Just so we are clear…CACE is not in the political business of endorsing candidates or platforms. However, we certainly realize the impact that government, state and federal, can have on how Christian schools operate which requires informed readers. Therefore, we want to continue to provide information worth consuming for those with a common calling in Christian education. Missionally, we want to continue to network people together, around the cause of Christian education, as we are certainly believers in the African proverb that we can go farther together.
For illustration, CACE is celebrating this week with Christian colleges and universities in California. The initial version of Senator Lara’s Senate Bill 1146 threatened the religious freedom and ability of Christian colleges and universities who seek to serve students that desire a distinctively Christian, higher education in California. Thanks to the efforts and voices of many, Senator Lara informed the Assembly Appropriations Committee that he will amend SB 1146 to exclude provisions that threatened these religious freedoms. Provisions that, if included, would actually garner the support of SB 1146 by many of the Christian colleges and universities in California.
This battle won (in a war that is far from over) resonated with a recent editorial that the Center for Public Justice (CPJ) published. With her permission, Stephanie Summers, Chief Executive Officer of CPJ, offered the following thoughts on our posture as citizens, as full participants in the culture that surrounds us:
This election season has painfully exposed the shallowness of our contemporary public life. Yet the common responses of fear, apathy, withdrawal and despair are all shallow responses. The answer to the gross deficiencies of our political life is not more shallow politics but rooted citizenship.
We need rooted citizens. We need citizens whose perspective on public life is not tossed on the waves of hysteria or blown by the winds of public opinion. We need citizens who are rooted in the unchanging and ultimate reality of the Lordship of Christ, in the God of justice.
In this election season Christian citizens have the opportunity to stand out as rooted citizens, in both the content and the manner of their engagement.
- Citizens with roots are persistent in prayer.
They are those for whom prayer, not despair, is the first response. How many of us are quicker to take to social media than supplication? To Facebook rather than Our Father? If we are serious about Christian citizenship we will be serious about prayer.
- Citizens with roots offer hopeful not hurtful diagnoses.
It is not a very good doctor who simply berates their patient for their illness and makes little attempt to cure it. Likewise Christians should indeed diagnose the ills of the world, but to stop there is to stop with the Fall and not point to the redemption that is in Christ and the restoration that will be when He returns. Diagnoses grounded in hope fuel responsible engagement, concern for others, and a furthering of God’s intent for just political communities.
- Citizens with roots live out of fidelity not fear.
In an age of autonomy, of suspicion of the other and of indifference to institutions, rooted citizens practicing fidelity will stand out. Rooted citizenship calls us to institutions and associations not as an optional expression of our relationships but as vital sustainers and cultivators of those relationships and our public life.
Citizenship is more than something personal which responds to fear, and requires a supportive web of institutions to flourish. Jesus exhorts us not to be afraid. Our citizenship is not an expression of personal political preference but membership in a body that bears rights and requires responsibilities.
In this tumultuous election season may we practice citizenship as both our common calling and a distinctive witness, citizenship rooted in the God Who is Love.
– Stephanie Summers Follow CPJ on Twitter
Whichever party is voted into the Washington D.C. White House in November, we continue to live in the full confidence that God will finish what He started. It is ultimately less important that we figure out how the political system works or how to work the system. And that is the beautiful, comforting truth of assurance and hope that Christian educators have the privilege to share each day, the truth that God chose us before the foundation of the world began. He has justified us through the sacrifice of His Son. He is sanctifying us by the work of the Holy Spirit. And, He will glorify us with Himself at the time He has ordained.
Allow me to close this series of posts with the devotional words of Danny Nachtigal (elementary school principal from Surrey Christian School) “In the end, all is well. However, if all is not well, it must not be the end!” There is work to be done – May the favor of the Lord our God rest on us; establish the work of our hands for us—yes, establish the work of our hands (Psalm 90:17). Remain rooted!
Dr. Tim Van Soelen serves as the Director of CACE. Tim is also a professor of education at Dordt University. He has served as a principal, assistant principal, and middle school math and computer teacher at schools in South Dakota and California. Tim has his undergraduate degree from Dordt and advanced degrees from Azusa Pacific University and the University of South Dakota.