Contend Earnestly: June 2009

Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Suffering with Joy in Christ

My dad is going in for surgery once again today to take out the hip they just put in last week. This surgery will be close to his 20th major surgery in the past 40 years. Meaning, he has a major surgery every other year. We have been quite used this as a family, but as he gets older it is becoming evident that his immune system is seriously breaking down. We don't know what is in store for Him. We do know that from the reading of Scriptures that it seems like those who suffer most in this world, suffer, so that they can see the glory of God more clearly in heaven. I told my mom yesterday that she might never know why her husband of almost 35 years is having to go through such harsh pain every day of his life. But, I told her that the great hope is that his tears will pass, his pain will pass and when in heaven, his voice will be calling to his Saviour who died and rose again on his behalf to take away his earthly pain to give him the eternal glories and rest in God. That is something to praise God about. We are merely pilgrims in this world, awaiting the eternal hope we have in Christ Jesus. Here is a small note that he emailed me yesterday, I hope that it can somehow bless you:

I’m sitting up this afternoon, (Monday), going through emails. I don’t know if your mom told you yet, but I’m not going to be able to keep my new hip. The surgeon came in this morning and said the new hip is infected with MRSA, and due to past experiences with extensive use of antibiotics, and the complication and strength of the MRSA strain of Staph, they don’t want to take a chance that I develop C-Dif again. They’re taking me back in for surgery tomorrow, (they don’t know what time yet). They will take out the new hip and put in another Antibiotic Space. They will give me antibiotics for the next 6 weeks to clean it out, and try again to put in a new permanent hip after that if they can confirm I am clean of infection.

If this is a teeny bit like Job, maybe God will give the business extra grace after this trial is over. God is in control. I am his servant, and this is my assignment for now. I do praise Him that he does care for us and does hurt with us through our hurts, but has a wonderful plan for our lives and the rest of eternity. My response of joy to Him during the tough times is my gift back to Him.

- David

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Monday, June 29, 2009

Common Misconceptions on Public School: Part II

In my last post I put forth a couple of passages that ultra homeschool only, kind of cultish like Christians use to show why homeschooling is the only way to go. I find their "exegesis" wanting and really, those verses show that it is the parents main purpose and calling to raise their children in a godly way to fear the Lord. It falls on the parents, not on anyone else. I have spoken to many who homeschool, but see why I am going to public school my children and agree fully that the homeschool only crowd really goes overboard in many of their yokes that they place on others. What is interesting is that the same interpretation usage that they impose on these verses, they scoff when applied to other parts of application in the Christian realm. I am glad I have many friends who homeschool, public school and private school. I am glad because I get the opportunity to see and pray for their struggles that they have in trying to live out God's mission in each one of these. What is sad, is that many of my friends who are either public schooling their children or who are homeschooled themselves, have told me that they would rather not enter the fray because they have decided that they don't want to get yelled at or ostracized. They have done it before and have seen the lengths that some of the homeschool only crowd will go to get their point across. That is weird. Sorry, but it is a strange phenomenon that people get so crazed on how others should try and live on mission for Christ and his glory when schooling isn't mentioned in the Bible. At best, this is a grey area and what I have found is that grey areas are often fought harder for than the gospel itself. I am going to give a couple of other misconceptions of public school that I have seen that need to be touched on.

Public School Isn't that Bad

This is actually a fear that I have for those who have chosen to public school their kids, yet do it cavalierly. There are some who just don't want to homeschool, who don't want to private school and just allow their kids in the public school system without care. This is very dangerous and is just as bad as letting the child watch TV, get on the internet, go over to other people's houses, etc. without continual investigation for the child's safety, both spiritually and physically. Public school has much to offer in the way of sinning and being led astray. The reason? It is of the world and doesn't have a Christian worldview. So, your child will be taught and led in odd ways that will require you to step in and know which defenses need to be put up at home, so that the child can carry those on to school. They need to be trained to see through the eyes of Christ and the abiding word of the Spirit so that they can notice and see those things that are contrary to the Word. This is something that starts at home so that they can discern for the rest of their lives. This will carry over to school, college, future jobs, current jobs, etc.

Not only this, but the parent needs to continually inquiry the student, the teacher and the administration. Will it be a fight at times? Yes. But to never acknowledge public school as being a place where battles will be won and lost is crazy and is inviting Satan to trample your child. This is not being a careful, God-honoring parent seeking to train the child in godliness. This is merely sending your child off to Caesar, hoping everything turns out for the best.

Know that public school is a difficult venture. Do not ignore this and seek to win your child's heart with the gospel so they too can see truth from error and show and tell and show the truth of God's indwelling Spirit to others.

We don't know if the child is saved, so how can they be salt and light?

This is true. We don't know who is saved and who isn't. But, if we carry this logic out, you should never allow your child to move out of your house. A parent's responsibility to their child doesn't end until the parent, or the child dies to be with their Creator and Saviour. Just because the government says that 18 is when a child becomes an "adult" does not remove the biblical standard of a child to honor their parent. I still go to my parents for advice and understanding and I still desire to honor them with my words and deeds. They are my parents. Kids get into their heads that once they leave the home that all bets are off. It never says that in the Scriptures. The closest it ever comes is when the child is married and they are to become one flesh submitting one to another. But, that still doesn't remove honoring the parent. Will there be times that a child has different convictions of the parent outside of the home? Yes, of course. But, the overarching way that a child can honor God, is by honoring their parent.

So, with this in mind, can my 6 year old, who loves Jesus in words, but not really in deeds be salt and light in his classroom? Yes. He is in a Jesus loving family. From the Scriptures, the family was always a unit, called to glorify God. When the father sinned against God in a way that caused the punishment to be death, who died? The whole family, including children. Why? Why would the children be killed for their father's sin? Because as a family they were a unit that was to sing and show the praises of their King, King Jesus. God sees the family as a unit. This is why God tells us that sin in the family usually carries over from generation to generation and why those who love God will carry that fruit from generation to generation.

How is my child going to be able to witness to others if he doesn't truly know it himself yet? He shows Jesus by deeds as well. He shows Jesus by listening to his teacher, honoring his teacher, helping those children in need, befriending the nerds, the jocks and the dorks. My child shows Jesus more than just standing up and giving a sermon about heaven and hell. In Matthew 28:19 we have the "Great Commission" where Christ calls us all to "Go, therefore." This term in the Greek is like saying, "As you go, make disciples". In other words, it speaks of as you go everyday make disciples of Christ. Sometimes it will be with words, sometimes in deed.

Because I am a child of God and called to show my children Jesus and tell them to follow Jesus, I will always speak and teach my child the ways of Christ and tell them to follow Jesus and do what he did and run to him when they fail because he died for them. I can't imagine telling my child, "hey, you don't need to be salt and light because you don't know Jesus, you're off the hook."

But, my child can be salt and light to the unbelieving world by honoring his parents. Will this develop through time to become "his own faith?" Yes, of course. But, before then, I don't excuse him because I don't know if he is saved or not, that is a copout.

I wonder if those that use this defense allow their children to pray, allow their children to ask Jesus for forgiveness, or what they say if their child says that they love Jesus or call God Father? Are we to correct them and tell them, "well, we don't know if you are saved, so please don't do these things." Logic says that if your child can't be salt and light because you don't know their heart, then you can't expect them to do anything godly and certainly shouldn't allow your child to call God their Father or say that they love Jesus. This becomes a theological beat down.

Jesus welcomes the children and loves their faith. I will never tell my child to deny their duties that Christ calls them to, including being the salt and light to a world that needs Jesus and his hope. I desire to always call them to love Jesus and I pray that their desire will be to show off the glories of God to all those they come across, no matter their age or maturity in the faith.

I am sure there are other misconceptions or questions people have for me concerning public school. I welcome any questions or comments, but know that if you decide to call me a heretic or a pagan, or a secular humanist that puts God on top, I will take offense.

God has called his people to do all things for the glory of Him alone. When we decide to put anything before that, whether it is fear, comfort, or out of love for others, including our children, we make an idol. We must make decisions, not that are best for our families, but what is best for the glory of God. Will this be a struggle at times? Yes, but why is this surprising? God tells us through Paul that those who desire to live godly in Christ Jesus will be persecuted, hated and mocked. I am not saying that then all should be in public school, but to not see why some have felt the calling of God to do so is ignorant, misguided and is a shame.

