Los Angeles schoolteachers are on strike. They say it’s for the students, and hopefully it can be resolved soon, or it’s going to start to be bad for everybody. The strike prompted a violin teacher in Los Angeles to write an article for the Los Angeles Times about what happened to her when there was a teacher’s strike in New York city in 1968 when she was 16 and a student at the High School of Music and Art there. She first saw the strike as an opportunity to practice her violin, but then her older brother, who had just graduated from college, decided to take it upon himself to teach her about opera. She says she was reluctant at the beginning, knowing nothing about it, but then her brother put the needle down on a recording of “Musetta’s Waltz” from Puccini’s “La Boheme,” and she said she felt like her heart was going to explode. So during that strike, her brother taught her about opera and about Shakespeare, complete with quizzes and exams. “Clearly you haven’t read the question carefully,” he wrote on one of her answers. Sounds like he filled in pretty well for her teachers.
I love this story and how it impressed upon me the value of learning — school or no school — and how you and I, as followers of Christ, must never stop the process. There is so much to learn — so much to do — on the planet, and in the universe, for which we are ultimately being prepared. Oh, you thought we were just going to take a long nap in heaven and play harps for eternity? Think again. God is waiting to put us in charge of all His creation.
I was excited to see some of you recommending books to each other in your comments. I like that. I am working on a book list to recommend for all of us — some of the important books that have helped shape my thinking and that are important for having and maintaining a real faith in the real world. I would also like to hear some off your recommendations and why.
It was said of Daniel and his three Jewish friends who served in Nebuchadnezzar’s court that they knew more about Babylon than the Babylonians. They were students of the culture; they never stopped learning. May it be said of us: that we know more about the world around us than the world around us knows.
That Los Angeles violin teacher ended her article hoping that some of the children had older brothers like she had. Highly unlikely. But we all can be students of the Word of God and the culture on our own. The world is too vast and God’s Word is too wide and deep to ever stop exploring and learning. And remember: all truth is God’s truth, so you don’t put God aside when you lay down the Word and pick up the world. You just keep on finding Him everywhere.
Recommended books by John Fischer on this topic:
What on Earth are We Doing? Finding Our Place as Christians in the World
Fearless Faith: Living Beyond the Walls of Safe Christianity
Finding God Where You Least Expect Him