I snapped today.
I don’t usually do that.
But today I did.
They pushed me, and I snapped.
I apologized for it, but still…I snapped.
My students don’t understand this, but I wasn’t just snapping at them. I have been frustrated with the whole thing lately. This was just a microcosm of the bigger picture.
We’re in the middle of a unit on “theology” and at this point we’re looking at Christology — the study of the person and work of Jesus as it relates to the Christian faith. I was trying to help them better understand the proper place that Jesus should have in our overall theology (i.e. not just an insurance policy, a nice guy, or someone to make you feel good about yourself). This is no easy task for people that have been taught one thing all of their lives by the dominant system of the day! But still, I consider it to be a venture worth taking.
As I’m in the middle of the discussion, some students decide to discuss some random trivial matter that I’m sure has some cosmic significance somewhere but would go on the same level as most MySpace conversations as far as anyone else is concerned. Others decide it would be a good time to drift off to dream land because “they’ve heard it all before” — or so they assume because I’m using the name Jesus so much. And others decide to pursue more “academic” avenues by copying someone else’s homework since they decided not to do their own the night before.
In the middle of all of that it happened. I snapped. It seemed as if I were once again beating my head against the wall trying to get someone to hear me. And it’s not just students! I’ve been doing this my whole adult life. Counseling sessions. Small group studies. Sunday school classes. Sermons to 1000+ people at a time. It all collapsed in that one moment and I snapped.
Have you ever felt like you were “swimming upstream?” Everyone else is floating by yelling “Hey stupid, you’re supposed to go this way!” There’s a part of you that thinks maybe they’re right, but you’re sure down to you toenails that there’s something better closer to the headwaters than the stagnant pool at the end. I’ve been doing this a long time. It’s not that I’m a rebel…I just don’t conform very well. And I’m not sure that conforming is the point. I feel like I’m called to do something more than conform. To speak life into those that are content to just go with the flow.
I guess that’s why it hit me so hard today and I snapped. I want so much to help these students to find life as Kingdom people. And I don’t see the dominant systems of religion offering that today. They’re told what to think, how to act, how to vote, what success looks like, and even how you’re “supposed” to read the Bible. I feel like Martin Luther must have felt when he’s hanging the 95 Theses on the door — except I keep hitting the nail but it doesn’t go in!
I guess the best I can do is keep hammering and hope that someone will at least peek their head out and wonder what’s going on! But today I snapped. The pity party is over now. Time to get back to hammering!