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  • Tim Blodgett

Teaching That Transforms

I wrote a few weeks ago about the profound impact that Frederick Beuchner had on the church. His death reminded many of his influence. Beuchner’s writing inspired generations of ministers and church members to speak more fully about their experience of life and faith with all of its breadth – good, bad, or otherwise. A prolific author and great preacher, Beuchner was an outstanding teacher. While Beuchner was a spiritual guide in my early faith, his influence was from afar. I read his books and articles. They were weighty and important to me, but they were not close and personal. My greatest influence and teacher died recently, as well. Jeanne Burger DeVilliers Scott was a speech and debate coach at Sapulpa High School. For many, (many, many), she was the teacher and the singular individual that changed the trajectory of their lives - not from afar or in a general way, but one-on-one and personally. Whether the individual came from the wealthiest or poorest home, the healthiest or unhealthiest of families, was on a course to Harvard or Tulsa Community College, Jeanne was able to open doors to possibilities that did not exist before. We left the sanctuary of her classroom to go into a world that was suddenly wider, filled with opportunities, and better prepared for what we would find. With so many other titles and honorifics, Jesus’ work as a teacher often gets lost. In fact, Jesus was addressed as teacher more than those other names combined. Jesus healed, performed miracles, and is the Son of God; but in scene after scene in the gospels, he is teaching. “Jesus went throughout all Galilee, teaching in their synagogues and proclaiming the good news of the kingdom and curing every disease and every sickness among the people.”[1] “As he went ashore, he saw a great crowd, and he had compassion for them, because they were like sheep without a shepherd, and he began to teach them many things.”[2] “About the middle of the festival Jesus went up into the temple and began to teach.”[3] “Then beginning with Moses and all the prophets, he interpreted to them the things about himself in all the scriptures.”[4] Whether Jesus was teaching thousands or those at his feet, adults or the little children gathered around him, the instructive act was bringing people into contact with a good news that would change their lives. More than simply learning facts, the teaching was transformative both of them and their world. Who have been the teachers that changed you?

[1] Matthew 4:23 NSRVUE [2] Mark 6:34 NSRVUE [3] John 7:14 NSRVUE [4] Luke 24:17 NSRVUE

Blessings, Rev. Tim Blodgett

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