I love learning. I think it’s a result of my radical conversion as an 18 year-old kid. It wasn’t a conversion to The Beatles, or to marijuana, or a political party. It was a radical revolution in my heart, started and continued to this very day by the real, live person called Jesus Christ.
I abhor religion. Let me say it one more time. I abhor religion. I am a renegade for God. That’s exactly what Jesus was. When I looked up the definition of the word, one time, it read “someone who pushes back against conventional wisdom.” And I realized that was me. That was why I loved Jesus. He was a renegade. He challenged conventional wisdom. He believed people should be free, happy, filled with joy and inner peace. He believed that loving people and helping people was the way to change the world and to create the world God had in mind when He created the world.
Sorry, that was a little tirade. I’m a preacher, after all. So because I’ve loved learning, I’ve loved preparing to do my lifelong vocation: speaking for God. Yup, that’s it. That’s what I’ve done since I was actually 18 years old.
I’ve passed on this love of learning to my three children. My three daughters all have multiple degrees. My youngest daughter will be finishing her first degree soon. But I have a bone to pick. I’ve sent these beautiful, smart women to universities to learn, and to love learning; to fall in love with lifelong learning. And I think they have that. But what angers me is that they’ve found that love of learning in spite of their many professors.
Who are these people that we call “professor?” Think of the word itself: professor. What do you profess? What do you have to profess? Let’s look at our institutions filled with academics who talk about academics all day long, to other academics. People who, a long time ago, forgot what it was like to love to learn, and to love to inspire other people to learn and discover, to be curious, to ask questions. Now all we do is give lectures and administer tests. How sick, how sad. And I’m angry.
So let me challenge you, for those who are professors or teachers: Love it or get out. Have a revival in your soul for the love of learning. Look into the eyes of these students. They’re not just our future. They’re our present. They are the young men and women of America who are coming to you for virtue, for values, for learning, for knowledge and how to apply it in the real world. How do they take what we have handed to them and make something beautiful and majestic out of it? How are they going to learn how to do that if you don’t teach them?
If you hate your job and you are a teacher, I invite you to muster up the courage of a gnat and quit. Get out and go do something that can fill you and the rest of the world full of joy. There’s got to be something. You’re smart, you’re good, you know how to pass a test, you know how to do this thing. I give you permission to be set free.
Let excited, energetic, enthusiastic lovers of knowledge and truth enter into our high schools and our universities and raise up a brand new generation of men and women who know what it’s like to not only dream and have visions, but to bring old standards and new applications to create the world that will solve the problems that are so big we often think they are insurmountable. They’re not. They can be solved. But not by boring professors teaching boring kids, who are trying to get out to get a boring job, in order to drive a boring car, buy a boring house, marry a boring woman or man, have boring kids and be boring until we all bore each other to death.