I do realize that my post topics (and titles!) are very random or perhaps even willy-nilly. One week it's laundry, the next philosophy; pancakes followed by psychology. But that's the way I roll, I guess. This week, it's theology followed by a post on cookies this weekend :)
|To drive the point further - here is a picture of the ISO - Imperial Symphony Orchestra|
and some meat marinating...both good, random things.
I was reading through Romans this week and eventually came to chapter 14.* Seriously, it came right after 13 and just before 15.
As I was reading I had one of those the Bible really is a living and active book moments. I thought and thought about it all week and today I did something I never have done before: I rewrote/personalized the chapter - in terms of schooling. I have tried to find a way before to sum up how I feel about the whole topic of educating our kids, and this is the best I have come up with yet...funny I should find it in the bible :) It's not so much why we are doing what we are doing - but a set of ground rules I'd like to agree to before we start any discussions on the many areas of life: worship style, family size, housing, food, time-shares, hairstyles, demin jumpers... matters of conscience and conviction, that we might choose differently from each other.
Writing this gave me a renewed sense that I don't need to apologize for how we do school, and neither should you - instead we should joyfully do what we're doing and support each other to be the best parents and teachers we can be in whatever arena of education we find ourselves in.
I did send a copy of this to our pastor, who is the head of one of the seminaries in our area, to make sure I hadn't committed blasphemy or anything. While he didn't ask me to help him write his sermon for this weekend, he also didn't revoke our membership from the church. :)
It turns out Mr. Klassen, of grade 12 Bible class fame was right : Romans really is the most exciting book of the bible.
Here it is - hope it encourages you the same way it did me!
Welcome with open arms fellow believers who don’t see things the way you do. And don’t jump all over them every time they do or say something you don’t agree with – even when it seems that they are strong on opinions but weak in the faith department. Remember, they have their own history to deal with. Treat them gently.
For instance, a person who has been around for a while might be well convinced that she can homeschool her children, while another, with a different background, might assume that all Christians should send their children to public school, and educate her children accordingly. But since both are guests at Christ’s schoolhouse, wouldn’t it be terribly rude if they fell to criticizing the way the other educated their children? God, after all, invited them both to his schoolroom. Do you have any business crossing people off the registrar or interfering with God’s welcome letter? If there are corrections to be made or detentions to be handed out, God can handle that without your help.
Or, say, one person thinks that all ways of school are equitable for their family and another thinks that only one way of educating their children will work at all. There are good reasons either way. So, each person is free to follow the convictions of conscience.
What’s important in all of this is that if you educate in one way, do it for God’s sake; if you choose public school, join the PAC, volunteer in the classroom, and thank God for your wonderful teachers; if you choose to homeschool, homeschool to the glory of God and thank God you have the freedom to educate your kids this way. None of us are permitted to insist on our own way in these matters. It’s God we are answerable to – all the way from life to death and everything in between – not each other. That’s why Jesus lived and died and then lived again: so that he could be our Master across the entire range of life and death, and free us from the petty tyrannies of each other.
So where does that leave you when you criticize a brother? And where does that leave you when you condescend to a sister? I’d say it leaves you looking pretty silly – or worse. Eventually, we’re all going to end up kneeling side by side in the place of judgment, facing God. Your critical and condescending ways aren’t going to improve your position one bit. Read it for yourself in the Scripture:
“ As I live and breath,” God says,
“every knee will bow before me;
Every tongue will tell the honest truth
That I and only I am God.”
So tend to your knitting. You’ve got your hands full just taking care of your own life before God.
Forget about deciding what’s right for each other. Here’s what you need to be concerned about: that you don’t get in the way of someone else, or get offended that their passions aren't the same as yours, making life more difficult that it already is. I’m convinced – Jesus convinced me! – that everything as it is in itself is holy. We, of course, by the way we treat it, or talk about it, contaminate it.
If you confuse others by making a big issue over where they send their kids to school, or don’t send them, you’re no longer a companion with them in love, are you? These, remember, are the persons for whom Christ died. Would you risk sending them to hell over how they do school? Don’t you dare let a form of training your children become an occasion for a soul-detention!
God’s kingdom isn’t a matter of how you educate your children, for goodness sake. It’s what God does with your life as he sets it right, puts it together, and completes it with joy. Your task is to single-mindedly serve Christ. Do that and you’ll kill two birds with one stone: pleasing the God above you and proving your worth to people around you.
So let’s agree to use all our energy in getting along with each other. Help others with encouraging words; don’t drag them down by finding fault. You’re certainly not going to permit an argument over whether you think private school is better than public school wreck God’s work among you, are you? I said it before and I’ll say it again: all forms of educating are good, but any of them can turn bad if you use it badly, if you use it trip others up and send them sprawling. When you decide on how you are going to educate your children, your primary concern should not be to blindly choose one over the other but to share in the life of Jesus. So be sensitive and courteous to others who are choosing to educate their children differently from you. Don’t decide to do a form of schooling that will cause you to interfere with the free exchange of love.
Cultivate your relationship with God, but don’t impose it on others. You’re fortunate if your behavior and your belief are coherent. But if you’re not sure, if you notice that you are acting in ways inconsistent with what you believe – some days trying to impose your opinions on others, other days just trying to please them – then you know you’re out of line. If the way you live isn’t consistent with what you believe, then it’s wrong.
* I should add, just a point of minor self-deprecation - there are many days when I don't pick up my bible - but this week, when I did - it was awesome, and awesome things should be shared, right?!