ommitted, adj. Feeling dedication and loyalty to a cause, activity, or job; wholeheartedly dedicated.
Christian, noun. A person who has received Christian baptism or is a believer in Jesus Christ and his testimony.
In July I will be moving to Southeast Asia to teach for two years as a member of a partnering organization with the C.S. Lewis Institute (CSLI). (This article is intentionally not naming the organization.) I was first introduced to this group in October of last year, when I had been a Year One Fellow in the C.S. Lewis Institute–Annapolis Fellows Program for a mere four months.
This partnering organization has existed for more than thirty years, sending faithful Christian educators and teachers into places like China, Mongolia, and Southeast Asia to teach in university and secondary settings. It focuses on excellence in teaching, learning the host language and culture, intentionality in building relationships in and out of the classroom, and walking the walk together in community. They offer a variety of programs for people in various situations: current college students, recent graduates, and working professionals. The program I am a part of is geared toward working professionals and requires a minimum two-year commitment. During the application process to become a teacher in Asia, I did not think much about how my work as a Fellow would impact or inform my future work with them. Now, at the end of Year One, I understand that everything I’ve done with CSLI has direct bearing on what lies ahead.
This partnering organization requires two things of all applicants. The first requirement was easy for me to document. I needed a bachelor of science or bachelor of arts in any field of study. I graduated from St. John’s College with a BA in liberal arts back in 2010, and I have the diploma to prove it. However, as I walked through the admissions process for the program (and a long and arduous process it was!) last November, I was asked all sorts of probing personal questions about my behavior, relationships, beliefs, skills, assets, and defects, both past and present. This was, I gather, necessary to assess my eligibility for the second requirement of their teachers: committed Christian.
Why the emphasis on “committed”? Why not simply require all applicants to be Christian? The title Christian ought to imply commitment. Denying oneself and picking up one’s cross to follow Him requires nothing less than dedication and loyalty. Unfortunately though, there are many places where this is not the case, where being a Christian is a social pleasantry, relegated to Sundays, where we do for God that He might do for us, critique the service based on entertainment value, and volunteer to help out of a sense of social responsibility, not recognizing the sin so inherent in this attitude. And though this paints an extreme portrait, we all fall short on our commitment to Christ at some point. There comes a time when we say, “But haven’t I done enough?” or when our feelings get hurt because we don’t believe God is treating us fairly, losing sight of the big picture where God has already taken care of all our needs, including the biggest one.
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