I have spoken to a lot of people who are on mission in the public school, and find it disgraceful and have questioned their decision because of the hyper homeschool population. They haven't questioned it because of the great arguments put forth, but because of the great scorn they have received. Let me be blunt:

No matter how you school your child, you are not a more mature believer and Jesus is not pleased with you any more than others. But, if you make the decision of schooling your child apart from asking God where you can show off his glory most, you are making an immature decision and God is not pleased with that sort of decision making.

I don't care if you homeschool, public school or private school, you should be making this decision for the sake and the glory of God alone. Any other reason is stealing God's glory and giving it to another.

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Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Common Misconceptions on Public School

What a whirlwind this series has been. I have been very surprised that I have had to defend making all our decisions, specifically schooling our children, for the glory of God. This is very odd for me. I thought this was a basic understanding within the orthodoxy of Christendom, but have found that living this out is often put to the side for the sake of the family and for the sake of the child. This is something that is concerning for me as a Christian, and concerning for me as I look to others for wisdom in making decisions. But, this is for a different time and a different discussion. In this post, I want to answer some common objections put forth by those who are advocates of homeschool only for families. Or, those who just don't understand how anyone could put their child in the public school system and call themselves a Christian.

Through this series I have been told that I am a secular humanist putting God on top, I have been told that I am completely ignorant, lacking wisdom and also been told that God would never tell someone to put their child in the public school system and that I am blinded in many ways. All this by those who also profess to love Jesus and me. So, what I want to put forth in the next couple of posts is a defense of the common objections and then write why my family is going to public school. I hope this has been edifying and I really hope that in the end, we will all ask ourselves if we are doing ALL things for the glory of God alone, and not ourselves or our families.

How can you train your child in godliness if you public school them? Haven't you ever read Deuteronomy 6:6-9 and Luke 6:40?

These are usually the first places that a homeschool only advocate will go to, to try and make their case of why God commands homeschooling. For one, there is no where in Scripture that says how one must school their child. No where. In case you didn't catch where. The first passage, Deuteronomy 6, is speaking to the second generation of Israelites that are about to take their families into the promised land and in no way is instructing the Israelites how to teach their kids how to read, write or do math. This passage is specifically speaking of training our children the things about God. To be diligent to train them the understanding of how God's glory is reflected in all things and in all that we do. This is not some hidden idea on how to school your children. Notice it says specifically, "when you sit in your house, when you walk by the way, when lie down, when you rise up". The "when" is going to happen at different times and at differing proportions. The point being, when you are with your children, speak Christ into their lives and continually train them in all things concerning God. Moses is basically saying, there is no time that you shouldn't try and train your child about the things of God. So, if you are out golfing, train your child, if you are coloring with them, train your child, if you are at the grocery store, train your child, if you are going on a road trip, train your child, if they are playing sports, train your child. In other words, take every opportunity to speak to your child about glorifying God. So, they will be able to understand 1 Corinthians 10:31

Whether, then, you eat or drink or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God

But, for those who think I am full of it, shouldn't we then see how the Jews took this command?

Nathan Busenitz explains it this way:

The Jews did not understand this passage as a mandate to home school. Alfred Edersheim, in Sketches of Jewish Social Life in the Days of Christ (specifically chapter eight) explains that while children (primarily sons) did receive some education at home (from ages 3 to 5), they were sent to the synagogue for their education starting at age 6 or 7. There they would attend formal classes with the other boys from their community.

Not only this, but if we want to continually ask what was commanded of the Jews at this time, then it would be the command of the father to school the child, not the mother. Most homeschool only advocates, have the mother teaching the children, not the father. To live out how the Jews saw this passage would force the father to stay at home and teach the child.

Again, when we read passages we have to be careful not to take them and use them to push a conviction that isn't an imperitive.

So, then, how do I live out this passage with my family? I live it out by training my children the best way I know how to always see Christ and his glory in everything that they do. So, whether it is honoring their parents, obeying their parents, loving their friends, loving each other, doing their chores, reading the scriptures, praying, etc. It is all done for the glory of God. What homeschool advocates have to remember it isn't as though they are spending 24 hours a day speaking specifically on theology. They do the best they can to teach and train their children, and then when the child is on their own, they utilize the principles learned to glorify God in all they do, even when they are away from the home. This is the exact same thing that I do as a public school parent. I pray with my children, I discipline my children, I train my children, I study the word with my children and I teach them that when they are at school that they are to also be witnesses of the manifold graces of God.

To say I can't train my child in godliness because they are learning math, reading and writing from someone who doesn't love Jesus is far fetching, unbiblical and tying a yoke around people's neck that goes further than Christ, any of the Bible teaches, or how the Jews at the time of Christ took it.

The school gets my child from the age of 5 to 18 for about 14,000 hours, I get them for about 84,000 hours. During that time I will train and teach them diligently to understand how to handle the 14,000 hours they are away from us and the 84,000 hours that they are with us.

What about Luke 6:40?

A pupil is not above his teacher; but everyone, after he has been fully trained, will be like his teacher.

Voddie Baucham loves using this verse and believes he has an open and shut case when using it when defending a homeschool only agenda. I really respect Baucham in other areas and wonder why he misses the point of this verse so badly. Again, I respect the man very much.

In the Greek, the term "teacher," or "didaskalos" used in Luke 6:40, and from the rendering throughout the NT and the Hebrew equivalent in the OT, is speaking of "one who indicates the way of God from the Torah.” (Theological Dictionary of the New Testament). Jesus is called teacher, John the baptist is called teacher and also we have false teachers mentioned in the NT as well (Nicodemus, a Pharisee, was called teacher by Jesus in John 3). What one finds with this verse is that it is speaking of someone who teaches the spiritual things concerning God and his will. This is not speaking of a teacher like we would define a public school teacher as. Now, if I were to send off my child to be trained by one person, as Samuel was given over to Eli, that would be different. But, the person who will be training my child in the things of God is not going to be some public school teacher, not a youth leader, not a children's church teacher, not a Sunday school teacher and not a pastor. My child will be trained and taught by me. This is the calling of the parent in both Deuteronomy 6 and Luke 6:40: Parents, train your child in the way of the Lord and when they grow up they will not depart from it.

I wanted to take a whole post with these two verses because they are the ones that are always brought up by homeschool only advocates. I love them for their zeal for God, but I fear that what they are doing is taking these verses and going too far with them. Training our children does not have to equate homeschooling them and always watching over them and never letting them out of my site. Again, the early Jews didn't even take this verse to mean this. My children will know who their teachers always are: their father and mother. These commands are seen also in Ephesians 6:4

Fathers, do not provoke your children to anger, but bring them up in the discipline and instruction of the Lord.

This is the calling of the parent, to bring up the child, to train the child in the discipline and instruction of the Lord so that when they see false teaching they can discern it and know the truth, and seek God's glory in it.

Homeschool is not the only answer to this. Private school isn't the only answer to this. Public school is not the only answer to this. Training your child will take a lot of time, a lot of effort, but we should all have known this before we had children.

So, when looking at the Bible, know that the early Jews didn't see specific commands on how to school their children, and we shouldn't put those on others either. We should simply ask one another, "Are you doing everything necessary to raise and train your whole family in the ways of God for his glory alone?" If the answer is yes, we should stand behind them and diligently pray for each other that God's greatness would be seen through the mission that he has put each of us on. To say God commands only one way of schooling our children is ignorant and not reading the whole of Scripture, but reading something INTO Scripture and is putting a yoke on other's neck that is heavy and Pharisaical.

Reformers love using the term exegesis and hate the term eisegesis. When one reads these Scriptures and puts forth a homeschool only agenda, welcome to the world of eisegesis.

This post, and the others I have written is not to divide the family of God, but to bring us together. It is to give the homeschool only agenda the understanding of why some of us public and private school. It is also to give public and private school parents the understanding of why some people homeschool for the glory of God. But, in the end, I hope it brings us together so that we can pray for each other, not that we would be converted to one type of schooling, but that we would be converted to the gospel call of glorifying God in all things.

May God be praised.

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Monday, June 22, 2009

Tedashii: Make War

I mentioned in my review of Tedashii's new album "Identity Crisis" a song that has a great opening by Piper. Here is video that is a short clip of Piper and Tedashii's song "Make War."

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Friday, June 19, 2009

3 Reasons I Hate Prayer

This is actually a bit of an overstatement, but still has a lot of truth in it as I take a look at prayer. When looking at Scripture prayer is drenched with its worth, understanding and application. I know the reasons to pray, I even have the best example I could ask for, which is Christ my Saviour, often slipping away by his lonesome to pray. We are told to pray without ceasing, yet I find many reasons to not pray. I figured I would put forth 3 reasons I hate to pray.
1. Where's the Recognition?

