Tuesday, June 26, 2012


 Teaching both local and international students allows me to learn a lot about culture. Unlike my Aussie students who simply call me by my first name, my Asian students never do that. They also do not address me Doctor so and so, neither do they call me Mister. Rather, they prefer to call me  "Teacher". I am somewhat struck by this.

Several places in the New Testament, I read the disciples called Jesus by the same title - "Teacher". Reading the way Jesus was addressed made me reflect on the way I am addressed by my Asian students. They seem to really give more weight to this title. The title to them has a relational aspect and with it carries an implied responsibility. They are the student, I am their teacher and as such I am expected to behave and care for them in a certain way. In that relationship, there is an aspect of their lives that they are putting in my hands.

This is very humbling. You would think that when my Aussie students, in their egalitarian spirit, call me by my first name, that strips me down and humbles me but it does not. Rather I am deeply humbled whenever my Asian students call me  - "Teacher". I am humbled because they call me to a higher ideal and it does put pressure on me (in a good way) to live up to the meaning they attach to that name.


Pastor emeritus Nathan Bickel said...


Your reflection on your students addressing you differently, remind me of the Gospel of Mark 10:17-31:

"And when he was gone forth into the way, there came one running, and kneeled to him, and asked him, Good Master, what shall I do that I may inherit eternal life?........" - Mark 10:17f - KJV

Do any of these students when they address you, "Teacher," - do they preface it with "'good' Teacher?" And, do you respond like Christ:?

"And Jesus said unto him, Why callest thou me good? There is none good but one, that is, God." - Mark 10:18 - KJV

LPC - It seems to me that you have a wonderful opportunity of Christian witness, as the Holy Spirit would lead......

Nathan M. Bickel


LPC said...

Pr. Nathan,

No they do not call me 'good', may be for the best too!

I have had opportunity to witness in a couple of instances. I just have to do it carefully so as not to appear I am pushing.


Ichabod the Glory Has Departed said...

Nathan, my experience is that the opportunities arrive all the time. They do not need to be sought. Besides, the published Word also reaches across the world.

Pastor emeritus Nathan Bickel said...

Dr. Jackson -

Yes, I agree with what you say. That is why I stipulated:

"......as the Holy Spirit would lead."