Archive for the ‘schools’ Category

      Divine love, justice, and condemnation are topics, today; and there is more on making church attendance mandatory. The “Yahoo! Answers” writer using ID “Ruan” (Level 1 with 61 points, a member since December 20, 2012) posted the following:

If God is a God of love, why does he send people to hell?

Really been thinking ’bout this!

THE BATTLE AXE: Church Mandatory? (05/06/2013)—(5.) Commitment, conviction and cooperation that are vital to full participation within a faith-based community must be the starting point and not the end goal for acknowledgment, service and worship of GOD. The device of mandatory school attendance for academic instruction and human socialization is usually imposed upon minors only, and those lacking experience and mature perspective for assessment of their life needs. Public schools are seen justified and legitimate in the light of shared personal goals, collective needs, and communal standards that are generated both outside of as well as within a municipality. By contrast, church schools function as instruments of GOD generating direction, form and structure for spirit content from Divine Person. Awareness of the direct operation, presence, and expressed will of GOD are to be increasingly acknowledged, and discerned through discovery and growth. Demands that are carnal, material and social must be made secondary and suppressed, for more than a simple transfer of data and information must occur. The believer must continue to acquire divine content through practice that provides increasing certainty and sacred person.

THE GOLDEN ARROW: And God spake all these words, saying, I am the LORD thy God, which have brought thee out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of bondage. Thou shalt have no other gods before me. Thou shalt not make unto thee any graven image, or any likeness of any thing that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth. Thou shalt not bow down thyself to them, nor serve them: for I the LORD thy God am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children unto the third and fourth generation of them that hate me; And shewing mercy unto thousands of them that love me, and keep my commandments. Thou shalt not take the name of the LORD thy God in vain; for the LORD will not hold him guiltless that taketh his name in vain. (Exodus 20: 1-7, King James Version)

THE DOUBLE DAGGER: How To Love GOD (03/24/2013); A Second Adam? (03/25/2013); The Love of GOD (03/03/2013); Our Need for a Son (03/04/2013); Wanting To Have Our Way (03/09/2013); Not Even Sorry? (03/10/2013); Love in Christ (10/23/2012); Escape from Racism (10/24/2012); Justice Comes by Love? (10/01/2012); A Daily Revelation? (10/02/2012)

      Ruan, most mature Christian believers have also thought about how teachings about the love of GOD appear to contradict those about divine condemnation, and the need for righteous judgment. Here are some points that also should come into view:

(1.) In general, human love describes a balanced relationship between two persons having equality and legitimacy as peers, or among a group of persons sharing in unspoken agreement and social consensus (e.g., families, neighbors, tribes). Everyone does not love GOD; and all are not in a relationship of love to the Creator.

(2.) Accountability and duty within relationships for the Divine Person is greater than that demanded for created beings and living creatures. As the senior, eternal, indestructible, stronger and wiser, GOD must complete tasks, generate standards for truth, maintain ongoing process, manage recurring responsibilities, and provide constant guidance.

(3.) Correctly expressed, experienced and understood, love does not encourage, endorse, or multiply wrong-doing. In godly judgment, love appears as admonition, correction, forbearance, forgiveness, law, mercy, and punishment. It is love that the consequences for violation of the law (called “sanctions”) are published before any offense is committed, and choice is extended to all. It is love that punishment (i.e., clear action to establish awareness that relationship and trust are violated) is often meted without a total destruction of relationship.
    
     There is far more to be said, correctly applied, and spiritually apprehended. (For example, (4.) It is the amazing grace and love from GOD through Jesus Christ that transform the abstract relationship between the Creator and mankind into working relationships as apostles, priests, prophets, kings and those who spread the Gospel and that also establish adoption and intimate relationship to divinity as children of GOD. The “broken” relationship that describes one as a sinner cannot be restored apart from Christ, and requires repentance provided only through the Holy Spirit. Where the remedies of Christ are refused, there must be the irreversible elimination of the sinner and of all sin in order to preserve and protect those loved by the Creator throughout the universe of GOD.) Even so, I trust this fragment will be useful. Be it unto you according to your faith.

