intollerance

Teach Them Intolerance

LET’S TEACH OUR CHILDREN TO BE INTOLERANT!  Yes, I do mean this without any reservations.  But, first, we must understand when and how to do so.  Why should we tolerate things that are harmful and wrong?  Why should we accept the political correctness that squashes the Gospel?  We shouldn’t, and we should teach our children not to be so tolerant to these ideologies.  But, we must teach them to be tolerant and accepting of the people who espouse those ideas.  Can it be done?  If the Bible is true, then yes.  It can.  After all, we are told to love the sinner and hate the sin.  Isn’t it the same?

I read a quote by Dr. Machen recently and was intrigued.  Beyond the heady intellectualism of the words I found a truth that haunted me for days.  I already admit that I am different in that sense.  Most people would move on and forget the quote quickly.  I could not.

“Involuntary organizations ought to be tolerant, but voluntary organizations, so far as the fundamental purpose of their existence is concerned, must be intolerant or else cease to exist.”
― J. Gresham MachenChristianity and Liberalism

I was haunted about the immense privilege and responsibility of Christian school students, parents, and educators.    We voluntarily choose this organization.  We choose to immerse ourselves in the Truth each day.  We are a voluntary organization of folks who choose to ensure that the truth is instilled into the next generation, equipping them to change their future trajectory towards a more sacred path.

If Dr. Machen is correct, then we as believers who choose to follow Christ must be intolerant to the offenses against God’s truth.  We must stand up boldly and bravely proclaiming the Gospel and his truth.  However, in order to do so, we must ourselves understand God has absolutes for us to follow.  We must transform our minds to think like Christ.   Then, we must teach our children so they can be intolerant.  Why should we ever accept the counterfeit that steals of us of our purpose?

Mind you, I am saying that we be intolerant of the things creeping into our voluntary organization of Christ followers. I am not saying we should be intolerant of the people who are selling them.  To them, we show love and compassion while pointing out their goods are rotten.  Perhaps, we can persuade them with the prodding of the Holy Spirit to see that our organization is necessary.

Now can you see why it haunted me?  I could not shake the weight of my calling as a follower of Christ and educator.   It impressed on me the importance of teaching intolerance of the worldly things that are pervasive in our thought.  Are you ready to be intolerant? So, let’s be intolerant! Furthermore, let’s teach our children to be intolerant of the secular ideologies that are swallowing their eternal hope all the while loving those that don’t understand the harm they cause.


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Things I Remember

Submitted by Taylor Reinhard ’12

One of the best things Salem offers is that it is a place where both great memories along with lasting friendships are formed. Some of my favorite memories in life stem from things that happened at Salem, whether it was during class, sports, or trips, and I still have friends that I graduated high school with that I see on a regular basis, because our friendships went beyond the time we spent with each other from 8:30am to 3:00pm Monday through Friday. These however are not the only friendships I developed at Salem, and this leads to what I think is the most special part of Salem, the teachers. I would be lying if I said that I loved every single subject and class I took during my time at Salem, but I would not be lying if I said that I felt like every teacher I had, especially in high school, carried a genuine care not only for the education of their students, but for their overall well-being and walk with Christ.
I recently graduated from college with a Bachelor’s of Science in Music and Worship, and will be using my gifts in music at a church in North Jersey to help them in their effort to further God’s kingdom in their communities. I didn’t even realize I had a passion for music until my senior year of high school when I first began taking guitar lessons, so I can safely say that no one at Salem pushed me to study music. What they did push me towards was the idea that a life in which we follow God’s plan and will for our lives instead of our own is the fullest life that we can live, and that often that means putting other people ahead of ourselves. It’s not important by what means I reach people for Christ, only that I reach them. These are the values Salem instilled in me, and continues to instill in its students today.
I learned plenty at Salem academically, and even felt confident in my education throughout college compared to other students, but it’s the things I learned outside of my textbooks that changed me forever. I may never be able to remember everything I learned about World War 1, or how to find the area of a trapezoid, and my grammar would not be nearly as good as it is without modern technology, but whose would? What I know I’ll never forget is that my life should always be pointing back to Christ, and that there is nothing more important than loving other people the way that Christ loves them. These are the things that were not only taught, but shown to me during my thirteen years at Salem Christian School, and for that, I am forever grateful.

