By Caleb R. Gordon
When I was a little kid, learning new things was a constant pastime—whether I wanted it to be or not. From figuring out how a trampoline bounced to watching the carbonation in soda fizz along the walls of a paper cup, I naturally examined the world around me to make sense of reality and how it related to me. Even when I did not know all the intricate inner workings of trampoline physics or the chemical makeup of Dr. Pepper, I pieced together the things I observed and tested, adding them to a framework, or lens, through which I understood and saw the world. In other words, I was “worldview building.”
This idea of worldview building continued far past my early development. In the latter years of childhood, my process of figuring out the world around me translated into the study of history, math, English, science, and religion. Growing up with a homeschool education, my mother embedded in me the idea of “connecting the dots” in my studies at an early age. While at the time, it seemed to be just another time-consuming exercise preventing me from playing outside, I reminisce on these lessons as laying the groundwork for critical thinking and laying the pipeline of coherency to the house called reality in which I lived. Looking back, we were worldview building in that sunroom with three desks.
Fast forward to a Christian homeschool co-op in middle school. My experiences in learning began to take on new meaning through learning about the American legal system and freehanding the charted world from memory. Exercises in logic, rhetoric, and persuasive writing proved to be the form and syntax to express the language of critical thinking that had been ingrained into me so long ago. Reading the current issues raging in culture further bridged the seemingly distant reality of “an ancient world in the past” to a “not so unfamiliar present day” in which I lived.
Far past middle school, I kept worldview building. My academic career included attending a Christian high school, a real-life application exercise of my worldview. Surrounded by students who had never been taught to “connect the dots” in their subconscious worldview building, I appeared as a bit of an oddity with a different outlook on life. The fundamental difference between those students and me was that I had been taught the art of connecting numerous beliefs and values into a coherent system. When the Bible teacher pored over the Scriptures in Old and New Testament Survey courses, I saw a historical account of underlying unity and purpose that informed the way that I was supposed to live my life, view the real God who gave this life to me, and worship Him through it. Instead of seemingly unrelated stories of legend or mythology, I realized the Bible itself was a grand metanarrative of God revealing Himself and redeeming fallen humanity and that I played a role in this divine love story. Through classes in Understanding the Times by Dr. Jeff Myers and Dr. David A. Noebel, I examined political, religious, economic, psychological, and scientific ideologies across cultures that culminated in an awareness of the diverse, complicated battlefield in which this child of the King was called to serve. The students around me in the halls of that small Christian school became real people with real souls in need of the love of Christ. The homework from those dedicated high school teachers turned into opportunities to grow in my knowledge of this reality, informing and adjusting my worldview. Student leadership opportunities called me to invest in others in the way I had been so long invested in. Through all of these experiences, my worldview revealed true purpose in the seemingly mundane and ordinary life of a student.
Present-day, I find myself walking the brick pathways of a Christian university, studying in higher academia for a calling rather than a career. Reflecting on all my educational experiences, I thank the Lord for the blessing of understanding how my worldview impacts my life and how it has defeated the cultural notion of a divide between my sacred walk with God and a secular walk with the world. Instead, I live with purpose, detecting God at work in my life to advance His Kingdom and seeing every aspect of life and learning as an opportunity to become more effective in fulfilling His purposes for my life. Ultimately, worldview building and connecting is a lifetime process; however, I would never have understood this process and its significance if Christian educators had not taken the time to invest in me through their calling to show me the importance of worldview. Every child and student can live with purpose. Help them to see how and why they can.
Caleb Gordon is an undergraduate divinity student at Liberty University in Lynchburg, Virginia. He has served in various student leadership roles and has volunteered in multiple facets of the local church. With a passion for storytelling and worldview, Caleb seeks to impact how Christians engage the world, culture, and people as representatives of Jesus Christ while telling others the good news of the gospel.