When I first posted this I was unbalanced, rude, and I took unfair aim at online Christian schools. Many of the people who work at these schools, as well as the families who support them and use their services are my brothers and sisters in Christ. I have no right to speak of them like I did. I apologize, and ask for their forgiveness.
What you now see is the edited version. It is still written in the spirit of this blog, but hopefully is more focused on the issue that I wanted to address in the first place: the ever expanding Christian bubble that we build for ourselves. Thank you so much to the faithful readers of this blog, who courageously called me out in the comments section (which remains, as always, unedited.)
Why do parts of our Christian subculture continue to shrink in on themselves like a stinking trash compactor? The pain, confusion and desperation of the world continues to rise like a fart in the tub. Pick a headline. Look in the mirror. Take a peak across the street. Chances are you are going to see someone that needs a little hope; let’s quit running away and offer some!
We’ve had this conversation before, and I’m still waiting for someone to put me back in my place; looking for anyone to prove that I’m out of line here and suggest that I should sit back down in a comfy padded pew and keep my overzealous cakehole shut.
Believe me; I’d rather spend all of my days writing about rest for the weary. Tales of hope and redemption go down so much better than these insomnia induced rants. I’m not lying when I say that I’d rather make the Church shed tears of healing than escort her to the woodshed for a good whoopin’.
Problem is, sometimes there’s a problem.
So let me tell you about the recent spark that lit a fire in my underpants…
For the past couple weeks I’ve been grinding through a lengthy commute. The first couple days were spent playing Russian roulette with the radio dial, but I finally settled for the spirit-numbing clichés of popular Christian broadcasting*.
The melodious platitudes of the pious were just starting to make me twitch when I heard an advertisement for an online Christian school, which “…provides the opportunity to obtain a complete Alberta Education Diploma without ever having to enter a regular classroom.” According to their own advertising, what makes this school “Christian” is that a few core subjects are taught from a Biblical worldview.
I know, right?!? There I was, stuck in traffic, starving for a fight, and they serve up steaming religious reclusiveness on a plate, with a tall glass of cold Christian callousness to wash it down. The radio advertisement truly made it sound as if we’d raise more Christlike kids if we could just chain them to a desk in the safety of their own homes.
Forget about releasing captives or setting prisoners free; what REALLY makes you a Christian is simply what you know? And what the hell is wrong with a “regular” classroom? I thought Jesus came for the “regulars”. I thought He loved the maybe-a-little-below-averages. Wasn’t the God of the Bible concerned about the don’t-quite-have-it-all-togethers?
There are plenty of good reasons to get an education online, but trying to keep your kids from rubbing elbows with the heathen masses is not one of them. Are your kids in danger in a regular classroom? Then by all means, go buy a Mac. I’m behind you ninety-nine percent. (I’ll reserve one percent for all the kids being left behind to fend for themselves.)
Listen. I’m all for helping instill a Biblical worldview in our kids. But the fact is that from first to last, that Bible you are getting your students to memorize tells the story of a God who gets his hands dirty. If we don’t help our children learn to engage society with a Biblical worldview, at best we are going to graduate more conservative voters.
I hate to break it to the well-meaning souls who believe they are doing right by those kids, but this is where the chalk hits the board: Jesus is putting out a call for sacrificial lambs, not well-trained moral watchdogs. Show me an 8-year-old who knows how to bear someone else’s burdens, and I’ll show you a Christian education, no matter what school he attends.
*In the salty sea of the Christian recording industry, there are still pockets of crisp clean water that can quench a thirsty soul. If that’s what you need today, check out Steven Curtis Chapman’s “Heaven is the Face”, or Amy Grant’s “Better Than a Hallelujah”.
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