Lutheran schools and early childhood services are communities which acknowledge God as creator and join in the ongoing creation and care of the world and all its people. Growing Deep
Recently SBS developed a series entitled: “Filthy Rich and Homeless”. The series follows five wealthy Australians who swap their life of privilege for homelessness. The whole notion of having a camera crew following around people not normally homeless, living rough for a few days has a few issues re authenticity, however it obviously had a profound impact on the actors and their ‘perception’ of homelessness as well as viewers. In each case there was a strong connection to a ‘person’ rather than a category i.e ‘homeless’.
We are pretty good at categorising the ‘other’, those which don’t quite fit into our ‘normal’ or ‘acceptable’.
How do we shape up in our schools? Don’t we say we are inclusive? With the best intention, students can be placed in academic, behaviour or groups which may have a cultural, social, economic or gender bias. Who has voice in the school? Who is the ‘face’ of the school? Do we have any ‘others’?
Families and students can feel the need to modify beliefs and behaviours to ‘fit in’. I wonder if at times a focus on ‘theological correctness’ can cause members of our school community to feel they don’t belong in the inner circle?
I thought that I was inclusive, that living and working in many countries and working with people from a wide range of cultures made me ‘inclusive’… but people on the street asking me for money, well, they are drug addicts, alcoholics or have mental health issues and what can I do?? Or those people with different social norms or political beliefs… that is certainly ‘other’! I realise I am a long way from being inclusive, to suspend judgement on the ‘other’.
Building an understanding of our own biases, assumptions, thoughts and feeling helps to stop us seeing ‘other’ and allows us to join with God “in the ongoing creation and care of the world and all its people”. Jesus also gives us a clear example in his interactions with people, connecting regardless of whether they had ‘measured up’ to a standard.
May God give us the strength and wisdom to see everyone as people to be met and loved rather than ‘fixed’ or rejected and that our learning communities are places where people share a sense of belonging.
Galatians 3:28-29 The Message (MSG)
In Christ’s family there can be no division into Jew and non-Jew, slave and free, male and female. Among us you are all equal. That is, we are all in a common relationship with Jesus Christ. Also, since you are Christ’s family, then you are Abraham’s famous “descendant,” heirs according to the covenant promises.
Educational Leadership Director