Saturday, September 24, 2011

Re-Thinking My Thinking on Education

After a little more thought I've decided it may be good to make some acknowledgements relative to my most recent post. Here they are:

1. I don't think education is an altogether simple enterprise. There are genuine complexities to our lives which make education choices more demanding and difficult.

2. If you were to become convinced that public school is not what God wants for your children, it may take a year or so to make a change. For instance, if parents decided today to go in some other direction, the implemented change may not be manageable until next school year. There may be lots of logistics to work through.

3. Parents are responsible to God for their children's education. But that doesn't mean they have to do all the educating. I think to enlist tutors, for example, is a fine thing. And one could argue that the public school system is for them a set of tutors they have chosen to teach their children basic courses while they (the parents) teach godliness. My initial trouble with such an argument would be the influence that such a non-Christian system may have upon my children. And then there is the issue of proper learning. I don't believe the education approach of our public schools is particularly effective or fruitful. Nevertheless, I offer the acknowledgement.

4. Some of the social interaction and opportunities afforded within the public school system could be good for our children. It is true that home-schools and Christian schools cannot offer all of these things. My caution here is that while we may desire these things for our children, we weigh the worth of them biblically.

5. I do not believe it is in itself sinful for a Christian to work within the public school system. The problem for me would be the difficulty that comes with the expectation that employees of the system" put their light under a bowl" (Mt 5:14-16) and/or teach contrary to God's Word. That, in itself, would be sinful.

6. Because of God's common grace, and the image of God in all of His human creatures, Christians can and should learn from non-Christians. One implication of this is that the best math teacher, for example, may not be a Christian, if in using the term "best" we simply mean the person that understands the subject most thoroughly and is able to communicate how it works. Of course if you want your children to understand math's relationship to God, then this teacher can't help you.

Well, it's 2:01 AM and I suppose that's enough. I almost always struggle inwardly after posting something polemical (like the earlier post on education). I don't want to be a hard-ass in any wrong sense of the word. Nor do I want to be an idealist, again, in any wrong sense. My hope is to be occasionally helpful to God's people. So in that spirit, I offer the above.

Grace & Peace.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Loving Our Children by Loving Truth

First, let me point you to Education Choices Are Not Neutral

Second, let me add, that as a product of the public school system, and now a father of two children, it is difficult to imagine that I would put my daughter and son under the influences of that system. I won't take much time with this because of the article link above that I hope you will visit. But I do want to briefly say that what is wrong with the public school system is not that there are no Christian administrators, teachers, and students in it. I have Christian friends who fill these roles. However, what is wrong with the system is that within it, everything is disconnected from God, as if God, the Creator and Sustainer of all things, has nothing to do with anything; Nothing to do with math, science, language, government, history, physical education, etc. Or, to put it in the words of God Himself via the Apostle Paul, ". . .by Him (Jesus Christ) all things were created: things in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible. . .all things were created by him and for him" (Col 1:16). Or, "For from Him, and through Him, and to Him are all things. To Him be glory forever" (Ro 11:36).

All of these things that the public school teachers want to disconnect from God the Son (the Christian teachers do this through silence) were actually created by Him and for Him to glorify Him. Of course Christian schools do this too when they assume a disconnect between the biology class and the Bible class. In that scenario, God has to do with the Bible, not science.

So my parenting friend, why do we want to put our children in a system of false teaching that is built on the lie that this is not so? Why do we want to put ourselves in the predicament of explaining to them over and over that what they were taught at school today is not altogether true and that the meanings that were conveyed to them are not the real meanings? Or worse, maybe we have them in the system and then don't do the loving work of distinguishing for them the truth from the lie.

I simply cannot make sense of putting my children under those sorts of influences for 8 hours per day, for 180 days, for 12 years. That's more than 17,000 hours of godless instruction, not to mention the influences from their classmates.

I am no one's judge. That is the work of God. But I am able to bear testimony that I have a great fear of standing before Him in judgment having chosen what presently appears to me to be the worst education option available -- the American public school system. I can hear the objections now -- that homeschooling is not an option (why?) and Christian schools are too expensive, etc. To which I will say -- These are our children! Figure it out. Ask the Lord for guidance and provision. Sell some stuff. Get another job. Do what it takes.

I can also imagine this, "Well, my children are good kids. They are in the system and they turned out just fine". Just fine compared to whom? "Just fine" is a nonsense statement because there is no other version of your child with which to compare the present version. There is no version that was raised learning that all things have to do with God and that He defines all things and gives them their meaning and purpose.

Another troubling issue is the whole segregation of life matter. Perhaps nothing has done more to fuel this than the public school system used by Christians. Out of this type of life division we come up with false ideas like "sacred" and "secular", which teach that some things have to do with God while others do not. Our children grow up learning that the classroom is for education and the church building is for God. That's simply not the case. "For from Him and through Him and to Him are all things" (Ro 11:36, again). The Bible has something to say about the education of our children.

Well, this post will anger someone, perhaps even some friends. I hope not. I mean every word. But I am not, as earlier stated, any person's judge. I'm simply trying to think through what it means to love my children in the arena of education. We should question everything. We must know what it is that God says is important for our children to learn, and what is not, no matter what the Department of Education says.

I hope you will check out the article above. It's much better than my thoughts.

Grace & Peace

Friday, September 9, 2011


I do not want to belittle any one's real pain. I have imagined what it might be like to lose a spouse or child the way so many were lost on 9/11 in New York City. It is a horrible thought. So again, I do not want to belittle or minimize the suffering. What I want to do is simply remind us that in this country more people are murdered in the womb each day than died in the Twin Towers on that day. Each day. And they are no less innocent than the 9/11 victims. Neither do they experience less terror.