I am familiar with your work at Breakpoint, and I am particularly grateful for your contributions to Summit Ministries, teaching at their student conferences. You and others at Summit did much several years ago, to influence me to become a strong advocate for Christian worldview training for young people. In fact, my wife and I have one granddaughter who has had that two-week training at Summmit, along with the young man who later became her husband. In a few weeks from now, another granddaughter will also attend one of those conferences. Thanks for your influence in that regard. Another hot-button issue for me is Christian schooling. Therefore, I read with interest, your May 9, 2016 commentary, “We Can Impact Our Public Schools.”
My short reply is, “No we can’t!”
Experience can be a good teacher
Here is some background for my long reply. Counting my time as a student beginning in September 1947, including three degrees from three universities, 11 years teaching at a fourth university, six years on a local public school board, and my time as director of a Christian youth camp for the past 31 years, I have spent nearly 70 years associated with young people, and the adults who influence their training, and by default their worldview.
Imagine someone standing on the shore of the Atlantic Ocean with a teacup of water and then tossing the water into the ocean at high tide. Now if you consider the impact of that tiny cup of water against the tide, then you can get a mental picture of how foolish I consider it is for anyone to think Christians can impact our public schools. Your topic may have been appropriate in 1916, but now, 100 years later, it is grossly misplaced in 2016. To think otherwise, is to totally ignore and/or be willingly ignorant of the history of education in America. I say, “Wake up, and smell the stench from government controlled schools in this day! If my tone seems harsh, let’s just say, I am passionate because I believe what I say, and most of what I say is grounded in facts.
I am also a sheep producer who has three large Great Pyrenees dogs to guard my flock of more than 300 sheep. It would be foolish if I decided to trap some coyotes with plans to train them to guard my sheep. Caesar’s system is devouring our young lambs in the public schools. Christians will not impact public schools any more readily than a shepherd can train coyotes to become guardians of his flock of sheep.
Give to Caesar what belongs to Caesar and give to God what belongs to Him
Bluntly put, you can’t conduct enough workshops and seminars to make a positive impact on government-run schools. Furthermore, I’m sure you are aware of what Jesus said about what belongs to Caesar, and what belongs to God.
Your reference to the fact that about “fifty percent of public school teachers attend church and say their faith is very important in their lives,” is very underwhelming, to put it mildly. Someone who says “faith is very important” is not the same as entering a fiery furnace for failing to deny the one, true God of the universe.
Regarding your comment that the idea of education is a Christian one, you are correct. Since the idea of education came from Christians, why do we not have an abundance of Christian schools? John, if we consider it okay to essentially abandon Christian schooling in preference to government schooling, does logic not tells us that we should just abandon that book, the Bible, that we call God’s Word? Or, is important to keep around just so we can take a peek at it one day a week? On that same subject, do you know of pastors who regularly invite non-believers from the local schools, perhaps a principal or a superintendent to speak at the main Sunday morning service for the congregation? I don’t know about you John, but I have never heard of such a ridiculous idea of having a non-believer from a public school speak at the main Sunday morning service. Logic begs the question, “Is it, on the one hand, ridiculous to have a non Christian public school employee speak to adults during a one-hour church service on Sunday morning, yet perfectly okay to have innocent children exposed to such for five days a week for about 30 hours? Personally, my Christian worldview antenna says sending our children to a non-Christian indoctrination center is ridiculous, but more importantly it is totally non-biblical.
Test scores go down – cultural rot goes up
It is no secret that test scores of students in public schools have been in decline for several decades, while social problems in schools continue to go through the roof. While public schools have a multitude of social problems, I note just two that are current, Islam and bathrooms for the confused in public schools. Islamic Jihad is running wild in Europe, and often we hear of public school students in America being subjected to indoctrination concerning the Islamic religion/government/law. It seems that few people have learned that deceit and stealth techniques are used by members of Islam to infiltrate other countries and cultures. The following is a true story that goes back about 30 years. While serving as a public school board member, I picked up a history book and searched for information about Christianity in America. This is what I found; only 18 words described Christianity and yet five entire pages were devoted to Islam… that was in the mid-1980s!
