Teaching as an Act of Love

Today, the faculty had their pictures taken in preparation for graduation at PBTS. Graduation is actually in May, but it was decided to get the photos done early. All but one of us was on campus today, so it was a good time to do it, I suppose Doc Roland will be ‘photoshop’d’ in later. As I looked at the faculty, I was reminded of something I knew, but sometimes forget. ALMOST EVERY PERSON ON THE FACULTY IS A PRODUCT OF PHILIPPINE BAPTIST THEOLOGICAL SEMINARY. The only exception is a Korean young lady who is here as a missionary teaching piano and music. This was not always the case. At one time, the professors were mostly, or even entirely missionaries from overseas.

But then the missionaries had to leave for one reason or another. Those left behind were Filipino Faculty, two Korean Missionaries teaching music, and Celia and myself. For those of us who are missionaries, we teach for free. We get a place to live for free, and we get free water. But that is it. Everything else comes from outside support.  The Filipino faculty are paid.but by US standards, the pay is quite small.

Most universities/colleges/seminaries like to hire faculty who have graduated from other schools. Their own graduates work elsewhere. Ideally, this cross-fertilization of educational institutions helps to keep standards high for all of the institutions. But in a competitive environment, many schools in developing countries are simply not going to be able to compete. They cannot pay the rates that other institutions in developed countries can.

This sort of economic survival of the fittest would kill many schools, and leave others dependent on the minimally competent. But I am happy to say that we have good faculty… well able to prepare Asian Christian leaders to serve as pastors, missionaries, chaplains, worship leaders, and educators in Asia and around the world. We are able to do this because of… love. Of course part of this is love of God, but I am not speaking specifically of that. After all, I am not assuming that a person who teaches at a high paying school in a developed country loves God less. Rather, I mean love for their alma mater, and love for the students.

It is a joy to teach Asian Christians (and to learn from them). I do like the fact that our seminary focuses more on teaching than on writing. A lot of seminaries place a great deal of pressure on their faculty to write. And perhaps that is not a bad thing. I like to write, and perhaps it would be good if I had more pressure to do formal submissions and peer reviews.

Or maybe not. My greatest joys and Celia’s greatest joys are the people we have trained who have gone off and done great things… often greater than what we have done. That is a wonderful feeling. 

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