#Double Disclaimer. I don’t have kids, and, therefore, have not had to deal with the following issue personally, so please take my views with a grain of salt. Also, I write this to stir up good conversation, not to judge anyone for their choices. My opinions are about as useful as the last thing you saw before you flushed.
I was thinking about Christian schools the other day and I think I came to the conclusion that I don’t like them all that much. I don’t dislike the idea of a place where a person can go to be educated about God, so I wonder why I don’t really get behind the Christian school initiative?
I guess it has a lot to do with why kids are sent to Christian schools. I’m sure people’s reasons vary, but the one reason that consistently gets my jaw clinched is when people say, “I don’t want my kids growing up around all those bad influences” which is to imply that kids who go to regular schools are bad influences, keen to start a cult, anarchist rebellion, or both. “The education system in secular schools preaches (and yes, they say “preaches”, “not teaches”) learning without God as the central fixture, and, (of course) these things will lead to the destruction of a young and impressionable mind.”
But, as a Christian that went to and got saved at a secular school, I have to question why all the fuss about the religious alignment of a learning institution. The first learning starts in the home, and the Bible says that believers are called to be salt and light. We are all in the world, commissioned with the task of spreading to message of Good News through Christ crucified. If we are to be an influence on the unchurched, why take such great measures to surround ourselves with like minded individuals? Where would I be now if it were not for the witness of a dissimilar mind when I was 17?
I find this contradiction in other parts of the Christian walk as well. When I look at churches as a whole, I see institutions that want to grow by absorbing outside parties into walled buildings. These churches are, in many respects, castles and keeps that protect the believers inside from the horrors of a sinful world outside. They have missions trips into a poverty landscapes where they hope to make an impact on something they try to avoid daily. And, ironically, when everyone comes back from these trips, they say, “I wish I could have stayed longer. I wish I could still be there helping them.”
Imagine if your whole educational experience you doing exactly that?
Kids have this uncanny capacity to learn and do it by immersion. I think that’s why Christian parents are afraid of sending them off to a secular school. It’s also why I think they should send them off to one. A little hands on learning around the “sin” of normal world living. I say that only because I’ve seen so many Christians brought up in bubbles that have absolutely no understanding of how to communicate with the un-bubbled, it’s laughable. They aren’t salt or light, they are just church parrots, squawking words for communion crackers with no clue how to use the language beyond pleasing the one who taught them.
I guess I understand the desire to want your child to be in a safe harbor. It’s the parent’s goal to protect a child and that child’s eternal walk with the Lord. But the world isn’t safe, and a Christian school is no guarantee anyone will stick to the faith. I’ve met plenty of people who’ve gotten saved in secular institutions, and plenty who’ve grown up in religious ones, rebelled, and gotten as far away from the faith as they possibly can.
I do not blame or fault anyone for sending their child to a Christian only institution. In fact, many such institutions are better funded, and provide a superior education. I also don’t fault any parent for wanting the best Godly education the can give to their child. I’m confident God honors those who seek to know Him more. But I still have to ask, is it good and dutiful Christian parenting to create a verdant Christian Utopia for their child to play in, or is it a lost cause, ordained to fail before it even started?