Pious and Reclusive for Christ

If my Christian parents had not sent their believing children to public schools, Our lives would be drastically different. My brother’s wife Aileen would not have been lost and found, and Lauren, Ashley J and Ashley B would not have been either. No, we were not God’s gift to humanity, but the children of parents who stepped out in faith and decided that our area schools needed ambassadors for Christ. Thanks mom and dad(and God for leading them!)…
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After reading a post by a fellow blogger I randomly came upon the other day, I felt compelled to write. This individual wrote a lengthily, obviously impassioned post about the benefits of Christian education to children and, I’d assume, young people as well. Though I can see much to agree on in his post, I was turned aback by his assertion that parents who put their children in public schools have made a mistake, one that should not be repeated by their children.

Now, I realize that there can be many benefits to Christian schooling, whether at a specific institution or at home. My husband was home schooled through the entirety of his elementary/highschool years and I myself was both home schooled for three years and attended a small Christian school for four years. I treasure the biblical knowledge I aquired, not only through bible lessons and assigned memorizations from both the bible and hymnal, but also the pro-creation view point by which I learned science, thanks to the A Becca home schooling program.

BUT,I spent all of my highschool years at secular high schools and would not trade the experiences I had there for anything as they both grew me and I feel grounded me further in the things I had learned before. Furthermore, quite frankly my siblings and I were needed quite desperately in those God-forsaken(I mean literally) halls. Let me tell you about my experience as a Christian in a public school. That sounds like quite a lengthily endeavor but I will try to keep this to the point!

Before my family (with the exception of my brother Tim and his wife), moved to Atlanta in ’99, I went to Ancaster High School in Ontario, what some kids called “the pharmacy” because of all the drug use among the students there. It was a ghetto school both because of the decrepit, neglected exterior and the many darkly clothed, black nailed Marilyn Manson groupies or baggy-clothed, white wife beater wearing gangsta wanabies who loafed through the interior. I was so shy and scared when I first went there. I knew no one except for my older sister and was utterly insecure in this foreign environment. I looked at the ground when I walked, I wore a constant frown and even had periods of trouble catching my breath because of nerves. My first and only friend for quite a while was a Mormon girl named Melissa. Our common bond of being on the outside gave us a quick camaraderie but, as a devout Mormon, she was not allowed to come over to our house and I was not permitted in hers. Thus, our friendship could only go so far. The situation was tough and ninth grade was a lousy year full of loneliness. Being taken under the wing by Mr. Falknor, the cross-country coach, and running with the team was my one outlet of hope and purpose. I found a niche there and quickly rose to become second and later first on the “midget girls” team. Throughout everything, I never shirked from speaking my mind in class, even though my views of Christianity being the sole truth in sociology class or upholding traditional female roles in English were not widely shared. Ironically though, in a school where 99% of the students were non-religious and very “PC”, I do not remember coming up against a lot of assault or cricism. Sticking things out, I went into the tenth grade with sense of purpose that God was going to use me at Ancaster High. That fall, I ran a lot with Lauren Woods. I remember it was on the dirt track near the football fields that I was first able to share Isaiah 40 with her, my favorite chapter of the bible, and the words “But those who hope in the Lord will rise up on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint” were poignant to her as well. Later that year, she came to a full understanding of sin and repentance, accepting Christ as her savior. The most amazing thing was that after that point, together she and I were able to witness to the “hippie” group we hung out with (thanks to her); the kindest, most sincere friends I had in high school. Somehow, they “got” me. Months later, when I had to leave Ancaster High for a new home in Atlanta, Georgia, my heart ached for the people we were leaving behind-a feeling I never would have known was possible in the loneliness and alienation of grade nine. At Lassiter High School, my younger sister Grace joined me. We began from square one together and though I stumbled for a while, a wandering lamb running for the cliffs, Grace reached out to Ashley, quirky and fun loving, yet without any familial support of any kind. Through dinners at our house, talks in Grace’s room, and rides to youth group in mom’s ancient, green van, there never was born a more eclectic and energetic Christian. A year later, Ashley J, a friend of Grace’s from Ontario, came to Atlanta for the summer and accepted Christ at a youth retreat.

