Jesus, Apologetics, and SnapChat
by Michelle Mikeska
I currently teach two different courses: Apologetics and New Testament. I came into the year convinced that I would love and be refreshed by the New Testament course. I mean how can you read through the Gospels and not be overwhelmed by the love and beauty of Jesus?! I think Apologetics is a worthy and necessary class, but it is quite a different animal.
But something unexpected happened….this year I have enjoyed teaching Apologetics much more than the New Testament. I think this largely has to do with the overwhelmingly positive response from my Apologetic’s students and the surprisingly negative response from my New Testament students. I should add that I still enjoy and get pumped over my New Testament material, but it’s hard to not let my student’s responses affect me. This has made me ask the question why? Why do high school students seem to enjoy apologetics more than reading the New Testament? Here are some theories I have come up with:
1) This is more of a disclaimer — Every new batch of students is different. I always have to be cautious generalizing my limited experience and applying it to all high schoolers everywhere. I know that there are many of my students who enjoy the New Testament class, but at least this year they seem to be in the minority.
2) High schoolers hate reading….period. My Apologetics class has significantly less reading, but you cannot get around reading the New Testament if you want to know Jesus. The Bible is largely viewed as boring and unfortunately familiar. However, as soon as I try to make the Bible a little strange to them I am quickly met with animosity. This is most clearly seen when we read through Jesus’ commands against violence. My mere suggestion that Jesus’ commands should be wrestled with are quickly rejected in favor of the image of a warrior God. A close second is pointing out that Jesus’ views on money tend to fly in the face of free market capitalism. The cries of protest are so quick and loud that its almost counterproductive to mention them. The Bible is strangely revered by young Evangelicals, it is the book that they both love and hate. It is where they get their assurance (or their foundation for being right) but they edit or miss out on all the challenges it has for their lives…
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