THE BLACK PHOENIX
Washington, DC

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      A staff member’s concerns for enrollment ages of children within a church Sunday School program are the topic, today. Also, there is more on why the early church of Jesus Christ cannot be viewed as a socialist commune. A “Yahoo Answers” writer using ID “Brea” (Level 3 with 1,264 points, a member since May 17, 2012) posted the following:

Teacher With Children’s Church Problem?

Children’s Church Problem. I am the teacher for Children’s Church during our Sunday morning services. The age group is K – 5th and the parents decide when they want them to start to sit in church or if they want them to join Children’s Church younger than 5. For over 3 years we’ve had this age range and all of a sudden I’m being told that the church is now writing a policy for Children’s Church and that any child older than 6 will not be allowed. I was never consulted nor do the people making the policy know anything about Children’s Church. I told my preacher that the age was up to the parents and not him, me, or the policy makers….he said it was up to him and the policy makers. He basically took the decision away from the parents. So question, I feel like this is wrong….Should I fight it? I know it will hurt my kid’s feeling to be told no. My thing is that no kid who want to come to Children’s Church and learn about God should be turned away no matter what the age or policy.

Additional Details

Maybe I should add this: They want to change the age to 4-6 year olds only. They want 7 and up to sit in the sanctuary. There will not be another program for the older kids, we only have about 15 and maybe 6 on a given Sunday. We also don’t have anything else going on for kids at our church besides Sunday School which most of my kids don’t go to.


THE BATTLE AXE: My Brother’s Keeper? (04/05/2013)—(6.) Appetite, covetousness, desire, lust, pride and showing-off generate continual conflict both among, and within created beings and living creatures. Through the active presence, gifts, and operation of the Holy Spirit, the early church accomplished a Christ-like level of dutifulness, faithfulness, giving, joy, longsuffering, love, sacrifice, trust, and unselfishness that was to be an example for all mankind. The divine nature fosters approval instead of rejection, compassion instead of cruelty, cooperation instead of competition, mutual acceptance and unity instead of division and separation, eternal life rather than the second death. (7.) In the modern world, the church must be strong not only to overcome the effects of cultural and political persecution. Believers also must continue in constant vigilance to avoid the widespread criminal exploitation that comes against those who pursue innocence, nonviolence, purity and truth. Many mock believers for waiving their “rights” as gun owners; however, government by GOD has not promoted fear, debilitating poverty, spiritual confusion, unmanliness, or weakness. (8.) Fear of poverty is a deeply ingrained psychological condition that relates to animal instinct in mankind as well as to hidden fears of famine, shortage and starvation. Contentment is the true prosperity for the church: being free of anxiety about what one does have, free of care about what one does not have, and free of envy as to what others may have. (9.) While there have been instances of congregations abused by wicked clergymen who presume upon believers, extorting their funds, confiscating their belongings and property, and using them with contempt as no more than a “cash cow,” the genuine leaders of the church are discerned and recognized by their generosity, humility, simplicity, transparency, and truthfulness. Under the influence of sin, many claim to be justified when being destructive and vicious on behalf of family, and loved ones. Nonetheless, within the church of Jesus Christ, every believer may declare with conviction that no man has anything in this world (wife, children, houses, land) he would be willing—by cheating, deception, lying, stealing, and violence—to go to hell to get, or to possess. See James 4: 1-4, Hebrews 10: 31-38, 1st Timothy 6: 3-10 and 17-19, King James Version.

