“It’s What We Do”

by Bill Stevens on February 27, 2016 · 0 comments

thFrom free range chickens, to cats ignoring us, to mom calling at the wrong time, and now, Tarzan and Jane arguing over directions…the phrase is the same, “It’s what you do.” GEICO Insurance has hit upon an advertising campaign that continues to resonate with consumers.   This is what we do, what comes natural. This is our mission, our purpose…what we do best. Indeed, our Christian schools can echo the same theme from these commercials.

 

It was May 1971, and I was anxiously waiting to receive my undergrad diploma from Gordon College. As it has been for most graduations, I was not paying much attention to the commencement speaker. After all, the call of life was louder, and the end of my formal education was just minutes away. The speaker was Francis Schaeffer, world-renowned author, philosopher, and one of the greatest Christian apologists of the 20th century. Guessing I was not attuned and attentive to the world I was so ready to enter! Well, my story moved on from there, but suffice it to say, Dr. Schaeffer followed me.

 

Five years later, in 1976, his classic work, “How Should We Then Live,” hit the bookstores. Remembering that he had addressed me back at graduation, I purchased the book. He now had my attention, and his words became one of the forces that formed and framed the focus for what I now “do.” He outlined some alarming trends in our (then) society, which were undermining our way of living and affecting the next generation. That is, if we did not respond with a commitment to develop a biblical perspective in our children’s learning and living. While he did not coin the phrase, he certainly emphasized the call to learn from history or be doomed to repeat it. The trends sound strangely familiar: economic breakdown, wars or threat of war, chaos of violence, radical distribution of wealth, and a growing shortage of food and resources.

 

So, here I am, writing this, and realizing that it has been a generation since Schaeffer penned these words! My biblical reference points remind me of the apostle Paul’s words to young Timothy:

 

“But mark this: There will be terrible times in the last days.

People will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money…having

a form of godliness but denying its power…always learning

but never able to acknowledge the truth. But as for you,

continue in what you have learned and          become convinced of,

because you know those from whom you have learned it.”                                                                                                ~ 2 Timothy 3

 

Fast-forward then to 2016, and we find Dr. Schaeffer’s title question, along with the appropriate response, is the same. How should we then live, is answered in light of the gospel of Jesus Christ as it bears out in all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge. It’s establishing what, for Schaeffer, became known as biblical worldview. It’s a perspective on life and learning that is grounded in God’s Word and producing Christian scholarship of the highest order. It’s biblically more than just “glorified Sunday school,” and infinitely more than just “academic achievement.” It’s both/and…and it’s both for the here and now, as well as for the hereafter.

 

Generationally speaking, I believe we have drifted from that initial conviction which established a testimony of faith and learning in Christian education. Along with our church going, we have found our lives divided into drawers of secular and sacred. We have allowed “all the other things” to replace seeking His Kingdom first and foremost. In his book, “AWE,” Paul David Tripp challenges us with the idea that we suffer from both “awe amnesia” and “awe replacement.” We have forgotten God and His awesomeness in all of creation and personal living, and have replaced that awe with all kinds of (less) awesome stuff, that has captured our attention and attachment. He states that we are “yawning in the face of glory.”

 

Now, I believe God is calling us back, not to live “back in the day,” but rather to move back to the basic of what we do. Dr. Roy Lowrie, one of the giants (literally) of the Christian school movement, and one of my mentors in this work, used to say, “Students attending a Christian school should not have to take an academic penalty.” It is the union of the two, a biblical perspective, fused with a quality academic program. This is truly excellence in education and in keeping with what Dr. Schaeffer, Dr. Lowrie, and Dr. Tripp spoke of.

 

We need a renewed commitment to pay it forward, “and all the more as we see the Day approaching.” I guarantee it will cost us something, with the investment being sacrificial. But, the cost is eternally worth it, and in time (our time?), it will cost us so much more to ignore it.   It is the Christian education of our young people that will restore the awe in our education and in our worldview of all that is true, noble, right, pure, lovely, admirable, excellent, and praiseworthy. It is the Christian school movement, which encourages our kids to think about such things. Hey, it’s what we do.

 

 

 

 

 

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