am i getting this right?

I’m taking a class called “Teaching for Christian Formation” at Fuller right now. It is a two week intensive, which, let me tell you, is not always a lot of fun. When you make it through four hours of lecture for the 6th day in a row, you are pretty anxious to get out of the classroom. Yet, after we finished up our four hours of lecture today, there was group of about 15 students crowded around the professor and the TA in front of the class.

We had learned some teaching principles a few days before and put them into a lesson plan, and apparently a lot of students had difficulty integrating all the principles into their teaching. We have another lesson plan due for tomorrow, and all the students crowded around the professor and TA had computers or scrap paper pulled out, filled with ideas for their second lesson plan. They were all showing the professor their plans, asking, “Am I getting this right?”

The class has kept Christian formation on my mind for the past week and a half, and I realized as I left class this morning that the cluster of students crowding the professor illustrated one of the roles of community in Christian formation- it is so we can ask each other, “Am I getting this right?”

We are given a lot of guidance from Scripture, prayer, and the Holy Spirit, but if the history of the church has shown us anything, there is still a lot of stuff to debate over, struggle through, and try to figure out. We read a passage of Scripture and try to figure out what God may be speaking to us, but in community we can ask, “Am I reading this right?” We can listen for the voice of God in prayer, but in community we can ask, “Do you think God could be saying this to me? to us?” We can struggle through spiritual practices illustrated in Scripture and formed in the history of the church, but in community we can ask, “Am I practicing this right?” We can ask, “Am I thinking about God rightly here?” “Am I hearing about God rightly here?” “Am I understanding things rightly here?” “Am I growing rightly here?” “Am I living as a disciple rightly here?”

I have been stressed lately. In the middle of a two week intensive, in an already fully committed life, it is easy to become overwhelmed. It felt like things were not as they are supposed to be, so I emailed a friend, shared some thoughts, and asked some questions. Behind it all I was asking the question, “Am I getting this right?” Is it ok that I am stressed right now because this is a rare occurrence in life (the two week intensive) or have I committed to too much? What do I do with the fact that my schedule means that I cannot be as committed to all my commitments and as present in all my relationships as I want to be right now? What does a disciple do in this situation? Am I missing something?

Behind it all I was asking the question, “Am I getting this right?”

Christ invites us to follow, to be formed into his image by the Holy Spirit, but God has also blessed us with community. We don’t have to figure it out alone. We have been given brothers and sisters to help us out, to share what God has taught them that we have not learned yet, to share in the journey, and to help answer the question, “Am I getting this right?”

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