Recently I’ve been thinking about these verses in Mark 12 more and more for a number of reasons. In a few different articles and books that I’ve been reading, the idea that has been offered is that education that seeks to bring about the humanity and uniqueness (image-bearing) of individuals must be intersubjective in nature. What this means is that we become responsible to each other for each other’s uniqueness. Take this against the traditional view of teaching which is best illustrated with a metaphor of teacher as banker depositing knowledge into a passive individual and you begin to see the difference.
Why do I bring this up? It arose out of a quote in a book I was reading called “Does Ethics have a Chance in a World of Consumers?” the author made this assertion while contemplating the meaning of Jesus’ command:
“In short: in order to have self-love, we need to be loved or to have hope of being loved. Refusal to love – a snub, a rejection, denial of the status of a love-worthy object – breeds self-hatred. Self-love is built of the love offered to us by others. Others must love us first, so that we can begin to love ourselves.” (p.34)
The important step that the author takes is to explain the reciprocal nature of love; to know and show love, we need to be shown love; for others to know and show love, we need to show them love. Take this a step further and apply it to education: to become unique individuals, image bearers, we need to become responsible for the learning of those around us and they need to be responsible to us for our learning.
What kind of space is required to ensure that this responsibility is allowed to flourish? We need to be a place that is first of all a place of love. We need to accept others as beginners – people who are on a journey and not at their destination. In this newsletter I think you see some of this. The Electives program is a good example where community gathers together as learners striving to help others to continue learning. To me, this is where Christian education can thrive.