FC Missional Moment: Voices from the Commons

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** Grace-infused Teaching
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As I begin letting God love people through me, I find myself giddy with excitement when my course roster of new students arrives in my inbox.

I start praying for them by name. I curl up in bed with a fresh print out of their names and corresponding pictures, and I begin to memorize faces.

I think about what kind of person this one is:
* Is she in a sorority?
* Is this one a New Yorker and that one from Philadelphia?
* Will this one be the eager talker while this one is the shy student I’ll have to coax the writing from all semester?

** Before classes begin
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Before classes begin, I visit my empty classroom and touch every seat and pray that God would use me to love this student well.

I pray for a spirit of community and celebration and deep belonging to permeate each student.

I also pray that things I say and teach will plant seeds for the gospel or at least help prepare the soil of their heart to know the love and grace of God.

** On those first days of class
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On those first days of class, I whisper prayers before I burst through the doors, asking God to guide my teaching and to help me care for students well.

I pray that God would help me bless my students and the professors and staff in my department.

** Helping students thrive
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I love talking about teaching and how to serve and enjoy students. Even though most of my fellow instructors do not share my faith in Christ, we have a great time learning from and encouraging one another. I often have opportunities to discuss my teaching philosophy and strategies because other instructors want to know why students thrive in my classrooms.

I think they’re encouraged to know that I’m essentially not doing anything more than getting to know students and building rapport. I do this by entering into their lives and inviting them into mine in the context of whatever I’m teaching.

The best teaching happens when we know one another, trust one another, and believe the best about one another.

** Creating a Grace-infused Atmosphere
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I want my classroom to be a grace-infused atmosphere where I’m rooting for my students to win with every assignment. And I think it becomes grace-infused when my students somehow realize that they already have favor with me.

As I look back, I’ve realized that my commitment to grace in the classroom is rooted in the grace of God shown me in Christ. Because I have already experienced favor with Christ through my faith in him, I find grace easier to grant.

Nothing my students do or say in class changes my decision to love them, to believe the best about them, and to draw out the great ideas they have within them. Rather than an adversarial or authoritative relationship with them, our relationship is truly communal, almost covenantal.

And I continually find each semester that grace-infused teaching is fertile soil for growth.

–Heather Holleman, Penn State

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“To be loved but not known is comforting but superficial. To be known and not loved is our greatest fear. But to be fully known and truly loved is, well, a lot like being loved by God. It is what we need more than anything.– Tim Keller

http://www.amazon.com/Whats-So-Amazing-About-Grace/dp/0310245656

Mention the word “grace” and what immediately comes to mind for most of us is a bagpipe wailing the solemn notes of “Amazing Grace.”

The grace of which Philip Yancey writes is the freely given and unmerited favor and love of God. This grace seems a remote, almost sentimental concept, without a place in our lives or our society. It is a vague, slippery thing to us, probably because we seem to experience grace so rarely and have managed to leech the word of meaning.

But Philip Yancey has set about to rescue grace in his book What’s So Amazing About Grace? (http://Mention the word “grace” and what immediately comes to mind for most of us is a bagpipe wailing the solemn notes of “Amazing Grace.” The grace of which Philip Yancey writes is the freely given and unmerited favor and love of God. This grace seems a remote, almost sentimental concept, without a place in our lives or our society. It is a vague, slippery thing to us, probably because we seem to experience grace so rarely and have managed to leech the word of meaning. But Philip Yancey has set about to rescue grace in his book What’s So Amazing About Grace?)

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U (http://www.facultycommons.com/to-love-and-good-works/) pcoming FCMMs from Heather:
The Name Game Professor: Building Community in my Classrooms
Gospel Conversations
Why are you so happy?
Our Grace-infused Role as Faculty

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