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.

Tuesday, May 22, 2018

Morning Thanks--a Christian education

I'm not blind to the limitations. It's not hard at all for us to get a little snooty. In fact, it's pretty easy to get to thinking we're somehow better than others. You don't even have to hear that being said to start thinking it either: there's us and there's them. You got to fight the old "holier-than-thou" thing.

Because there's an inherent exclusivity to the entire operation. Not everyone goes, after all. Only some. Lots don't. Most don't. But we do. We're blessed, aren't we? 

You know?--that kind of thing.

Thank the Lord that there are more people of color these days, many more. For way too many years it was only white kids--and of a certain ethnic flavor too. For too many years, the whole business was monochrome and wooden-shoed. For too many years, Brown vs. the Board of Education seemed entirely irrelevant, as if we were immune to charges of segregation. We weren't. We aren't.

Here below, it's a chore for most of us to stay humble, not to think we've got all answers the world hungrily awaits, to look at others as if they're truly un-blessed. It's very hard for us to be reminded that there's as much sin and darkness in us as there is in that woebegone family just down the block, to have to swallow the pride the human heart, no matter what model or vintage, quite regularly serves up to all of us.

And it's just as hard to have to say you might have been really judgmental about things--about dinosaurs or evolution, about a whole host of nay-saying: about the devils and dancing, or card-playing, or a glass of wine or beards and bell-bottoms. It's difficult to have to confess we're not always right and not always righteous.

It's hard to admit that might just keep some people away simply by way of the high cost of admission. Guess what? we're expensive. Maybe too much.

Last night I parked a football field away, walked into a stuffed-to-the rafters college chapel, then watched and listened to 500+ kids dressed in ten different-colored t-shirts on a huge stage, all of them standing and singing their hearts out, telling a packed house the story of what they'd learned--each of them, each of the grades--about living in God's world throughout this school year.

It was a ball, a joy, a blessing to be there and to sing along.

This morning's thanks is primary-school easy. I'm greatly thankful that my grandson, a second-grader, was up there among 'em. This public high school graduate spent four wonderful years teaching in public high schools, four years I wouldn't trade for anything. I've never rejected or feared American public education. It's free and it's an immense blessing for all of us.

But neither have I forgotten the scripture verse printed on the report cards we lugged home every six weeks of my own grade school years sixty years ago. What that verse maintained is what I still believe, even if, back then, the marks inside weren't always God-glorifying. "The fear of the Lord," the old card said, "is the beginning of wisdom."

You can parse that sentence a dozen different ways. You can wage theological warfare with the word "fear." Go ahead and interpret it your way.

But to me what it means is what it says, and that's why this morning I'm thankful my grandson, last night, was one of those rambunctious kids up in front (in a robin's egg blue t-shirt), rockin' and rollin' through the story of his year in a Christian school. 


Anonymous said...

"I've never rejected or feared American public education. It's free and it's an immense blessing for all of us."

I have spent well over 30 years in public education and am now a retired public school teacher. When I was teaching I was required to belong to the National Education Association (NEA), the state and local school district unions. Most positions or stands that the unions supported I disagreed with. I rejected most, if not, all and yet supported each position with my "fair share" union dues. If you were pro-life you were just on the wrong side of history. In the classroom, the education was GODLESS period. Jesus Christ never entered the discourse. I feared public education for my own children during their early maturational years. We homeschooled our four children and, as a public school teacher, the reprisals were many and were not an immense blessing.

I am sure public education was NOT free, over 80% of the public school's budget went to teacher's salaries, insurance and retirement. Millions and millions of dollars! In my case, I helped foot the bill by paying double through my property taxes and, on top of that, I paid for my children's homeschooling costs.

I treasure my own eight years of learning in a Christian School, but I would recommend extreme caution when making the comment, "I've never rejected or feared American public education. It's free and it's an immense blessing for all of us."

Anonymous said...

I know many christians who teach in the public school. I would not call their work "godless." Both can teach about creation, but only one can talk about the Creator. Dr. Joel Nederhood would say it's like describing a work of art but not being able to give credit to the artist.
I taught many years in a christian school with a principal who was very supportive of the local public schools. He often talked about supporting millages, because he thought good public education would push christian schools to be better. We both knew that good public schools and good christian schools helped build strong neighborhoods and communities.

I Am Not Dutch said...

It appears you and your principal were working in the wrong place. You should have joined me in the public school.

Jerry27 said...

"Brown vs. the Board of Education seemed entirely irrelevant"

Am I the only one who assumes Ike's handler (Barnard Baruch) brought the goat-fuckers into Little Rock for the same reason he brought them into Italy


ron said...

James, I hope you have only one follower who admires the ideas of the white supremacist, anti-semitic W.L. Pierce.
Thanks for your essay.


Jerry27 said...

ron said...

Thanks for your response, and your touching concern for the professor's peace of mind.

I had an uncle and a neigbor who were gravely wounded at Monte Cassino.

Too bad someone other Pierce did save this ancient tribe from the Orwellien memory hole.

I do not accept most of Pierce's ideas.