There are those who seek knowledge for the sake of knowledge; that is [vain] Curiosity. There are those who seek knowledge to be known by others; that is Vanity. There are those who seek knowledge in order to serve; that is Love. — Bernard of Clairvaux
The Christian life is about who we become as we are inspired, enabled, and changed by Jesus Christ (1 John 2:6). At the heart of Jesus’ teaching is the call to love God with all our heart, soul, mind and strength, and to love our neighbor as ourselves (Luke 10:27). God’s character is anchored in love (1 John 4:8), and we are called to ground all our actions in love.
To love others means we give careful attention to their lives, ideas, and what they produce. We take time to intentionally consider their needs and we make their well-being a priority. We work not just for our own success, but for the flourishing of those around us. We approach loving and serving God as a foundation for loving others. We do this not just for the deserving, but for all who are made in God’s image. Christian love is tied to grace (1 Peter 2:13-17). Grace is the free and undeserved love, goodness, help, and favor of God. It is an outpouring of goodness that we did not earn or create.
Receiving grace commits us to extend grace to others. Jesus said that what we do to others he considers as done to himself (Matthew 25:40). Loving others requires that we grow in the Christian virtues characterized in Scripture as the fruit of the Spirit: love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. (Galatians 5:22-23).
When teaching about faith and science, we can help learners see that love, and the virtues that enable and embody it, are relevant. The qualities of love are relevant with the way we receive and respect the work of others including scientists and theologians. They are relevant to how we work with others in the classroom. They are relevant to how we interact with the wider community outside the classroom as we engage in conversations about faith and science. To paraphrase a key passage from the Apostle Paul, If I am convinced I have the truth and have understood and answered all the important questions about faith and science, yet I have not love, I am nothing and I have gained nothing (1 Corinthians 13).
As you explore the FASTly activities, notice how they do not just hope for or talk about loving interactions, but plan for and work at fostering them. Look out for ways in which students are encouraged to honor the ideas of others, attend to the needs of those around them, and reflect on how they are treating one another during collaborative work. Look out for places where care for the wider community is part of the picture.
The following activities are worthwhile examples and helpful starting places for your consideration and use: