Ok, this is waaay longer than my average blog post so grab a cup of coffee and get comfortable. This is a continuation from God (read HOPE) in Schools posted 10/25/2011 and part of a longer/larger conversation that started on facebook. A lot of stuff was covered in that conversation but this post is designed to get back to the core point of conention that started the discussion which is the image pictured left. Comments, and disagreements are very much welcome.
Logic tells us that if A + B = C then whenever A and B are together they will yield C. If however, A and B are together and it does not yield C then we must question our original premise.
Example, Ask and you shall receive. Christians in the United States have long been asking for Jesus to invade the schools and yet we continue to see examples of violence and conflict that very clearly indicate that Jesus has not made his presence known. Logic therefore demands that we question our premise by saying “Either God does not exist, God does not answer prayers or God does not hear prayer.” Christians meanwhile, are loathe to accept either of the three explanations as possibilities and insist that the real reason there hasn’t been an outbreak of signs and wonders in the halls of the local junior high school is the result of “evil” secular authorities refusing to advocate or endorse Christianity as the faith of the school.
Clarification: Public schools are not designed for the edification of faith or the education of the saints. Public schools are designed to give the next generation the basic tools needed to survive in an ever evolving and competitive world. Let me be perfectly clear, if the next generation does not have a faith base, it is not the fault of the schools for preferring to teach calculus over Old Testament theology – it is the fault of the community of faith that spends every moment outside of school with the next generation. So angry Xtians out there – you need to stop pointing the finger at the constitution and start pointing it at your own heart. (I’m not over generalizing, i’m pointing the finger back at me too).
Now we know for a fact that those of faith regularly intercede on behalf of the school system, school staff, and the kids in school. For an example you need only look as far as the flag pole where every year, Xtian students of all denominations gather together before class to pray over the school. It is certainly incorrect to say that God is not allowed in School because there are plenty of faith based clubs and activities that happen at public schools. Teachers are prevented from advocating one faith over another, and for that the community of faith should be glad! I mean, I’m sure there are some great history professors out there, but that doesn’t mean they are in a position to teach the bible and preach the gospel! Nor does it mean that I’m particularly interested in hearing about a history professor teaching the Qu’ran as the only way to paradise. The students are in no way prohibited from expressing their faith at school within the limitations of the first amendment and the appropriate supreme court case rulings (and no, I don’t know which those are). I don’t doubt that there are excess on both sides of the faith here. I know one student who was sent to the Principals office for talking about God, and I know about teachers who push their faith when they shouldn’t. However, neither of these things has anything to do with the question being asked.
The question remains: if God exists, answers prayers, and people are praying for Him to enter the schools, then why do we see the continuation of adolescent crime, teen pregnancy and so on? Why does so much darkness and evil persist?
For the answer I turn to scripture, specifically Mark chapter 8.
Chapter 8 opens with the story of Jesus feeding 4,000 men (not counting women and children) with seven loaves and a few small fish. When all had eaten, he sent the disciples to pick up the left overs and they had seven baskets full of bread. The Miracle was not that seven loaves was enough to feed the multitude, but it was MORE than enough, and they disciples were left with more food than they could carry by the time they were done.
Now as Jesus and the disciples are about to leave the are some pharisees show up and demand a sign from heaven as proof that Jesus is who he claims to be. this is perfectly ok and legitimate thing to do by the way. The Old Testament is filled with prophets and people asking for a sign from heaven so they could know something came from God. The only problem is, Jesus already gave them a sign. Jesus gave them a sign – several signs actually. He had just fed 4,000 men, he had already healed and delivered countless people, what more of a sign could you ask for!? Yet the Pharisees are there saying “give us a sign.”
Now see Jesus’ response in 8:12.
But sighing deeply in His spirit, He said, “Why does this generation demand a sign? I assure you: No sign will be given to this generation!”
Is it that Jesus will stop performing miracles? No. This is still a long time before the resurrection, so it is not the end of signs and wonders. So what does he mean? He means that so long as people refuse to see the signs of God’s hand at work, no miracle, no act, no sign, will be enough to make them see.
I think this is the case with many Christians regarding the school system. It’s not that God is not at work, it’s that we need something to fight against and so we focus on the darkness instead of the light. We ignore the vessels of Light and rail against the evils we see when there is plenty of good going on. If God is not allowed in Schools, it is because well-meaning Christians have refused to see him, not because He is absent.
I say this now as much to myself as I say it to anyone reading – stop blaming the schools for evil and start looking for the fire to “fan into flame.” Gods given us plenty of signs, we just need to see them.