THE GOLDEN ARROW: I will open my mouth in a parable: I will utter dark sayings of old: Which we have heard and known, and our fathers have told us. We will not hide them from their children, shewing to the generation to come the praises of the LORD, and his strength, and his wonderful works that he hath done. For he established a testimony in Jacob, and appointed a law in Israel, which he commanded our fathers, that they should make them known to their children: That the generation to come might know them, even the children which should be born; who should arise and declare them to their children: That they might set their hope in God, and not forget the works of God, but keep his commandments: And might not be as their fathers, a stubborn and rebellious generation; a generation that set not their heart aright, and whose spirit was not stedfast with God. (Psalms 78: 2-8, KJV)

THE DOUBLE DAGGER: GOD in Schools? (12/20/2012); Naaman the Leper (12/21/2012); The Gospel not Logical? (09/16/2012); Unwelcome Gifts? (09/17/2013); Some To Rule? (03/31/2012); Girdle 45: I Have Left Me 7,000 (01/01/2012); Teen Believers? (10/07/2010); Foiled Again (10/08/2010); Binder 32: Those Yet Unsaved (10/29/2011)

      Brea, here are some points from a mature Christian believer to consider after your prayers:

(1.) Conflicts between teachers and school officials are not unusual, even in the setting of a church congregation. Because teachers have direct contact with parents and their children, they often feel best qualified to determine the most useful activities, approaches, materials, lesson plans, and techniques for evaluation of their students. In general, we say the teaching staff seeks “freedom;” and this is called “classroom autonomy.” When challenged by those having other levels of authority, teachers mistakenly may respond as if the legitimacy of their faith and salvation are at question. Unless there is continuing, shared prayer and open communication among program administrators and staff, ambition, pride and showing-off will produce no more than “glorified baby-sitting.”

(2.) In such church settings as Sunday School, Vacation Bible School, Day Care and Cradle Roll, believers are often chosen to serve as child caretakers, disciplinarians, and nurturing persons, not to serve as teachers fitted to the task on the basis of their experience as professional educators, or spiritual guides. With small children (and often adults), there is a great need for affective training that molds or shapes the expression of emotions and feelings. Academic discussion, logic and reasoning are not regarded as the best tools for imparting such spirit content as alertness, dutifulness, faithfulness, forgiveness, love, meekness, wisdom, and wrath against sin.

(3.) Spiritual teachers are developed through spiritual challenges. They must first overcome much opposition to their sacred commitment, and against their own still developing faith. Many seek to do this as “an experiment” or through “OJT” (on-the-job-training). Humility, longsuffering, obedience, patience and trust from the Holy Spirit describe the spirit substance of the best candidates for church school staff members. See again 1st Timothy 3: 1-16, KJV.

(4.) In most assemblies, the issues of age and inclusion have been argued and tested for long periods. Here, in the United States, the age of accountability—when a child may begin to make decisions for their own participation in the ordinances of the church body as a full and equal member, including baptism, confirmation and giving donations or tithes—varies from 8 to 18. Failing to see the “bigger picture,” parents and teachers may not readily endorse what, in fact, our sound ideas for their own local congregation.
    
     There is far more to be said, correctly applied, and spiritually apprehended. (For example, (5.) The problem for the Children’s School should not be taken as a personal problem. Be prepared to yield, rather than fight against this or that. We only win the struggle for souls where its understood, they already belong to GOD through Jesus Christ, not by our private efforts. There are many other ways you may serve the congregation and honor the Lord. Having respectfully expressed your concerns, put all in the hands of GOD. Leave that particular program, rather than nourish a root of bitterness.) Even so, I trust this fragment will be useful. Be it unto you according to your faith.

THE BLACK PHOENIX
Washington, DC

With others of various faiths across our Nation, since the birthday of citizen Martin Luther King, Jr., who advocated nonviolence as a standard for all our living, I have been prayerfully reflecting upon the President’s proposals regarding our Nation’s gun laws. Through ill-advised application of and emphasis upon our principles that encourage separation of Church and State, there is increased denial of divine authority and sacred law, disbelief, dismissal and lack of faith, with increasingly widespread ungodly public behavior. (The principle that should have prevailed most is that of Checks and Balances where the contributions of both Church and State would be continually blended.) America has arrived at a peculiar “bottom line.” Our children, our federal leadership, and our citizens who are committed to nonviolence are again forced to make passionate appeals that empathy and reason be shown by their less likeminded countrymen who manufacture, distribute, own, and use firearms. Once again, I have become sharply aware that, where GOD is not acknowledged as Head for the Chain of Command, there are no “god-given rights” that include liberty to vote, maintain families, bear arms, or own lethal weapons. The persistence and popularity of idolatry and whoredom are not enough to establish them as the righteousness of a people. To insist that there be “freedom” that allows those who are godless and wicked to abuse the conscience of a nation is absurd. Seeking to share what my Savior has now impressed upon me and other defenders of the Nation and its Capital, I am posting today’s blog entry (below):

