Strategies for Seeing Anew #12

…towards trust and affirming faith

An example from a Primary classroom
An example from a Secondary classroom

What does this mean?

Distrust is an actively negative attitude. Cynicism is a deep distrust allied with pessimism and suspicion. All aspects of life involve trust at some level, and distrust can hamper learning. We place trust in doctors and nurses, architects and teachers, the people we work with. Gullibility is not a virtue, but without some level of trust we could not function or form relationships.
It is impossible to go through life without trust: that is to be imprisoned in the worst cell of all, oneself. Graham Greene
The cynic puts all human actions into two classes — openly bad and secretly bad. Henry Ward Beecher
Faith is closely related to trust; it involves a trust that reaches beyond the immediate and everyday. To disregard faith in any aspect of the curriculum is to ignore an aspect of life that has been significant for most of humanity through the ages and remains so today for people around the world.
Faith, for a Christian, is about assurance, confidence and trust. It is a growing trust in God which is based on evidence of God’s character and experience of him (1 Corinthians 1:9; Psalm 22:5). Faith in Christ is a means by which people come into a close relationship with God (John 1:12).
Reason is not the opposite of faith. Reason and faith can go hand in hand; in fact, all reasoning has to start from somewhere, something trusted as a starting point. Faith cannot be proved by reason (Hebrews 11:1) but that is not to say that reasoning is not part of faith. Asking questions and probing issues can be a sign of a growing faith.
If a man fights his way through his doubts to the conviction that Jesus Christ is Lord, he has attained to a certainty that the man who unthinkingly accepts things can never reach. William Barclay
Trust in one another is built by honesty and kindness (Luke 16:18). Learning to trust appropriately can be difficult when we have been disappointed, but hope and faith in the underlying presence of God's goodness can motivate trust. Trust makes us vulnerable and requires wisdom. Jesus told his followers to be as wise as serpents and as harmless as doves (Matthew 10:16).
This section is about moving towards trust and affirming faith. You may wish to think about where people move from; is it a move from distrust, cynicism, or from fear of trusting others? Is it a move from dismissing the role of faith, seeing it only in negative terms, or is faith ignored?

What does this mean in school?

Trust can be nurtured by an emphasis on honest and caring relationships within teaching and learning and by how we teach and learn:
  • Ways of learning that require mutual trust and depending on each other can be built into lessons. This experience of learning to trust others can open the way for reflection on what it means to trust God.
  • Faith in God can be nurtured, as appropriate, by asking questions of faith, creating stimulating contexts were questions of faith arise, and responding to such questions in faith-affirming ways.
  • Issues of trust and faith can be highlighted in discussions of curriculum content, for example in the lives of historical or literary characters.
  • Opportunities for worship, prayer, and in some schools the sacraments, can all nurture faith. Insights from various subjects can be shared as part of worship.
Think of a time when students asked questions about faith. How did you respond? Does the nature of the response depend on the subject? Identify a lesson/unit where questions of faith are often not asked, for example music or sport. Are there ways in which such questions could arise? In what ways could teaching and learning signal that asking these questions is acceptable? For example you could have a faith-related quote from a person connected to the subject as part of a display: a famous musician, scientist, sportsperson or artist.
