Morning Thanks

Garrison Keillor once said we'd all be better off if we all started the day by giving thanks for just one thing. I'll try.

Friday, December 21, 2012

God in schools

I'm a public school grad. I taught in public schools in rural as well as suburban America. My children went to Christian schools, as do my grandchildren, and last year I retired from 37 years in a small, Christian college.  Throughout my life, I've supported Christian education in every possible way, but that doesn't mean that I get snarky about what happens down the block in the public school. The public school is my school too.

And that's why Gov. Huckabee's shot-from-the-hip response to the horror at Newtown was distasteful, an exercise in fear-mongering. No Democratic government or no rogue Supreme Court justice can keep God out of anything--school or horse barn. God takes up residence where he sees fit, period.

What the Huckster meant, of course, is that the horror that Adam L. so madly carried out on Connecticut kindergartners was somehow pre-determined by the law that keeps public school kids from public prayer. Because public school teachers may not force kids to have devotions, a clearly misguided social misfit fills up his mother's assault rifle and. . .well, tragically, everyone knows what happened.  

I don't know where people like Huckabee get the notion that nothing "Christian" ever happens in a public school, but he's dead wrong; and so are all of those doomsday witnesses who look at our lives today and pick out some fictional golden age we all need so badly to return to.  

God is there in public education--trust me.  No, trust Him. I know.  I was there.  I experienced his presence.  No, I couldn't--and wouldn't have wanted to--create a prayer-a-day or whatever. No, we didn't have devotions, and I didn't read a little homily every homeroom.  Didn't happen.  I didn't preach either, but then I didn't preach in a Christian educational setting either. Teaching isn't preaching, but that doesn't mean that my students didn't know that I was a believer.  They did because He's there, and Huckabee is wrong and all he's doing, once again, is making people like my mother believe that the Lord is coming next week because He's mad as a hornet about being locked out of classrooms. You know, once we were a good Christian nation and all of that. . .  

He's wrong, dead wrong.

If anything can be learned from the nightmare at Newtown, it's that pinning the tail on evil isn't a kid's game. Wouldn't it be nice if we could say that Adam L. would not have hoisted that arsenal into his mother's car if his public school teachers had started the morning with prayer?

If the Reverend wants to untangle a really difficult problem, he should take a shot at the question that's been asked throughout history--if He's in control, why did He allow that horror to happen?  That's a question for the ages, and not to be answered in a political platform.

But Huckabee chose the soap box when he should have offered tears. In a situation such as we've all suffered in the last week, I really prefer an maxim from an old preacher named Alexander Carmichael:  "God is most exalted with fewest words."


Barbara Ford said...

right on, thank you.

Anonymous said...

yes--yes. Thank you.

Anonymous said...

Thank You, I agree. I work in the Public school and I am impressed with the quality of teachers, their love for the students, the care they have for one another, amid not so easy situations. I am not a teacher but an aide. After being there for a year and a half, my hats are off to a very dedicated group of teachers who couldn't care more than they already do. A good share of them are believers. Yesterday two of the kids I work with asked me if I believed in God? I could say yes! Then one of them told me she didn't, because there are so many religions with so many differences, some have one god, some more, and then there are many who don't believe God exist. Then she asked if God died on the cross why would we love a God who is dead? Then one of them asked if I was saved, and I told them I loved Jesus, and yes I was. I asked him if he was, and he said he was and used to be a helper in the Catholic church. His grandpa was going to buy him a Bible and he was excited about it. God isn't dead but very much alive working through his Holy Spirit in the lives of young people there who haven't grown up in church going families. It was a God given opportunity to share a tiny bit, with an open door for futher conversations. God has no limits, no boundaries. He is there and very much alive! Instead of condemning the world, God's job, I agree with you, we need to weep with those who weep along side of them. Sadly, he is not the only one who is "never letting a good crisis go to waste" with propaganda on either side of the gun issue.

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