THE GOLDEN ARROW: Blessed is the nation whose God is the LORD; and the people whom he hath chosen for his own inheritance. The LORD looketh from heaven; he beholdeth all the sons of men. From the place of his habitation he looketh upon all the inhabitants of the earth. He fashioneth their hearts alike; he considereth all their works. There is no king saved by the multitude of an host: a mighty man is not delivered by much strength. An horse is a vain thing for safety: neither shall he deliver any by his great strength. Behold, the eye of the LORD is upon them that fear him, upon them that hope in his mercy; To deliver their soul from death, and to keep them alive in famine. Our soul waiteth for the LORD: he is our help and our shield. For our heart shall rejoice in him, because we have trusted in his holy name. Let thy mercy, O LORD, be upon us, according as we hope in thee. (Psalms 33: 12-22, KJV)

THE DOUBLE DAGGER: GOD in Schools? (12/20/2012); Mob Rule and Violence (09/27/2012); Dispatch 32: Now Will I Rise (09/11/2011); Dispatch 26: The Shield (09/05/2011); Things? (11/13/2010); Mealtime Grace (11/14/2010)

The issues of responsible gun-ownership and access to firearms have become more than one of haves versus have nots—men and women coveting exotic and expensive things; some promoting knowledge and skill through partiality and prejudice; or some having personal pleasure, pride and satisfaction as a collector and owner of property that is not available to all. Accountability, purpose, and trust are now issues of gun legislation; and, for this reason, there is a threat to the health of the Nation; and the present public concern is also a sign of divine displeasure. Our home has become a place where insistence upon “privacy” and “rights” does not encourage and permit strict acknowledgement of duty and responsibility; and this threatens to become an undoing of our national covenant. Americans are now living in a nation where elected officials are not free to attend public gatherings and social events without putting their lives at risk, and being in jeopardy of assassination. Children in day care or public school classrooms may be targeted by deranged adults, and enemies of the State. The President of our Nation, and his family, have been under threats of assassination and murder, since he formally became a candidate for the Office.

The time has come that we must admit: Gun ownership is not a “god-given right” for Americans, and this is particularly so for those who have forfeited everything “god-given” through their disbelief and ignorance of GOD. Those who insist that people are not free, or are not full citizens without a gun are liars. Such betray their ignorance of our public contract for Nation: In the absence of “divine law” and covenants from GOD, the “law of the land” is the agreement and consensus that a group of people will continue together as a “commonwealth.” To the dismay of many gun advocates, apart from addressing the needs of the commonwealth there is no legitimate need for gun ownership described in the law. In fact, the Constitution and other public covenants assume and imply that gun ownership is for personal and national defense, rather than unlicensed hunting and unregulated recreation. With this unspoken aspect of our national pact in view, all militias are to operate openly, are under authority of the Nation’s Commander and Chief, and are in an agreement as reserved forces that are to buttress and support our active military. Certainly, in a national emergency, those that would not rally to the Chief Executive, and would challenge him as a dictator, a hypocrite, or a tyrant reasonably be identified as fomenters of rebellion, sedition and treason.

The present proposals focused upon assault weapons and their ammunition are lacking. To limit the size of gun magazines without limiting the frequency and numbers that may be purchased (e.g., no more than 4 clips every 3 months) is as vain as selling weapons without firing pins, and expecting American owners to honor the law and not to rearm and refit such weapons. Also, the stockpiling of weapons (e.g., 3 of a kind, 10 different kinds) is superfluous, and is not yet being properly challenged. The detailed inventory for all arsenals within our communities of 5 or more weapons should be known to both local and federal law enforcement.