By Taylor Reinhard, ‘12


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O’Come, O’Come Emmanuel!

I grew up in a Christian home with a history of many generations of family on each side that would consider themselves followers of Christ.  Because we worshiped in a Baptist church, we never practiced all the liturgical parts of the Christian faith that many other denominations practice.  Needless to say, I didn’t know much about Advent.  As an adult, I have come to value some of these traditions of the faith, like Advent.   I have come to appreciate the desire to focus myself on what this holiday is declaring.  Christmas is a highly symbolic holiday.  I hope that it brings me and you to a place of worship.

I have no doubt that Christmastime is always a special time for most everyone and moreover so for those of us who are followers of Jesus. Christmas is celebrated all across this planet in a variety of ways. Families have traditions that are often passed down from generation to generation.

Sometimes the traditions are not even understood by younger family members but are practiced and celebrated anyway.  Churches and religions have traditions too. One such tradition practiced by many religions is the Advent Season.  But what does “Advent” mean?  The word “advent” comes from the Latin “adventus” meaning “arrival” or “coming,” particularly of something having great importance. The first coming of Jesus Christ was the most significant historical event that has ever occurred.  The “arrival” of the promised Messiah has changed the world forever.

You are probably aware that Advent is the period of four Sundays and weeks before Christmas Day.  Advent means ‘Coming’ in Latin. This is the coming of Jesus into the world.  Many Christians use the four Sundays and weeks of Advent to prepare and remember the real meaning of Christmas.
Interestingly, there are three meanings of ‘coming’ that Christians describe in Advent.  The first, and most thought of, happened over 2000 years ago when Jesus came into the world as a baby to live as a man and die for us. The second can happen now as Jesus wants to come into our lives now.  And the third will happen in the future when Jesus comes back to the world as King and Judge, not a baby.  Knowing this has given me a newfound love for an already beloved Christmas hymn, ‘O Come, O Come Emmanuel!’

As a believer I want to absorb everything this holiday represents.   I want t to look forward to Jesus.  I want to look forward to his birth.  Furthermore, I want to look forward to his coming again.  I hope that the symbolism of Advent will help me meditate more on what Jesus means to me and the world.  I want to better recognize his authority as the King of Kings.  I am thankful that I have a source of truth in a culture that doesn’t recognize the existence of Truth.  I want to revel in the miracle of the Virgin Mary’s giving birth to Jesus Christ.  And, I want to be able to share the good news and prepare myself for the teaching of Jesus Christ in anticipation of His return.  Will you join me in celebrating all that is yet to come because of what Jesus Christ did for us?


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Education More Than Facts

All we are trying to do is teach our students what is real and true.  It is simple.  Well, maybe not.  But, it should be.  Without a confidence in what is real and true we become unmoored and hopeless. G. K.Chesterton, a Christian author, concurs, “ It is typical of our time that the more doubtful we are about the value of philosophy, the more certain we are about the value of education. That is to say, the more doubtful we are about whether we have any truth, the more certain we are (apparently) that we can teach it to children. The smaller our faith in doctrine, the larger our faith in doctors … (Chesterton, 1911)”

I would agree with his contention that without the presence of theology and philosophy at the core of the modern education, this inevitably leads to two mutually exclusive concepts of teaching and learning that are trying to co-exist.  He implies that this “constitutes a schism or schizophrenia at the very heart of the schooling:
“The truth is that the modern world has committed itself to two totally different and inconsistent conceptions about education. It is always trying to expand the scope of education; and always trying to exclude from it all religion and philosophy. But this is sheer nonsense. You can have an education that teaches atheism because atheism is true, and it can be, from its own point of view, a complete education. But you cannot have an education claiming to teach all truth, and then refusing to discuss whether atheism is true. (Chesterton, 1911)”
Chesterton regularly asserts, “The absurdity of the modern schooling’s attempt to build a university in the absence of universals. (1950) ” “Take away the supernatural,” says Chesterton (1911), “and what remains is the unnatural.”  “Education is only the truth in a state of transmission,” he wrote on another occasion, “and how can we pass on truth if it has never come into our hand?”

