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Back to School

August 26, 2011

Lord help me, I forget that the first week is no less exhausting and emotionally fragile than it is exciting! The kids come home tired and unravel their little hearts that were brave to carry a day of teachers, administrators, and new classmates’ words and looks. The oldest has always been more aggressive the first weeks, the middle more sensitive, and thank heavens the youngest can be picked up off the floor and tucked in to bed. This too shall pass and I remember, as they also share the fun newness, the curiosity sparked, the expectations to live up to.

I have been reading Tim Keller’s Generous Justice and hope to give a review soon. Among other things, he addresses the church’s role in community development and areas of need, particularly its role to disciple members to excel in their work. For instance, “while the church should disciple its members who are filmmakers so that their cinematic art will be profoundly influenced by the gospel, that does not mean that the church should establish a company that produces feature films.” If the church does its job well, it will produce people who bring the kingdom into art, science, politics, business… education.

How can we bring the kingdom into the public school? Must the church (or its members) establish its own educational system or are there ways to influence with the gospel as insiders? Keller spends a chapter on John Perkins and Mark Gorkin, two men famous for their urban ministry approach of relocation. Those who want to work alongside the poor must live alongside them.

My goal is not take over our school. I don’t pump my kids to have spiritual conversations on the playground. And our school is not “poor.” But we have taken a “relocation” mindset and have gotten involved, begun to invest in the community, praying for the staff and students and sharing in the whole experience with neighbors who also walk to school everyday.

It’s not new, but it is for us. If I do my job well, they just might bring the kingdom into the classroom.

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