I’m reading Rob Bell’s new book “Love Wins”. He is arguing for a different outlook on hell & the way punishment is conceptualized. Rather than seeing punishment for those who don’t believe the “right” things, he is seeing jesus’ words as helping people understand that when our hearts are not as they should be, the state of things is punishment. Rather than fear to motivate belief, Bell seems to be arguing that Jesus wants people to understand, not fear, that life can be hellish if we make certain kinds of choices. That is, Jesus wants people to understand that their words & actions have consequences here & now, for themselves & others.
Turn this to education. Educators often use punishments to scare kids into compliance. Yet, what we really want is for kids to understand & consider the consequences of their actions. Perhaps helping kids make better choices is an issue of helping them understand rather than one of fear & consequences.
A consequence prevents me from doing X again, an understanding transfers to more than just X. Just like there is so little value in hoop-jumping the curriculum, there is likely equally little value in hoop-jumping behavior concerns.
Instead of giving johnny a detention the next time he throws something across the room, consider asking him how his action might affect others. Who knows, maybe Johnny never thought about it that way before.
PS. I have NO interest in discussing the theological merits of Bell’s new book on this site.