Professor’s book explores balance between faith and teaching

Braden Thommarson | Broadcast Reporter

The Outrageous Idea of Christian Teaching, a new book authored by Baylor professors Perry Glanzer and Nathan Alleman, explores the idea of intersecting identities as a Christian and a professor.

Dr. Glanzer and Dr. Alleman surveyed over two thousand professors at nearly fifty universities across North America to compile a well-sourced research piece.

“I actually didn’t think we would get many responses,” Dr. Glanzer said in an interview with Lariat TV News, “but then we started looking at the data.”

The professors they surveyed had indeed responded and responded with valuable information for their research.

“We thought, ‘wow, there are some wonderful insights here,’ and so we wanted to put together those insights and analyze them and make a book,” Glanzer said. “One thing I thought was really meaningful was how many professors talked about… seeing [their] students as being made in the image of God, or as brothers and sisters in Christ,” Glanzer said.

Glanzer and Alleman’s book highlights both opportunities and challenges found when intersecting the identities of being a Christian and a professor. Glanzer found the professors he and Dr. Alleman surveyed often talked about teaching virtue and encouraging virtuous practices.

“They talked about… imitating Jesus in their service to their students,” Dr. Glanzer said. “… trying to emphasize forgiveness and love for enemies, [etc.].”

One challenge Dr. Glanzer mentioned was evaluating students and striking a balance between having high standards and showing compassion.

“While you want to have high standards, you also at times want to have grace and mercy for your students,” Dr. Glanzer said.

Dr. Glanzer had two takeaways for readers. The first is that integrating religion and teaching is complex.

“There is no ‘one size fits all’ method,” Dr. Glanzer said.

The second takeaway Dr. Glanzer shared is that there are connections within teaching.

“There are deep connections in world-views between what they teach, how they teach, and who they are,” Dr. Glanzer said. “We need to think about those connections.