Take Me to Church
Small Bites Friday Five 09-25-20:
PE – Listen to this Pushing The Edge podcast about how to make sports more welcoming to the LGBTQ community.
Math – Listen to 2 of my favorite neighbors to the north, Chey and Pav as they explore Math through an SEL lens on the Staff Room Podcast. SEL is ALWAYS at the heart of any culturally responsive teaching.
Film/Photography or Fine Arts – Explore the beautifully crafted visual stories from the Global Oneness Project.org. Thanks to Jennifer Gonzales and Cult of Pedagogy for this one.
K-3 generalists – Look no further than Ki Gross’ Woke Kindergarten site. They specialize in teaching big concepts to little people.
Tech – Help your students go from empathy to action with this edtech tip sheet from CommonSense.org.
When I was born, it was in vogue for new mothers to stay home 6 weeks with their new bundles of joy. After that 6 weeks, the first place I was taken was to church. I am the 4th generation church musician in a line of 5 church musicians. Before that, my great-great-grandfather was a Louisiana pastor and circuit preacher. I have inherited a culture of faith that binds me to my God as intrinsically as melanin binds me to the Black community.
And yet…when I consider my identity, I have to swallow hard when I use the term Christian. Identifying as a Christian meant that Britain could claim Virginia in 1606 because the “heathens” found there were not Christian. Colonization was built on Christianity. The slave trade was upheld by Christianity. Bombing of abortion clinics and LG clubs were praised by the Christian community. Not all certainly but too many. Our identity is suffering and the cross is often too much to bear.
Now, to be sure, none of these things have anything at all to do with Jesus. He was known for hanging with all sorts of people. The question is, are we? If we have a student who falls outside of some “Christian ideal”, do we embrace them or do we leave them by the side of the road? Does our love extend to those most unlike us or do we keep our praise and encouragement for only those who espouse our own values and viewpoints?
Our educational system should be a place where every student feels welcome. Instead, on our watch, students represent the largest group commiting suicides in the country. Among those, students whose sexuality does not fall within traditional Christian ideals are killing themselves at an even higher rate.
I KNOW this is not a popular “Christian” view. But the God I serve says that we should be doers of the law and not judges. He also says that love is the fulfilling of the law. So unless you are ok with children dying on your watch, and unless you think GOD is ok with children dying on your watch, it’s time to think about how you can be equally accepting of all your students. That sounds dramatic for sure, but the fact is, once educators hit campus, our duty is to do the best by every child.
The question is, is that a cross you can take up? If your job is to teach and your Christian duty is to love and not judge, so it seems that the answer is a simple one.
I hope that instead of reading this and writing me off as some liberal who doesn’t understand God’s law, that you will see me through God’s eyes, as a person sure of her calling. I am called to do my best for every student, for every human. I hope, as you read this, you will consider that every student and family you serve is deserving of your human love and respect; as my students would say, periodttt.