There are many things I can do to get some notoriety. I can preach, teach, write, I can serve others and can get many accolades on how great of a Christian I am. People will pat me on the back and tell me how smart I am and how much I live like Jesus lived. I can be the awesome Christian even more when I tell them, "It is only because of Jesus that I do these things." Again, what amazing humility I show with that response. Maybe I even throw in a verse or passage that I have memorized there to make it even more holy and to show that I am "hiding God's word in my heart."

But, with prayer, it isn't like this. Prayer is between God and I. Prayer is a private time that I share with my Creator to speak with him. It is a time where I admit how much of an idiot I am and how great He is. It is a time where I beg him for mercy, thank him for grace and ask him to search out the sin that is within me. But, the problem with all this is that know one sees me doing this and no one says how great of a Christian I am when I say, "amen." One of the reasons I hate prayer is that God is the only one who is praised and I am left out, revealing the lowly creature that I am totally dependant on God and his goodness. Just me and God. Just praise for God. No praise for my greatness. That just sucks.

2. I Don't Believe It Does Anything

Why would I pray and waste time doing it if I can just do it myself. Why would I pray that God would enlighten my heart to his truths if I can just study the passage, the original languages and commentaries and learn that way. It will be much quicker. My hatred of prayer becomes evident when decisions are made and things come up and instead of going to my place of solitude to lift my voice to God, I try to fix it myself. If I thought God could truly move and make his name great through my prayers, my life would look more like an unceasing prayer model. But, my lack of prayer life shows that I really don't believe God will do anything because of my prayer. Even though I don't call myself a hyper Calvinist, when I don't pray, practically I have become one.

I hate prayer because most of the time when people are sick and about to die, they don't live because of my prayer, but they die instead. I practically believe that my will shall be done, not God's. I believe that no one should die, that no one should lose their job, that no one should have struggles and hardships, and practically I have become a health and wealth proclaimer by not praying.

So, the second reason that I hate prayer is because I don't think it ever does anything and I want my selfish will to be done, not God's.

3. The Cross and Resurrection Hasn't Fully Captured My Heart

Because of the cross and resurrection of Christ, all believers become a part of the church of Christ, the bride and we have become married to Him. I hate prayer because I don't actually believe this to be true. If I loved Jesus and what he has done fully, I would desire to speak to God more. I would desire to go and commune and fellowship with my God and thank Him for the wonderful things that he has done for me. I would see that through the Cross, through struggles, the resurrection, God's glory shines through. I would see that everything, including my trusting in him, is in his hands fully.

But, because I have not fully been captured, I hate to pray to him. It is more like an arranged marriage where I hate the spouse. I do it because it is the only option. I do it because I have to. I don't fully trust him so why would I want to succumb to his authority and sovereignty? I don't fully believe that he has all things under the subjection of his feet, even my idolatry, struggles and successes. I don't believe that he is the one who has given me the power to create wealth and I don't believe that he is my treasure, but I believe in myself and my power and I would rather be single than married to him.

The cross and resurrection is not the root of my life, but is merely a belief. If I hate prayer, these things become an after thought and something that is like oxygen, it is always there, but I don't think I truly depend on it for my well being.

I know this post seems over the top and harsh at times, but it is one that I have had to truly ask myself about. I have had to ask myself why prayer is such a struggle in my life and these things have come to mind. I have struggled for many years with prayer and I truly hate that this is true. I want to be so transformed by the goodness of God, prayer is my first answer, not the fall back.

I want to truly not care about recognition, I want to truly believe that God's power is awesome and he hears our prayers and I want to captivated and transformed by the cross and resurrection of Christ. I am afraid that prayer sometime is an indicator of my true belief in these things. But, I also praise God for his patience and love for me even though I struggle. I praise God for the most wonderful verse that he has given my heart:

Therefore there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.
Romans 8:1

If there was still condemnation for me who is in Christ, I am not sure where my life would be or what hope I would have, because I fail daily, but Christ is the Victor always.

May God be glorified, always.

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Thursday, June 18, 2009

Tedashii: Identity Crises

I first saw Tedashii a couple of years ago when he and Lecrae blew it up on stage at the Resurgence Conference at Mars Hill in Seattle. At the time I was very ignorant of the fact that there were guys out there who were actually good at spittin' rhymes and glorifying Christ. This was a new thing to me. Before, I only had bad memories of when an older white woman back in the early 90's handed me DC Talk and told me that it was "my kind of music and really good." I listened to it, laughed, and then threw it away. I loved this lady, so I didn't hold it against her, but the CD was just not good at all. Then came Reach Records. They sent me a copy of Tedashii's new album "Identity Crises" to listen to. I have listened to most of their artists, so what you get from Tedashii in the form of doctrine is no different than the other guys. This is a good thing. They are Reformed in doctrine and hit it harder in 3 minutes than most preachers do in a year. So, hands down, the theology is on point, you won't be disappointed.

The one thing that really made my head spin was Tedashii's far reaching styles. From song to song you are taken to sounds of all realms of hip hop from today and yesterday. If I didn't know that biblical understanding of what Tedashii means by "Identity Crisis" I would think that his identity crisis was coming from not knowing which aspect of hip hop he wanted to be identified with. You'll get songs that sound like Rob Base (from the early 90's), Wu Tang Clan, Jay-Z, 50 Cent, East Coast, West Coast and even some that sound like some old school gospel. Tedashii throws it down from all genre's and this does set him apart from other Reach guys.

This can be a good thing for Tedashii or a bad thing. As far as style, those that stick with only one genre of hip hop will find themselves wanting at times, but those that love many different genres will love the diversity of this album.

The two songs that really stand out are "Make War" featuring Flame (and John "No Diggity" Piper in the intro) and "I'm a Believer" featuring Trip Lee and SoYe'. If you listen to just these two songs you will notice the difference in style that you will expect from the rest of the album.

If I had to I would give the album 4/5 stars for style and music flow and 5/5 on bringing the glory to Christ and rhymin with right doctrine and practice.

Because when you bring it like this:

Self proclaimed kings bragging cause they on chrome
but 26 inches is a pretty low throne

That deserves some personal reflection on what and who we are living for.

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Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Piper Video on Treasuring Christ

This video is what I am trying to get at with schooling your children...please take a look and when Piper mentions "family" specifically think "my children"...peace.

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Should I Public School My Kids?

From what I have found with this series is that the answer to the above asked question, is simply "no" and then people move on. What I will be doing is writing three posts on this topic. The first two are the same as I have done with the other two schooling convictions, but I will also include "common questions" to the Common Misconceptions post and I will also have a post where I will put forth "Why My Family Has Decided to Public School". I will put most of my reasons in the last post for us personally. Also, please remember that just because I see a pro for something doesn't necessarily mean that I believe the opposite about homeschooling or private schooling...if you want...try asking and I will answer my thoughts on the other schooling options if you want clarification.



Some parents find this to be a big negative. But, I find diversity in race, thought, culture and personalities to be a huge positive. With the public school system you have others around your children with amazing stories of where their family is from and why their families believe what they believe. America is now a hotbed for diversity in races and religions and this doesn't go unnoticed in the public school system. I heard one missional speaker say that where we once had to go overseas to preach to the Muslim and Hindu, now we just have to attend a block party in our community to reach these same people. The public school system will give the child a good understanding of other races and convictions in front of them every day. They don't just read about other races and cultures in books but their friends and school mates become a living example of who these people are and what these cultures are all about.

Critical Thinking Through Training and Practice

The public school system is definitely an interesting one. The child will be confronted with things like the big bang theory, alternative lifestyles, differing religious beliefs, atheistic beliefs, challenges to Christianity and lots of temptations. I don't think anyone is surprised that these things happen and are far reaching in the public school system. What this allows the parent to do with the child though is to train them at home and allow them to practice their critical thinking in real life with real teachers and real friends. What is also great about this is that the kid then comes back home to the parent, where the training is continued and critical thinking challenged.

When the child comes home and has befriended a Mormon or Muslim that live a seemingly holy life and are very friendly, the parent has the opportunity to speak to their child about the hardships and differences that this friendship will pose. When these friends challenge the faith or convictions of the child, the family stands there ready to help and aid in a loving defense of orthodox Christianity. This is part of training a child, for them to hear the other side, see the other side, be challenged by the other side and still know why they believe what they believe. The parent, if involved with the child, gets the opportunity to aid the child every day with these challenges as they live in their house and train the child with these daily challenges to the faith.