Broken homes, absent single parents, the avoidance of religion in Canada and thus the ignorance of the people, the over-production of evangelical jargon and products in the south and the lethargy of its people. Our Western culture is in desperate need of help and deliverance. Let us raise children who are God’s children; surrendered to Him that they might be His vessels, available to go where we have been called to lead them, even if that means putting them into the public school system. Let us show them what it means to passionately share their faith, love and reach out to others that we would not raise kids who are pious and reclusive for the savior of the world. As a wise man wrote, “It is easy to die for Christ. It is hard to live for him. Dying takes only an hour or two, but to live for Christ means to die daily. Only during the few years of this life are we given the privilege of serving each other and Christ…We shall have heaven forever, but only a short time for service here, and therefore WE MUST NOT WASTE THE OPPORTUNITY.”

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7 Responses to Pious and Reclusive for Christ

  1. Tim Challies says:

    Since you don’t have Trackbacks, I thought I’d let you know that I blogged about this right here.

  2. Michael says:

    Thanks for this poist. Anecdotes are nice, but they don’t really prove anything. Consider all those children who have been mislead, abandoned the faith, raped, killed, starting smoking and taking drugs, etc., etc., because they were in public schools.

  3. thebluefish says:

    Amen. We need Christian kids in schools… just as we do in every other sphere of life. They can stand firm in the gospel – and parents can teach them how to live for Christ in all of life.Not an issue particularly over here in the UK yet thankfully.Davethebluefish.blogspot.com

  4. Anonymous says:

    I just posted a rather long comment, hit enter, and got an error page. POOF went the comment.In any event – your comment “Let us show them what it means to passionately share their faith, love and reach out to others that we would not raise kids who are pious and reclusive for the savior of the world.” is almost sure to raise a few offended eyebrows among Christian homeschooling parents, and kids alike.It’s a myth we deal with all the time – the ever popular “what about socialization?” comment, and misinformation and misunderstanding, of what homeschooled kids are really n and Publish

  5. Rick says:

    POSTED ALSO ON CHALLIES.COM: As this post seems to be a family affair, I as Susanna’s husband and a homeschoolee, will add my thoughts: The underlying point Susanna is making, and that mom echoed is EMERSION AMONG NON-CHRISTIANS. Our policy cannot be one of exclusion from the world. If that was asked of us, why would God not take us all to heaven immediately upon conversion? 1 Cor 5:9 “I have written you in my letter not to associate with sexually immoral people— not at all meaning the people of this world who are immoral, or the greedy and swindlers, or idolaters. In that case you would have to leave this world.”Susanna was shocked at the passionate responses (most now lost). I had to explain that they stem from: 1) [b]homeschoolers are stereotyped and looked down on by family and friends[/b], and you develop a defensiveness (my best friend and I used to answer the question “where do you go to school” by saying “we are home-schooled pond scum” in order to head the criticism at the path and make a joke of it. )That is not to say we would have chosen not to be homeschooled. Jeremy went back for a year due to social pressure and quickly dropped out when he discovered the utter waste of time, students being treated like incompetent children, and silly social games that take place in government schools.2) [b]those who have wrestled with the issue and looked into what is being taught are disgusted with government schools[/b] for the propaganda and inefficiency. It is for these reasons that my own children will not step foot in government schools [b]until[/b] they are old enough to make a case otherwise. So the issues for me, must be split in two. 1) what is our policy as Christians? and 2) how do we best educate our children? Clearly as Christians we cannot withdraw we must be in the world (but not of the world). We cannot view ourselves as superior. We are sinful and very much the same as non-Christians as no work of our own has saved us. As Paul would say, “thanks be to Jesus Christ our Lord.” BUT education wise: Government schools unapologetically have an agenda, and they present that agenda as unquestionable fact that you are just unintelligent if you disagree. Their main agenda is: evolution, there is no God, parents are the enemy, homosexuality, and liberalism. Note the main agenda is NOT reading, writing, and arithmetic! Those matters we must dumb down and not offend anyone who thinks 1+1=5. We must not encourage intelligence. And make no mistake, just as Christian schools seek to preach the gospel of Christ, Government schools seek to preach the gospel of government reliance. The independent spirit is to be crushed. Homeschoolers seek to produce confident, self-assured, business OWNERS. Government schools seek to produce welfare recipients who will increase the power of the politician. They teach these things as unquestionable truth to young children who are very impressionable. The government gets 8 hours a day, you get 4. Do not fear the non-Christian students, immerse yourselves among them when possible. Homeschoolers: don’t stay within your church/family: embrace the neighbors who are non-Christians, join secular clubs, sports, etc. What you should fear is the system which is NOT neutral, but seeks to destroy. God is clear about what he thinks of those who purposefully seek to destroy his children, his temple, and to lead them astray: “But whoever causes one of these little ones who believe in Me to stumble, it would be better for him if a millstone were hung around his neck, and he were thrown into the sea.” In conclusion I would like to state that my wife and I stand together in all of this. we are against reclusiveness. we are against piousness. we are also against government schools. we are against the idea that government school is the only place you can come in contact with non-Christians, and we are against challies.com… oh wait, not that last point