More ways of seeing anew
Next way of seeing anew
1From Paul, chosen by God to be an apostle of Christ Jesus, and from Sosthenes, who is also a follower. 2To God's church in Corinth. Christ Jesus chose you to be his very own people, and you worship in his name, as we and all others do who call him Lord. 3My prayer is that God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ will be kind to you and will bless you with peace! 4I never stop thanking my God for being kind enough to give you Christ Jesus, 5who helps you speak and understand so well. 6Now you are certain that everything we told you about our Lord Christ Jesus is true. 7You are not missing out on any blessings, as you wait for him to return. 8And until the day Christ does return, he will keep you completely innocent. 9God can be trusted, and he chose you to be partners with his Son, our Lord Jesus Christ. Taking sides 10My dear friends, as a follower of our Lord Jesus Christ, I beg you to get along with each other. Don't take sides. Always try to agree in what you think. 11Several people from Chloe's family have already reported to me that you keep arguing with each other. 12They have said that some of you claim to follow me, while others claim to follow Apollos or Peter or Christ. 13Has Christ been divided up? Was I nailed to a cross for you? Were you baptized in my name? 14I thank God that I didn't baptize any of you except Crispus and Gaius. 15Not one of you can say that you were baptized in my name. 16I did baptize the family of Stephanas, but I don't remember if I baptized anyone else. 17Christ did not send me to baptize. He sent me to tell the good news without using big words that would make the cross of Christ lose its power. Christ is God's power and wisdom 18The message about the cross doesn't make any sense to lost people. But for those of us who are being saved, it is God's power at work. 19As God says in the Scriptures, I will destroy the wisdom of all who claim to be wise. I will confuse those who think they know so much. 20What happened to those wise people? What happened to those experts in the Scriptures? What happened to the ones who think they have all the answers? Didn't God show that the wisdom of this world is foolish? 21God was wise and decided not to let the people of this world use their wisdom to learn about him. Instead, God chose to save only those who believe the foolish message we preach. 22Jews ask for miracles, and Greeks want something that sounds wise. 23But we preach that Christ was nailed to a cross. Most Jews have problems with this, and most Gentiles think it is foolish. 24Our message is God's power and wisdom for the Jews and the Greeks that he has chosen. 25Even when God is foolish, he is wiser than everyone else, and even when God is weak, he is stronger than everyone else. 26My dear friends, remember what you were when God chose you. The people of this world didn't think that many of you were wise. Only a few of you were in places of power, and not many of you came from important families. 27But God chose the foolish things of this world to put the wise to shame. He chose the weak things of this world to put the powerful to shame. 28What the world thinks is worthless, useless, and nothing at all is what God has used to destroy what the world considers important. 29God did all this to keep anyone from boasting to him. 30You are God's children. He sent Christ Jesus to save us and to make us wise, acceptable, and holy. 31So if you want to boast, do what the Scriptures say and boast about the Lord. Telling about Christ and the cross
1My God, my God, why have you deserted me? Why are you so far away? Won't you listen to my groans and come to my rescue? 2I cry out day and night, but you don't answer, and I can never rest. 3Yet you are the holy God, ruling from your throne and praised by Israel. 4Our ancestors trusted you, and you rescued them. 5When they cried out for help, you saved them, and you did not let them down when they depended on you. 6But I am merely a worm, far less than human, and I am hated and rejected by people everywhere. 7Everyone who sees me makes fun and sneers. They shake their heads, 8and say, Trust the Lord ! If you are his favourite, let him protect you and keep you safe. 9You, Lord , brought me safely through birth, and you protected me when I was a baby at my mother's breast. 10From the day I was born, I have been in your care, and from the time of my birth, you have been my God. 11Don't stay far off when I am in trouble with no one to help me. 12Enemies are all around like a herd of wild bulls. Powerful bulls from Bashan are everywhere. 13My enemies are like lions roaring and attacking with jaws open wide. 14I have no more strength than a few drops of water. All my bones are out of joint; my heart is like melted wax. 15My strength has dried up like a broken clay pot, and my tongue sticks to the roof of my mouth. You, God, have left me to die in the dust. 16Brutal enemies attack me like a pack of dogs, tearing at my hands and my feet. 17I can count all my bones, and my enemies just stare and sneer at me. 18They took my clothes and gambled for them. 19Don't stay far away, Lord ! My strength comes from you, so hurry and help. 20Rescue me from enemy swords and save me from those dogs. 21Don't let lions eat me. You rescued me from the horns of wild bulls, 22and when your people meet, I will praise you, Lord . 