I’ve been thinking a good deal about the Latin word discipulus these last few days. It means student and is where the words disciple and discipline come from.
In no particular order:
- If students are also disciples then they are supposed to imitate the teacher. What are they seeing to imitate?
- We think of discipline as a bad thing, as punishment, but really it means more like a pattern of life that disciples copy and then make their own (“it is enough for a student to be life his teacher, for a disciple to be like his master”)
- If Jesus made disciples by having them follow him around and see what He did etc. then how should the Church make disciples? Paul, too, talks of imitation “be ye imitators of me as I am of Christ.”
- In modern understanding students are kind of empty sacks to be filled with whatever the teacher is teaching. The teacher is an authority because he or she knows more than the student – the authority is vested in the teacher’s own knowledge level.
- When I read the Ancient Greeks or other pre-Enlightenment teachers I see two things- the Greek philosophers consider their students to already have information and the teachers job to be to help them put the information into a reasonable relation and that the authority of a teacher comes not from his knowledge but is deputed to his office by a Higher Authority.
- If discipline is imitation of a teacher’s life and building the habits to make that imitation your own then teachers must be careful to imitate their Teacher.
- There is joy and security in following the pattern set forth by a Greater Authority. I get glimpses of this in my own life but find that the cultural push to be my own definition of good makes it hard to rest in this. Man has been trying to prove that he is the center and pinnacle of the Universe for centuries and it’s not working so well.
- “For I myself am a man under Authority…” is perhaps the greatest statement of Faith in the Scriptures.
- Discipleship goes beyond discipline to hearts and souls that are aligned towards the reason for the discipleship but you can’t get to the alignment without the disciplines.
- BUT human beings like easy answers and often mistake the disciplines that should align us to God for God Himself.