At the tail end of the discussion on this post, after Ellen and I had exchanged a few thoughts, 🙂 Jeremy made a comment, and I have excerpted this part, without intending to detract from his whole comment,
- Mutual submission involves people submitting to others according to their authority. I submit to the elders of my congregation and to my governing authorities in the workplace and in civil life in general. My wife submits to me. I do not submit to my wife even if I love her as Christ loved the church, because Christ doesn’t submit to the church. We submit to him. I think your argument does nicely apply to that case, since there’s no sense in which the church is in authority over Christ.
I don’t see anywhere in scripture that clearly refers to anyone submitting to anyone else when there isn’t an issue of authority.
I had a few reflections on this comment. It’s September, when I like to write about my job, because so many new situations arise that require thought. I have moved into a slightly new role without losing any of my old ones, a familiar circumstance during cutbacks.
I am in charge of a group of special education assistants, who support our students with special needs, with Down’s syndrome, hearing impairments, along with the learning disabled, and gifted learning disabled.
I also have to spend part of each day in the classroom team teaching with another teacher. This can be dicey, good intentions often crash. There is nothing like finding that I am on a team with another teacher who only knows how to be a leader, or with one who only knows how to be a follower.
I remember many years ago, another resource teacher sat me down and explained the way it is. “Some teachers will treat you like their servant, and some will treat you like their master, you just have to figure out which it is, and go with it.”
However, in this school, I have finally begun to see other teachers really team teaching. This year I am working in the classroom with a teacher I know well but haven’t “team taught” with before. After two weeks, it has turned out that we both know how to do it. The turn-taking is seamless, we each let the other talk, we work with students, one-on-one, or in groups, or with the whole class, we design assignments, and teaching points, we just get the job done. We both lead, we both follow. We are doubly productive.
Who says that people cannot submit to each other without authority? Of course, there is an authority – we have an administrator, someone who more or less says, “Get the job done and I don’t want to hear about any problems between now and the end of June.” Even though I work in a very secular environment, it happens that our administrator used to attend Gordon Fee’s church.
After team teaching in the morning, I get back to my room and work with a small group, then I have the special needs assistants around for individual planning. Next on the agenda is the tech inquiry group meeting. A bit of a snooze, but I know turning up at this meeting gets me little gold stars in my personnel file.
And finally, it is Friday afternoon, and a group of former students from the high school – all who are familiar with my room because it is where they learned how to read – hang out and help younger students. They are computer buddies, or reading buddies, or whatever. One teenage boy is helping a little guy who doesn’t know left from right, how to use a mouse (how to master the right click). Several other teenagers, who had reading difficulties of their own, are listening to younger students read. And, of course, some are playing with the dolls’ house or train set. There are no gender rules about this either!
However, I have to explain to these teenagers how to teach someone else. I have to help the teenager let go of the mouse himself, and let the little one learn. It is a tough stage to go through, letting go of the controls oneself and letting the other person learn.
But at the end of the day, I realize that I have gained an understanding of what it means to demonstrate or model, and give over autonomy.
- Submit to one another.
And the things you have heard me say commit to reliable people who will also be qualified to teach others.
Therefore, whatever you want others to do for you, do also the same for them.
Good verses for life, they get me off to a fresh start every September.