and rewards that accompany one’s academic endeavors.
What Bok and I agree upon is this: If we are so educated that we become so ignorant of our day-to-day relationship with God and others around us, then all our learning has been of no avail. We have gone beyond our dependency upon God and our brothers and sisters of the faith and stepped into the realm of self-indulgence and run the danger of losing wonderful rewards due to self-satisfaction.
Paul tells Timothy, his young apprentice in the ministry of the Gospel: “Be diligent to present yourself approved to God, a worker who does not need to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth” [2Timothy 2:15].