the nikku

reflecting on ESL/EFL and its relation to faith

Wednesday, May 06, 2009

My "Christian" School

This is a more major issue than the last post. Writing it here is mostly just an effort to get it out of my head.

On Monday, I met MG (for the first time in about a year). And he asked some fairly simple questions about my school. The answers to which I was ashamed to say - to put it frankly.

MG came to my school last Friday asking our principal if he could hold a Christian concert in our chapel. Our principal replied (and this sounds just like him), "What? Is this one of those religious things? Do you know one of those religion department people? Go ask them."

Those "religion department people" are actually chaplains, and the "religion" itself is actually called Christianity. This was curious answer coming from the principal of a Christian school, so MG asked him if he was a Christian. The answer was a flat "no, of course not."

MG was of course surprised by the answer. And frankly it's sad that we have all gotten used to it here at Seiai.

He then asked me if I think our chaplains are Christians. I said I believe that one is, and I'm not sure about the other one.

He asked me how many of our teachers are Christians. I could think of five off hand. However, these teachers don't get along well with the chaplain whose belief is sketchy at best. And three of them don't go to church very regularly. There are about another eight teachers at school who go to church, but their belief is sketchy.

When I say their belief is sketchy, I mean that they seem to not understand that God is the only God, that they are sinners and that Jesus Christ is the only forgiveness for their sins.

What is the point of going to church for years, even decades, if you don't believe in Jesus?

This is the sad reality of my school that I had to explain to someone, again.

He then continued to tell me the story of a Christian mother in his congregation who had gone to great lengths to get her daughter into our school. The mother had hoped that years of Bible classes and chapel services at school might help to push her daughter over the edge and help her to make her faith her own.

Instead, the daughter came home saying the topics being taught in Bible class and the themes of sermons being taught at our school were not even similar what she had heard at church. To be fair, the daughter was not the best expert about the Bible or Christianity before she came to our school.

But still, if even someone with little experience in Christianity can tell that something is not quite right...

This is not the first time, Christians outside my school have asked me if my school is really Christian. I have had both foreign and Japanese Christian ask me that. I've even had both foreign and Japanese non-believers ask me that. Why don't they know?

I have mentioned these things a million times at school. At first I thought it was the language barrier. But now I am sure it's not that. I think staff here just don't have time and don't want to listen.

What is the purpose of this "Christian" school? It seems to be tests, test scores and enrollment. And those are all well and good, but those are the goals of any school. What is the purpose of this CHRISTIAN school? You'd think we could at least tell people about Christianity properly.

When I renewed my contract, the president of the academy asked me if I had anything to say to him. "なんか、お話がありますか?" Having never only met the man twice in my life, I had nothing to say. But this may have been the first time anyone actually took the time to listen to me. If he or anyone else ever gives me that chance, I will have something to say. It will start with:

What is the purpose of this school?

And end with:

Does this school tell people about Christianity? and encourage people to believe in justification through faith in Jesus Christ?

Secretly, this is a large part of the reason I am leaving this school. If anyone would take the time to really listen to me, I would explain it, but...

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