Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Thankful 30: Dr. Habermas

During the 30 days leading up to my 30th birthday, I am posting a letter a day expressing thankfulness for someone or something that has played a major role in shaping the first 30 years of my life.
(I have missed a couple of days in the past week, 
so some days may have two letters as I get caught up) 

Dear Dr. Habermas,

  At some point in high school I remember that it would be wonderful to learn the way old paintings portray ancient Greeks learning. Students, disciples, sitting at the feet of the teacher and learning through conversation. I know there is an actual painting I'm thinking of, and I know there is an actual term for that style of learning. I would sound a lot more intelligent if I could think of either, but I have the brain of a mom of two tiny people, so I'll just hope you get the general idea of what I'm trying to describe. Anyway, I never expected that I would get to have that type of an experience, but in your classes, I did.

  Thank you for being a little unconventional in the way you taught. I know I did write papers for your classes, and maybe we took tests? Maybe not tests. What I really remember were the conversations. I remember that we chewed on topics that couldn't be absorbed through multiple choice questions or bullets on a Powerpoint. Thank you for bringing us topics and Scripture and then giving us the space to work it over in our own minds and to hear one another's thoughts. Thank you for having us share homemade pies and bread and memories and questions. For having a box of tissue that traveled around the u-shaped tables for times when the processing hit an especially sensitive nerve for someone. I can't speak for all of your students, but I think those experiences are why I remember your classes so vividly ... why the lessons you taught became a part of the way I think, instead of just facts to remember.

  Thank you for your prayers and advice during some years of big and weighty decisions. Thanks for your encouragement. Thank you for the time you told your students that the two most important qualities you hoped for in your daughters' husbands were that they would love Jesus and that they would be kind men. I still think of that all the time as I watch the kindness of my husband toward others. I count it a privilege to have been one of your students.

Thankful for your influence,

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