Caution: human under construction

It was in a nursing theory class a couple of weeks ago. It was another in a long line of Power Point presentations on theorists and their ideas. (I know, you probably had no idea nursing even had theories. Just stay with me.) We were discussing a particularly weird interesting theorist when the words popped up on the screen.

Human Becoming Theory

Hmmmmm. Not human being, human becoming. It took a moment for it to sink in. Her idea is that we are all growing, so becoming is a better word choice than being. I am quick to acknowledge that not everyone is growing, especially spiritually. But hopefully most of us are.

There wasn’t much I agreed with in her theory, but this is something I can really embrace. I like to think of meeting other people as a snapshot. People are a movie but all we get is a snapshot. If I see someone who’s not agreeable I think, well maybe they are struggling with something. It’s so easy to judge people in a second. No one wants to be sized up like that. There’s not much room for kindness or forgiveness that way.

I am a human becoming. I pray I am becoming–more like Jesus. I pray as I grow up in Him that I am less like my old nature and that I live as I have become a new creation in Christ.

And so we are transfigured much like the Messiah, our lives gradually becoming brighter and more beautiful as God enters our lives and we become like him.

2 Cor 3:18 (The Message )

Charity brings: kingdom

This is part three in my series on charity. (Here are posts one and two.)

Webster defines kingdom as “In Scripture, the government or universal dominion of God.” This is the kingdom I am referring to–God’s kingdom.

I’ve heard it said that love is the currency of heaven. I think it’s more like the air. Where God is, love is there. God chooses not to exist without love. We cannot live without His love.

Your kingdom is built on what is right and fair. Love and truth are in all you do.

Ps. 89:14 NCV

When we extend our hands to the poor we bring God’s love to earth. We bring His kingdom here.

You will be doing the right thing if you obey the law of the Kingdom, which is found in the scripture, “Love your neighbor as you love yourself.”

James 2:8 GNT

Charity, or love, enables God’s kingdom, His government, His way of doing and being right to exist right here with us. Charity opens the door to Heaven on earth.

Sell what you own. Give to those who are poor. Provide purses for yourselves that will not wear out. Put away riches in heaven that will not be used up. There, no thief can come near it. There, no moth can destroy it.

Luke 12:33 NIrV

That’s where we belong–in heaven. That’s where our true possessions should lie. Charity brings His kingdom to us and us to His Kingdom. We are moved by what moves Him. His agenda is ours. We strive to please the King, even to our own discomfort. Love begins to motivate us to do more, to reach higher and to advance His kingdom.

Government is, in a nutshell, “who or what is in control.” I want to always choose God’s government over my own. My own government is lazy and self-serving. His is generous and full of unselfish love (charity). He is patiently waiting for us to prefer His government, His kingdom, so heaven can visit us here in the everyday.

Our Father in heaven, Hallowed be Your name. Your kingdom come. Your will be done on earth as it is in heaven. 

Mt 6:9–10 NKJV

Charity brings: emancipation

This is Part Two in my small series on charity. In installment 1 I provided a definition of “charity” from Webster. Charity is used in the King James as a word for love.  As we practice charity a beautiful thing begins to happen in our own lives: emancipation.

EMANCIPA’TION, n. The act of setting free from slavery, servitude, subjection or dependence; deliverance from bondage or controlling influence; liberation; as the emancipation of slaves by their proprietors; the emancipation of a son among the Romans; the emancipation of a person from prejudices, or from a servile subjection to authority.

Webster’s 1828

We are free from fleshly desires. Setting aside our desires is difficult. Maybe a reason bigger than ourselves helps us do that.

We are free from sin’s hold. When we love God with all our heart and love our neighbor as ourselves, as the two Great Commandments say, there is little room for sin in our own lives.

For charity shall cover the multitude of sins.

1 Peter 4:8 KJV

We are free from trappings of the world.  Be warned: charity can cause a loss of personal possessions. Stuff is not as important as people. Meeting the needs of others is important, even if it means meeting them with your own stuff. People know love by meeting basic needs first.

Give freely and spontaneously. Don’t have a stingy heart. The way you handle matters like this triggers God, your God’s, blessing in everything you do, all your work and ventures. There are always going to be poor and needy people among you. So I command you: Always be generous, open purse and hands, give to your neighbors in trouble, your poor and hurting neighbors.