As those appearing to embrace a false god for protection of their lives and property, the gun owners of America increasingly speak as those who worship an idol. Where a man values his dog, his job, his truck or a sports team, and declares he cannot live without them, or treasures them more than his wife, his children, his parents and co-workers, his homeland, he may call himself a believer in some religion, however, his inner spirit is caught up in a disguised form of idol worship. It is no different from those who claim to be Christian believers, yet do not obey Christ (see Ezekiel 33: 30-33 and Luke 6: 46, KJV). Those claiming to be Americans who deny the truth of our national consensus are liars. No matter what false claims they may now make, those not in national covenant with us are not Americans. They may be predators, outlaws, gunslingers and desperadoes, however, they are not fellow citizens, and should not be trusted as genuine Americans.

There is far more to be said, correctly applied, and spiritually apprehended. (For example, idolatry and worship of false gods are characterized by exploitation, fear, pride, and self-promotion. Where there are repeated efforts to exalt some dead and lifeless thing that contains no divine substance, love (the motive to unselfishly benefit others) is suppressed or only given “lip service.” Foundations for the quality of life, and the valuing of human experience become questionable and shaky. In the place of love, combativeness, competition, and a mentality and attitude of refusing to respect any that cannot employ force and violence naturally develops.) Even so, I trust this fragment will be useful. Be it unto you according to your faith.

THE BLACK PHOENIX
Washington, DC

      The Bible’s account of Naaman as a parable is the topic today, along with more on GOD in public schools. The “Yahoo! Answers” Top Contributor using the ID “Camille” (Level 7 with 141,507 points, a member since March 18, 2009) posted the following:

Naaman comes to Elisha because he is a leper how did he get healed of the leprosy and was he obedient to God?II Kings 5:1-15

Namaan, commander of the army of the king of Syria, was a great and honorable man: Naaman was the chief military commander of a persistent enemy to both Israel and Judah.

But a leper: Naaman had a lot going for him, but what he had against him was devastating.

THE BATTLE AXE: GOD in Schools? (12/20/2012)—Many aspects of divine covenant have been copied and imperfectly incorporated into the law and lifestyle of America as a Nation. As a result, many of our public programs can encourage and supplement home and church to establish our children as godly persons, however, agencies having no endowment of the Holy Spirit can never provide, replace or surpass the necessary lessons from GOD. The idea of GOD in schools through daily prayer derives from belief that prayer should be practiced freely without restrictions upon physical location, time or topic. Therefore, prayer may be offered spontaneously and apart from formal, congregational worship. Behavior and conduct that defile young people must be eliminated from the schools along with all that is irreverent and profane. However, as a sacred process, prayer, like judgment, is not the same for believers within the body and others who are outside the faith (see 1st Corinthians 5: 11-13, KJV). The sanctuary of a church as the gathering place where believers acknowledge the divine presence is cleansed and set apart for the appearance of GOD, and for worship by the prayers of the assembly. The same benefit is desired for our schools; yet, secular goals, public policy, and standard procedures do not generate, or serve as legitimate authority and parameters for prayer. The demand for prayer in schools generated by man must be seen as distinct from the demands for obeisance made by the Holy Spirit. The churches are cautioned against being deceived, and the making of vain oblations (Luke 21: 8, 1st Corinthians 6: 9 and 15: 32-34, Galatians 6: 7 and Isaiah 1: 13, KJV). Consider again: Thou therefore, my son, be strong in the grace that is in Christ Jesus. And the things that thou hast heard of me among many witnesses, the same commit thou to faithful men, who shall be able to teach others also. Thou therefore endure hardness, as a good soldier of Jesus Christ. No man that warreth entangleth himself with the affairs of this life; that he may please him who hath chosen him to be a soldier. And if a man also strive for masteries, yet is he not crowned, except he strive lawfully. (2nd Timothy 2: 1-4, KJV).