23All who worship the Lord , now praise him! You belong to Jacob's family and to the people of Israel, so fear and honour the Lord ! 24The Lord doesn't hate or despise the helpless in all their troubles. When I cried out, he listened and did not turn away. 25When your people meet, you will fill my heart with your praises, Lord , and everyone will see me keep my promises to you. 26The poor will eat and be full, and all who worship you will be thankful and live in hope. 27Everyone on this earth will remember you, Lord . People all over the world will turn and worship you, 28because you are in control, the ruler of all nations. 29All who are rich and have more than enough will bow down to you, Lord. Even those who are dying and almost in the grave will come and bow down. 30In the future, everyone will worship and learn about you, our Lord. 31People not yet born will be told, The Lord has saved us! (A psalm by David.) The good shepherd
1In the beginning was the one who is called the Word. The Word was with God and was truly God. 2From the very beginning the Word was with God. 3And with this Word, God created all things. Nothing was made without the Word. Everything that was created 4received its life from him, and his life gave light to everyone. 5The light keeps shining in the dark, and darkness has never put it out. 6God sent a man named John, 7who came to tell about the light and to lead all people to have faith. 8John wasn't that light. He came only to tell about the light. 9The true light that shines on everyone was coming into the world. 10The Word was in the world, but no one knew him, though God had made the world with his Word. 11He came into his own world, but his own nation did not welcome him. 12Yet some people accepted him and put their faith in him. So he gave them the right to be the children of God. 13They were not God's children by nature or because of any human desires. God himself was the one who made them his children. 14The Word became a human being and lived here with us. We saw his true glory, the glory of the only Son of the Father. From him all the kindness and all the truth of God have come down to us. 15John spoke about him and shouted, This is the one I told you would come! He is greater than I am, because he was alive before I was born. 16Because of all that the Son is, we have been given one blessing after another. 17The Law was given by Moses, but Jesus Christ brought us undeserved kindness and truth. 18No one has ever seen God. The only Son, who is truly God and is closest to the Father, has shown us what God is like. John the Baptist tells about Jesus (Matthew 3.1-12; Mark 1.1-8; Luke 3.15-17) 19The Jewish leaders in Jerusalem sent priests and temple helpers to ask John who he was. He told them plainly, I am not the Messiah. 21Then when they asked him if he were Elijah, he said, No, I am not! And when they asked if he were the Prophet, he also said No! 22Finally, they said, Who are you then? We have to give an answer to the ones who sent us. Tell us who you are! 23John answered in the words of the prophet Isaiah, I am only someone shouting in the desert, Get the road ready for the Lord! 24Some Pharisees had also been sent to John. 25They asked him, Why are you baptizing people, if you are not the Messiah or Elijah or the Prophet? 26John told them, I use water to baptize people. But here with you is someone you don't know. 27Even though I came first, I am not good enough to untie his sandals. 28John said this as he was baptizing east of the River Jordan in Bethany. The Lamb of God 29The next day, John saw Jesus coming towards him and said: Here is the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world! 30He is the one I told you about when I said, Someone else will come. He is greater than I am, because he was alive before I was born. 31I didn't know who he was. But I came to baptize you with water, so that everyone in Israel would see him. 32I was there and saw the Spirit come down on him like a dove from heaven. And the Spirit stayed on him. 33Before this I didn't know who he was. But the one who sent me to baptize with water had told me, You will see the Spirit come down and stay on someone. Then you will know that he is the one who will baptize with the Holy Spirit. 34I saw this happen, and I tell you that he is the Son of God. 35The next day, John was there again, and two of his followers were with him. 36When he saw Jesus walking by, he said, Here is the Lamb of God! 37John's two followers heard him, and they went with Jesus. 38When Jesus turned and saw them, he asked, What do you want? They answered, Rabbi, where do you live? The Hebrew word Rabbi means Teacher. 39Jesus replied, Come and see! It was already about four o'clock in the afternoon when they went with him and saw where he lived. So they stayed on for the rest of the day. 40One of the two men who had heard John and had gone with Jesus was Andrew, the brother of Simon Peter. 41The first thing Andrew did was to find his brother and tell him, We have found the Messiah! The Hebrew word Messiah means the same as the Greek word Christ. 