Yesterday I had an in-service about why parents are suddenly streaming into Christian schools. The top two reasons given were because of the Christian environment and safety; last on the list was academics. Although I get the importance of attending a safe school and interacting within a “Christian environment”, and these are certainly reasons why my kids and I are in a Christian school, I’m not sure these should be the primary answers for choosing LCS. Let me explain.
Remember at the end of The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe Aslan is walking on the beach and Mr. Beaver reminds the children that although Aslan is good, “he is not a tame lion.” Mr. Beaver would have made an excellent administrator, and this would have also been a brilliant and insightful analysis regarding Christian schooling. Mr. Beaver may have reasoned about the necessity of Christian schools, especially in today’s educational winter without Christmas, but he would have also recognized that they are anything but safe.
Why, you might ask? Well, to begin with, I would say Jesus Christ is anything but safe. He did say that before Abraham was I AM. As GK Chesterton noted, “stating that the meek shall inherit the Earth is anything but a meek statement.” Jesus did say he is the Alpha and Omega, did he not? Reading and learning about God’s word is certainly important but it surely isn’t safe. Doesn’t it say that it is God-breathed and although the grass may wither and the flowers fade it will be God’s word that will stand forever? Likewise, being around teachers and staff who pray for their students’ spiritual walk is anything but safe. Isn’t prayer our access into the very throne room of God, the holy of holies?
I believe it would be more accurate and honest to say Christian schools might be one of the most perilous places for a young child to be. The word of God is a living and active two-edge sword, piercing the inner thoughts and desires of men’s hearts. As far as I know sharp two-edged swords aren’t something to amuse yourself with like a play toy. You might get hurt; you might even die. The child who spends a decade or more under such biblical instruction will either receive it like water in a sponge or grow numb with irrelevant rejection. Look no further than Nietzche, Kant, the Pharisees of antiquity, and even the modern day Katy Perry. These are all examples of individuals who grew up under the teaching of scripture and arguably spent their entire adult lives vehemently attacking the very heart of Christian orthodoxy.
This may be trivial, but my hope is that in the near future these same parents will possibly have a different reply at graduation. What made Christian schooling worth the financial and personal investment? My hope is that it was worth every penny because their children received the most rigorous academic education in town and because they learned to know and love the person of Jesus Christ. I think Mr. Beaver and even Aslan would agree – Christian schooling is an excellent and good thing, but it is far from being tame.
Bill Riley teaches secondary math at Lakeland Christian School. You can contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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