THE GOLDEN ARROW: And he said unto them, Ye will surely say unto me this proverb, Physician, heal thyself: whatsoever we have heard done in Capernaum, do also here in thy country. And he said, Verily I say unto you, No prophet is accepted in his own country. But I tell you of a truth, many widows were in Israel in the days of Elias, when the heaven was shut up three years and six months, when great famine was throughout all the land; But unto none of them was Elias sent, save unto Sarepta, a city of Sidon, unto a woman that was a widow. And many lepers were in Israel in the time of Eliseus the prophet; and none of them was cleansed, saving Naaman the Syrian. And all they in the synagogue, when they heard these things, were filled with wrath, (Luke 4: 23-28, KJV)

THE DOUBLE DAGGER: Dispatch 36: His Grace (09/15/2011); Respect? (01/02/2011); Not Accepted? (01/03/2011); Five Minutes? (12/27/2010); The Ark of GOD (12/28/2010); Things? (11/13/2010); When at Work… (11/08/2010); Faith and History (11/09/2010)

      For many mature Christian believers, the history of Naaman the leper serves as a parable (object lesson) wherein the warrior represents mankind in continual strivings finally becoming defiled and infirm through sin (leprosy). Despite his fame as a savior to the Syrians, Naaman must submit to the Holy One of Israel for change that is salvation (e.g., cleansing, forgiveness, healing, repentance, and restoration).

      Humility and obedience are shown to be the foundation for faith when Naaman is told to go bathe in the Jordan River. The great man has been sent having letters of commendation from his king; however, the prophet does not receive him with ceremony. Naaman becomes angry at being denied the formalities and “respect of person” due his various offices as ambassador, general, and prime minister to his king (the right-hand-man, so to speak). In his rage, he begins to curse the Jordan River and all Israel, instead, praising several rivers of his homeland, Syria.

      Salvation is shown to come by our performance of simple acts in cooperation with the profound acts of GOD on our behalf. When cautioned by his servants, Naaman is led to serve, and performs the task of dipping himself in the water seven times. (The number seven signifies completeness and perfection.) Naaman did all that he could possibly do. The washing by water is understood as baptism. That healing alone is not sufficient is depicted in what happens next. Naaman requests a dispensation that he would be forgiven when, continuing to obey his king, Naaman would escort him into a place of idol worship. In this, the account of Naaman acknowledges that divine salvation that removes fear, sin and spiritual uncleanness does not remove automatically the duties, obligations, or physical and practical realities necessary to our being in the world.

      There is far more to be said, correctly applied, and spiritually apprehended. (For example, the figure of Naaman may be seen as repeated in Simon the leper (Matthew 26: 6-7 and Mark 14; 3, KJV). That Jesus, the disciples, and others were able to attend a feast in Simon’s home, testifies that Simon had been healed of leprosy. However, here, instead of the dread disease, leprosy may have been excommunication from the worship community for being a publican, one who regularly interacted with, and served Gentiles (i.e., the Romans). ) Even so, I trust this fragment will be useful. Be it unto you according to your faith.

THE BLACK PHOENIX
Washington, DC

      Public schools as a divine tool for religious instruction, and more on the return of Christ to heaven are topics, today. A “Yahoo! Answers” Top Contributor using the ID “Olga”, (a member since November 14, 2012, Level 3 with 1,749 points) posted the following:

Christians: How can we get God back in schools where He belongs? +Pastor John Hagee…?

of the Cornerstone Church said this on the church’s Facebook page which is extremely inspirational:

“Hope for tomorrow begins with rational decisions today that guarantee a new direction for our nation. We have run God out of our schools, our lives, many of our churches
and God’s blessing has been lifted from our nation. I invite you to come this Sunday morning to hear the answer from God’s Word about “Hope for Tomorrow.” I’ll see you at Cornerstone Church Sunday morning; bring your Bibles and note-taking materials. Bring a heart that is ready to hear from heaven. God knows we’ve heard from everybody else long enough.” – Pastor John Hagee

Join us at 8:30 & 11am! See you in Church!

