Recently I sitting in a cafe with my friend Andy, pondering upon the bigger issues of life – what is the role of a man in the family, exploring our visions, looking at God’s calling, should I have another latte? He asked me “What floats your boat, what really gets you going?” Apart from all the obvious stuff about creation, my children and so on I’d have to say teaching. I love to teach.
For 15 years I was a secondary school teacher. I taught 7-13 year olds in various comprehensives and even a sixth form college. And there was lots that was good. And there was lots that wasn’t. Much as I’d like to elucidate upon the rigours of that vocation this isn’t the place. But one thing that stays with me is the feeling I used to get watching the penny drop. There was nothing like the look on a worried face as the clouds of mis-understanding where drawn aside as the enlightenment came.
I haven’t been in the classroom now for 5 years. To be honest I can say that I haven’t missed it once. Leaving teaching wasn’t easy I can tell you. I tell my children that its mostly good to “Never say never” after all – you never know what God will do. (I recently heard Him described as “Jehovah Sneaky”.) So whilst its probably good to never close a door completely, the classroom door is bolted, locked, patrolled by Alsatians, flanked by lookout posts, behind a mine field … you get the idea.
Sometimes I get the opportunity to preach – maybe 6 times a year. I find it deeply fulfilling on the one hand. And deeply frustrating on another. Its like having a fire in my belly. Jeremiah the prophet said:
But if I say, “I will not mention him or speak any more in his name,” his word is in my heart like a fire, a fire shut up in my bones. I am weary of holding it in; indeed, I cannot. Jer 20:29
I so relate to this. Obviously I don’t really knolw what it was like for Jeremiah. But I do know that there is a relief that comes to me after preaching – as if I have let go of something that was burning. To mix my metaphors I sometimes think I am a different person when I am preaching. I feel that the words flood out, that there is a great, big dam waiting to burst.
I find I have lots to say – my Christian faith affects every aspect, every nuance of what I am and what I do. Every opinion that I have seems to be affected by my faith. I am not boasting here, because I know many people like this, and many who are much deeper in the water than I am. But I want to explore this. My purpose in this blog is that I want to explore this teaching. I want to get some of this stuff “out” – I have a lot to say, and in a way I am testing out if this is part of what God wants for me. So, let’s jump in and see where we go!