Witness in student classes

Thank you John Walkup for your helpful article explaining how, in your first class of the academic year, you tell your students about your becoming a Christian. I am more timid. I teach in the University of Lausanne, in French-speaking Switzerland, and the influence of French secularism is quite strong here.

In my first lecture of the year to each class I simply say that I’m English, married with two daughters, and that I’m a Christian. The students all roar with laughter when I say that I’m a Christian, because the general feeling here is that one’s religion is something very private, like one’s choice of underwear, and a very strange thing to mention at the start of a lecture. But the laughter is friendly, not aggressive.

I think it’s helpful to break the taboo, and to show that at least some of the professors are Christian believers, but I think the style of witness must depend on several factors including the size of the class (150-450 in my case), the subject matter (I teach anatomy and neuroscience) and even the age of the prof (I’m 63).

Best wishes,

Peter Clarke