Friday, 18 January 2013

Re: Raising Your Children in Faith

Everyone has an opinion on just about everything. Some of us have strong opinions on some issues. And, when one of our opinions is challenged, sometimes we don’t take it very well. Such is life in a land with freedom of speech. As the T-shirt reads, “Those who think they know it all are annoying to those of us who really do.”

My experience has generally shown that the stronger we react to someone else’s opinion, the closer we should examine our own cherished belief. It would seem that one of those opinion-testing moments came last week as part of the sermon delivered at Middle Sackville Church. I have heard a lot of discussion, and heard about a lot of discussion, regarding the relative merits of public (read: secular) education vs private (read: parochial) education. (I’ve attended both types.)

Let’s put it bluntly: Crandall University vs all others in the Maritimes.

While I was not in church last Sunday, (we were in Ontario celebrating our first grandchild!!) I did listen to the message. While not having the benefit of the visual aspect of seeing it live, I did listen closely. What has come to my attention this week is the way in which we filter what we hear. Some of the comments made to myself since Sunday, which were credited as “quotes,” were not really correct. (It has also been my experience that I have been misquoted or misunderstood over the years as well.)

While some of the opinions expressed “pushed a few buttons,” I would like to weigh-in on some issues. First, the President of any university is paid to promote his own school. Would we have expected anything else? Second, we do support Crandall and should welcome the discussion of competing philosophies. The Bible has its own share of these debates. Third, don’t forget that a biblical (specifically Old Testament) perspective on education is holistic. (See my first blog, “Thinking About Education.”) After all, Jesus would have attended a parochial school and the debate about education isn’t in the New Testament. The choice we face is a late 20th century phenomenon.

And a welcome choice it is. We value freedom of choice, and so does God. We use our minds to weigh the options and do what seems best. Hopefully, we have prayed about it. What I heard in the message on Sunday was that Crandall provides a choice. In the President’s opinion it is a better and more biblical choice – provided the preferred course of study is available. Feel free to disagree, but be thankful for the fact we have choice, and are able to openly debate the relative merits – free from condemnation.

And by the way, a little challenge to our own cherished beliefs makes us think, doesn’t it?