Over the past several weeks, the students and staff at Orangeville Christian School have welcomed many visitors to our school. The office has been busy with inquiries, tours and admission interviews with prospective families and students. Explaining to prospective families what Christian education is and is not is an important task.
The article below is an explanation of what Christian education is not that was posted by blogger Joe Carter, senior editor at Acton Institute (www.acton.org), on April 30, 2012, in Educational Choice.
“Each generation needs to re-own the rationale for Christian education,” says James K.A. Smith, Calvin College professor of philosophy and the author of Desiring the Kingdom, “to ask ourselves, ‘Why did we do this?’ and ‘Should we keep doing this?”
In answering such questions, Smith notes, “it might be helpful to point out what Christian education is not.”
Christian education is not meant to be merely “safe” education. The impetus for Christian schooling is not a protectionist concern, driven by fear, to sequester children from the big, bad world. Christian schools are not meant to be moral bubbles or holy huddles where children are encouraged to stick their heads in the sand.
Rather, Christian schools are called to be like Aslan in the Chronicles of Narnia; not safe, but good. Instead of antiseptic moral bubbles, Christian schools are moral incubators that help students not only to see the glories of God’s creation but also to discern and understand the brokenness of this fallen world.
While the Christian classroom makes room for appreciating the stunning complexity of cell biology and the rich diversity of world cultures, it’s also a place to understand the systemic injustices behind racism and the macroeconomics of poverty. Christian schools are not places for preserving a naïve innocence; they are laboratories to form children who see that our broken world is full of widows, orphans, and strangers we are called to love and welcome.
In short, Christian schools are not a withdrawal from the world; they are a lens and microscope through which to see the world in all its broken beauty.