I worked in public education for 28 years, always having to be careful about discussions of faith, even though my classes were always open forums where students were free to exercise their Constitutionally-granted freedom of speech. For example, I’ll never forget Rev. Tony in an online English 1002 class at LSUE many years ago—
-Tony was a rural Baptist pastor working on a degree, and all he knew to write about and interact in the course forums was his preaching and ministry. As the teacher and representative of the impersonal State, I didn’t have the freedom to make statements showing preference to his religious views, but my students did. Tony’s classmates began addressing him as “Brother Tony,” so I declared him the pastor of the class. We had a fun semester, growing as writers and spiritual pilgrims, but I was often nervous that some freedom-from-religion zealot would tattle-tale on the class’s openly Christian dialogues. Fortunately, no issue ever was raised.
But now, what a difference retirement makes! I’m working in a private school where the profession of faith is the core of the curriculum. And the core is the Cross! So today I witnessed for the first time “The Stations of the Cross” in a moving, dramatic enactment of the Savior’s Passion At school! Curricular!
I thank God for establishing me in a private educational workplace where the Cross provides the “common core.”