42Andrew brought his brother to Jesus. And when Jesus saw him, he said, Simon son of John, you will be called Cephas. This name can be translated as Peter. Jesus chooses Philip and Nathanael 43The next day Jesus decided to go to Galilee. There he met Philip, who was from Bethsaida, the home town of Andrew and Peter. Jesus said to Philip, Come with me. 45Philip then found Nathanael and said, We have found the one that Moses and the Prophets wrote about. He is Jesus, the son of Joseph from Nazareth. 46Nathanael asked, Can anything good come from Nazareth? Philip answered, Come and see. 47When Jesus saw Nathanael coming towards him, he said, Here is a true descendant of our ancestor Israel. And he isn't deceitful. 48How do you know me? Nathanael asked. Jesus answered, Before Philip called you, I saw you under the fig tree. 49Nathanael said, Rabbi, you are the Son of God and the King of Israel! 50Jesus answered, Did you believe me just because I said that I saw you under the fig tree? You will see something even greater. 51I tell you for certain that you will see heaven open and God's angels going up and coming down on the Son of Man. Jesus at a wedding in Cana
1Faith makes us sure of what we hope for and gives us proof of what we cannot see. 2It was their faith that made our ancestors pleasing to God. 3Because of our faith, we know that the world was made at God's command. We also know that what can be seen was made out of what cannot be seen. 4Because Abel had faith, he offered God a better sacrifice than Cain did. God was pleased with him and his gift, and even though Abel is now dead, his faith still speaks for him. 5Enoch had faith and did not die. He pleased God, and God took him up to heaven. That's why his body was never found. 6But without faith no one can please God. We must believe that God is real and that he rewards everyone who searches for him. 7Because Noah had faith, he was warned about something that had not yet happened. He obeyed and built a boat that saved him and his family. In this way the people of the world were judged, and Noah was given the blessings that come to everyone who pleases God. 8Abraham had faith and obeyed God. He was told to go to the land that God had said would be his, and he left for a country he had never seen. 9Because Abraham had faith, he lived as a stranger in the promised land. He lived there in a tent, and so did Isaac and Jacob, who were later given the same promise. 10Abraham did this, because he was waiting for the eternal city that God had planned and built. 11Even when Sarah was too old to have children, she had faith that God would do what he had promised, and she had a son. 12Her husband Abraham was almost dead, but he became the ancestor of many people. In fact, there are as many of them as there are stars in the sky or grains of sand along the beach. 13Every one of those people died. But they still had faith, even though they had not received what they had been promised. They were glad just to see these things from far away, and they agreed that they were only strangers and foreigners on this earth. 14When people talk this way, it is clear that they are looking for a place to call their own. 15If they had been talking about the land where they had once lived, they could have gone back at any time. 16But they were looking forward to a better home in heaven. That's why God wasn't ashamed for them to call him their God. He even built a city for them. 17Abraham had been promised that Isaac, his only son, would continue his family. But when Abraham was tested, he had faith and was willing to sacrifice Isaac, 19because he was sure that God could raise people to life. This was just like getting Isaac back from death. 20Isaac had faith, and he promised blessings to Jacob and Esau. 21Later, when Jacob was about to die, he leaned on his walking stick and worshipped. Then because of his faith he blessed each of Joseph's sons. 22And just before Joseph died, he had faith that God would lead the people of Israel out of Egypt. So he told them to take his bones with them. 23Because Moses' parents had faith, they kept him hidden until he was three months old. They saw that he was a beautiful child, and they were not afraid to disobey the king's orders. 24Then after Moses grew up, his faith made him refuse to be called Pharaoh's grandson. 25He chose to be ill-treated with God's people instead of having the good time that sin could bring for a little while. 26Moses knew that the treasures of Egypt were not as wonderful as what he would receive from suffering for the Messiah, and he looked forward to his reward. 27Because of his faith, Moses left Egypt. Moses had seen the invisible God and wasn't afraid of the king's anger. 28His faith also made him celebrate Passover. He sprinkled the blood of animals on the doorposts, so that the firstborn sons of the people of Israel would not be killed by the destroying angel. 29Because of their faith, the people walked through the Red Sea on dry land. But when the Egyptians tried to do it, they were drowned. 30God's people had faith, and when they had walked around the city of Jericho for seven days, its walls fell down. 31Rahab had been a prostitute, but she had faith and welcomed the spies. So she wasn't killed with the people who disobeyed. 