I am concerned.
I am concerned about cases like this, where a school in Oakland held a mandatory "gay pride" assembly where children as young as 5 are being taught how to celebrate homosexuality. A 5 year old shouldn't be taught jack about celebrating sexuality, much less a perversion of sexuality. The fact that something this serious, this controversial, this age-inapporpriate is happening is stark-raving lunacy and points to the decline of the Western world into complete and utter insanity, godlessness, and a complete embrace of the secular humanistic worldview.
I am also greatly concerned with the response the Christian homeschooling world has provided.
"Not a problem if your kid isn't there."
"Guess you should be homeschooling."
"Pretty silly for you to be upset since you send your kid there."
There is nothing but callousness in some of the responses I've seen over the past several months to the outrageous things that are happening in public schools. If you're a christian, and you have no hope, help, or pointing to the Truth to offer, I can't help but question where your loyalties lie---with Jesus or with homeschooling?
We have a responsibility to engage with our culture. We have a responsibility to offer hope. We are "people of the Book" which sounds like we should be well-read enough to be able to have a dialogue, whether in the religious or political forum. The kind of shut-it-down, don't-even-entertain-these-fools hermeneutic I keep being hit with whether in blogs or my news feed is discouraging. If you have the better answer and truly believe you can enrich your fellow saints lives by pointing them in the homeschool direction, can't you share the answer in a kind, meaningful fashion? Is the abject "well, you're doing it wrong" mentality the best way to engage?
Obviously the answer is no. I don't know who the militant homeschoolers think they are helping.
I have a dear friend back home who strongly believes that Christians are responsible to send their children to Christian schools if they cannot homeschool, a matter he knew I disagreed with since I decided in high school to leave my private schooling for public. At the ripe old age of 15, I could not stand being in tiny classrooms anymore with kids who were all kinds of raising their hands to cheesy worship songs during chapel and offering me drugs on the way back to our lockers. That was my own beef, and I don't regret my decision.
One afternoon, several years removed from high school, my friend was now a teacher at our former Christian school. While discussing his decision to teach in a private Christian school, he shared with me his beliefs on education, and his deeply held belief in Christian schooling in particular.
And you know what? He changed my mind that day about education. He planted some seeds of biblical truth (you cannot teach one about biology while also denying it's Creator, etc. etc.). He did it without callousness, or blanket telling me I was wrong for choosing to leave private school. He engaged with me, instead of simply dismissing me.
[As an aside: public school just 7 years ago and public school now are radically different. My experience at public and private school had me up against the same sort of temptations and sins prevalent among teenagers. From talking with kids currently in public high school, they are facing much more difficult and in-your-face issues that I was never exposed to in my public school setting. It's truly startling.]
Al Mohler wrote an excellent article on the history of the public school and where it has landed today. His final answer as to whether we as Christians can leave our kids in the public school system was: "increasingly, no." I was shocked by some of the "Christian" response to this. The "increasingly, no" answer was faulted as flat-out wrong, and if you send your kids to public school then YOU are wrong!
Well, I agree with Mohler. Week by week we hear new horror stories about what is going on in the public system and so week by week I am more and more desirous of being able to homeschool my children. But my question to the homeschool proponents is this: what if I can't? Does it make me a fool? Does it make me less Christian? Where in the Bible do we see "thou shalt not send your children to public school"? And yes, that is a ridiculous question, but I can't help but feel that some homeschoolers need to ask themselves this. Can you make a Biblical argument for homeschooling? Yes. Can you make a biblical argument for blanket statements of idiocy if you are a christian that doesn't homeschool? No.
I would like to homeschool one day. I really, really would. And I hope that if I'm one of those parents that just falls in love with it, and therefore wants to share my love for it with others, I will be able to share my excitement in a gracious way. If I'm speaking to a parent who is about to make the decision between homeschooling and public schooling, I hope I can share my knowledge of it in that building-up kind of way we are responsible for and not the "all other ways are sin" kind of way I am so, so tired of seeing. I hope that the mom I talk to about my homeschooling experience who wants nothing more but to stay home with her children but can't afford to and spends her days stuck at a desk or sweating in a warehouse or whatever else may have you in order to help her husband put food on the table, I hope I encourage her. I hope I can lay down any idols of the heart I have to come alongside her.
I do not hope to be the Christian that won't engage or dialogue, or extend grace. Not only is it irrational to hope that the shut-it-down hermeneutic changes hearts and minds, that is not what Christ modeled for us in the New Testament. He engaged, he dialogued. Writing in the sand in silence, flipping over tables, walking away, those are all things Christ did when speaking to people who were absolutely in love with and living in sin. Your Christian brothers and sisters are not walking in sin by having children in public school, and it would be dangerous to forget that.