Thursday, March 09, 2017

Falsely So Called

Hebrews says, "Marriage is honorable among all, and the bed undefiled..." In the United States, our legal system calls things "marriage" that the Bible most certainly would not. But if we only looked at that one verse from Hebrews, we could believe that the thing called marriage that isn't, is "honorable". We could pull in other teachings about marriage and how great it is and what it means spiritually, and encourage people to accomplish those great things and represent those great truths by practicing the thing falsely called marriage. If this stood for a few generations, most people would forget that it is a perversion of what the Bible calls marriage.

What if there are other Christian practices that this has happened to, in the forgotten past? How do we trust that what we understand to be the biblical and Christian practices of Church gatherings, pastoring, church leadership and decision-making, the Lord's Supper, baptism, speaking in tongues, laying on of hands, ordination, etc. are the things the Bible is discussing?

Like we can with marriage, we can compare other Scriptures to our practices, right? We can ask, "Did God say anything else about these practices? Did God address what we are doing, regardless of what it is called, in positive or negative ways?"

I believe it is possible for God to reveal corrections to us* if we are humbly seeking Him, and if He wants to at the moment. It seems like sometimes He doesn't want to, and I'm not quite clear why.

I want to have respect for generations of believers who have been inviting God's discernment, and to value their conclusions. I don't see any honest way to do this without acknowledging that there have been stretches of time where Christianity (the public institution, anyway) has promoted false understandings of things, and it has taken a long time to straighten some of them out. I have to acknowledge that different parts of the Church, distanced by geography (at least) have for long periods of time held different beliefs from one another.

How much weight should we put on our own experiences? If our experiences seem to line up with a teaching, and be fruitful for the Kingdom of God, does that indicate that these understandings and practices are the things God intends?

*Who ought "us" to be, though? Is it my job, without holding a position of authority in the Church, to discern these things? For myself? For the Church? For society? Is it my job to say anything to others if I believe I have discerned that our conventional practice is wrong?

To God be all glory. 



Saturday, January 14, 2017

Should You Homeschool?

I spent some time recently thinking about how I would help someone evaluate whether public school or homeschool is better for their family, especially coming from a perspective, like most American Christians do, of public school being normal.  In this I don’t want to be attacking public school or defending homeschool, but this article is informed by many of my reasons for preferring homeschool. 

What are your kids getting from public school? 
What useful? What positive? What harmful? 

What impact do their peers have on them? 
When they’re getting along?  When they’re not? 

Would your kids benefit from being in a smaller class size? 

What is in the curriculum that would affect their worldview? 

What other things are they being exposed to without wise guidance? 
From peers? From libraries? From field trips?

What is the impact of being bound to a school’s schedule?
On sleep? On nutrition? On transitions between environments and authorities? On routine?
How much of their time at school is actually being used for education?  (Why do they still have to come home and work on their scholastic education via homework?) 
Is a day structured around expectations and performance healthy for them?

Would they benefit from more interactive education?
Do they need more time to be active? 
Do they need to slow down on only one or two subjects?  Could they benefit from forging ahead on a couple of subjects? 
Would you like them to learn something that is not in your public school’s curricula? (Cooking, shop, business, Bible)
Would you like them to get a different perspective than what is being offered?
Would you like them to learn in a different way (more hands-on, more interactively, more self-study, more memorization, subjects integrated with one another)? 

What message does it send them to be sent away for long parts of each day? How does your attitude impact their perception?  How should parents maintain honesty (for example, about being grateful for the break when kids go to school) with their children, while not burdening the kids with the shortcomings of their parents? 
What message would it send them to be kept at home, unlike most of their peers?

What are they getting from time not in school? 
What useful? What positive? What harmful?

Do you have enough time to give them what they need?
Do you have enough time to teach them what God has entrusted you to teach them?
About Him? About character? About how to flourish in the story God has given them?
Do you have enough time to build your relationships with them? 
Do they get a (patient) chance to build their relationships with their siblings?

What are your reasons for not homeschooling?  Time? Focus on younger kids? Financial? Focus on other people? Focus on personal improvement? Stress? Intimidation? Inadequacy? Cultural normalcy? Influence culture? Perks of props and facilities and extra-curricular activities in public schools? Child’s socialization? Child’s practice with exposure to the world? Less strain on the mom-child relationship (not being teacher and mom)? Incorporating other adult influences for example and discipline? Hassle of truancy or curriculum laws?
Are your reasons based in truth, idealism, fear, selfishness?



To God be all glory.