Last time we visited KKBBSC Geoff Pound (Theologians without Borders) asked me to reflect and write about how my teaching is being changed by being here, at a Bible School in a refugee camp. At the time for various reasons I did not really give much response (you can see what I did write here: How is my teaching changed by being here?) I now have a much more explicit example of how teaching a class on Wisdom and Worship literature of the Old Testament (which I did at Carey for the first time last semester) will change next time.
This year at KKBBSC I’ll be taking the classes Thra (Professor) Wah Do would have been teaching (I am told he is having a great time, on the fraternal visit to Karen living in Australia). One of his classes is Philosophy. I am not now, nor have I ever been, a Philosopher, I am a Bible teacher. So how can I usefully in a few weeks teach the beginning of his class?
I can’t try to teach his material, I do not have his outline, nor do I have his experience. What I do is teach Bible, so I thought I could lay foundations he can build on by teaching about biblical resources for building a Christian Philosophy. Having just taught Wisdom, I immediately thought not only of the current interest in St Paul among Philosophers (on which I am far from expert having so far only one fine ABC podcast to inform my thinking 😉 but of Ecclesiastes. That book brilliantly demolishes approaches to Philosophy or worldviews which fail to recognise that life “under the sun” is not all there is, or indeed even ultimately meaningful.
From there it is a small step to see in Job another limit on any Philosophy which can call itself Christian (or indeed Theistic). We must begin to philosophise recognising our radical ignorance and our need to take any further step only in the context of our relationship to the One who does understand, but whom we understand only partially….
So, assuming this teaching works out anywhere near what I expect my teaching of “Wisdom and Worship” will be deeply reshaped by questions of Philosophy and worldview which will give core and coherence to the revised course, and already in anticipation, my draft outline for Wisdom and Worship is being rewritten here in a refugee camp in the jungle!