Friday, August 27, 2010

Where values come from

There have been a lot of things in the media lately that have sparked the same thought in me over and over. I am going to try to keep this less political, and maybe I am a total nutjob for my views, but hear me out.

I keep hearing this undertone of, "Oh no! What is this going to do to our values as Christians/Americans/etc." And once upon a time I followed that herd. I was worried that if anything was ruled in favor of Muslims/foreigners/etc. that it would be the downfall of Christianity/America as we know it. But as I get older and (I'd like to think) wiser, I am beginning to realize that's not the case.

A big issue is gay rights. I have heard it said by many, many a Christian that it will undermine the values of Christianity to allow gays the right to marry? My question is, how?! How does it directly affect what I believe and how I live my own life? Does it really threaten my own relationship with Christ if gay people want to get married? One of my best friends is gay. Does having a close friendship with him undermine the Christian values I have? No! It doesn't! He and I have very different views on many things, but him being gay has no effect on my salvation!

Then I hear it taken one step further and people say, "Well, what if they allow pro-gay curriculum into the school systems." (Whatever that even means...) So what? My kids don't go to school to learn their core values. They go to school to learn math, reading, writing, history, geography.... And I doubt many people consider 2+2=4 or the capitol of California being Sacramento as core values. My point is - and maybe I am either naive or overly-confident in this statement - I don't feel threatened by what else is "out there." Jeremy and I work hard to bring our kids up right; to teach them good, godly, Christian values, and to respect and serve others, even if they're different.

I wrote a blog years ago about a woman who was suing her child's school for singing "Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer" because it was a Christian song (eyeroll!) and she was Jewish. My kids' school Christmas program includes songs from every religion except Christianity (for which my husband always gets a little grumbly every year), however, it doesn't bother me in the least that they are learning about Hannukah or Kwaanza. I mentioned this in that blog, too, but I don't honestly feel threatened by my kids learning other things. In fact, and maybe this is wierd, but I sometimes see public schooling my kids as a blessing, in that it opens far more doors to talk about the world, other people's thoughts and values, and reinforce what we believe and why we believe it. And trust me, Seth's only going into 3rd grade, and we've had a LOT of "teaching moments" already.

I pray for my kids, that they would grow up to know and love the Lord. I pray that they will grow up to be godly men and women who do great things for the Kingdom. And Jeremy and I do everything in our power to teach them how to "walk the walk" of a Christian. In the back of my mind, I do undertstand that maybe they will reject Him. Nothing is a guarantee. But I feel like if I allow that "spirit of fear" to take over and convince me that I need to vote to over-regulate others' lives and freedoms in order to protect my own, then am I really putting my full faith in the Lord to correctly guard and guide my childrens' hearts?

I get bothered by the very notion that we should restrict others' freedoms to begin with, just on the mere basis that we don't like what they say/do/think/believe. But it bothers me even more that we're doing it in order to "preserve Christian values." Obviously, I want to preserve my own values and those of my kids in our own lives, buuut....that's between us and God, and only us and God. That isn't the school's job! That isn't the government's job! That is the job of each and every individual and/or their parents. Values are learned at home, NOT at school or through the ballot box.

Christians, we need to be spending more time sharing with our kids about the Lord and showing them why we need to follow Him, and less time telling our kids to hate or fear those we disagree with. We need to spend more time showing our kids how to love others, and less time showing them how to judge, condemn, and ostracize them. And we ourselves need to do the same. Remember, we are "in the world but not of it." We need to be in it - actively working for the Lord, and teaching our children to do the same. But no, we cannot be of it. But the separation of self and surroundings needs to be more internal than external. We cannot shelter ourselves and our kids from the world by fear, hatred, avoidance, and legislation. That only goes so far, and hurts far too many people in the process...ourselves included. The way we shelter ourselves and our kids is by having a right relationship with the Lord. That can only be done through prayer, reading the Word, repentence, and reliance on Him.

Reliance on Him... I guess that's what it boils down to. If we wholeheartedly - without doubts and fears - rely on Him, then we have no "need" to rely on the schools, government, etc. to protect and teach our values for us.

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