NONFORMAL Education, Part 3 (Final Rant)

Allow me to paint things a little further…

You see, it is not so much about the subject you address, like addressing the latest societal question as to whether our autonomous, free thinking robots should have rights or not…but it is about the process of dealing with the subject that is so key. (As Jesus was concerned that his followers learn HOW to think about a variety of issues.)

Do you see how easily we can lose sight of this process with a topic like “Robot Rights.” We immediately think in a narrow and shallow fashion, “Why are they wasting their time discussing an issue like this?” But the more you facilitate a discussion & case study investigation around this subject, forcing your learners to defend their notions not only with human rationale, but also scripture, you begin to uncover deep theological issues. You are forcing them to think about the question, “What makes humans different than robots?….What make us human?(which if answered incorrectly leads you to Darwinian thinking, Hitler-like rationalizing, and eventually similar actions to white supremacy, so this is no side topic!)

You begin to push them to wrestle with the deep theology of Genesis 2, being made in the image of God. Learners begin to think critically on an issue that forces them to use scripture as their main filter. This process of thinking biblically…of thinking theologically, is huge, no matter what the subject is. It isn’t just about the truth that they are taught…but how the truth can be used in a practical sense.

Now, you must realize that since this educational realm has been so absent from the church (& most secular educational settings), it frustrates the learners. They want the easy answers. They want to be told what to believe. They want to be controlled and we are more than willing to take all the control we can…and in turn, self-directed, life-long learners of the faith diminish.

How much biblical & theological information can we continue to give our learners, expecting they will just know how to use it in everyday situations? (giving them your application points at the end of each lesson won’t be enough). How will we make sure we have venues within the church that addresses our faith in a constant changing world?

Whatever you decide to implement within this mode of education, be careful! Implement it wisely and incrementally, while seeking a balance of all three teaching modes. The resistance will be strong so keep the rationale in front of your people at all times. This is a hard education mode for people to understand because it is rarely done within the church (& within schooling as well) as they prefer teaching over learning.


~ by Dave Smith on May 25, 2008.

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