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Red-Ink Disillusionment November 11, 2008

Posted by markgeil in Academia, Bible.
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I’ve just finished grading a big stack of exams. There is always a bit of joy associated with the completion of a task like that, with watching the stack get smaller and smaller until every last paper is covered in red ink. However, today it’s that last part – the red ink – that’s left me a little bummed. I have a batch of students in this one class this semester who just aren’t getting it. I led the last five classes asking the definition of a certain concept in biomechanics, Moment of Inertia. It’s a pretty hard concept, but we went over and over it, and it’s in their book, and I even told the students that they would have to write the definition on the exam. Alas, lots of red ink. It wasn’t just that question. So many completely blank spaces after so many questions leave me doubting myself. Are they just not studying, not trying, or am I doing something wrong? That class is this afternoon, and we’re going to have a heart-to-heart chat, as much as one can have a heart-to-heart chat with 49 students.

It is said that Jesus, being fully human and fully God, can identify with all our trials. This isn’t a very grandiose or even burdensome trial, but I did get a chuckle today when I read from John that, indeed, Jesus could identify with even this little bout of red-ink-disillusionment. Here’s what I read:

Jesus: “If you know Me, you will also know My Father. From now on you do know Him and have seen Him.”

Phillip answers, probably enthusiastically, “Lord, show us the Father, and that’s enough for us.”

Jesus, perhaps somehow aware at that very moment of what these words would mean to me thousands of years later , replies: “Have I been among you all this time without your knowing Me, Phillip? The one who has seen Me has seen the Father. How can you say, ‘Show us the Father?’ Don’t you believe that I am in the Father and the Father is in Me?” (John 14:7-10a)

Now, please understand that I don’t try to somehow equate myself with the Messiah in this example, nor do I compare our trials, nor even consider that I’m the tiniest bit as great a teacher as the Master. I’m just gratified, in a lighthearted way, that He was indeed fully human, and that we might have shared a small shred of emotion.

Maybe I’ll start my heart-to-heart chat with the students this afternoon like this: “Have I been among you all this time without your knowing the Moment of Inertia?”

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