My goal as a preacher is to be able to teach the Bible every day (Sunday through Saturday). The past few years I have gotten pretty close to that. Every school day, I leave the church building between one and one thirty p.m. I drive the same ten-mile stretch of road that has become all too familiar to me for the past two and a half years. I arrive early to North Marion High School and review what will be covered or done in class that day as I wait for the 7th period bell to ring.
Is it Monday, the day students trace Bible Maps to help them learn the Bible Lands? Is it Monday when students might also work on finding facts on the Bible Person or Bible Place assigned to them? Is it Tuesday through Thursday when students read passages of scriptures as we review the Bible Books of the week? We start with Genesis in September and finish with Revelation by June. I also lecture on "separation of church and state," "atheism vs. Christianity," Biblical art, and other related Bible material.
Is it my favorite day, a Free Friday? I answer (from my unique perspective Church of Christ) Bible questions turned in by students. Some of these questions follow. Do you believe in miraculous healing today? What does the Bible say about homosexuality? What is purgatory, and can one pay and pray someone into Heaven? Is drinking alcohol a sin? Can we speak in tongues today? If you are a true Christian, why does God let people suffer? Do you believe in spirits coming back to Earth? Is baptism really necessary? Are there dinosaurs in the Bible? As long as the students are not required to agree and are not tested on this material such "discussions" do not violate the rules for the class. This is the one "stipulation" I specifically asked for before accepting the job.
Admittedly, this job just sort of came to me. A preacher friend of mine told me to apply for the Bible Instructor position that was available through the local school board. The class had already been approved, and he, like many others, felt that at least a sound preacher should fill such a position. In all, three church of Christ preachers applied (thankfully the only applicants). My experiences in preaching, teaching, working for years with high school students helped me get the position to teach this Bible Enrichment course (The Bible in History & Literature).
Some believe there must be a separation of church and state and that it is not the "job" of the public school system to teach religion. The students sign up and take the class as an elective, not a requirement, and most (about 75%) actually want to take the class. I teach a review of the Bible in a public school a class that only exists at North Marion because a man, Joe "Pat" Elliot, wanted to see if it could be done. A principal was willing to accept the class in his school, and various religious groups and people donated their money to fund the class. Southern West Virginia has many such classes and created the curriculum that I use and supplement.
Unfortunately, the funding is running out (the class costs about $6,000 a year for the teacher's salary as determined by the state). If you wish to support the class (& me as the teacher), send checks payable to: Marion County School Board, 200 Gaston Ave, Fairmont, WV 26554. In the MEMO section, please write North Marion Bible Class. You are welcome to send your checks to Oakwood Road Church of Christ, and the elders will make sure your checks get to the proper place.
Any question or concerns, please contact me. Melvin Salal Rogers, Oakwood Road Church of Christ at 304-363-1239, or firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com
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