Tuesday, July 12, 2011

For Whom the Bells Toll

Because the serpent is so crafty he has taught us to overlook his craftiness. His feints are those blustering and obvious assaults he makes on God and His Word. His real work, however, happens in the hand we are not watching. Consider for a moment the government’s schools. You can count on one group of Christians at the local state school to get in a dither over the propagation of Darwinist dogma, to get hot and bothered over sundry sexual curricula. You can also count on other Christians to get rather defensive about what so upsets the first group of Christians.

What both sides miss are the potent subtleties that are built right into the system. Far more damaging than whatever New Age heresy that might be spoken in this classroom or that is what is not spoken in any classroom- that Jesus Christ is Lord. Now my beef here isn’t that the public schools aren’t holding classes on theology. My concern is they miss the one unifying truth that binds together every other truth. Because the ground of all truth cannot even be mentioned, the truth has no grounding, and, in the words of TS Eliot, the center cannot hold.

That faux reality, that reality has no unity, is further subtly communicated in the very structure of our schools. We do not give these children wisdom. Instead we instruct them in a string of disjointed “subjects.” The study of these subjects is further divided by a rather peculiar technology, the school bell. When this bell rings we talk about math, until the next bell rings. Then we stop talking about math and start talking about history. Eventually another bell will ring, and we will forget about history long enough to talk about chemistry. And when the next bell rings the children start to salivate like Pavlov’s dogs, because it’s lunchtime.

Just as we ought, when considering the power of pop culture, ask just who is controlled by the remote control, so we should be asking for whom these bells toll. Who is pulling the bell strings? It is the state. It is in their interest to create citizens whose world lacks unity. It is in their interest to create citizens who are willing to be herded this way and that by the ringing of bells. It would be bad enough were the state raising our children for us. Instead they are raising our children for them.

Our Lord, however, rings the bell of liberty. He came to set the captives free. He is the truth, the very truth that sets us free. Which is why any education that excludes Him is the education of a slave. It is not legalism that calls us to speak to our children of Jesus when they lie down, when they rise up and when they walk by the way, but rather the perfect law of liberty. May He be pleased to give us children more free than we, and may they raise up children who are free indeed. May He let freedom ring.

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