I have seen it many a times that when the ultra homeschooler or ultra private schooler gets out on their own and are challenged by loving people of other faiths and convictions, and they are not sure how to respond. They think, "these people love God as much as I do, live a life better than I do and have great arguments against my convictions and great reasons why to follow theirs...what now?" I am not saying this happens all the time, but I have seen it happen over and over again, where the faith of the child is not theirs at all, but the parents. The parents have told them what to believe, instead of why to believe. Meaning, the heart has been left out of the was a conversion of the mind only. When only the mind has been converted, the mind can change its decision when seemingly better argumentation is posed. The child has walked the way of the parent because they know no other way personally. Then, when they get out on their own, they aren't sure how to respond or critically think through issues themselves. Hear me again...this doesn't always happen, but I have seen it happen enough to where I definitely worry for those who shelter their children so much that they have very little or no contact with the secular world. A soldier that is only trained and never allowed to enter war, does not really know how to fight.

The Lost are at the Public School

The public school is filled with those who need Jesus. Jesus went to where sinners were, and I want my family to go where sinners are and live like Jesus lived. In Matthew 5 as Jesus is speaking to the crowd he tells them that they are the salt of the earth and like a city set on a hill, a light to the world. You might notice that Christ is speaking to the crowd and starts showing who a real disciple of his is. What is interesting is that he is speaking to them in a group context. We should gather that since Christ uses the simile of a city, that he is first speaking to the universal church as a whole being a light (the representatives of the City of God), then the individual churches in each region, then families in those churches and then the individual. We are collectively called to be the light of the world, and this doesn't excuse the children of those under the New Covenant. My children are called to honor me, notice it doesn't say, honor your father and mother, unless you are a non-Christian. My children show the light of Christ by obeying me and honoring me. Now will this continue to grow in a child who then has his/her own belief in Jesus? Yes, of course. But, sometimes we are also a light when we have a non-believing child and we show how a loving Christian parent responds in these circumstances. This is exactly what God put forth with the people of Israel...there were both believers and non-believers in Israel, but all were expected to show off the glory of God. So much so, that if the parents sinned, the children died too. So much so, that if the child was in a pattern of disbelief and dishonoring to the parents, they were stoned to death.

When I send my children to the public school they are witnesses of the glories of Christ, whether they specifically mention Christ or not. Actually most of our lives are spent showing off Christ in our actions, not in our speaking the specifics of Christian orthodoxy. Not only do the children get to be witnesses to those at the public school, but us parents get the opportunity to be around other parents and teachers and live out Jesus for them as well. They get to see that we are just like them, sinners, but sinners who trust in Jesus for our righteousness.

We, as a family, are confronted with those who hate Jesus and don't live to glory God every day when we go to the public schools. What an amazing opportunity. So, when the child wears the lame "WWJD" bracelet, I get to tell them, "Jesus would go to where the sinners are and show them love and redemption every day for the glory of God."


Very Hard Fight

This is the greatest con, in my opinion. When one decides to public school their child, it is going to be a battle (but so is all of life). This won't be in every classroom, but in some you will have some battles on your hand as some things will directly come against your own convictions. This comes by way of books the English class will read, the negativity that can be met against creation in science, the diversity of the family make up in health class and of course, just the day to day encounters with students with all kinds of opinions and weird understandings of life. The parent needs to know that the fight isn't one where you just play defense, but you play offense. You are always training the child truth, so when they hear or see a derivation of that truth, they see it clearly. When the FBI studies how to spot a fake dollar, they spend more time examining the real thing than all the counterfeits. This is the same with the child and the parent. The parent must be involved in the training of the child.

Not only this, but the parent should also be prepared to read textbooks, literature and homework assignments to know what the child is being taught so that they are up to date with what the child is being confronted with. This can get tiring, but if you feel as though God has placed your family on mission in the public school system, this is a step that must be taken. I have a very good friend who has made this decision and has had two children go through the public school system and has two more going through it now. Their family is an amazing example of how to be involved as a parent. I will talk to them incessantly as we take on this challenge as a family and continue to look up to them as a Christlike family on mission for God's glory.

Also know though that it's not like the math teacher will be having story problems that say, "When Jesus died and never rose from the grave, and Peter started running at a rate of 5 miles per hour and left at 2pm, how fast did Thomas have to run to catch up to him if he left at 5pm to write false gospels?"

The Crazy Teacher

Some teachers are nuts. If a parent runs into one of these, it can be very daunting. Some teachers have an agenda to push and desire to destroy the conservative Christian convictions. You have to know that this might happen if you are in the public school system. I personally had a science teacher in high school like this, so I used to make fun of him and call him a liar when he taught something contrary to the Bible. I literally yelled, "liar" when he spoke something opposite of the biblical truths. I wasn't the best example, but he took it like a champ and we used to make fun of each other a lot. The point is that there will be teachers that are literally trying to convert your child to their form of teaching. It could be teachers who are atheists, polytheists or agnostics. They will desire to try and convert and demean your child. Know this going in and work with that teacher, but also teach your child not to be like me when I was in high school. Humility and meekness are attributes that win most debates in the eyes of others. Tell them to listen often and talk when the Spirit leads. But, don't leave your child to fend for themselves, you must, as a parent, stand up and defend your child to the teacher and the administration, but you must do it in a way that is Christlike and shows the glory of the One who redeemed you.

This is a huge con, but one that can be worked with and in the end, can actually build great character, strength and conviction within your child as they watch how you respond and defend the faith.

Those Stupid Sinners

A pro of public school is that they are filled with sinners, and a con of public school is that they are filled with sinners. What is interesting is that your child and you are sinners too. The difference is Whom you love and trust. But, this is a con for your child to be around influences all day that you don't have control over. I already put why this can be a great pro, but there are some scary cons as well. Your child will probably be confronted with sex, drugs, violence and immorality that the bible prohibits and this can happen sooner than you might like your child to be exposed to these things. This happens with the kids who are there. Know that your child will be around darkness as he walks the hallways and talks and has fellowship with the other kids. This is why a parent must discipline with the gospel and not like a Pharisee. You want your child to be able to come to you to offer up his challenges and struggles at school without the fear that you will ground him or spank him the first chance you get. I have told my 6 year old that if he comes to me with a sin that he is struggling with, that he will never get a spanking for it. I told him that if he struggles with lying or anger towards others to come and talk to daddy and know that I am here to aid and love him, not to act as if I have never struggled with those things and treat him like I am some sort of saint.

If you continually show this to your child and show that you are there to aid in their struggles and temptations, they will be more apt to come to you when they see or hear things that concern them instead of keeping them from you. Does this mean that it will always happen this way? Of course not...but God tells us that if we train up a child in the way he should go, Even when he is old he will not depart from it. So, although most schools hand out guns and porn at the door, you will be able to teach your child that those things should be thrown away, or at least sold for a good healthy profit. ;)

More will be discussed in the Common Misconceptions and Often Asked Questions in the next post. I will cover things like Deuteronomy 6 and also Luke 6:40 and how I can read and study these things and still send my child to public school.

Until then, may God's grace abound, may His will be perfected on earth as it is in heaven and may I follow Him wherever he leads.

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Tuesday, June 16, 2009

The First Reason to Public School Your Kid I am kidding, but this is funny, so I thought I would share it so you get to laugh at me and my public schooled kids.

Fifty Years of Math 1959 - 2009 (in the USA )

Last Week I purchased a burger at Burger King for $1.58. The counter girl took my $ 2 and I was digging for my change when I pulled 8 cents from my pocket and gave it to her. She stood there, holding the nickel and 3 pennies, while looking at the screen on her register. I sensed her discomfort and tried to tell her to just give me two quarters , but she hailed the manager for help. While he tried to explain the transaction to her, she stood there and cried. Why do I tell you this? Because of the evolution in teaching math since the 1950s:

1. Teaching Math In 1950s

A logger sells a truckload of lumber for $100. His cost of production is 4/5 of the price. What is his profit ?

2. Teaching Math In 1960s

A logger sells a truckload of lumber for $100. His cost of production is 4/5 of the price, or $80. What is his profit?

3. Teaching Math In 1970s

A logger sells a truckload of lumber for $100. His cost of production is $80. Did he make a profit?
4. Teaching Math In 1980s

A logger sells a truckload of lumber for $100. His cost of production is $80 and his profit is $20. Your assignment: Underline the number 20.

