Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Critiquing the Homies

So the News & Observer has an article this week about how Baptists hate the world and don't want anything to do with it.

Or something.

The basic thrust of the article, for the many of you who will undoubtedly be too lazy to click the above link (and hey, if you missed it the first time, here's your last opportunity), is that many Baptists are pulling their children out of public schools because of what they perceive to be the "new religious establishment in this country," and that is "secularism."

So the answer to the horrors of the "secularism" in public schools is to pull all the Christians out of them and start homeschooling and remove all Christian influence from mainstream society.


Okay, folks, it's time to have a little talk: one to one, person to person, layperson to brilliant educator, average mind to genius, random individual to the Don.

I understand that, as a Christian, it's difficult to send your kids to public school.  You don't know what they're going to hear or learn or what kids they'll come in contact with.  Other kids may go so far as to teach them curse words or tell them it's okay to watch shows like Desperate Housewives (I'd like to add here that if you'll take the time to watch 3 episodes, you'll be hooked.  Sometimes late at night I have difficulty writing all of my theological works because I keep wondering if Susan and Mike will stay together or if Edie really killed herself in last season's finale...it torments me day and night!).

Perhaps you think that other students may make fun of your children for going to church or that teachers may instill dirty words and phrases into their vocabulary like "evolution," or "safe sex," or "Clinton Administration."

It's okay.  Take a deep breath.  You're going to be fine.

Now listen to me:

Unfortunately (and this is tough, I know), we're called by Jesus to be the salt of the earth and the light of the world.  It's really difficult to let your light shine when you're stashing it away in a home school or in a private school that many people don't desire to attend because of its religious slant or can't afford to attend because of its high price.

The Don understands your hesitancy to let your kids enter an environment that you can't completely control.  But do it for the sake of all the kids out there who haven't had the beautiful privilege to grow up in a Christian home, but desperately need a Christ-like influence in their lives.  Do it so that your children won't grow up scared to death of people who don't believe like they do.  Do it so that your kids can have an opportunity to live their faith now and work it out by the time they get to college.

And if you still have reservations, I think I know just the thing to help you out: head on over to Amazon.com and pick up any one of my books.  Whenever I'm down, reading one of my own books is a huge pick-me-up, and I think you'll agree.


Anonymous said...

How many kids do you have? I see no mention of that. Just a thought. And we all know postmodernist don't judge or take themselves to seriously.

Laura said...

OK, the Don. You go ahead and tell people to send their (probably unregenerate, realistically) seven- and nine-year-olds to be salt and light in a public school. I'll be homeschooling mine until I've instilled the kind of worldview that allows for confident evangelism. Until then, I'll remember that the Proverb goes, "bad company corrupts good character," not vice versa.

D. A. Carson said...

Hi, Laura. Thanks so much for the comment.

You seem to assume that we're talking primarily about very young children here. Unfortunately, we're not.

The article cited clearly speaks of kindergarten through 12th grade.

Also, if we were to take your Proverbs citation to be absolutely true in all cases, none of us would ever talk to any nonbelievers. Is this protectionist mentality really the best approach?

Thanks for reading and thanks for commenting. We disagree here but I always appreciate the opinions of others. Blessings!

Laura said...

I didn't think I was arguing for universal (or hyperbolic) application of that verse. And I realize we aren't just talking about young children. But are we talking about young children at all? I feel much more comfortable sending a high school student out into the world (call it a test-run for college, if you like). But I don't necessarily want my kids (speaking preteristically, since I don't have any yet) to learn certain worldviews as truth until I teach them about both the worldview that is Truth and opposing ones as well.

That said, my mother teaches in a quite good public school, and I do agree that the Chicken-Little panic-mongering isolationism of certain denominational entities has gone a bit (ok, way) too far.

Furthermore, as a first impression, I want to apologize for the tenor of my first coment. I find this blog hilarious, and laughed out loud about your phone chat with Paige. Awesome.

Anonymous said...

Hey Laura,
I'm just a passer by, but it seems like there seems to be a mild fallacy in your argument. If you are willing to send high schoolers to public school as a 'test run' for college, then what is the 'test run' for high school? middle school? elementary?
The point I wish to make is that the longer you wait to get your kids into the public setting like this, the more of a social/spiritual/theological shock I believe it will be.
Conversely, if you introduce them society at a young age, then the two of you can cope with things that come their way together long before they are sent off to college, by themselves, away from your protection and guidance, and forced to make these decisions on their own.
I'm not saying that a late introduction is automatically going to make kids backsliders, but I do believe the adjustment will be much harder and could, more likely, lead to unpleasant decisions.

-The passer by

mr. Wolf said...

Hey, Fake Carson. You know I love your blog as much as anyone, but I gotta say that I disagree with you on this one (still funny, though).

I see where you're coming from and I don't think you're wrong on every point, I just think I sympathize a bit more with Christian parents who have to make that difficult decision. It's a cold world out there.

Good discussion, though. Oh, and good points, Laura. Welcome to the "comments" section. Haha.

Anonymous said...

In response to the first comment, the real D.A. Carson has two grown children.