Deut 15:10-11 The Message

Seeing others through the lenses of charity we are free to see others for who they are (Webster notes freedom from prejudices).   And we are free to do the same for ourselves. But most of all we get a new perspective on who God is. If we can be charitable, how much more charitable is He? (see John 3:16) We stop picking and choosing who we will help. We seek out the unlovely—in all forms—because that’s where the hurt is.

Add…to brotherly kindness charity.

2 Peter 1:7 KJV

We are free to hope. It’s wonderful to have the hope you give others offered to you in return. When you see freedom in action you cannot help but be filled with hope.

For everything we know about God’s Word is summed up in a single sentence: Love others as you love yourself. That’s an act of true freedom. 

Galatians 5:14 The Message

I am not saying that we love so we can get something. These are simply a sacred by-product of charity. God set it up that way and I’m so glad He did. It’s beautifully summed up in this passage:

Ask yourself what you want people to do for you; then grab the initiative and do it for them! If you only love the lovable, do you expect a pat on the back? Run-of-the-mill sinners do that. If you only help those who help you, do you expect a medal? Garden-variety sinners do that. If you only give for what you hope to get out of it, do you think that’s charity? The stingiest of pawnbrokers does that. “I tell you, love your enemies. Help and give without expecting a return. You’ll never – I promise – regret it. Live out this God-created identity the way our Father lives toward us, generously and graciously, even when we’re at our worst. Our Father is kind; you be kind. “Don’t pick on people, jump on their failures, criticize their faults – unless, of course, you want the same treatment. Don’t condemn those who are down; that hardness can boomerang. Be easy on people; you’ll find life a lot easier. Give away your life; you’ll find life given back, but not merely given back – given back with bonus and blessing. Giving, not getting, is the way. Generosity begets generosity.

Luke 6:31b-38 The Message

Charity brings: healing

I have been meditating on charity and this is the first in a short series about my thoughts.

According to Webster’s 1828 dictionary, Charity is:

CHARITY, n.
1. In a general sense, love, benevolence, good will; that disposition of heart which inclines men to think favorably of their fellow men to think favorably of their fellow men, and to do them good. In a theological sense, it includes supreme love to God, and universal good will to men.

It brings healing to the giver. It’s a wonderful way God made it to work. Somehow when we give love and give out of love we receive love in return. Maybe not from the source we expect, but it does happen. When we give out of our need our need is met.

It also brings healing to the receiver. The warm salve of love heals. It binds up broken hearts. It creates a soft place to fall. It restores and nurtures and blesses.

The whole point of what we’re urging is simply love – love uncontaminated by self-interest and counterfeit faith, a life open to God.

1 Tim 1:8 The Message

Charity invites healing to all involved. When we prefer one another, “thinking favorably” about our fellow man, the door is opened to restoration. Allow God’s love to flow to another person through your actions and through your deeds. Love without strings shows others that we belong to Him and points others to Him.

And over all these virtues put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity. Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, since as members of one body you were called to peace.

Col. 3:14b, 15a NIV

Thermometers and thermostats

Thermometers and thermostats seem similar on the surface. Both deal with environmental temperature. Both use numbers. But inside they are very different.

Thermometers simply tell you the temperature of the area. They offer a reading of the local temperature. This is handy but not life changing. It cannot to anything to change the environment, it only reflects it.

A thermostat, on the other hand, does not tell you what the temperature is. It tells you what someone wants the temperature to be. Thermometers are read, thermostats are set. Thermometers tell you the current state of things. thermostats tell you what things could be.

I want to be a thermostat. I want my character to set the tone from the inside out. I do not simply want to reflect the mood of the room—or the society. I don’t want to be relative, reflective. 

The Christian Educator from the position of God’s Word must subdue the environment rather than submit to it. In teaching students his use of the environment should emphasize the internal demands of conscience as causative of behavior and action and the external environment as effect.

Slater, R. J., & Hall, V. M. (1975). Teaching and learning America’s Christian history (American Revolution Bicentennial ed.) (95). San Francisco: Foundation for American Christian Education.

God please help me to live life from the inside out. Help me not to simply reflect culture but to shape it. Help me to listen to your voice and to do the hard things.

Step 6: need for an American Christian philosophy of education

Why do we need an American Christian philosophy of education? What makes it unique? Why is it important?

Even though this book was written about 20 years ago, Ms. Dang’s words are truer than ever.

