In the morning, we had the Bruce Wilkinson teaching video series – a series on teaching from a Christian perspective dubbed into Ukrainian. Honestly, I only found it tolerable. I say this because most of my summers for the past seven years have been spent in similar seminars for teachers. It was good information on teaching from a Christian perspective and I am sure that the Ukrainian teachers benefited from it. But it just seemed a waste of a few hours in the morning to have to watch a video in a seminar that I could get in the United States.
Before lunch there were discussion groups in which we were supposed to pick up on one of the seminar topics. I was asked to lead one of the groups.
I spoke on Hebrews 10:24,25: “And let us consider one another in order to stir up love and good works, not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as is the manner of some, but exhorting one another, and so much the more as you see the Day approaching.”
I said that “the Day” is meant to mean the final judgment, but in the context of the passage it contains a possible allusion to the destruction of the Temple. (Hebrews is written on the occasion when Jewish Christians in Jerusalem wanted to abandon their fellowship in the face of persecution and go back to worshiping through Temple sacrifices.) I said that it is possible for an entire Christian civilization to be destroyed and replaced by a pagan culture. I explained about the social revolution that took place in America once prayer and Bible reading was banned from public schools in 1962.
We discussed how ironic it was that President Yuschenko mandated in 2006 that Christian ethics classes be taught in the public schools in Ukraine – and that we are here in a conference of over 100 public school teachers who are bringing a Gospel witness into the public schools.
It reminded me of how in 1991 I stood in the office of the largest printing house in Ukraine, while Alexei Salapatov talked to the director about how we could print our Christian newspaper, Predvestnik, all the while a larger than life painting of Lenin glared down at me from behind the director’s desk. The painting had Lenin standing at a desk with papers clenched in one hand and the other leaning on the desk with more paper, and ink well and a quill pen.
All during the conversation between Alexei and the director, I understood nothing, but saw only Lenin glaring down at me in absolute anger and defiance at the fact that we were proposing to print a Christian newspaper on his state owned printing press. Later I was surprised to find out that the director helped Alexei to print Predvestnik and even gave him preferential treatment.
As I was sharing some of these things, I had totally forgotten that it was Independence Day in the United States.