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Why I Repent Teaching in Secular Higher Education

An open letter of lament to my students

This is my story.

 

What I am about to express opens up the code of silence that many Christian college faculty may feel in the depths of hindsight.

 

I think of all the opportunities I forfeited at serving God while I was buying humanism and moral relativism, hook line and sinker—never doubting my position in the academe. I was building my career, right? I was using my gifts and talents so it must be God sent, unmistakably.

 

I couldn’t sleep at night. I was vexed like Lot and dejected like Joseph.

 

In the words of the Apostle Paul:

 

Yea doubtless, and I count all things but loss for the excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord: for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and do count them but dung, that I may win Christ, And be found in him, not having mine own righteousness, which is of the law, but that which is through the faith of Christ, the righteousness which is of God by faith. Philippians 3: 8-9

 

I asked myself: How could I continue in an institution that indoctrinates children in humanism and justify it as God’s will for my life?

 

Was I foolish to think I could not be spoiled through philosophy and vain deceit, after the tradition of men, after the rudiments of the world, and not after Christ? Why did I misplace my vexation with the notion that if God allowed me to enter a career in secular higher education, then it must be approved and favorable to Him. I was doing a good job, after all—I was getting good evaluations, I was staying away from the unfruitful works of darkness, my managers approved of me, and I was getting paid well while acquiring more class sections to teach. The students were learning a great deal and were bearing fruit in their writing skills.

 

Well, God still got a hold of me, despite what seemed fine. I realized that I would not be worth my salt if I didn’t mention the spoils of vain deceit, the tradition of men, the rudiments of the world. If I could only write a letter to every one of my students, I would pour out remorse and regret. I’ve borne a heap of sorrow and guilt over my part in the process of indoctrinating them in what goes antithetical to my faith in God. I repent and I lament:

 

Dear Student,

I taught you writing and critical thinking in a place that was at war with the Creator of all things, teaching you that what you were learning in my class was to get you closer to the philosophies of the academe, at the cost of getting you further away from God. I told you that successful people paid attention and do well in class and study and make good grades. 

I am sorry, dear student, for agreeing to put you through petty drills to make the standard grade and keep your eyes on the essay at hand, on the thesis, on proving yourself clear and concise. What you really needed was someone to tell you that you were good at something, that God can reveal to you the gifts He’s imparted to you, and that you are fearfully and wonderfully made. That as challenging as you were with me in class—defiant, irresponsible, tardy, negligent—I needed to tell you that God loves you.

To hear you say you wanted to be an electrician and that you weren’t interested in learning how to expand your vocabulary or how to write eloquently should have been perfectly fine with me—we are all gifted in distinctive ways.  We are not all the same.  We don’t flourish in a monolithic. Academia defined success and we were to assign the work and grade the value—a collection of life sentences that would eventually tell the world where you were by the standards of secular humanism.

I wish I could tell you that fools despise wisdom and that the beginning of knowledge is the fear of the Lord. I should have asked you what good is success and money and a premiere education if your soul is lost? What good is it to encourage you to invest your money in support of a secular education that devastates you spiritually and morally, even though academically you will be favored in the world? I regret not proclaiming from the high tops that you’re learning a false religion when right and wrong is taught to be rooted in moral reasoning (relativism). The Bible refers to this as “having other gods before me.”

You survived through the confines of the classroom, a box waiting to implode with minds vulnerable to all sorts of philosophies, beautiful minds influenced by the doctrine of man. And I survived that as well. I broke free from that box and only by God’s grace, was delivered into His protective hands, and was shown that what was worth fighting for was that beautiful mind of yours.

Now, I will fight tooth and nail for you, people like my children, people who are led astray by the spirit of the age.

Not many Christians who teach in secular higher education will admit what I openly share here. Do you lament teaching as a Christian in a secular institution? Why do you think our spirit is vexed when we continue teaching in the humanist environment? Click to read full post. teaching| secular education| homeschool

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31 comments

  • Pingback: Dangerous Silences | Rejoice, Beloved December 23, 2014   Reply →
  • "Trissy" February 24, 2018   Reply →

    Thank you for your passion on this topic. It encourages my heart to know that such teachers as you exist. May the Lord open our eyes to see the glory of His Word & the untrustworthiness of mankind’s imagination.

    • Erendira Ramirez-Ortega February 26, 2018   Reply →

      I am glad the Lord opened my eyes and now I am in the center of His will and direction for my family. It is a hard fight but standing alone isn’t too lonely when the Lord is nigh!

  • Jeanne Takenaka March 1, 2018   Reply →

    Erendira, thank you for sharing your story. I can only imagine the challenges professors face in today’s college atmosphere. Thank you for sharing so transparently. Your words give me a focus for prayer and a better understanding of the many things professors deal with , especially those who claim Christ. I’m so glad Jesus showed you where His primary purpose was for you!

    • Erendira Ramirez-Ortega March 2, 2018   Reply →

      Yes, Jeanne, please pray. It is a really difficult environment and the battle truly is a spiritual one.

  • Joanne Viola March 2, 2018   Reply →

    I am grateful for this post. May we hold firm to the truth of God and fight for this next generation, more strongly and fiercely and bravely than ever before. Blessings!