5. Teaching Math In 1990s

A logger cuts down a beautiful forest because he is selfish and inconsiderate and cares nothing for the habitat of animals or the preservation of our woodlands. He does this so he can make a profit of $20. What do you think of this way of making a living? Topic for class participation after answering the question: How did the birds and squirrels feel as the logger cut down their homes?(There are no wrong answers, and if you feel like crying, it's ok. )

6. Teaching Math In 2009

Un hache ro vende una carretada de maderapara $100. El costo de la producciones es $80. Cuanto dinero ha hecho?

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Monday, June 15, 2009

Common Misconceptions on Private School

These posts on private school seem to be like taking a breather before we get into my thoughts on public schooling and from the sound of it will be even more interesting when I put up my post on "Why my family has decided to public school our children." Before we get into that discussion, I wanted to put forth some ideas on some common misconceptions on private school for you to chew on.

My Kids Have to Be Private Schooled No Matter What

Someone brought this up on facebook and was something I was going to mention in this post. Private school is expensive for some families. Some families decide to put all other biblical principles to the side and do whatever it takes to private school their children. They get second jobs, lose a conviction on the wife staying at home, and become just bad stewards of their money. This is one of the ways that God is telling you that He doesn't want you to private school. Are we to sacrifice sometimes for the kingdom? Yes, of course, but we should never sacrifice biblical principles for the sake of our kids.

I am not saying that all those who private school their kids are idolizing their kids at all, but when you start laying aside other responsibilities as a parent to send your kids to private school, you have now made your child an idol. These responsibilities could be from over working the parents to where they have no time for the children, to giving up other convictions (such as mom staying at home) in order to put the kid in a private school.

Sometimes expenses are God's way of saying, "no". I would love to go to Africa to aid my friends in Mozambique at their orphanage, but the tickets alone cost $3000, and my family is no in position at this point for me to lose time at work and the cost of going. At this point, my wife and I have prayed and understood that God is telling us "no, stay where you are, this is where I want you."

Know your expenses and know what God is telling you. Listen to God's calling for your life, but also know that God will never have you lay down one biblical principle to follow another one. Will God sometimes ask you to sacrifice monetarily for his calling? Of course he will, this happens all the time, but if you have to get there by ignoring other parts of God's holy Word, know that it may not be God opening the door, but Satan.

Screw Private School, They're all Just Spoiled Brats

I hate to bust your bubble, but God loves rich people too. Now, not everyone in the private school system is rich by any means. But, the idea from non private school people seems to be sometimes jealousy of the fact that these parents have the means to send their children to private schools. Remember, that all through this series, I am trying to get you, the reader, to get to the base of why you should be schooling your kids the way you desire. If it is for God's glory first, and you feel that God's mission to you is private school, that is awesome. There are many who never hear the gospel out of mere jealousy of them having greater means than others. Jesus rebuked the rich young ruler, and many other money idolators need the same rebuking and Christ centered living shown to them right in front of their eyes. Some of these kids will never listen to a poor kid who doesn't know their situation, but put someone of their own "status" in front of them, on mission for Christ, and the ears could be opened.

We cannot forget that the private schools are a mission field, and we need missionaries to be within them showing the glories of Christ through the way they, and their family, lives.

So, know that even if most of the kids are pompous that go to some of these schools, they need Jesus.

*I feel like I need to keep qualifying my statements. Know that I don't think that all kids that go to private schools are pompous or that their parents are rich jerks. This can definitely happen though and happens often. If you aren't a rich pompous jerk, this is not speaking to don't take offense.

I Want to Private School Because it is a Safer Environment

This depends on the situation. It depends on the area and the school. It depends on what you mean by safe. I don't have statistics, but to think that your child is safer just because the school is private is a misnomer that I would hope the parent understands. You have to remember that sometimes private schools are filled with some of the worst kids, because they have been kicked out of the public schools and have no place to go. Do these kids need Christ? Yes. Does this sometimes remove the thoughts of safety from the private school? It definitely can.

The problem with churches, private schools, public schools and even the home filled with homeschoolers is that they are all filled with sinners. What studies have found is that what sinners do best is...sin. So, the same precautions and underlying teaching and discipline that goes for the public school parent, has to go for the private school parent. The scary thing is when a parent who decides to private school, just puts their child in the school thinking that it is "safe" just because it has "Christian" in the title. Parents must not be ignorant to these facts and must keep on top of what is happening with the child, the teachers and the administration. Hopefully, if you have chosen a good school, you will have the administration on your side if things go astray.

Not only do you have to make sure that you fight against the immorality of the sinners, you must also fight against the morality of the perceived righteous. What I have also seen within private schools is that the children are raised like Pharisees sometimes. Seeing themselves on a higher level than the public and homeschooled kids. The parent needs to continually discipline the gospel to these children and continually remind them of God's provision and the reason that God has put them on mission in the private school system.

These are the most common misconceptions that I have seen. I also hit on some in my first post when I spoke on teachers and professors that have different convictions on the Bible than your family. This is especially important to remember, but even moreso, remember that just because your child is in private school, this doesn't give you the right to not train them. You are utilizing other resources to teach your children certain subjects, but you are still the primary source for their training. You must not forget this. You must continually put a God centered vision in front of your children so that when they go off and are taught, they can see how the teaching does or doesn't fit into the plan that God has established through his word.

This is vital. We are told in Deuteronomy 6 to train our children, and we must not merely hand them over to a school and act like that is enough. The school system is not primary, but secondary, even if it is a great Christian educational system.

I have seen this done in another way. I have seen parents who have decided it is the church's responsibility to teach theology to their children. I teach and I teach them, and then when I speak to the parents of what is going on at home, I find that I am their primary theological teacher for their family. This is not okay. I am not the one primarily responsible for your child's are.

The same is said outside of the church in any place that your child goes for training and discipline.

Know the mission God has put you on, and don't let others tell you differently. Listen to God through prayer and His word and go to others who actually know who Jesus is, so that they can help you in making decisions for the sake of the glory of God alone.

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Friday, June 12, 2009

Should I Private School My Kids?

It has definitely been an interesting ride so far in this series that is only 1/4 done. What I want to reiterate once again is that I do not have a bias against or for any type of schooling as long as the decision is first and foremost for the glory of God and mission that he has put your family on. The outcome of that understanding should be the decision on how to school your children, not the other way around. For whatever reason, people have taken this thought and have used it to make is sound like I have something against homeschooling...which is just not true. Just because my family won't be homeschooling or private schooling doesn't mean that I am against it. I am just against it for my family, because it isn't God's will for us. It is like me saying that I am not for my family going to Africa and living there at this point, because God has me on mission here in my great state of Washington. Does this mean I am against, or biased against those families that have chosen to be on mission in Africa? Not at all.

Okay, enough said about that. Let's get to private schooling. What I want to make clear, so that this is easier to follow, is that when I am speaking of private schooling your child, I am speaking about private schooling in an evangelical Christian private school. Some of these pros and cons might cross over to any private school, but some may not, but I wanted you to know what my premise was as you read.


God Centered Education

I will say that this is definitely not the case at every Christian private school that I have witnessed, but if you choose a private school I would hope that this is one of the great pros that you can "boast" about. The nice thing about private schooling is that the Bible is usually brought up in almost every classroom setting and the kids have the Bible as a staple in their backpacks. The teachers will keep them on task in an understanding that God is the creator, that he is the sustainer and he is the reason for life and breath and all things. This is a wonderful pro for private schooling your children. Your child gets to hear it at home and at school the wonders of God. If it is a really good school the teachers will bring up past geniuses in the field of study to show how their faith impacted their studies, such as Jonathan Edwards.

Overall, this is a really nice addition to what the child will be learning at home and great confirmation for the child to be able to hear and discuss Christian topics in an environment that hopefully expects and supports the critical thinking of Christian convictions.

You Get to Choose the School

The variety of Christian schooling is wide. You can choose everything from the watered down gospel school that gives hugs at the door to the name it and claim it school where for some reason it is the kids fault if they get an "F" on a paper because they didn't have enough faith. The good thing is that, for the most part, the parent can enjoy a plethora of choices when they decide to private school their child. Unless you live in the back hills of some state with no mountains or trees, then you are stuck with making dresses and covered wagons with the Amish. But, hey, it probably doesn't cost that much to go to that school since you can barter with them.