In ignorance, Christians are aiding and abetting anti-Christianity in America. More than any other factor, it is the weakness of Christian character and scholarship that is responsible for this country’s apostacy from its founding Christian principles of education, government and economics. The pagan remains true to paganism. Spiritual backsliding is a believer’s trait, not a pagan’s. The dissolution of Christian character has resulted from generations of unbiblical education among Christian institutions of teaching and learning…It was the Biblical reasoning of the founding father generation that produced the only historical alternative to tyranny and oppression of the individual, which promoted the fullest expression of Christian liberty, rather than pagan license. The Biblical principles that founded America provided for unhindered propagation of the Gospel. Wisdom thus encourages Christians today to identify Biblical principles of civil government as a foundation of their warfare against secular humanistic reasoning. (p. 10, 11)

Katherine Dang

Vocabulary of American Christian Education

Education

Mr. Webster’s definition in his 1828 dictionary is as follows:

The bringing up, as of a child, instruction; formation of manners. Education comprehends all that series of instruction and discipline which is intended to enlighten the understanding, correct the temper, and form the manners and habits of youth, and fit them for usefulness in their future stations.

Christian Education

What makes it distinct from other forms of education? It simply is a descriptive term, meaning “of or pertaining to Christ.” It is education from and about Christ, whose philosophy, curriculum and methodology come from and point to Christ. Let’s view Mr. Webster’s definition of education in light of scripture.

Webster The bringing up, as of a child, instruction; formation of manners. Education comprehends all that series of instruction and discipline which is intended to enlighten the understanding, correct the temper, and form the manners and habits of youth, and fit them for usefulness in their future stations. God’s Word All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness: That the man of God may be perfect, throughly furnished unto all good works. 2 Tim 3:16-17 
1. “enlighten the understanding” 1. “Doctrine” 
2. “correct the temper” 2. “Reproof” 
3. “form the manners and habits of youth” 3. “Instruction in righteousness” 
4. “fit them for usefulness in their future station” 4. “That the man of God may be perfect, thoroughly furnished unto all good works” 

A philosophy of Christian education should have a distinctly Biblical and theological basis which separates it and its product from progressive, secular philosophies. Such a philosophy of education, if truly Biblical, has a universal application to all nations and peoples. It can be an instrument to evangelize and govern or disciple Christians in any nation. (p. 13)

How exciting! It is for all nations and all peoples because the principles are distinctly Christian. And can you see how Biblical it is to teach our children from His Word?

Mr. Rose cautions however that is there is only internal change with no change in the other spheres, it is not the fullest expression of God’s idea of government externally. We are to move from the internal to the external, shaping our civil government with our philosophy of education/government.

American Christian Education

What is unique about our country’s original Christian education? Mr. Rose lists 6 distinctions. It teaches:

  • students to think governmentally
  • Providential history and the correlation between Christianity and America
  • Biblical principles that produced our Christian form of civil government
  • what it means to be an American Christian
  • why this nation is unique in the history of Christianity, to the credit of Christ and His church.
  • how to perpetuate America’s Gospel purpose: to extend the Gospel, inclusive of Biblical liberty with law, and Christian self and civil government.

There is a lot of food for thought in this step. God, help me to understand this in a deeper way. And help me to reform my philosophy of education to mirror Yours.

My philosophy of education

My philosophy of education is a formal statement that all home educating parents should have written down. It’s important to know what you are doing and why you are doing it.
On p. 117 in A Guide to American Christian Education, Mr. Rose discusses the importance of a formal philosophy.

“A precisely stated Christian philosophy of home schooling should be written out for at least three reasons: 1) it will be memorial to remind you why you are teaching and what your goals are. 2) It could help other parents to understand the ‘reason for the hope that lies within you.’ (1 Pet. 3:15) 3) And if necessary it could help define and defend your convictions legally should your home school be challenged deliberately or ignorantly by local school or civil authorities.”

He gives three important components: your view of history (His Story), your philosophy of government and your idea of education.
Here is mine.

Then our sons in their youth will be like well-nurtured plants, and our daughters will be like pillars carved to adorn a palace.  Ps. 144:12  