    • Erendira Ramirez-Ortega March 2, 2018   Reply →

      Yes, Joanne, may we be steadfast in Him and all His statutes. I am thankful for your visit here on my blog! Thank you for your response!

  • Kate Catcher March 2, 2018   Reply →

    I too am a teacher, but in elementary, as a new Christian I could not stay in the system but now am feeling maybe I am to go north to teach in a place that will not be easy but in a place where they need Jesus. So I wonder now is it the Lord or is it because as a single person, money is driving me as it is difficult to make ends meet without a good paying job.

    • Erendira Ramirez-Ortega March 2, 2018   Reply →

      These are very introspective questions, Kate. A true self-examination is always the right course of action when we are met with decisions. I hope the Lord leads you! Thank you for stopping by to share your thoughts.

  • Gabriele March 2, 2018   Reply →

    Very honest and open! Thank you for sharing your thoughts.

    • Erendira Ramirez-Ortega March 2, 2018   Reply →

      Thank you, Gabriele, for your comment!

  • Rebekah Beene March 2, 2018   Reply →

    Wow, such transparency and honesty. Thank you. I think we all struggle with this as we have careers, but your openness is amazing. Thank you. Visiting from FMF. 🙂

    • Erendira Ramirez-Ortega March 2, 2018   Reply →

      So glad you stopped by to respond, Rebekah! I know that struggle is very real. I’m glad to warn others of it here.

  • Danelle March 2, 2018   Reply →

    I taught in a Christian School last year, and it was an amazing experience to be able to pray and talk freely with my students about God. Off topic, your page design is beautiful.

    • Erendira Ramirez-Ortega March 2, 2018   Reply →

      Thank you, Danelle, for the compliment. I appreciate you! So glad you are able to have freedom in Christ!

  • Jennifer March 2, 2018   Reply →

    No doubt a difficult post – but well written and very thought-provoking. Having always been involved with Christian education, it is good to hear it from the “other” point of view. Thanks for sharing.

    • Erendira Ramirez-Ortega March 2, 2018   Reply →

      Thank you, Jennifer, for sharing your response. It is a tough topic to discuss and to be honest and real in the face of opposition at times is a risk, but one that we need to take for the cause of Christ.

  • Katerina March 4, 2018   Reply →

    Thank you for your post. Very encouraging. I’m a researcher and teacher in an European University. For the past year I have tried to switch industry.

    • Erendira Ramirez-Ortega March 5, 2018   Reply →

      Thank you, Katerina, for your response. I know the higher education system is at war with God and it is challenging to find an industry where you have freedom to exercise, express, and live out your convictions in the Lord. I am always puzzled at how so much is compromised in academia and how the group-think mindset takes over much of the discourse and culture. I hope the Lord leads you in His direction for your life!

  • Kristen Turner March 5, 2018   Reply →

    Thank you so much for sharing. This truly opened my eyes as a student. I will definitely be sharing this with a few of my teachers, who I go to church with.

    • Erendira Ramirez-Ortega March 5, 2018   Reply →

      That’s great to hear Kristen.

  • Carri March 5, 2018   Reply →

    I can’t tell you how wonderful it is to see secular teachers not only acknowledging what is taking place in our education system, but actually doing something about it. Thank you for this brave post!

    • Erendira Ramirez-Ortega March 9, 2018   Reply →

      Thank you, Carri, for your insight!

  • iz March 6, 2018   Reply →

    Thank you for these honest words. I love this line: “I should have asked you what good is success and money and a premiere education if your soul is lost?”

    • Erendira Ramirez-Ortega March 9, 2018   Reply →

      It is true. All our work is filthy rags when measured by God’s standard. We fall short. Why then do we purpose to go further from the mark after knowing what the truth is? Thank you for your comment!

  • Amanda March 6, 2018   Reply →

    I love this! I work in academia as well. I work in the library at my alma mater, and I have felt quite the same about it all. My job in particular does not have as much controversy as the job of professors do. But I’ve always felt that you have to be a strong person of faith who knows God before you go into college. I’ve seen people stray and question themselves and their belief of God. I’ve seen people ease up on God’s Word because they feel all alone, surrounded by people who they like but don’t want to offend. Apart from faith, I also feel like there is a sense of superiority within academia and most live in a bubble that doesn’t understand the real world, let alone the spiritual world.

    • Erendira Ramirez-Ortega March 9, 2018   Reply →

      Yes. The pride of life is alive in academia. A faith that is strong can measure the consequences of being lured into the world that opposes Christ. As Colossians says: “Beware lest any man spoil you through philosophy and vain deceit, after the tradition of men, after the rudiments of the world, and not after Christ.” Thank you, Amanda, for your openness. May God always lead you in His direction for your life!

  • Aimee Imbeau March 8, 2018   Reply →

    I am a teacher with a DL school and I support homeschool families. I love that I can pray with parents and with students. I also teach once a week to a group of homeschool kids – we have great discussions about Jesus. I love it! Thanks for sharing on Grace and Truth. Continue to be obedient to His call on your life, whatever that might be.

    • Erendira Ramirez-Ortega March 9, 2018   Reply →

      Thank you, Aimee, for making an impact in the lives of the homeschoolers. Your work is not in vain and is noted by the Lord. Thank you also for encouraging me here! So glad to see you here!

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