If the parent is on mission for their family, this choice should be made carefully and for specific purposes that God has laid on your heart. You might be making a choice based more on theological convictions than education, or vice versa, depending on where you honestly feel that God is setting your child in place at. For the most part, from what I have seen, the administrative staff at these schools are pretty open and honest about what they offer and what they refuse to change, which is what you want up front when choosing a school.

The Fight Is Less Daunting

For the most part, the private school that you choose will probably be an extension of the home and not in stark contrast. This, again, is not always the case, but for the most part usually is. I am not saying that the parents will not be involved or have times of conflict (which I will confront more in the common misconceptions post), but if you have chosen a school carefully, you won't have to make decisions on whether your child is taught sex education too early (or at all), have to decide if your child will attend diversity day at school, or have to continually battle against a Godless creation.

For the most part, this is a good thing for the parents and child involved in private school.


Can Set up Walls Against the Gospel

Notice I said, "can set up walls." This doesn't mean that it will always happen this way or is a definite. But, what can happen within a private school is the idea of privilege and set up walls to where the regular Joe is never seen or befriended. It can become an "us and them" mentality. The parent's role in this becomes difficult when the other parents are rolling around in expensive cars (while idolizing them) and their kids look like they are miniature Donald Trumps just trying to get through school so they can become the next great entrepreneur (these guys/gals need Jesus too, which will also be in the misconceptions post). If the parent becomes lazy in fighting this mindset, then the walls will start to be built and the poor and needy can start to be looked at as a burden instead of having the Imago Dei needing the transformation of Jesus. The school can start to look more like a gated community trying to keep all the riff-raff out and the ones who belong in. Which isn't the gospel, so parents, keep the fight against this.

We want our children to understand that all people need Jesus and whether you go to private, public or home school, God sees everyone of them the same and all need Jesus regardless. If the parent becomes lazy in this area, pride can be built within the child and soon enough James 2 starts reading with the child's name inserted as the one needing to be corrected.

Diversity of Theology

This will also be put in my public school post as well and can be a pro and a con. I personally went to a Free Methodist University that believed in free will and Arminian thought. What did I get out of it? I actually became Reformed. Pretty interesting to say the least. Although the private school will teach about Jesus, the theology can sometimes be quite poor. The watered down gospel can be taught, weird thoughts on hell, creation, and the infallibility and plenary Word can be challenged. Just because it is labeled as "Christian" doesn't mean that the theology is correct. Like I said, this can be a pro or a con, depending on how you see it. If the parent is on top of things, I think that the child can benefit greatly from being challenged in their theological beliefs. This is exactly what I got out of a University that believed in women pastors and where the Old Testament professors thought the fables of the OT were cute and done well for the little kids. It really made me think and understand the reasons why I believed what I believed.

So this can go in two ways. If the parent isn't on top of this, the child can get some strange things taught to them that will honor man and not God. On the other hand, if the parent is quite involved (and loves their child), they can critically think through the issues with their child and help them develop discernment and a God centered theology.

It is sad when I see a child let loose to private school and the parents seem to almost say, "Phew, glad that school has it handled, see you when you're 18."

The decision to private school is no different than the decision to homeschool or public school. The parents need to diligently pray, go to the Scriptures and come to a decision where they feel the Lord is putting their family on mission for His glory. This has to be the first thought for it to be truly God honoring. The decisions and understanding don't stop there for the parent of a private schooled child. They will need to continue to get out of the child more than "we learned about God today" from the child. With liberal theology continually creeping into the minds of the conservative, it can come in small doses without the careful parent noticing.

To an extent the job of a private school parent is not that different than a public school parent, just happens in different ways with different focuses. But, the biggest focus for our children has to be, "Son/daughter, how did you glorify God today in your actions and thoughts today at school?"

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Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Be Careful Little Eyes What You See

Because I am sick and trying to save the Private School post until I am better, I have something for you to check out in the mean time. This is a new internet parental control site. This has been put out by a buddy of mine from church and looks pretty stellar. I will say that the thing that I like the most is the fact that it lets the parents decide what is appropriate or what isn't, not a third-party database like most other parental control sites. I don't want some computer system trying to tell me what is right or wrong for my child.

Here is the description from the front page: (here is the direct link to the site)

What is it?

Guardrail is an easy-to-use parental control product for your family.

Why choose Guardrail?

Guardrail is easy to install, easy to manage and easy to use. You don't need to be a computer, network or security expert to use it.

Guardrail lets YOU decide what content is appropriate for your family. Other parental control products rely on third-party databases populated by others to determine what is appropriate for you.

When your child attempts to access a site they don't have permission to visit, he or she can request permission to visit the site directly from the access denied page.

Guardrail allows you to review sites as well as approve and deny your child's permissions requests from any computer or web-enabled mobile phone with access to the internet.

When you subscribe, you help others. As part of our effort, a portion of each subscription fee will be donated to the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children.

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Monday, June 08, 2009

A Pause On Schooling Before We Continue

This has been very interesting so far and has been one to where I hope that those who have commented will go back and look at my original post on why this series it being put up. I am not putting this up to convince anyone of a specific way to school their children. I am not sure why it has come across this way or why people aren't reading my qualifiers when they go through my posts or understand how much I know many different home, private or public schoolers and many have done it for wrong reasons and right reasons.

Again, my reason for this is not because I haven't made up my mind on what I will do for my family, but is to show the different perspectives on schooling to aid others in what they will do or why they are doing it. This is the whole reason, and I stated this in my original post. I want myself and the readers to always get to the reason of "why" more than the means of "how". Also, for whatever reason, poeple don't believe me that when I have said that my family will be public schooling and this is the choice for my family, they take that as an attack on home schooling. Not true at all and I have said this so many times I don't know what else to say.

My choice and your choice in all we do should also first be looked throught the lens of on glorifying Christ and then from there, taking that and seeking God's will on how to do that most for you and for your family.

Like someone said, I have many home school children in my church and I love them dearly and have enjoyed watching their mission for Christ. What I have also found interesting is that some of them have read my posts and have believed them to be spot on and enjoyed them thoroughly. I am not questioning the means of what people are doing, I am hopefully driving people to the why of what they are doing. If you read this blog, heard me teach or preach that is what I have always tried to do, get people to look into their heart for why they are doing things.

The reason is because we can make things that God has created and commanded to become meaningless idols that God detests. We can make our children idols, we can make money an idol, we can make our possessions an idol, we can make studying/reading/memorizing the Bible and idol, we can make praying an idol, we can make serving others an idol, etc. The real question sometimes has nothing to do with the outworking that we all see, but the inward of what our works are doing...glorifying God or glorifying the flesh.

David says this specifically about something he commanded...which is sacrifice and meal offering, yet says that God did not desire these. Why? Because the heart was not focused on the glory of God, but just focused on the means of sacrifice and forgiveness. Notice that David's focus is on the will of God.

Sacrifice and meal offering You have not desired;
My ears You have opened;
Burnt offering and sin offering You have not required.
Then I said, “Behold, I come;
In the scroll of the book it is written of me.
I delight to do Your will, O my God;
Your Law is within my heart.”
Psalm 40:6-8

Again, the reason for these posts is not to start a fight, to divide or to "stir up trouble". I have simply laid out what I have seen, read, spoken to others about and my convictions of the Scripture on the reason to home school and some of the cons that could come up if you decide to do so. If one were to see that I said that "these could happen but won't always happen" they would see that I was being balanced with warning.

The last post received 36 comments. I put up 4 of those and most of the comments were made by homeschool advocates. You will notice that most public school advocates just stayed silent on the posts, but have emailed me privately because what they have seen on the blog is what has happened privately and they are exhausted in trying to show the reasons of why they are convinced that public school is where THEIR family has been put to be on mission for the glory of Christ.

I have also had the priviledge to speak with Todd privately and we both decided to remove our comments towards each other for reasons that are going to stay between him and I.

I think people also forgot that this is a series in which I will show the cons of private and public school as well and the challenges that those parents will face as well. This isn't a series on homeschooling, it just happened to be the first post.

I will also say that if I am attacked personally, I have tried to just stay out of that, because I don't want to go into ad hominem attacks and get emotional with others. For those who think I am being dramatic or have some sort of matyrdom complex, I have had many others read the posts, the comments and one other place that comments were being made and they were amazed to see how I was treated and how this subject was handled by a certain few.

This is what I am asking as you comment and make your voice heard. Please read the qualifiers that I put out there. Know that this isn't a book or a polemic against or for any type of schooling. These blog posts are to start someone in understanding some basic things and understanding of choosing God's glory above everything else. I am not going to tell someone how to school their kids, but continue to support them as they support the cause of Christ's glory.

