Monday, 18 November 2013

What if God was one of us?

Joan Osbourne's one-hit wonder poses the idea about God being a part of the human race; what if He was a normal human being, just the average Joe Bloggs going about his business like a stranger on a bus.  The picture that Osbourne paints is one of God wanting to be unnoticed, become part of the faceless masses, choosing not to engage with society.

This idea contrasts with the notion of "church affiliation" for gifted Pasifika students.
The contrast is in the way in which students choose to engage in society because they understand in order to be a part of the world, you must participate in it.

3. Church Affiliation (e.g. Knowledge and experience to benefit others).
Students who are raised predominantly in a Christian religious environment, whether it is in a church which speaks their mother tongue, or an English-based faith, extol the virtues of using their knowledge and experience gained as an individual to benefit others.  It is important for gifted and talented Pasifika students to be able to use their skills and experiences in church to be able to transfer to their school context, for example, public speaking, showing signs of respect, behaving in accordance to social norms and questioning for understanding or clarification.  (Faaea-Semeatu, 2011).

For Pasifika learners in high schools, who display a strong connection with the church affiliation identifier, they will most likely be looked upon as a role model in their church communities.  They are seen as prospective leaders of tomorrow because in their church they are raised and encouraged to uphold the tenets that are preached and strive to practice the beliefs in acts of faith within the church and more importantly outside of church.

The church affiliation identifier above relates to students who associate with churches that use their heritage language and/or those churches that use the English language.  However there are Pasifika families who do not attend church (not pouring judgement here, just stating some facts based on conversations with Pasifika people who have told me that they don't go to church) because they work or have made the choice not to attend church, or affiliating with a church is no longer the priority that historically it once was.  Sometime sports tournaments are on days when Pasifika people attend their main church service of the week, when they observe their Sabbath (Saturday for Seventh Day Adventists and Sunday for everybody else).

Later in the song, Osbourne sings about if God had a face what would He look like, and if we did know what He looked like, would it mean that we would have to believe in all of the attributes that are attached to Him.  The attributes (according to artwork through the centuries as depicted in masterpieces commissioned by popes during the ages) are the objects or things attached to a saint.  In the context of Osbourne's song, if God had attributes, He would have heaven, Jesus and the saints.  I wonder what attributes we all have attached to ourselves and if others around us can see them?  I guess once you can see everybody's attributes in that sense, it makes it easier for us to connect and belong.  Maybe that's why church affiliation is such a huge identifier for church-going learners, as it is through their faith in God that they can connect and belong.  So that God isn't one of us, but more, a part of us.