Tag Archive: Holiness


“But as for you, teach what accords with sound doctrine. Older men are to be sober-minded, dignified, self-controlled, sound in faith, in love, and in steadfastness. Older women likewise are to be reverent in behavior, not slanderers or slaves to much wine. They are to teach what is good, and so train the young women to love their husbands and children, to be self-controlled, pure, working at home, kind, and submissive to their own husbands, that the word of God may not be reviled. Likewise, urge the younger men to be self-controlled. Show yourself in all respects to be a model of good works, and in your teaching show integrity, dignity, and sound speech that cannot be condemned, so that an opponent may be put to shame, having nothing evil to say about us.” Titus 2:1-8

This summer I have been working as a guide/docent at Hancock Shaker Village. There, I educate people about the history and society of a particular religious group, and so, even though I don’t work in a school or college (yet), you could say that I am a teacher. But I think that all of us are teachers. Our actions and words impact those around us, influencing them in ways that we may not even notice. So it is very important that we ensure that we teach others the right things.

In the passage above, Paul encourages Titus to teach what is right, in this case, right living and a right understanding of God. And Paul then gives instructions to all of us: Old or young, man or woman, we all are included in the above. But the final part of the passage I think is the key – how is Titus to teach? Through words, yes, but also through his life. How do we teach others to be truthful? Be truthful ourselves. Teach others to be self-controlled? Be self-controlled ourselves. Teaching is so much more than a lecture. It is a life.

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“Dear friends, I urge you, as foreigners and exiles, to abstain from sinful desires, which wage war against your soul. Live such good lives among the pagans that, though they accuse you of doing wrong, they may see your good deeds and glorify God on the day he visits us. Submit yourselves for the Lord’s sake to every human authority: whether to the emperor, as the supreme authority, or to governors, who are sent by him to punish those who do wrong and to commend those who do right. For it is God’s will that by doing good you should silence the ignorant talk of foolish people.” 1 Peter 2:11-15 NIV

During my final semester at UMass Amherst this spring, I was taking two course, Public Anthropology and Historical Archaeology, that involved social justice as a central theme. We looked at how whole systems of injustice and oppression arise and develop, and how most people unknowingly contribute to oppression. Many of the readings about the systematic injustice perpetrated every day throughout the world left me saddened and angered. I started thinking of how these ideas relate to 1 Peter, where Peter demonstrates what a life changed by Christ looks like, and realized that one of the foremost ways, perhaps THE foremost way, of demonstrating how Christ has transformed my is to care for and pursue justice for the oppressed. These thoughts all started to coalesce one day as I was working in the Franklin Dining Hall kitchen, and I came to the conclusion that it is impossible to be a Christian.
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