Also know that those that you are talking to are real people, making real decisions and will probably be in heaven alongside you praising Jesus.

I have found it interested that I have been told that I am "ignorant" "a secular humanist throwing God on top" and someone who is "divisive." I have taken these charges seriously and have asked others that I know who love Jesus, will tell me if I am being retarded in my thinking, if I am being overly critical, or if I am being a biased jerk, they have all came back with the same

I pray that the rest of the series will be challenging and fair and that all those involved will again, read the intro to understand why I am writing these. I have already gotten great response from others who have said that it has helped them understand the reason behind the decisions they make and not just the means that should be considered. That really has excited me to hear that.

I will also put one final note. I have said that I will "never homeschool." I will say, that is exaggerated and has been something that has hit me well. I believe in doing God's will and believe that homeschooling is a viable option for families, so I could never say "I will never homeschool." Point taken.

It also saddens me to see people say that they would rather talk to homeschoolers than public schoolers, that Christians don't belong in public schools and the exaggerated comments made against public schools. It saddens me because I also have many students who are public schooled, and they have read the comments and feel as though they are stupid, pagan and God haters for going to public school. Not only students, but teachers that are Christian have felt this way as well. They aren't commenting because they do not want to get in the fray and start a fight...this is also why my comments have been few after my posts. I am not here to battle. I am here to contend earnestly for the faith and for the glory of God, not for a specific way to school a child.

May God be praised.

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Thursday, June 04, 2009

Common Misconceptions About Homeschooling

My Kid Will Be a Social Misfit

Let’s be honest, if you are a Christian and you raise your child to be Christlike, your child is well on his way in being a social misfit. Saying things like “to live is Christ and to die is gain” is pretty strange and not real socially acceptable. When your child doesn’t sleep in on Sundays but goes to church and listens to a dude talking about a 2000 year old book for an hour is also very odd and not socially acceptable.

So, if you are a Christian we are already in a lot of trouble when trying to be social in this world. What we don’t want to do is set up our kids to be like he is from Leave it to Beaver in a King of the Hill world. I get that. To be honest, I know a ton of homeschoolers, private and public schoolers and all of them are odd in some way. Some homeschoolers that I know are just like you would expect, social misfits that couldn’t hold a conversation with Richard Simmons. Not sure if I could do that either. But, the weird thing is that I see the same thing with public school kids as well. My personal belief is that it is on the head of the parent to get their children involved in other things that interest their child. Get them involved in sports, art, dance, etc. to make sure that the child is able to stay social and on mission for the glory of Christ. If one keeps their child at home and allows very little interaction with the opposite sex and other people with differing views, you are well on your way to building a holy bubble around your child that could very well turn them into a Pharisee with very little social skills. So, to be honest, it has to do more with the family and parents than how one is schooled. Although, this will be much more difficult to accomplish in a homeschool atmosphere than a public or private school one.

By Homeschooling My Child Will Be More Safe

This is only true if you decide to shut the world out from them. Then check misconception number 1 and it will turn into a reality instead of a misconception. Are there crazy things that happen at public school? Sure. But there are crazy things that happen everywhere all the time. Again, it has to do with parental involvement to not merely give their kids a list of “do’s and don’ts” but to give them principles to rule their life so that when those temptations come their way, they know how to answer and respond. I have great conversations with public school kids who come and ask me different understandings of what they should do in certain situations. At a young age they are already understanding how decisions impact the glory of God and not just merely a “don’t do that” mentality. So, don’t think that just because you homeschool your child it is more safe…unless you decide to shut them off from the world, then all bets are off.

By Homeschooling My Child is Taught Only What I Approve Of

At the younger ages, this is totally true. This also depends on how you decide to homeschool, whether it is through co-op, video, or totally dependant on you. Now, I will say that if you are not qualified to teach certain subjects, please don’t act like you can. I will go through more of the subjects that I will struggle with in public school when I get to those posts and how I personally will deal with them.

When your child gets older, there are many thoughts in Christian circles on many different subjects where you might not be qualified to teach. Science and theology are big ones. There are many ideas in science from Christians that are vast and wide, same with theology. You will have to be very careful in what you are going to allow your kids to be taught and be very involved, which is no different than a public school parent. I had one student come to me once, as he learns through video by himself in his room, and was asking me if a certain thing his theology teacher was correct. This guy (teacher) was whack. It was way off and not even close to what the Bible teaches.

So, to a certain age, your child will only be taught what you approve of, but there will be an age to where they will have to be taught by someone else in some fashion. I know there are exceptions to this, but from what I have seen most homeschool parents end up allowing other experts take over at some point. Which I believe is a good thing, but stay involved and make sure that you discuss what your child is learning or you have fallen into the same trap as an uninvolved public or private school parent.

Homeschooling Gives My Child a Better Education

Maybe. This isn’t entirely true. It can be. But I still believe that it isn’t the type of school you are in, but has to do more with the parent’s involvement and the child’s work ethic. If you deeply entrench your child with a God fearing work ethic, they will get the most out of the education that they can. I firmly believe this. I have seen really dumb homeschoolers, very bright homeschoolers, very dumb public schoolers and very bright public schoolers. What is interesting, is that the potential of that child is only reached when the child and the parent put forth the effort. You can try to blame this on the “system” but from all the people I know, the research that I have seen put forth, it is bunk. For every dumb public schooler there is an equally dumb homeschooler.

Final Thoughts

Am I against homeschooling? No. Not at all. Am I against it for my family? Yes. We will not homeschool, period. But that is the answer for my family. What I really want people to be asking and really challenging themselves with is “Why am I homeschooling?” If it does not start with the glory of God and the mission that he has put your family in, I believe you will start living in some sort of idolatry. This is the same with someone who desires to public or private school as well. It must start with Jesus and work down from there. Your first question for your family must be, “We want to glorify God in all we do” the second question always flows from this, “How do we accomplish this?” If the how or the why rises above the first question, you are out of order and have started to lose sight of the greatest commandment, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul and with all your mind.” If you start with “I want my kid to have the best education” or “the public school system is terrible” or “I want to spend more time with my child” you have missed the point of living on mission. We are told that this life is difficult, that we will be hated, persecuted, and that Jesus came with a sword that will separate even families. This is the life you have chosen, errr, that God has chosen for you. This doesn’t mean that if you choose homeschooling that I believe you are not living on mission or that you chose wrongly, but I am praying that you have chosen it not for your kid’s sake, but for the sake of Christ and His glory alone. Do not fear. Do not fear choosing homeschooling your child because you think they will be socially crazy, do not fear that you will be sheltering them, do not fear that they will not have friends. Fear God. Then choose how you will live this out. God should always be first in our decisions, not our children.

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Wednesday, June 03, 2009

Should I Home School My Kids?

For most of the Christians out there, I have found out, that the answer to the question above is a resounding YES! I am going to do my best to show the pros and cons of home schooling and to do this, there will be some generalizations. I know there are exceptions to every rule. I know that for every con I put out there, you will have a rebuttal because little Billy-Joe never experienced any of the things that I state. If you want to put all your chips on Billy-Joe instead of critically thinking through issues, that's up to you and the box you're in.

This post is going to be the pros and cons and I have decided to put forth follow up posts on each of these to include a post on "Common Misconceptions". This will answer some objections to things that I have heard and hopefully help people to see through some of the mischaracterizations or Bible verses that they have used for years to prove the point of their desired educational response.

For home schooling, I know that there are many ways that this is accomplished. From a quasi Amish style all the way to what looks like a private school that meets together, but just doesn't have a mascot or team colors. Again, because of the wide variety I will have to generalize, so I hope that in the comments you will be forgiving and also put forth the different ways you have seen some of the pros and cons lived out differently. I totally welcome all comments, you can even call me a retarded public school moron, but just be ready for the aftermath...remember, I can control a lot since this is my blog :).

Please also know that I believe that home schooling is a viable option for Christians. I know many who home school. I know many who have failed in home schooling their kids and I could unfairly concentrate on those failures. I also know many who have succeeded greatly in home schooling, and I could unfairly concentrate on those victories. My job is to balance this so that we will all critically think through these issues and answer the reason of "why" we school the way we do, not just the different ways we have seen it work, or not work.

The Pros of Home School

I know that it might be strange for some of you to hear a public school kid say anything positive about home schooling, but I am not blind or deaf, so I know of some.