My educational goal is to instill my children with a love for God’s Word and an ability to independently and confidently reason from it. My children will use this reasoning to develop the character required for Christian self-government. I foster a love of life-long learning by customizing each each child’s experience to their personality and God-given abilities. I am the facilitator; the Holy Spirit is our Teacher. Together we train the children in the ways of God and His government. History, or His Story, is highlighted at every opportunity. I develop an appreciation of His Story’s cause and effect–the illustration of the powerful goodness of God and His Providence throughout time, and its intimate relevance to our lives. God’s Providence is demonstrated in His preparation of me to teach my children. The seeds He planted in my high school days has taken root and grown into a tree, and its fruit now nourishes my children. God is the Supreme Authority, and we place ourselves in subjection to Him. Our Heavenly Father directs, regulates, controls and restrains us. This relationship guides our lives and lessons. As we increase our submission to Christ and His internal government, we will grow in self-government, love for one another and the fruit of the Spirit. This will radiate from within to all spheres of influence–home, church and state. We look to God’s word as the root from which all subjects spring and the foundation upon which our lives are built. We expand upon the principles year by year according to our abilities, allowing the Scriptures to instruct, discipline, correct and fit every subject for our use. Using these Biblical Principles we are able to master the subjects at hand to the glory of God!

Do you have a formalized philosophy of education? Would you like to share it? Add a note with a link or paste it in the message. I’d love to see it!

SDS lesson one reflections

After beginning with lesson three I moved to lesson one. Entitled simply “Preparing for the Seminar,” it’s pretty much self-explanatory. The idea is to retool your philosophy of education. There is lots of reading in the Bible and the “red books.” What follows are some of my notes and thoughts concerning American Christian Education. (Quotes from T&L)In Teaching and Learning America’s Christian History Rev. William Linn is quoted:

Civil liberty is a blessing the more precious, because with it are connected the rights of conscience. Where slavery prevails these are always infringed."

What a wonderful quote. We are highlighting the principle “Conscience is the Most Sacred of all Property” and this sums it up beautifully. “With awareness must come constructive knowledge(xvi).” As I have striven to reform my philosophy of education I realized how man-centered my thinking was. T&L page 56 says “The real conspiracy of our times is the successful deception of Christians especially in the area of education where socialism has successfully achieved the secularism of America.” Like a frog in a heating pot we have slowly been acclimated to new “norms” of the divorce of education from its biblical foundation.

A good example of education and godly character are Daniel and Paul’s admonition to Timothy. A few of the references to their character in Daniel 1-6 and 1 & 2 Timothy describe them as “skillful in all wisdom, cunning in knowledge, understanding science, teachers, leaders, strong, bold, understanding in all visions and dreams, more intelligent than the wordily men, excellent in spirit, understanding authority, reputable and not novice.” How did they develop into such godly men? Paul gives us the recipe in those same passages. References to their education include:

  • being charitable
  • having a good conscience
  • prayer and interception for others and those in authority over us so we may live a quiet and
  • peaceable life
  • coming into knowledge of the Truth
  • being self-controlled
  • being proved and found blameless
  • being nourished up in the words of faith and of good doctrine
  • being an example to all in your youth
  • meditating on the gifts God gave you
  • honoring your master
  • fleeing lusts and pursuing righteousness
  • holding fast to sound words
  • teaching others
  • studying to show yourself approved that you may rightly divide the word of Truth
  • Coming to the knowledge of the Truth through Christ
  • Continuing in what you have learned–it makes you wise unto salvation through faith

All I need for life and godliness, all I need to equip me for educate my children, all I need to train them up to be godly young men and women—it’s all in the Holy Scripture. God wrote down principles for me to live by. These principles I will use to educate my children. I will renew my mind daily and study to show myself approved. That’s so exciting to me! I will rise up and reclaim my right as a parent to lead my children into the Truth using prayer and the Word of God.

The SDS lays out a four step commitment to biblical education that is worth discussing.

  1. Prepare your heart and mind. Always start with prayer and ask the Holy Spirit for help.
  2. Study God’s Word. “The Bible is God’s Handbook for His Children and contains the foundation for all knowledge (SDS P. 14).” And this reflection demands time, time to study and integrate God’s truths into our own lives and then our children’s.
  3. Practice God’s Principles of Scholarship and Character. I think this in really trips people up. They think there’s no way they can do all it takes to provide an excellent American Christian Education they way FACE and other BPA organizations outline. Begin with a regular study time. Let your children see you reading books and gleaning information. Then move to 4-R’ing–research, reason, relate and record. This is the foundation of all excellent education. Use these together with your prayer time to reformulate your educational philosophy.
  4. Teach others. When you have done the first three steps you are ready to begin teaching, with the help of the Holy Spirit.

FACE has also create Lessons Plans that demonstrate PA in a weekly format to help you “teach others.” They are, to quote the Domestic Diva, “A good thing.” They are a good place to start while going thought the SDS and doing other preparatory work.
Next lesson: Gaining the Mind of Christ in Education