My first Beginner Bible class was today!
There's something about new terms that always makes it very, very clear how little about Christianity is in the culture of the country I live in. And it is both frustrating and satisfying...satisfying because I realize how much my students have really learned about Christianity in the course of the last term, and frustrating because I have new students and must return to square one all over again.
Today there were two new students at Beginner Bible class...they are my favorite kinds of students, aka, the ones who ask difficult, honest questions. We read the creation of humans today, and I got way ahead of myself (because they didn't have the appropriate background info to actually understand the answers to their questions) and in the course of an hour and a half ended up drawing pictures and charts on the board to explain authority, the fall, the trinity, why God became a human, what it means for us, and what happened spiritually when Jesus died and rose again.
One of the new students is really observant. And I felt like she had a knack for picking out the parts of the text that cause disagreement among Christians interpreting. So, she immediately picked up on God saying "create them in our image" and asked about the "our". She also looked at what humans had originally been told to eat and asked if eating meat was considered a sin.
The other new student, on the other hand, while studying the "trinity diagram" asked if Jesus and the Holy Spirit existed at the same time.
I think they kind of got the important points, though. But man!! I was reflecting during this whole thing how good it is that God uses multiple people to share the gospel, because many of these students I don't see more than once, or at least not so consistently. But it's so impossible to explain only the important points! At least in a way that would have meaning. I could tell them simply that Jesus died for their sins...that his death set us free from slavery to sin and Satan. But that has never seemed to get through...it gets stuck in questions like: who is Jesus? Are you saying *I'm* a sinner? What is this sin thing anyway? What does that have to do with my daily life? Who is Satan? If Jesus death set us free, why is the world still screwed up? Why are you insisting that there is one God and then talking about three different parts?
But by laying the entire thing out, it makes sense. You have God's command from the moment of our creation to rule over the earth, the devastating decision to turn that authority over to Satan, and then the brilliance of God...not to keep shouting down from heaven to try to get us to get it right, but clothing himself in human skin to fix what only a human had the authority to fix.
Somehow, something worked. At least, by the end of all my board diagram, one of the new students summed it up very well: "So...we should follow God?"
Please pray for my students...the new ones are Naoko and Hirano-san.