Culture

Shareen Liggins, Secondary Teacher

Recently, I was at a church event where a sad little story was told to illustrate the changed landscape for Christians in Australia. A teacher had been introducing some kindergarten students to the Bible and had asked “Does anyone know who Jesus is?”. One of the students raised their hand and replied “What’s a Jesus?!” The student had clearly never heard of Jesus and, sadly, wasn’t the only one. Moreover, this story is a depressing confirmation of what many of us have perhaps been experiencing; the decline of even nominal Christianity in our community. Children now grow up in households where Jesus has been completely erased from cultural consciousness.

One of the brilliant things about working in a Christian school like Kuyper is that I have many opportunities to discuss and explore the importance of Jesus. Year 10 are studying To Kill A Mockingbird, which is set in the Southern state of Alabama. The citizens of Maycomb County are portrayed as practising Christians. This novel gives us opportunities to talk about what Christianity is and means, and what a truly Christian life looks like. It also allows us to talk about the fact that Christians are flawed, often unjust and prejudiced, and how we should respond to that. Shakespeare, too, is packed with Biblical references and allusions and a worldview that acknowledges the existence of God and His rule over His creation. As we study Othello in Year 11 English, we have rich opportunities to consider the claims of the Bible; the nature of humanity; God’s plan to invite people into relationship with Him through Jesus; wisdom and godly character. It is noticeable that, although not all my students profess to be Christians, there is a good foundation of shared Biblical knowledge which points to the work of faithful teachers at Kuyper and to you, the families who make up the school. This is a gift to me and I treasure it as I partner with the Kuyper community in trying to provide an education that is both academically rigorous, and acknowledges that all good things come from God.

Everything good comes from God. Every perfect gift is from him. These good gifts come down from the Father who made all the lights in the sky. But God never changes like the shadows from those lights. He is always the same.

James 1:17

So, as I contemplate the ‘cancel culture’ of this age and fear for the children who do not know who Jesus is, I am grateful to know that God hasn’t cancelled us. He is faithful to His promises and He never changes. The end of the story for that child was that, some years later, the teacher asked a similar question of the same class who were now in Year 2. That child was the first to have their hand up and, this time, knew who Jesus was. My prayer for all our students is that they will come to truly know Jesus who “is the same, yesterday, today, and forever” (Hebrews 13:8). 

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