“If this man were not from God, he could do nothing.” They answered him, “You were born entirely in sins, and you are trying to teach us?” And they drove him out. (John 9: 33-34 NRSV)
For a few years, whenever my immediate family, my mother, father, brother, sister-in-law, and I, would get together the conversation would spin in a way where I had trouble following. See, while I might be viewed as a bit of a “black sheep” because of my calling to be a minister in the church, what makes me a black sheep in my family is that I’m not working at a school. For several years, I was the only one of them who wasn’t teaching, principaling, or counseling in an elementary school. Invariably, conversations would revolve around the recent goings on at their respective schools.
I learned a lot about our education system through my family. This is how it’s supposed to work, though: teachers are supposed to teach. They help us learn whether we are in elementary, middle, high, college, or even in Sunday school. This is normal. This is what we expect. What we sign up for. Learning from teachers.
But what happens when that relationship is switched? When those in power, the teachers, are slowly realizing things aren’t the way they seem? When the student slowly and surely either gains more confidence or resolve to challenge the teacher. To talk back. To actually start teaching?
When it happened to the formerly blind man. He was rejected. He was cast out. He was worth less than when he was blind because he no longer has a place in society at all.
This is a tale of caution for us as people of faith. There are people out there who have remarkable insights into who God is and what God is doing now. The problem is they might not look like the teachers we’re used to. They might not look like me. They might not look like you. They might not act in a way we are comfortable with, but that doesn’t mean they don’t have something to teach us. It doesn’t mean they aren’t valuable. And it doesn’t mean we can reject them, cast them out, and not listen to them.
If we do, then we are no different than the Pharisees who are blind to the ways of Jesus and missed an opportunity to experience him ourselves.