Saturday, October 06, 2007

What makes a bad teacher?

If you do not learn something from someone, does that make that person a bad teacher? I remember using that excuse often in school. "But Mom, it wasn't my fault I got a bafd grade. You don't understand, Mr./Mrs./Ms./Dr. So-and-So is just a bad teacher!"

Perhaps that line of reasoning is familiar with all of us to a certain extent. Perhaps, in some cases, it is true that we fail to learn because our teachers are bad. But, who's responsibility is it to learn? A bright and motivated student can learn something even from the most inept and incompetent teacher. And yet, isn't it the very essence of our sinful nature to try shift the blame off of our own short-comings?

I pose this question to encourage thought about the liturgy of the Church. The liturgy is a teacher, very old, very wise, but not always terribly "relevant" or "with it." I myself used those reasons for putting down and refusing to learn from the liturgy as a kno-it-all high school student. How many of us try to shift the blame for our poor church attendance, our lack of basic Biblical knowledge, our lack of evangelistic zeal, or even our less-than-sanctified living on the liturgy? It is convenient for us to say in our hearts, to our elders, or pastors, "I would go to church more often if it wasn't so BORING with the same old liturgy every week!"

The truth of the matter is simple: it is not the liturgies fault that you are a sinner! It is not the liturgies fault that you don't find it entertaining! It is not the liturgies fault that you don't follow along! it is not the liturgies fault that you don't understand it! It is YOUR fault and mine! The liturgy is a beautiful teacher of God's Holy Word. When you blame the liturgy for not being interesting, you are blaming God's Word. Instead of constantly pointing to the perceived deficiencies of your teacher, look at yourself. What is it about the liturgy that you really don't like? Could it be that it does not revolve around you? Could it be that it makes you feel uncomfortable, what with all the confessing of sins?

Sometimes the teacher is at fault, but God's Word is never at fault. Be a better student and you will find that old teacher is not nearly as irrelevant as you once thought.

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