THE BATTLE AXE: The Ascension of Christ? (12/19/2012)—The lifting up of Jesus while he was yet in the flesh was witnessed by a group of men who had been carefully chosen and prepared through daily living, study, and laboring in ministry with Jesus. Without having first been built up through encounters and tests, the display of glory, holiness and power would have overwhelmed the carnal minds, emotions, and imaginations of the apostles. Instead of confidence and conviction, confusion and unbelief would have been the most likely result. Inarguable evidence that Jesus was truly sent from Almighty GOD to fulfill sacred covenants and promises had already been supplied by the events of Christ crucified, buried, and revived from death. The ascension appears as an irrefutable sign from heaven confirming the yet unfilled promise of a Comforter and further gifts to come from GOD. More than this, the apostles’ experience of his ascension sealed the truth that Jesus would return in glory.

THE GOLDEN ARROW: Now I say, That the heir, as long as he is a child, differeth nothing from a servant, though he be lord of all; But is under tutors and governors until the time appointed of the father. Even so we, when we were children, were in bondage under the elements of the world: But when the fulness of the time was come, God sent forth his Son, made of a woman, made under the law, To redeem them that were under the law, that we might receive the adoption of sons. And because ye are sons, God hath sent forth the Spirit of his Son into your hearts, crying, Abba, Father. Wherefore thou art no more a servant, but a son; and if a son, then an heir of God through Christ. (Galatians 4: 1-7, King James Version)

THE DOUBLE DAGGER: A Slaughter of Innocents? (12/15/2012); Unexceptional Beginnings? (11/22/2012); Believing Everything? (11/23/2012); Attending Church? (11/12/2012); A Holy Kiss? (11/13/2012); Parental Duty? (10/08/2012); Why No Answer? (08/25/2012); To Be or Not To Be (08/26/2012); The Young Less Religious (08/18/2012); Why Jesus Prayed (08/19/2012); Trouble for the Good (01/15/2012); Chain of Command (01/16/2012)

      Public schools are correctly understood as mechanisms to discipline, educate, and train members of a community, particularly minor children, however, public schools are not designed to fulfill the sacred purpose of spreading the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Public schools respond to mandates determined by civil law, shared resources, and social consensus. The order, process and structure of public schools are not rooted in divine law, and the various truths essential to right relationship with GOD as Creator. Having said this, public schools are “elements of the world,” not the kingdom of GOD.

      In addition to issues that emerge from varying levels of faith, obedience, and trust, challenges for religious instruction through the public forum represented by schools include enforcement of dissent, demands for inclusion by those professing disbelief, imbalance that may be addressed only through interdependence, and nonnegotiable demands for sound belief essential in establishing unity. Academic settings permit only abstract and narrative descriptions of spiritual documents and events. Peculiar figures may be identified as thought leaders and objects of worship. Questionable summaries of belief systems may be studied. The bottom line is that, public education does not truly allow spirit content to be conveyed, experienced, and internalized.

      The church and the home are the “god-given” devices for religious instruction that will both emerge from and demonstrate divine presence in recognizable power. This is specially true now that our schools are no longer merely centers for the 3-R’s (reading, ’ritin’ and ’rithmetic). The schools are business centers involving millions of dollars in contracts for books, building supplies, electronics, food services, and repairs. The schools are independent social systems (like a small town within a town), and now include issues of absence of parental involvement, alcohol and drug use, inappropriate sexual activity, police presence and violence. Emotionally charged issues make it that students must take to the schools a knowledge of GOD that will preserve the schools, and increasingly do not take a knowledge from the schools that will preserve the church and home.

      There is far more to be said, correctly applied, and spiritually apprehended. (For example, the issue of arming teachers with guns to protect students is now driven by fear and panic. In an emergency, access to a weapon worn as a sidearm and openly displayed will be very different than for weapons kept under lock and key for safety. Such options as the use of mace (stronger than pepper spray) or Tasers are not being highlighted in the present discussions. Doctrine and teaching accounted as nonviolence, and “turning the other cheek” may not be dismissed without violating the Gospel.) Even so, I trust this fragment will be useful. Be it unto you according to your faith.

THE BLACK PHOENIX Washington, DC