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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 1 – Beginner)
Topic: Teacher (10/26/06)

TITLE: 1 + 1 = 1
By Catrina Bradley
11/01/06


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My first teachers were at home. I was blessed with two parents and five older brothers and sisters from whom I learned the basics of life: sharing, counting, how to tie my shoes, my ABC’s, and how to read.

My Sunday School teachers taught me about God and the people in the Bible: Adam and Eve and the snake and the apple; faithful Noah and the ark and the animals; little David slaying the giant with a slingshot; brave Daniel facing the lions; and Jesus, God’s own son, who died so I could go to Heaven.

Starting school ahead of the others in the three R’s didn’t stop me from learning from my teachers. I learned social skills, art, history, science, and nature. Like a sponge, I soaked it all in. As my knowledge grew, so did my hunger for more. I asked questions about everything. Often I wasn’t satisfied with the answers, or lack thereof.

In second grade we were taught how the earth were created in a “big bang.” I had to speak up. I had already been taught how the earth was created and that was not it. Up went my hand, and I told the teacher, “That isn’t what happened. God created the Heavens and the Earth…” I was shut down before I could say more. The answers to my stubborn arguments were my introduction to “separation of church and state.” I was frustrated and confused.

TV was another of my teachers and our family’s constant companion. From sitcoms and dramas I learned how other families lived. From the news I learned about crime and real evil. From Ed Sullivan and Carol Burnett I learned that there are lots of talented people with very different gifts. From Lawrence Welk and American Bandstand I learned about music and dancing.

TV also taught me there truly are two different worlds. I found out that what my teacher told me that day in second grade was true. “What you learn in Sunday School is for Sundays.” Only on Sundays did I see TV programs where people talked about God or the Bible. Monday through Saturday people went to movies, had fights, and ate family dinners. Only on Sundays did I watch Miss Jean tell Bible Stories, or see Davey and his dog Goliath and learn life lessons from them.

That lesson in second grade was the beginning of the separation of Jesus from my daily life. I did make attempts to rejoin them. Thanksgiving week in fifth grade we each told what we were thankful for. The other kids said stuff like, “our new car.” I stood and, trembling but determined, said, “I’m thankful for Jesus dying on the cross for my sins.” My testimony was met with stony silence from my classmates and, after a pause, an uncomfortable “Um, thanks,” from the teacher.

I tried a few more times to bring Jesus into the “real” Monday through Saturday world as I finished out my school years. Mostly I relegated Him to His rightful Sunday spot. Eventually I separated Him so far He became a well-kept secret in my heart. I even stopped going to church and reading my Bible.

Jesus didn’t like to be a secret, though. He wasn’t satisfied being kept in that dark, private, place. He started reaching out to me, like day I was stuck in a traffic jam for 25 minutes in front of a church. Then I heard about a Bible study that had been started at my office. The members were surprised when I asked if I could come. They were even more shocked at the how much I knew about the Bible. One told me, “I never knew you were a Christian!”

My insatiable need to learn led me to my most recent teacher. I knew you could find anything on the Internet, so I figured I could find Bible answers there, too. A whole new world of knowledge opened before my eyes.

I found teachers from all corners of the earth, from every faith, and from every culture. I found false teachers and teachers of truth. To some of my questions, I was given conflicting answers. To some of my questions I found out there was no answer. From this myriad of teachers I’ve been learning something even more important – how to join my two lives again; how to be a Christian in the world and not be of the world. My church and my state becoming one again.


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This article has been read 1119 times
Member Comments
Member Date
Glorey Wooldridge11/03/06
This is your story and you get your point across. It is a great testimony of the grace of God. May you be blessed as you continue the best walk there is - walking with Jesus.
Joanne Sher 11/05/06
Very engrossing - you have a great, conversational style in this piece. I felt like I was right inside your head. Would have loved a bit more elaboration on the last paragraph's information, but I'm sure it was a word count thing. Nice job!
Allison Egley 11/06/06
This was great. This makes me so glad that even though I went to a "public" school, that Christianity was not shunned. Despite that, I am way to guilty of "separating church and state" in my life. Thanks for the gentle reminder.
Jan Ackerson 11/06/06
Very casual, readable voice. I'm not sure that I understand how the title ties it all together, but I certainly appreciated this well-written first person essay.
Donna Emery11/07/06
An interesting account of the different ways that you've learned, and I enjoyed reading it.
Marilee Alvey11/08/06
I read your story the first time, about three days ago. I was tired and there were alot of words! LOL! I didn't feel like I could comment because I couldn't think of any good things to say, and no really helpful bad ones. However, today I came, renewed and refreshed, and enjoyed your story so much. How true it is. We wonder how we got so closed up about our faith. After all, we live in a nation where we are free to speak the name of Jesus! You gave me an AHA! moment, not easy to get at age 55. We were slyly encouraged, from an early age, and taught not by words but by actions that this name isn't spoken in polite society. Thanks, from the bottom of my heart, for this! However, I think your title could be even better! :) They censored Jesus...and we were too young to even realize what was going on! A truly memorable story with a message. Thank you!
Laurie Glass11/08/06
I enjoyed this and like your style, too. You had me hanging on every word.
Val Clark11/08/06
Thanks for letting us into the inner working of this character's (or is it your?) heart. The early teachings that she received as a child were not lost.
Everest Alexander11/09/06
Hi,

This article is written in a style so casual and matter-of-factly that it is possible to miss the profundity of the piece.

What you're saying here is a reflection on all our lives.

Now, after reading this piece I'm forced to consider several things: (1) Where in my life am I excluding Jesus? (2) Do I, as a Christian, have the courage to speak up and oppose wrong or affirm right standards in public? (3) What am I teaching my own children and my peers by my attitude and actions? (4) And finally, after I've lived this life and stand before my Maker will I hear Him say "Well done" or will I hear something else?

Excellent work my friend! And if the story is true, thanks for letting us into your life. You are a blessing!
Everest Alexander11/09/06
P.S. Your title worked - It's why I was drawn to read in the first place!
Cheri Hardaway 12/05/06
I was intrigued by your title. It sums up the message nicely. The world tries to separate church from state, but our faith can never truly be separated from the rest of our lives. If we are truly walking with Him in daily fellowship, we will be one, and it will show. And when we go astray, He gently pursues us and draws us back to Himself again, because He is ever faithful, even if we are not. Blessings, Cheri