Does God call us to blind obedience, or does He expect us to engage the intellect He has given us?
It was fourth grade.
Our class was working on globes made of balloons wrapped in papier-mâché. We traced the shapes of the continents onto paper and cut them out, then began to glue them into place. First North America, then South America, then Asia.
It was time to affix Europe onto the globe. My friend, Robert, and I knew exactly where Europe went: joined to Russia on the Asian continent. We squeezed a glob of white paste onto the back of Europe and placed it where it was supposed to go.
We glanced up at our teacher, who, to our horror, was telling the class to paste Europe too far south, attaching it to the Arabian peninsula instead of to Russia.
I raised my hand to let her know.
She insisted she was correct.
Robert and I shrugged it off and waited for further directions.
As the teacher went around to check on everyone’s work, she saw what Robert and I had done, placing Europe where we thought it should go instead of where she told us to place it.
Her face twisting into a scowl, she snatched the globe off my desk, ripped Europe off, and slapped it onto the Arabian peninsula, scolding me for being disobedient.
That was the day I learned to stop trusting authority.
I was nine years old.
I thought that teachers were supposed to be smarter, or at least, more informed, than I was. If this teacher was wrong about one thing, what else might have she been wrong about? How could I trust that anything she was teaching us was correct?
Stephen Bay is the Newsong Kids Pastor. You can check out more of his writing at www.ransomedlife.com