McDonald's is McDonald's

How's that for an odd blog title? It's the first thought that came to mind as I sat to write today at 5:52 p.m. Budapest time. I ate lunch at the McDonald's restaurant across the tram tracks and busy street from where I have been staying recently, and the meal was about the same as what I would have expected from the McDonald's near my home in Baltimore, except that the atmosphere was nicer and a woman came and took my tray out of my hands when I could not find a trash receptacle for my used paper goods. It turns out that she clears all the tables and disposes of all the trash in a trash can hidden behind a counter where she also cleans the plastic trays. I have, by necessity, eaten at McDonald's restaurants in many countries throughout the world (it seems that Greater Grace pastors like to hold rap sessions in them), and I always find myself experiencing a laxative effect from my meal. Yes, that may be too much information, and yes, I did consider leaving it out, but I wonder what it is in the food that has this effect upon me, and why we can't have rap sessions somewhere else?

I am happy to say that Christian education is not Christian education everywhere you go in the world, at least not in the McDonald's sense. GGCA and GGIS are different schools. We may be serving up the same sorts of educational meals to our students, but the food is not generic, and it does not have any undesirable after effects that I know of. I think this is because of the wonderful diversity we find in the Body of Christ. We are not all the same, and God allows us to be our own unique expressions of who He is to each other. No two Spirit-filled Christian teachers who teach the same subject from the same textbook will deliver the same content in the same way, because the Spirit who makes us one also makes us one-of-a-kind and anoints each teacher to meet the particular needs of the individuals God has placed in his or her classroom. Because of Christ, we can be all things to all students, and a student walking in the Spirit can tap into the same anointing that the teacher is operating in and learn more than they could learn walking in their flesh.

Teaching is a ministry. Teaching is part art and part science, but as Christians we must view it as ministry too. It is a very particular form of inreach and outreach, depending upon the students served by the school. Teaching is purposeful, intentional communication through a special relationship. It demands that I go beyond my comfort zone and sit where they (the students) sit in order to reach them. It means looking up into the branches of the sycamore tree to spot the one nobody else sees or wants to see in order to tell him that you will have a divine appointment with him in his house that day. A teacher has to be able to love the unlovable and make that love known. 

I have always been the one who takes the seat in the back of the room or who stands off to the side by himself. I am quiet and introverted and I am uncomfortable in groups and crowds. How I ever became a teacher is a mystery to me. I don't mind standing up in front of groups and crowds. That seems to have a purpose, so I speak or sing or act in front of people as needed. But to be a student in a class, a part of a congregation, is not so easy. My teachers probably often thought I wasn't listening to what they were saying, although I would do my best to give eye contact and be ready to answer when called upon. I tried hard to go unnoticed while secretly hoping the teacher would notice me and be pleased. It was a couple of English teachers in high school who saw me up in my sycamore tree and called me down to be in their drama group. The rest is history. 

Teachers who let students know, "I see you, and, yes, I love you," make eternal differences in students' lives. I have seen that in both GGIS and GGCA. It is on the menu in both schools, but it comes in as many flavors as there are teachers and students in those schools. It is true: Taste and see that the Lord is good. (Psalm 34:8)

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