Faith in Jesus requires having your own opinion

By Judy Brandon: Local columnist

Summer school is just around the corner.

For some college students, this is a great way to earn credit hours in a short amount of time. However, one of the hardest classes I took as a college student was a summer-school class.

It was English literature, and it was difficult for two reasons.

There was so much work in a compressed amount of time, plus the professor lived up to her reputation as being really tough.

She verified this when the first test came around. She announced to everyone’s horror the test would be oral. She outlined the plan. After she randomly called on students, it was up to the student to give her at least a satisfactory answer by responding orally to the question she posed.

I gathered all my notes, talked to the people in my study group and fretted over that test. I was nervous and apprehensive on the morning of the test. At 8 a.m., in walked the teacher with briefcase in hand and glasses on her nose. She stood at the podium and then reached for the seating chart. The interrogations began.

It was as if we all were on the hot seat. No one knew who would be called upon next. Then after about 10 students, she called on me and posed the question. I had memorized facts and opinions that I had heard and read about. I touched on all the comments made in class discussion and even named experts. I really felt good about my answer, and got more and more confidant as I talked on.

I finished. Her look showed me she was not impressed.

“Well, Miss Scott,” she said, “it is nice to know what others think but I want to know what you think. … Do you have any thoughts on your own?”

I didn’t know what to say. I had memorized what others had said and even quoted the expert — her. But I didn’t have any opinion of my own.

I guess when it comes to other’s opinions it is a good thing. In medicine for example, we need expert opinions. In flying cross-country, we need the expert opinions of mechanics and pilots. In waste management, we need expert opinions of those who know what to do with those kinds of things.

But sometimes we should not look at the opinion of others. There are times when our opinion is the only thing that really matters.

Think about Christ. Sometimes people make up their minds about him based on what others think. They talk to people and think they know about Christ when they are really just restating someone’s opinions. But do they really believe in him? Do they really trust him?

Just knowing about Christ is not enough.

Who do you think he is? It’s a timeless question on which each person’s individual fate rests.

By the way, I barely passed that class. I have no idea today what the teacher’s name was or what the pieces of literature that we studied were. I guess I have no opinion of her, except that she was tough.

Judy Brandon is an instructor at Clovis Community College. Contact her at: