Transform - 4th Mark of Mission
FOUR: To seek to transform unjust structures of society, to challenge violence of every kind and to pursue peace and reconciliation
Christians believe all people are unique and uniquely loved by God. Jesus revolutionised the teaching of his day by insisting that we are to “love our enemies” since they, too, are loved by God. This one commandment means that we must not just learn about people of other beliefs, cultures, or groups within society, but learn to empathise with them without judgement, and to do as much to help them as we would for our friends and families.
Although not all students at our schools come from “privileged” families, most do not lack for their physical needs. It is important, therefore, that they are given opportunities to understand how injustices affect others in this country and beyond, and to explore ways in which these injustices might be addressed.
It is also important that they learn to recognise injustices within their own spheres of school, families and friends, and learn that there are ways of addressing them, whether they take the form of prejudices, bullying, exclusion, coercive or abusive use of power, or favouritism. The Christian message is about the hope that death can be turned to life, and therefore that injustice can also be transformed into peace, shalom.
See the following pages for resources and ideas for building this Mark into school life.
Jesus the Dissident: “As we faithfully pursue an Anglican inspired education, one of its key goals should be a particular kind of citizenship. That is, young men and women whose intellect and learning is pointed beyond self-interest towards an agency engaged in a greater and common good.”
Peacemaking. The story of Parihaka is one of the most important stories in the history of Aotearoa, particularly for Christians. While Gandhi and Martin Luther King are world famous for their paths of nonviolent resistance, the leaders of Parihaka predated them by decades and set an inspirational example to those who follow. The story also confronts Pakeha New Zealanders with some of the most shameful aspects of our history. Find excellent teaching resources for each year level here.
Christian Aid have worked with “Prayer Spaces in Schools” to create prayer spaces on justice issues, to be found here. They describe the space on justice for women in this way: “This activity invites pupils to read the case studies about girls and women in other parts of the world and how they are treated unfairly. If they want to the pupils can decorate one of the cut-out women, and then write a hope or a wish or a prayer on the other side, and then add it to the others. Follow-up lesson plans based around this theme are available on the Christian Aid website.”
Learning activities developed within the Revised Religious Education Philosophy and Curriculum Framework, produced by the Anglican Schools Commission Queensland. Their purpose is to engage students with key ideas relating to issues of social justice in the Christian faith. In particular they focus on the Millennium Development Goals and the Anglican Board of Mission Australia.
Thought-provoking scenarios and suggestions
“Imagine the world as a street. All houses are lined up by income, the poor living to the left and the rich to the right. Everybody else somewhere in between. Where would you live? Would your life look different than your neighbours’ from other parts of the world, who share the same income level?"