1. Total Parental Involvement

This has to be the biggest pro for home schooling. There is no fighting with curriculum, either with secular thought or theological convictions. The parent has total control of showing how God's glory is seen in all parts of every subject, whether science, math or economics. A hard working parent who home schools will be able to continually show forth why God gave us math (order), why God gave us science (to point to the creator) and why God gave us economic thought (to show that God gives us the power to create wealth) all for this glory. Not only this, but your personal theological convictions are able to be put forth as well. The Arminian doesn't have to worry about a Calvinist speaking about election, predestination and other correct theology and the Calvinist doesn't have to worry about the Arminian putting forth their craziness of libertarian free will and how God continually changes based on the prayers of those that chose him freely.

This type of involvement will put forth your children to think just like you do, however that is. To be honest, in my convictions, I want my children to critically think like I do. I want them to have the same convictions that I do, because I believe all my convictions are correct. This might sound quite prideful, but if I didn't believe my convictions were correct, I would change them.

The parent also gets to hopefully be the one to introduce why the kid shouldn't do drugs, look at porn, shoot people, shank others, etc. Through home schooling the influence of the outside world is mitigated, and this can be a plus. Especially since public schools hand out guns and drugs when you walk through the door.
If you work out the average amount of hours kids will be in school from age 5 to 18 you would come up with about 14,000 hours. Those 14,000 hours are redeemed and given back to the parent if you home school.

2. Freedom of Education

How do kids learn? Every child is different. With home schooling you can completely tailor the way your kid learns and not have to worry about him learning audibly if he is a visual learner and vice versa. They can learn through a lot of different ways and experiences. This is difficult if they are in private or public schools. Much of their day is impacted by how the school has to educate a mass audience. Although teachers differ, it will be hard if your child learns differently than the status quo.

This freedom is also extended in the fact that if a child has a learning disability or some sort of mental retardation, the parent can change and take as much time with that child that they need. This is a huge plus with home schooling. Some children that have mental issues can't concentrate for longer than 20 or 30 minutes and so breaks need to be taken often and those breaks might need to be drastic. Such as taking a walk, spending time outside, etc. This is just very hard for the public school or private school to accommodate. My pastor's family is a great example. His son had major heart issues, even to the point where he had a heart transplant. He would have missed so much school it wasn't possible. He told me because of this, they chose home schooling for their family. I totally support that.

There are many other freedoms for the home schooled. Such as the freedom of the family to do missions trips together, serve in the church together in ways others can't, etc.

The other freedom for home schooling is that you can take a vacation whenever the family wants, you can wake up late, learn on the couch and watch Judge Judy...and that's just cool. Okay, maybe Little House on the Prairie and not Judge Judy, but since home schoolers don't have TVs this can be quite tricky. Okay, okay...enough. :)

These are the pros that I see in home schooling. There are pros that others see in homeschooling, which I don't believe are pros, so because I am the one writing these, will not include them. You can include some more in the comment field if you would like.

The Cons of Home School

1. Removal of Christian Thought in World

This is my biggest issue with home schooling. If you look at church history, the biggest turn in why our culture has changed so much to secular thought happened when the church left the cities and went to the suburbs. Although most of the NT flowed from Paul going to the major cities of commerce of the day, the church left the cities to take refuge from the biggest culture maker, which is the big cities. Everything flows from the biggest cities to the smaller ones. It was a mad dash to get out of the cities, and we are now seeing the effects.

The same is happening in our public schools. Whether we like it or not, the major social and cultural aspect of children comes from the big cities, to the schools and then flows to our suburbs, home school and private school. It isn't the other way around. The danger of the removal of all Christians from public schools is to remove the Christian voice against the darkness of this world. Notice Paul went to where the learning was happening, not to the outskirts of its effects.

We need strong Christian families to invest in public schools to give a voice to intelligent strong Christian convictions, if not, we will be removed altogether in the education of tomorrow's leaders. Who is going to stand against the atheistic teacher if there are no Christians in the classroom? We are handing them a free ride with no alternative voice of God's design.

The church has tried to put the evidence forth that since the removal of prayer from schools, they have gone down hill. False. It isn't the removal of prayer, but has been the removal of the prayer warrior from the schools. When Christians are removed, Christian thought is removed, we shouldn't be surprised.

I am not saying, please hear this, I am not saying that we should then only have people go to public school, but to remove the Christian from the public school system altogether silences Jesus in our greatest learning institutions.

2. It's not the Real World

This sounds like an overstatement..and it really is. Please read to see what I mean. There is something called the Protestant work ethic, which came from the outflow of the Reformation. Before the Reformation, the Roman Catholic always put forth that the highest calling comes to the one who works as clergy within the church. The Reformers put forth one of the greatest solas, "Soli Deo Gloria" or "For God's Glory Alone." The Reformers reminded everyone that God told us to do all things for the glory of God, including our work. So, they put forth that working within the church is not the greatest calling, but the greatest calling comes forth that where ever God has placed you, make it your mission field and do it for the glory of God and not man.

Same can be said for school. Personally I grew up in the public school system but everything flowed from my parents convictions of the Bible. So, when the big bang stuff started coming up, I laughed. When atheism was put forth, I laughed harder. Now, I was not the best example of a public school kid, but examples of me or anyone else is moot, we don't act based on what we see but what God says.

The fact is when your kids leave your house (age 18, etc.), they might be trained, taught and challenged by non-Christians or by people that don't have your same theological convictions. The biggest con of home schooling in this area is that the child can be coddled so much that they have only learned what parents have told them without really getting the chance to practically deal with the questions of the kind atheist, the kind Mormon, the kind Muslim who ask them tough questions and live a life that looks a lot like theirs.

When I went to a private College, we could usually tell who was home schooled. They were not accustomed to answering and defending opposing world views. They would spout what their parents told them to say, but never had real experience on how to deal with those were thoughtful, insightful and very kind, but totally opposite in every way when it came to convictions and world views.

Does this have to be how it is with home schoolers? No. Of course not. There are many ways that a home school family can try and defend against this, and I have seen this successfully done.

3. Real Involvement with the World

Here is where I have seen the most difficulty with my teens in youth group. They admit that they just don't have many lost friends. These kids are very good kids, very involved in many things, but in the end, they just don't have many friends that are lost. This is hard. Things can be done to try and mitigate this, but from what I have seen over the years, this is a big deal to those kids that I see that desire to evangelize and show off the glory of Christ to the lost, but just don't know how to have some sort of "community" with the lost.

Personally, growing up, my parents didn't do enough investigation, but because I was public schooled, I have many different kinds of friends that know where I stand, that I have spoken and lived Christ out in front of their eyes. They see my faults, they see my victories, but hopefully most importantly, they see my hope. Have I seen home schoolers who have done the same thing? Yes, of course. But, it just isn't the norm.

Jesus was called a friend of sinners, and home schooling can be a deterrent to this. Notice I said could be, not always will be.

I have found this to be more of a conviction of Christians than I first thought. It really did surprise me. When homeschooling, you must ask yourself why you are doing so. If it is because you want your kids to get better grades, be more smart, or to win scholarships for intelligence, you totally miss the point of being a Christian. Sometimes we must give up some stuff for the sake of the glory of Christ.

If, on the other hand, you desire to home school because you believe that it is the best for the glory of God for your family, you have asked the correct question. Anytime you start with your child, above the glory of God, you are working in a false dichotomy. Being a Christian in this world is dangerous. It is dangerous physically, spiritually and emotionally.

We are called to be a people on mission for the glory of God. If your mission is home schooling, because it is the best way your family can glorify God alone, then so be it...I fully support you. If your mission is trying to get your child the best education that fits them...that is wrong.

In my facebook status someone asked, "So, Seth when your children are in JR high and the teacher says they will fail the test if they do not say the earth took billions of years to make, what do you tell him to do. Be a light and fail, or shut up and answer the question the way the teacher wants him to?"

My answer: Be a light and fail. It is worth failing and hardship to show off the glory of the cross and our God.

“So have no fear of them, for nothing is covered that will not be revealed, or hidden that will not be known. What I tell you in the dark, say in the light, and what you hear whispered, proclaim on the housetops. And do not fear those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. Rather fear him who can destroy both soul and body in hell. Are not two sparrows sold for a penny? And not one of them will fall to the ground apart from your Father. But even the hairs of your head are all numbered. Fear not, therefore; you are of more value than many sparrows. So everyone who acknowledges me before men, I also will acknowledge before my Father who is in heaven, but whoever denies me before men, I also will deny before my Father who is in heaven."
Matthew 10:26-33

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