32What else can I say? There isn't enough time to tell about Gideon, Barak, Samson, Jephthah, David, Samuel, and the prophets. 33Their faith helped them conquer kingdoms, and because they did right, God made promises to them. They closed the jaws of lions 34and put out raging fires and escaped from the swords of their enemies. Although they were weak, they were given the strength and power to chase foreign armies away. 35Some women received their loved ones back from death. Many of these people were tortured, but they refused to be released. They were sure that they would get a better reward when the dead are raised to life. 36Others were made fun of and beaten with whips, and some were chained in jail. 37Still others were stoned to death or sawn in two or killed with swords. Some had nothing but sheep skins or goat skins to wear. They were poor, ill-treated, and tortured. 38The world did not deserve these good people, who had to wander in deserts and on mountains and had to live in caves and holes in the ground. 39All of them pleased God because of their faith! But still they died without being given what had been promised. 40This was because God had something better in store for us. And he did not want them to reach the goal of their faith without us. A large crowd of witnesses
1Jesus said to his disciples: A rich man once had a manager to take care of his business. But he was told that his manager was wasting money. 2So the rich man called him in and said, What is this I hear about you? Tell me what you have done! You are no longer going to work for me. 3The manager said to himself, What shall I do now that my master is going to fire me? I can't dig ditches, and I'm ashamed to beg. 4I know what I'll do, so that people will welcome me into their homes after I've lost my job. 5Then one by one he called in the people who were in debt to his master. He asked the first one, How much do you owe my master? 6A hundred barrels of olive oil, the man answered. So the manager said, Take your bill and sit down and quickly write fifty. 7The manager asked someone else who was in debt to his master, How much do you owe? A thousand sacks of wheat, the man replied. The manager said, Take your bill and write eight hundred. 8The master praised his dishonest manager for looking out for himself so well. That's how it is! The people of this world look out for themselves better than the people who belong to the light. 9My disciples, I tell you to use wicked wealth to make friends for yourselves. Then when it is gone, you will be welcomed into an eternal home. 10Anyone who can be trusted in little matters can also be trusted in important matters. But anyone who is dishonest in little matters will be dishonest in important matters. 11If you cannot be trusted with this wicked wealth, who will trust you with true wealth? 12And if you cannot be trusted with what belongs to someone else, who will give you something that will be your own? 13You cannot be the slave of two masters. You will like one more than the other or be more loyal to one than to the other. You cannot serve God and money. Some sayings of Jesus (Matthew 11.12,13; 5.31,32; Mark 10.11,12) 14The Pharisees really loved money. So when they heard what Jesus said, they made fun of him. 15But Jesus told them: You are always making yourselves look good, but God sees what is in your heart. The things that most people think are important are worthless as far as God is concerned. 16Until the time of John the Baptist, people had to obey the Law of Moses and the Books of the Prophets. But since God's kingdom has been preached, everyone is trying hard to get in. 17Heaven and earth will disappear before the smallest letter of the Law does. 18It is a terrible sin for a man to divorce his wife and marry another woman. It is also a terrible sin for a man to marry a divorced woman. Lazarus and the rich man Jesus continued: 19There was once a rich man who wore expensive clothes and every day ate the best food. 20But a poor beggar named Lazarus was brought to the gate of the rich man's house. 21He was happy just to eat the scraps that fell from the rich man's table. His body was covered with sores, and dogs kept coming up to lick them. 22The poor man died, and angels took him to the place of honour next to Abraham. The rich man also died and was buried. 23He went to hell and was suffering terribly. When he looked up and saw Abraham far off and Lazarus at his side, 24he said to Abraham, Have pity on me! Send Lazarus to dip his finger in water and touch my tongue. I'm suffering terribly in this fire. 25Abraham answered, My friend, remember that while you lived, you had everything good, and Lazarus had everything bad. Now he is happy, and you are in pain. 26And besides, there is a deep ditch between us, and no one from either side can cross over. 27But the rich man said, Abraham, then please send Lazarus to my father's home. 28Let him warn my five brothers, so they won't come to this horrible place. 29Abraham answered, Your brothers can read what Moses and the prophets wrote. They should pay attention to that. 30Then the rich man said, No, that's not enough! If only someone from the dead would go to them, they would listen and turn to God. 31So Abraham said, If they won't pay attention to Moses and the prophets, they won't listen even to someone who comes back from the dead. Faith and service (Matthew 18.6,7,21,22; Mark 9.42)
