If you live in the US, most likely you know a few facts about Jesus. The New Testament has four accounts called “Gospels” (which means good report) that reveal the life of Jesus in a very abbreviated way. Not much is said about his life until He was over 30 years of age and the majority of the record only accounts for about three years. During those three years, the people ascribed several monikers to Jesus but the most used by the general public and those closest to Him was “teacher”.
To be called “teacher” during the first century was a very high honor, especially in Jewish culture. Teachers were considered wise and they were granted respect by all ages and all walks of life. To teach is to change a life, and Jesus taught continually, that was His calling. By today’s standards, Jesus wasn’t a good teacher.
I have been a teacher for over twenty-five years. I have taught every age student from Kindergarten to Retirement but a large majority of my teaching has been to youth. Academia is rewarding to a mind like mine because I am a lifelong student and nearly every day I read something new on purpose. My passions are so diverse that I have accumulated a massive inventory of pedagogical methods. Teaching music to third graders and critical thinking to college freshmen don’t overlap in the eyes of professional educators and when a guy like me comes along with off-the-wall approaches to teaching, the professionals say, “He’s not a good teacher.”
Why Jesus? Well, my point in this writing is to be personal and reveal a few things I have struggled with for a while. First, because I do teach a wide range of students and disciplines, I have always had difficulty escaping the nature of my body of work because I talk and teach about Jesus a lot, nearly 18000 hours worth off the top of my head. Second, I teach constantly. Because of my advocacy work and investment in the lives of people, I receive on average fifteen inquiries per week relating to a wide database of topics: financial advice, marriage coaching, dealing with emotions, showing folks how to buy plane tickets, how to play a Bb with the Bis key on Bari Sax, setting up a Gmail workspace, ordering dictionaries for 3rd graders, the best place to buy a honda lawn mower, to “can you help me get my kids back?” While I am known for my Jesus teaching in a small circle, I am known by many others for teaching many other things. Finally, while I believe that teaching Jesus is of the highest value as preeminent in my life, discussions about Jesus are not always the answers to lawnmowers, taxes, and websites.
This Thursday at 5:15 I will be teaching a small group some personal defense and working with them on the introductory form of my martial arts system, Chinese Kung Fu. It will not be academic. When I travel Wednesday to visit with some dear brothers we will discuss a lot of topics over the few hours. It will not be done using educational methods. Jesus did not teach according to the professionals, that’s why the teachers of His day hated Him so much. He crossed the bridge from managing the masses through theological burdens and spoke to a very small center of His communities who soaked up His words. Jesus was not a good teacher, He was the prime example.
Jesus told stories. Jesus lived with others. Jesus helped as He taught. I want to spend my time and my focus for the remainder of my life doing just that. Teaching by living. Yes, I still have my Ph.D. and my Master’s Degrees and I am still ABD on my second doctorate, but that doesn’t change the best relationships that I have had with thousands of students over my lifetime. It will not be the manner in which I helped my high school students learn Photoshop or the defensive approach for my Jr. High chess club that will last. It will be the conversations, the lessons, and the organic way in which the teaching permitted inquiry, imagination, and inspiration!
I am a teacher. Whether I am good or not is not my concern. The truth is that I can teach anything that I love and understand; and many people, many of you have benefited from this approach. Or better put, have benefited from the willingness to live life together no matter the primary topic at hand. So I am going to talk more about more. This means that I want to broaden my voice without losing my mission. If I double my time thus far I still have 218,400 hours remaining to invest in other people. There’s plenty of room for more direct teaching and there is plenty of people who could benefit from a diversified focus.
What does this mean?
I’m glad you asked. This means that I am going to keep doing what I do. I will keep teaching as I currently do. But I am going to open my private world and all my adventures to the online world. This website, which I started in 1999, will now be my voice across many topics and interests. I know some of you enjoy sending me articles on Quantum Physics (I read one article a day on this topic). Some of you send me some good old French music. Others like to text me some tips on keeping my Belgian Malonios in line and encouraging me to over-emphasize the “leave it” command. So, if we talk about some jazz chords on tenor, a new lens for the Sony Alpha, or begin to work on our Japanese, the musing might end up on this blog from time to time. Theological things — you know where to find them.
My initial focus.
One of the major things that I am constantly teaching is how to manage life. Many people, young and old, approach me about how to steer through depression, anxiety, frustration, emptiness, and despair. I have much to say about these things. I am also directly helping people who are in need of mental health advocacy on top of my normal mentoring for career development and life skills.
Eventually, my online writing will be tailored to me. That is, it will reflect the direction that I feel is most rewarding and most beneficial according to my gifts and talents. I have spent a lot of time being the jack of all trades but have neglected some areas where I have mastery. There are over 15,000 of you on this blog and my other social pages, you can remain. In the near future, however, I am going to completely start over with my subscriptions and connections on every platform. So watch out for those emails.
What do I want from you?
That’s easy. I want you to benefit. I want you to talk. I want to know how you’re doing and what you think I can do for you. I want to help you where I know I can and most of all, I want your joy to be full! Life is about living. So many people just live life to survive, but we can live it to celebrate with others who want to walk together toward a common interest, goal, and mission.
I am a teacher. I teach people things. I teach many things to many different types of people.
I want to be a bad teacher by the world’s standards. That way, I know my students will learn.
If you are a people, I can help you. Let’s talk… We have to change the way we are thinking.
Rest. Rejoice. Repeat.