I honestly thought the election would go the other way last night. Not only because it was my hope, but also because I did my own polling on facebook. I disregarded the obvious Conservatives (my Christian friends) and the gushing Liberals (I'll leave out the generic description of these people) and focused mainly on the reasonable arguments put forth by people with no faith.
It appeared as if they were all voting Romney. Thus, I was genuinely surprised last night and went to bed feeling a bit short of breath.
Confession: The most consuming disturbance in my own heart was not about the trillions of dollars of debt we will incur in the next 4 years. I have no idea what that kind of money means or looks like. It was not even that innocent unborn babies will continue to be murdered with no gracious leader to protect them. Well, apart from the Lord, of course.
The thing that upset me the most was the realization that my conscience will probably not allow me to send my children to public school in the next four years. (Could I be any more selfish?)
I have fought tooth and nail to continue to hold the belief that it is good for Christians to send their kids to public schools so they can be a light in a dark place and to nurture relationships with other parents.
However, I really have a difficult time believing this anymore. The fundamental, core beliefs and values of our nation are different than those that we hold. I don't believe that this shift will happen as a result of this election, but that the election made clear what is already true (For further explanation see here or here.) These different beliefs and values will be propagated in the public classroom.
As Christian parents, our first responsibility is to raise our children in the fear and admonition of the Lord. "Train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it." - Proverbs 22:6. We are to train them through example, teaching, discipline, and Scripture. We are to build them up in the faith. We are to present the Gospel of Jesus Christ to them and exhort them to pursue a life-giving relationship with Him. We are to help shape and mold them in ways that are honoring to the Lord while they are young and to guide them on the right path.
We are not to send them into battle before they know who and what they are fighting for.
One professor who was asked about the prospect of witnessing to our children's friends' parents responded, "Enjoy your conversations (with them), because you'll lose your children."
Though there are many facets to consider (and I understand that not every school district is the same), one obvious response is: Not every Christian family can afford to send their children to private school or to home school.
I couldn't agree more! These education options are expensive and/or time consuming.
However, the truth is, the public education system cannot possibly be expected to teach our children to know and love the Lord. This creates a tension for Christians.
The Christian response on facebook last night and today has been "All we can do is pray."
Hear me, I am not demeaning the power of prayer in the slightest! Oh yes, pray. However, let's not believe that that is all we can do.
When we baptize a child into the covenant family of the Lord, we as a congregation affirm that we take responsibility for aiding that child's family in raising him / her to know and love the Lord. Does this extend to helping support that family in sending that child to a school where the faculty know and love the Lord?
Have you ever considered financially supporting private Christian schools with scholarship money to enable poorer Christian children the option of attending?
I understand that many Christians will disagree with me on some of these points, even some of my best friends! This post isn't really aimed at convincing those who disagree or laying out a million justifications for my stance.
Rather, this is for those of you who do agree with me already, who understand the essential power of the first formative years of a child's life. This is for people who see Biblical Christian schools as one of the best options for our covenant children.
You want to build the church? You want to ensure that the generations after us hold to the same truths you do?
Keep these things in mind. Pray. And perhaps, consider what you can do.
Lesson Learned: If we truly want to stand distinct and set apart as the church universal, then we need to be thoughtful about ways in which we can support one another in the raising of covenant children. This is especially important as the culture will continue to grow more hostile towards our beliefs.
* I have a few other ideas for ways that Christians can respond to the election results that I hope are Biblical and honoring to the Lord. I will be writing on them over the next few days. Come back for more!