  6. Susanna Rose says:

    Thank you for the discussion all! Wow, if I had known that my little post on my site that never gets any hits would cause contraversy, I would have…I don’t know what I would have done! Anyways, a few things:* **First, PLEASE read my post and not just the title or Tim’s take at the risk of making faulty ASSUMPTIONS!!!!!!***-Second, I am honestly VERY disapointed that NO ONE celebrated(through the events detailed in my post) that fact that there is the possibility of non-christians kids coming to Christ through Christians at public schools…whether you agree with me or not…..-Third, to RKS, my experience of public high school goes back to 1998-2001 so very recently…ugh, I’m really not that old!!!!( = -To Carla, I felt your fire and hope to successfully throw a little water on it!!! You and other moms out there who home school are great examples of caring, hard working and faithful mothers who want to see their kids get a great, God-centered education. My own mother did a great job while she did it and as I wrote in my post, I greatly valued that time. I also saw some things that scared my though…of which the post which inspired me to write in the first place reminded me. Just as many homeschooling families feel misunderstood, many Godly parents who choose to put their children in public schools feel very looked down upon! I DO NOT think it is right to base your decision as a homeschooling parent on not wanting your children amongst “the pagan” for the day…this “us” and “them” mentality is not only sinful, but breeds reclusiveness and an inability to see precious lost souls as anything worth feeling compassion for or desiring to see saved. NOW, if your decision is based on the quality of education, than good for you if you feel that your children are missing out on a more quality education that you feel you or a Christian school can give them. That seems a valid reason to me. REMEMBER though that it is possible, as my family is a testiment to and many others, that it is possible to nurture your much kids at home while also sending them to public school during the day. Bible reading, prayer and instruction is neccessary/commanded whether you are a home schooling parent or not and it is possible to achieve outside the bounds of Christian education. As to whether kids turn out better from Christian forms of education or public schooling…honestly, as a fairly recent pre-secondary student who has experienced all sides, I would say there is dangers in all of them. As the wife of a home schooled husband, who had a very possitive experience of the latter, we would both have to say that just as many home schooled kids go astray as others and often, it can even be much more difficult to detect or expect because of the assumption that they will not fall into unbelief or peer pressure or the like. I like what my mom said though…it is awesome that in an area like this, as Christians God has given us the freedom to choose and whatever one we choose, it is of the upmost importance that we are caring out our duty as Christian parents when the kids are at home, whether all day or at night, around the kitchen table,etc. Let us remember those that are lost though…if nothing else, let us agree that Christian children can be the best of missionaries and great at reaching out to others and should be encouraged to play with/have over the children on the block or from school, from soccer practice, etc. Well, if you have the chance, read my blog again and you may see it in a different light now. I appreciate your comments and concerns.-Gary, great point about making your yard available to neighborhood kids! Also, to be consistent with calvanism, let me rephrase the line in question, ‘”Tim’s wife Aileen MAY NEVER(instead of not) have been lost and found and Lauren, Ashley B and Ashley J either.”

  7. Ally says:

    I very much enjoyed this post. I realize that each family must be prayerful about what choice is right for their children’s education, but it would be wrong to ignore the benefit of Christians (even children) being in community (or at school) with non-believers. I was a teacher at a public school when God placed a Christian teacher in my life; her friendship (along with her numerous invitations to church) led me to the church that I attended when I accepted Christ a year later.

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