One consequence of this lack of truth or foundation in the school is what Chesterton called “standardization by a low standard, (Chesterton, 1928)” a dumbing-down of standards to a lowest-common denominator of prescribed mediocrity. In the absence of an integrated curriculum in which each discipline informs the other, each part making sense in the light of the whole, the modern academy has literally disintegrated itself into a plethora of fragmented particles, none of which is in communication with the other parts. “Everything has been sundered from everything else, and everything has grown cold. Soon we shall hear of specialists dividing the tune from the words of a song, on the ground that they spoil each other… This world is all one wild divorce court. (Chesterton, 1928).” When reading the reviews of Chesterton’s statements on education I was reminded of a conversation I had about Common Core.  First, I must say that I am ambivalent about Common Core.  Since I am in a private Christian school, we do not have to and have not adopted the state standards built around the National Common Core.  However, as professionals, we look at it, study it and see if there is anything to glean in our pursuit of excellence.  –Pardon the digression.  Amongst the many complaints I hear about the Common Core is the lower expectation and the indoctrination of a false and convoluted understanding of the world.  

In a recent blog I recently read, “Ironically, in exorcising the unifying spirit of theology and philosophy from the core curriculum, the modern academy has doomed itself to fractious fragmentation, in which each discipline has exiled itself from all the others. In excommunicating theology and philosophy, the modern academy has paradoxically excommunicated itself from itself!” (imaginative, 2014).  “Because the elementary school doesn’t teach theology,” wrote Chesterton, “it must be excused when it doesn’t teach anything. The bias of the modern world is so enormous that it will allow a thing to be inefficient as long as it is also irreligious.”  Isn’t this where we are?  

The modern fervor from almost any secular university and center of learning is against religion and is antagonistic and militant against Truth.  They vehemently oppose a unifying Truth.  Instead they prefer a hollow education to one that is “informed by the underlying meaning inherent in the truth-claims of religion or philosophy (imaginative, 2014).  I would agree with Chesterton (1950) when he says that this is education at all: “Every education teaches a philosophy; if not by dogma then by suggestion, by implication, by atmosphere. Every part of that education has a connection with every other part. If it does not all combine to convey some general view of life, it is not an education at all (Chesterton, 1950 p. 166).”
A cohesive and integrated view of a broad education is contrasted with the “disintegrated” education of the relativist:
“There is something to be said for teaching everything to somebody, as compared with the modern notion of teaching nothing, and the same sort of nothing, to everybody.” (Chesterton, 1950) Whereas the former conveys a philosophy by which one can understand the cosmos, the latter “is not a philosophy but the art of reading and writing unphilosophically [sic].” The former teaches its recipient how to think; the latter prevents its victim from thinking.”

I think my argument can get lost in the condemnation of a modern education.  Forgive me if that is true.  Because indeed, I am really espousing that there is an alternative to this hollow education.  Sure, the modern common school can have a robust amount of classes they offer with sparkling Chromebooks and magnificent edifices to their glory.  But, remember at the core it is missing key ingredients.  It is akin to the shiny genetically modified apple that is the perfect red with a shiny peel; but the substance is manufactured to look like the more nutrition realty.  The triumph of a Christian school is unfortunately, the tragedy of modern education, perceived with such brilliance by Chesterton, is that it has left us perilously ignorant of who we are, where we are, where we have come from, and where we are going.   In a Christian school Truth is at the core.  Truth is the mission.  The integration of philosophy and Truth is the essential ingredient that makes a Christian school what it is.   Those pupils and graduates of a Christian school are not lost and are not blissfully unaware that we are heading for the abyss.  In fact they have a perfect navigation system for life and have hope.

References:
Chesterton, G.K.  (1911).  Illustrated London News, May 13, 1911
Chesterton  G.K. (1950). The Common Man, New York: Sheed & Ward, 1950, p. 168-169
Chesterton, G. K. (1928) Culture and the Coming Peril, being the text of a speech delivered by Chesterton at the University of London in 1928; reprinted in the Chesterton Review, Vol. 18, No. 2, August 1992
http://www.theimaginativeconservative.org/2014/02/chesterton-and-the-meaning-of-education.html

 


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