I have recently stepped down as Head Teacher at CFS. This is the second of three articles containing some reflections I have had about my teaching of History and Geography from a Christ Centred perspective. The material is adapted from a talk I gave recently at a Christian Teachers conference and I think the issues raised are useful to adults as well as young people.
My second observation is that with History I remind the students of what is often missing from their textbooks. In the case of the GCSE 1920-73 USA unit it is any reference to Christians or Christianity. Surprising when half the population went to church and it was a major factor in the civil rights movement. Very often Christianity has been airbrushed out of the history of the last 200 years. In fact we have a great story to tell. Vishal Mangalwadi, an Indian philosopher, in his book ‘The Book That Made Your World – How the Bible Created the Soul of Western Civilization’ describes how people who took the Bible seriously significantly influenced our modern understanding of service, our purpose in life, our sense of self, what it is to be human, rationality, heroism, morality, the importance of literature and education, our notion of true wealth, liberty and why we show compassion. It takes someone from a Hindu background to see the profound significance of the Bible in shaping western thinking. Peter Lupson, a member of the church I attend, has produced very well researched books that illustrate the practical impact of Christianity. Thank God for Football details how 12 of the clubs in 2006/7 Premiership League were started by churches in the 19th century – they include Aston Villa, Everton, Liverpool, Manchester City, Southampton and Tottenham Hotspur. With regard to the world of business, In God’s Company, he describes how the following businesses were started by men who loved God first and foremost but also loved their customers, their workers, their product, were scrupulously honest and extraordinarily generous, the companies were: Colgate, Thomas Cooks, Quaker Oats, Hartley’s Jam, Heinz, Kraft and Tropicana. With regard to missionaries in the 19th and 20th centuries there is an embarrassment of riches including more recent people such as Jackie Pullinger, Corrie Ten Boom, Brother Andrew and David Wilkerson. It was Christianity that provided many of the schools and hospitals that our modern world takes for granted and in many cases it was missionaries attempting to translate the Bible who created the written form of a significant number of the languages used in the world today. Christianity has definitely been a force for good and should not be airbrushed out of history – in fact its contributions should be celebrated.