Cut and pasted from my dear friend, Robyn. The following is lifted with permission.
A wonderful and beautiful message from my (Robyn Berkley’s) brother Don Sosnowski who is an evangelical Christian… Read on and feel free to pass along (permission granted by him)!
OPENING a Can of Worms here…..And it’s going to take more than a sound bite to get my point across.
I keep hearing people talk about how we no longer have God in our schools and this is the reason all these terrible things
are happening to us. I am a Christian but I have some major problems with this way of thinking.
Which God would you put back into schools? America was largely founded by Christians and I have no tolerance for historical revisionism that denies this. The Bible was the reader of the colonial school, and most schools were connected to churches. However, it’s not your great granddaddy’s America anymore. We live in a RELIGIOUSLY PLURALISTIC society, and we had better get used to it. Buddhists and Hindus don’t believe in a personal deity; Jews don’t believe in Jesus as the expression of God Incarnate; we have Muslims who worship Allah, and Mormons, JWs, Atheists, and Agnostic families that make up our society. Whose God do you “put back” in schools? Even Christians don’t agree on how to express their common faith in Jesus.
How exactly would you put God back in school? When I pray, I pray to Jesus as God Incarnate but would not force anyone to pray this way. How would that ever inspire children, benefit schools and decrease violence? And we cannot make the Bible a school book. I would not trust a non-Christian teacher to explain it to my children in a way that squares with my beliefs. I’d rather they don’t even try. I cannot imagine how we bring God into school without violating the freedom of religious expression (which by the way is God-given free will). Can someone please tell me how we do that?
So what do we do? We teach values again in schools. Lofty ideals and ethics that come from the Bible and other books of faith. We teach Respect, Love, Compassion, Fairness, Peace, Forgiveness and we model it through our teachers and administrators. We take children on field trips, do service projects, discuss universal values in meaningful conversations. We create zero tolerance policies for disrespect, violence, abuse, and bullying. But this still won’t cure what ails us.
Our society is disconnected. Community is going away. We don’t even know our neighbors, so how we could possibly care for them? When I was in seminary, a young man in our small school lit himself on fire in an attempted suicide. One of the administrators laid responsibility at all our feet and said we had relinquished our power and responsibility to prevent this. I was incensed at his comments at the time. Now I agree with him.
I don’t believe what we need is a whole bunch of new laws to control guns and I don’t carry an NRA card for this perspective. Laws cannot fix what ails us, and neither will arming teachers. This act was a random senseless act of violence. Perhaps the only person who could have prevented it was his mother and she missed her chance to do so. We may never know why. I believe the best we can do is strengthen our own families, church communities, and get back to basic human compassion for the people we meet every day, especially the mentally ill and disabled. I am my brother’s keeper and my faith tells me that.
What does yours tell you?