Tell us about The Teacher Who Changed My Life – and why.
I cannot imagine my life without the influence of my teachers. My church school teachers taught me that the true power of the church was in loving neighbors across boundaries. My high school English teachers encouraged me to write and nurtured me beyond the classroom. My undergraduate philosophy professor awakened me to how questions were often more important than answers, and my anthropology professor showed me how diverse human cultures give expression to something universal in us. My Old Testament professor in seminary brought alive the prophetic dimension of faith, and the dynamic power of speech. My world religions professor taught me the difference between the study of religion and its practice. Many fine colleagues taught me the art of the ministry.
I bear testimony to the power of teachers to shape minds and lives. Each changed my life and they all share one quality. They were gardeners of the spirit. They did not simply transmit information and facts, or ways of organizing knowledge. Gardeners cultivate and grow. They nurtured my spirit, the capacity for appreciative awareness, to make distinctions, and to discern quality. The spirit is not a thing but it is real, and if affords us the ability to see things in right relationship.
Not one but many teachers changed my life. Each one is my favorite.