Tuesday, April 15, 2008

On Homeschooling and Being "Missional"

Tony Jones has recently reposted an article he originally posted a couple of years ago, entitled "Death to Homeschooling!" In it, he claims,

But it seems to me that if we are truly committed to living a missional life, then we must enroll our kids in the public school. That is, we are committed to living lives fully invested in what I might call the "Jesus Ethic" or the "Kingdom of God Ethic," and also fully invested in the society — in fact, you might say that we live according to the Kingdom of God for the sake of society.

He goes on to cite a number of secular sources - not Christian sources and not Scripture - and then to state:

So I can’t think, “I’ll just pull my kids out of the public schools — what difference will one less follower of Jesus make in a school full of hundreds of kids?” I don’t, as a Christian, have the option to “opt out” of the societal contract. Instead, I live under a mandate to be the most involved, missional societal participant that I can be.

I can't argue that as an evangelical Christian, I am "committed to living lives fully invested in what I might call the "Jesus Ethic" . . . and also fully invested in the society." I also can't argue that "I live under a mandate to be the most involved, missional societal participant that I can be."

But I can argue that that commitment and that mandate don't require me to throw my little child, essentially unarmed, into our culture's primary recruitment tool, and one of the hotbeds of spiritual warfare in our world. The people I have the strongest influence on, and the highest responsibility to disciple, are my own children. If I "win the world," and lose my children, the price was too high. That's a sacrifice far too many godly people have made, and I believe it is quite frankly unbiblical. How many well-known biblical characters followed the Lord themselves, but lost some or all of their children in the process? I can think of a good number: Isaac, Aaron, Eli, Samuel, David, Solomon, Hezekiah.

In response to Tony's post, I made this comment:

Just one question here: WHO is called to be missional?

Honestly, I don’t find that Jesus called five-and six-year-olds to world missions. Missions is for spiritually mature adults, who have learned to follow Jesus and are ready to teach others. Jesus didn’t even expect His own disciples to be missional until they’d been trained by spending many, many hours in His presence.

I MIGHT consider letting my 16- or 17-year-old go to high school if they feel called to missions there. But is it really right to send our little children into an environment that is hostile to their faith for 30 hours a week (not including homework or bus rides or time with the friends they made there)? Or does the job of missions belong to ME as an ADULT? (By the way, I congratulate those Christian adults who have gone into the public school system to be missional as teachers, counselors, and so on - we need many more like you!)

I find it all too common for Christian parents to use the excuse of being missional with their kids to avoid their own responsibility to seek out the mission field themselves. It seems to me that as an adult, I must find where God wants ME to be missional; and at the same time, I must carefully raise my children, protecting them from harmful spiritual influences, and training them toward spiritual maturity, when it will be their turn to be missional to their own world.

1 comment:

Shawna said...

As a Christian, but not an Evangelical... I have to agree with you here, Marcy! I don't believe children were called to mission and if they were, I don't believe Christ would send them out in hostile territory to do so. I think their missions would be smaller, easier and a learning tool in which to build those values.

I also would not sacrifice my child for a job that belongs to a reasoning mind and heart.