A number of years ago, I came to the conclusion as a teacher that if you are going to assign a reading, you need to give an assessment of the students' work, most often in the form of a quiz. We average more than one grade a day in my classes because I give a grade for everything the young men and young ladies do. I believe that the best motivator to read closely and carefully is the daily posting of scores on RENWEB, our Internet communication system that connects teachers/parents/students/administrators. Bible at Westbury Christian School is required for graduation and counts toward eligibility and perhaps most importantly in the eyes of some students, class rank which can factor into college acceptance. This year, in our curriculum, all eighth graders and students new to WCS as well as some international students, are taking Bible 1. We are spending the first nine weeks on a introduction of creation through Moses with the last twenty-seven weeks devoted to the Gospels. I only have one lesson preparation this year and for a small school, that is rare!
Today, we took two grades in class. The first was a normal quiz over Genesis 18. Then, as we are slightly ahead in our notes, we took a second quiz, on Genesis 19, but with the benefit of being allowed to use their Bibles. You might think everyone received a 100% but you would be mistaken. It was timed and I warned them yesterday to read over the material in advance. The ones who did found out it's an advantage. I warned them a little bit before hand about the content of chapter 19. To quickly review, it's when the Lord sends angels to Sodom to bring Lot and his family out before the city is destroyed. Abraham, the uncle of Lot, had bargained with God not to destroy Sodom if he could find fifty righteous people living there, which he whittled down to ten. Lot takes the angels in, the men of Sodom surround his house demanding he send out the visitors so they can have sex with them, and Lot instead offers his virgin daughters. The angels blind Sodom's male population and it appears they have to practically drag Lot, his wife, and daughters out of the city limits even after being warned of its fate. Lot's wife is saltified and the girls get their dad drunk and he impregnates them. When they finished their twenty question quiz, many of the students expressed revulsion of the depravity of the situation and even questioned whether there was one righteous person in Sodom. Roseline told me later in the hall that she couldn't stop thinking about what she read. Even in our world which leaves many youngsters shock proof, this reading was revolting.
As we were finishing up our seventh period class this afternoon, I told the kids that I know that some of them think I give too many quizzes. I encourage them to be open with me and some of them shook their head in agreement. Then I reminded them why I do it and made the point that some of them are really reading the scriptures for the first time and are amazed/shocked by why they are discovering. I made the point that Lot every time we have read of him has made what we see as horrible choices- choosing the best part of the land, moving to the most evil place on earth, offering his daughters to a mob of probably drunk men while protecting strangers under the code of hospitality, perhaps making an unwise marriage arrangement for his children, showing reluctance to leave Sodom's cesspool, and showing the weakness for alcohol that allowed those daughters to coerce him into fathering his own grandchildren. AND YET..................... when we turn over to 2 Peter 2:7-8, we read:
and if He (God) rescued Lot, a
righteous man, who was distressed by the depraved conduct of the lawless (for
that righteous man,
living among them day after day, was tormented in his righteous soul by the
lawless deeds he saw and heard)
Did you see that? Twice, Peter calls Lot a righteous man and backs it up by saying he had a righteous soul. The skeptic in me might want to argue those definitions but I don't have the vantage point of being an apostle or being inspired by the Holy Spirit in making judgments on a man who lived and died thousands of years ago. And lest I pat myself on the back and declare I've never made those kinds of decisions that Abraham's nephew made, I need to remind myself that the difference is that mine aren't documented in the most read book of history. Last week, I had the students type this into their notes:
The Bible does not cover up the sins of its characters.
Today, they witnessed the validity of that statement. Now, I've got their attention.
Applicable quote of the day:
"A thorough knowledge of the Bible is worth more than a college education.
Almost every man who has by his lifework added to the sum of human
achievement...has based his lifework largely upon the teachings of the Bible."
E-mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org