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3 Fast Ideas for Christian Education

3 Fast Ideas for Christian Education

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Published by Alwyn Lau

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Published by: Alwyn Lau on Dec 04, 2008
Copyright:Attribution Non-commercial

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07/01/2010

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 Even More Fun!
3 Fast Ideas for Christian Education Today
A child turning 12 this year will be retiring in the 2060s’. Sir Ken Robinson, famedBritish educationist, reminded that us that we have
no idea how the world will look like
at that time, yet our present education system is based on a model developed inthe 1900s’(!!).It’s strange that many schools still teach as if the Internet and all kinds of media have
not 
been invented and as if globalisation hasn’t occurred i.e. as if we’re not in the 21
st
century. And if it’s awkward for the secular world, it should be even less acceptablefor God’s kingdom.“The world has changed”, says Galadriel the Elf Queen (LOTR fans, heads up!).What about the church? What about our learning?Because it can’t be denied that learning isn’t what it used to be. Check out this chartcomparing the past/present with the emerging/future:
Past/PresentEmerging/Future
Teacher-Led / Top-DownStudent-Driven / All-RoundTeach to Test / Teacher assesses studentsTeach to
Quest / 
Students assess eachother (and the teacher!)Lecture / “I disseminate knowledgeConversations / “We
 produce
learning”Institutional Authority EncyclopediaBritannicaCommunity Consensus – WikipediaSubject-Centric : Language and Maths(Cyber)-Skill Oriented : Collaborationand Multi-MediaFacts and TruthPerspectives and ConnectionsSeeking the Correct AnswersAsking the Right Questions(Certainly the chart is a simplification, but – again – my point wasn’t to state
 facts
butto suggest
trends
. Chill.)The good news is: God’s Word is ever-relevant and never fossilized. Our fundamentaltruths needn’t change. Jesus is still our Lord and Saviour. Most importantly for education, Jesus remains our Teacher through the Holy Spirit, our loving Reminder of all that Christ said (John 14:26).The tough news is: If we do not discern and adapt ourselves to the ways the world ischanging education-wise, to that extent our effectiveness in
connecting 
with the worldfalters.Simply put, the Word made Flesh needs to be ‘Made Fresh’, too. Are we up to thechallenge?
 
I propose three simple, but tradition-challenging, steps for the church:1.
Start with the
world 
and ‘work our way back’ to theology
What is the world crying for? What are the key issues in our society? What domainsin our community urgently need theological investigation on? How are globalchurches evolving? What is or isn’t working in Malaysian churches? How does theWeb transform church? What are people today saying?The Bible writers wrote for specific situations. Our learning, similarly, requires thatwe affirm and be fully cognizant with our situation and the needs ‘for such a time as
this
’ (i.e. the
21
 st 
 ,
not another, century).With a new world comes new questions.
New Education Habit #1: Learn more about the world, and do so
as a church
.
2.
Make Christian learning
media-oriented 
and
collaborative
 
Much of Christian theology was forged in an era where the written word was supremeand where certain models of education and authority reigned. Of course, it was also atime when technology was limited. Now, the average 8-year old can do, see and hear what no ancient Pharoah or monarchcould dream of. Now, the ‘castle door’ is no longer limited by space and time. Now, the world is flatter than ever and comes in more than one colour and sound.Surely we can reap its rewards for our education?Yet, why is it so difficult to get a
majority
of Christians sharing and constructingtheological models online? Why does ‘online Bible study’ still appear bizarre? Whycan’t Christians work on theological projects together, the way some universitiesconnect students from different continents to co-analyse new business models? Whyis the sermon in dramatic form still frowned upon (dont performance artscommunicate as well)?The first Reformation shook the world because people were empowered to read theBible. The second one – already here but not yet – will empower us to reconstruct
what it means to understand God 
(confused? Good! Log on, engage, ask, argue andshare what you think!)
New Education Habit #2: Employ the latest media in Christianteaching/preaching and work together to mutually construct theology for ourcontexts.3.Appreciate the full spectrum of Christian perspectives

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