1Jesus called together his twelve disciples. He gave them the power to force out evil spirits and to heal every kind of disease and sickness. 2The first of the twelve apostles was Simon, better known as Peter. His brother Andrew was an apostle, and so were James and John, the two sons of Zebedee. 3Philip, Bartholomew, Thomas, Matthew the tax collector, James the son of Alphaeus, and Thaddaeus were also apostles. 4The others were Simon, known as the Eager One, and Judas Iscariot, who later betrayed Jesus. Instructions for the twelve apostles (Mark 6.7-13; Luke 9.1-6) 5Jesus sent out the twelve apostles with these instructions: Stay away from the Gentiles and don't go to any Samaritan town. 6Go only to the people of Israel, because they are like a flock of lost sheep. 7As you go, announce that the kingdom of heaven will soon be here. 8Heal the sick, raise the dead to life, heal people who have leprosy, and force out demons. You received without paying, now give without being paid. 9Don't take along any gold, silver, or copper coins. 10And don't carry a travelling bag or an extra shirt or sandals or a walking stick. Workers deserve their food. 11So when you go to a town or a village, find someone worthy enough to have you as their guest and stay with them until you leave. 12When you go to a home, give it your blessing of peace. 13If the home is deserving, let your blessing remain with them. But if the home isn't deserving, take back your blessing of peace. 14If someone won't welcome you or listen to your message, leave their home or town. And shake the dust from your feet at them. 15I promise you that the day of judgment will be easier for the towns of Sodom and Gomorrah than for that town. Warning about trouble (Mark 13.9-13; Luke 21.12-17) Jesus continued: 16I am sending you like lambs into a pack of wolves. So be as wise as snakes and as innocent as doves. 17Watch out for people who will take you to court and have you beaten in their meeting places. 18Because of me, you will be dragged before rulers and kings to tell them and the Gentiles about your faith. 19But when someone arrests you, don't worry about what you will say or how you will say it. At that time you will be given the words to say. 20But you will not really be the one speaking. The Spirit from your Father will tell you what to say. 21Brothers and sisters will betray one another and have each other put to death. Parents will betray their own children, and children will turn against their parents and have them killed. 22Everyone will hate you because of me. But if you remain faithful until the end, you will be saved. 23When people ill-treat you in one town, hurry to another one. I promise you that before you have gone to all the towns of Israel, the Son of Man will come. 24Disciples are not better than their teacher, and slaves are not better than their master. 25It is enough for disciples to be like their teacher and for slaves to be like their master. If people call the head of the family Satan, what will they say about the rest of the family? The one to fear (Luke 12.2-7) Jesus continued: 26Don't be afraid of anyone! Everything that is hidden will be found out, and every secret will be known. 27Whatever I say to you in the dark, you must tell in the light. And you must announce from the housetops whatever I have whispered to you. 28Don't be afraid of people. They can kill you, but they cannot harm your soul. Instead, you should fear God who can destroy both your body and your soul in hell. 29Aren't two sparrows sold for only a penny? But your Father knows when any one of them falls to the ground. 30Even the hairs on your head are counted. 31So don't be afraid! You are worth much more than many sparrows. Telling others about Christ (Luke 12.8,9) Jesus continued: 32If you tell others that you belong to me, I will tell my Father in heaven that you are my followers. 33But if you reject me, I will tell my Father in heaven that you don't belong to me. Not peace, but trouble (Luke 12.51-53; 14.26,27) Jesus continued: 34Don't think that I came to bring peace to the earth! I came to bring trouble, not peace. 35I came to turn sons against their fathers, daughters against their mothers, and daughters-in-law against their mothers-in-law. 36Your worst enemies will be in your own family. 37If you love your father or mother or even your sons and daughters more than me, you are not fit to be my disciples. 38And unless you are willing to take up your cross and come with me, you are not fit to be my disciples. 39If you try to save your life, you will lose it. But if you give it up for me, you will find it. Rewards (Mark 9.41) Jesus continued: 40Anyone who welcomes you welcomes me. And anyone who welcomes me also welcomes the one who sent me. 41Anyone who welcomes a prophet, just because that person is a prophet, will be given the same reward as a prophet. Anyone who welcomes a good person, just because that person is good, will be given the same reward as a good person. 42And anyone who gives one of my most humble followers a cup of cool water, just because that person is my follower, will be rewarded. John the Baptist (Luke 7.18-35)