Last night I was in class, Human-Computer Interactions 2, one of my graduate classes this semester. The teacher is not a full time prof but rather works in the real world and so she’s much easier to talk to and approach as she is without the requisite snootiness that comes with a PhD and a job in academia (not that all PhD’s are snooty, but you get the idea). I really enjoy her class because it’s great discussion (and sidetracks) and material without the massive pressure to perform on big ol’ nasty tests and whatnot. There’s still work, but it’s a laid-back environment where learning takes priority over regurgitating knowledge. I very much appreciate the atmosphere she has set for our class. But it was in this unassuming class on a normal class night that I had what I call a “Peter moment.”
So I’m sitting there in class and I made some sort of sarcastic remark as is my usual habit since the prof and I verbally kick jokes back and forth and shenanigans usually ensue. Then she says, “Oh, and in a totally unrelated side-note, I found your blog this weekend. I really enjoyed it, and couldn’t stop reading it. I liked it because my grandfather was Jewish.”
There I was surrounded by my peers in an atmosphere where most people do not believe in God (it’s the neuroscience department…most people there believe in a purely naturalistic world with no God needed) and my teacher brings up my blog about my faith. I could feel my eyes get really big like a deer in headlights and I felt like the entire room was shrinking. My exact response was “What blog?” (yes, laugh, it’s funny) The prof said “You know, the one you posted on Facebook,” (trying to be as discreet as possible) and again my exact reply was “Oh…that blog.” She could tell that I was nervous about her sharing that information, so she smoothly moved on to other things. But that was perhaps my worst moment to date in sharing my faith. There I was, poised to share at least some kernel of my faith and I blew it. I totally blew it. I felt like Peter when he was asked the night of Jesus’ trial if he knew Jesus and three times he denied ever knowing the man. I’m sure he felt at least some of the same way I did. He probably froze and then said those famous words “I don’t know what you’re talking about.” Pretty much the same thing I said in class last night.
And then as I was walking back to my car last night, I heard Jesus’ words in my head:
“You are the light of the world. A city on a hill cannot be hidden. Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before men, that they may see your good deeds and praise your Father in heaven.” (Matt 5:14-16)
Sadly, when the time came to let my light shine among men, I hid it under a bowl. I had a “Peter moment.” Oh well, Peter got another chance later in the story to share his faith, and he passed with flying colors. I pray that the next time I get the chance to share my faith, I won’t hide it under a bowl, but let it shine. I have no delusions that I will bring my entire class to faith in Jesus, nor do I think standing and preaching to them would make any difference. Instead of getting in anyone’s face, I pray that, in the words of Jesus, they will see my good deeds and praise my Father in heaven.
And prof, if you’re reading this, thanks for the compliment, and I appreciate your good words in class.
Peace to you,