Just yesterday, May 13, 2013, “Acting” President Barrack Obama, announced that he is sending a letter to all public schools threatening them if they do not obey the new rules for letting perverts and/or the confused choose to violate the rights of all other children anytime they feel perverted and/or confused. John, I don’t think a workshop on this will provide a way for Christians to have an impact on schools controlled by a tyrannical government.
Groupthink versus a personal relationship with Jesus Christ – Do what you can to impact students rather than trying to impact a pagan training camp
Groupthink is important for tyrants or any who wish to have control over the lesser people in a society or group, including religious cults. As Christians, I submit that rather that trying to learn how we can impact the wolf pack (usually referred to public schools) to which many entrust their young lambs (children), we should focus on doing all we can to directly impact our children and grandchildren with proper Christian worldview training in an environment where you can actually utter the name Jesus Christ without being threatened with a lawsuit (man’s law of course). For a few clues, spend some time studying the sixth chapter of Deuteronomy.
I can’t resist this one side note. As a shepherd of four-legged sheep, I know something about groupthink, except they don’t seem to think…Instant revelation, perhaps that is one reason God’s Word so often calls us sheep, because we have such a tendency to follow a group rather than follow Him, without any individual rational thought!
Traditional groupthink has been emasculating schools and churches for decades, even centuries. Have you ever wondered why we Christians so often speak about a personal relationship with Jesus Christ, while at the same time, we spend so much time sitting as a group while ONE MAN preaches/teaches? Have you ever wondered why homeschoolers do so well compared to those given the groupthink treatment? Check Deuteronomy again.
It’s time to do the right things as opposed to doing things right for the wrong reasons
The heading here may seem like double talk, but there is a distinct, profound, and important difference between doing right things versus doing things right. About 25 to 30 years ago in conversations with two different men, I heard important things that relate to the topic at hand, doing things to impact children, not attempting to impact an ungodly government school system, so they in turn can do the right thing. (that’s wrong-headed thinking from the get go)
In one conversation a man said that the difference between good leadership and good management is that good leaders do the right thing, and good managers do things right. Wow, think about that for a moment! Now, think about all the destruction to America since Obama became Acting President. He did one thing he said he would do, “fundamentally transform America.” He did things right, even if he is a puppet of some ruling elite entity. HOWEVER, that mere man has failed to do the “right things.”
The second experience I had came after a short conversation with a pastor who had returned from a church growth conference. I asked him, “What were the most significant things you learned?” His answer, “All those who spoke were dynamic speakers.” Whoa, big red flag! You want to increase the number of pew-sitters? Then find a slick-talking pastor! BTW, slick-talking and manipulating are interchangeable.
A man who increased the flow of sheep and goats through the front doors of a church building with a subsequent increase in funds given, qualifies as good management…doing things right. That doesn’t mean that a manipulator who increased attendance and money into the coffers of the congregation’s treasury did the right thing. He just may be good at milking sheep and goats, yet poor at making disciples for the Lord Jesus Christ. Incidentally, such a man is perfectly happy with the milk from either sheep or goats, because many such men have their focus on building their own personal empire/ministry (?).
My reference here is toward ministries, those that are really high profile, often national in scope. They have the voices that can reach far and wide. I won’t call any by name, but I challenge the reader to search for a few, and then look closely at their web pages. If you find one other than Exodus Mandate that is a strong advocate for homeschooling and/or private Christian schooling, let me know. Personally, I think most have good management to raise money, and have a fear of lost income if they promote Christian schooling…how pitiful, if I am correct.
Let me be clear, a financially prosperous ministry, large or small, pastor or head of some large ministry is often successful financially because the leader (s) does things right to raise cash. It doesn’t mean they are good stewards of time, talent, and treasure. I have concluded that most pastors and other ministry leaders keep their focus on doing things right, and yet very few do the right things. It is not complex; we have very few Christian schools because very few Christians with a megaphone are using it to proclaim the need for proper training for the young, the most innocent and vulnerable among us. Remember Jesus also had something to say about a millstone around the neck and leading children astray, didn’t he? There is also Scripture that says something about the one who knows to do good and does not do it… hint, it’s a three-letter word.