David’s rhetorical question from Psalm 11:3 has been heavy on my mind for several weeks: “If the foundations are destroyed what can the righteous do?” Last week I urged readers to faith even in these troubled times when it seems certain that the foundations of all we know to be true are being destroyed. I am confident in calling God’s people to faith because verses 4 through 7 of Psalm 11 remind us that God is still in control, He is still the standard of righteousness, and He loves His people who perform righteous deeds. I encouraged readers to marinate themselves and their children in God’s word as a way of increasing faith.
Any sane person consuming news media during this first half of 2020 is likely to feel discouraged right about now. A pandemic would be more than enough to cast a pall over any year, but the response to the pandemic of 2020—politicized as it has been—has in some ways been worse than the virus itself. Add to all that uncertainty the civil unrest of recent days and the surprising Supreme Court rulings of last week, and we have more than enough reasons to think all is lost.
I met the most amazing young woman last week. She is a graduate of Baylor’s Honors College, specifically the Great Texts program, and is two years into her teaching career at Live Oak Classical School in Waco, Texas. It is not uncommon for classical educators to meet at conferences in the summer, but coronavirus has cancelled any such opportunities for the summer of 2020. Fortunately, this young lady is the niece of a Trinitas parent and was present at a social gathering to which I had been invited.
Graduation is such a special time in the life of young adults. In the present age it has become arguably the most important rite of passage into adulthood. Eighteen-year-olds across the nation stand on a threshold: thirteen or more years of compulsory schooling is behind them, and the whole world lies ahead. Education, career, marriage, everything is ahead of them, and finally they get to make their own decisions about where to go and what to do.
The “Preacher” in the book of Ecclesiastes is adamant about there being “nothing new under the sun” (Eccl 1:9). Yet, the whole of humanity, or so it seems, only sits up and pays attention at the promise of something new. Don’t get me wrong, we certainly are introduced to new i-phones with some regularity, and every fall without fail new car models are unveiled in Detroit. Fashions are renewed every season, and some of us can hardly wait to see each season’s new look on the runways or in stores. No, I think it is unlikely the wise Preacher doubted the progressive nature of invention; rather, he speaks of something deeper.
As quarantine restrictions begin to ease all over the world, we should be able to start making some observations about how our weeks of sequestering have affected us. Oh, I don’t mean to enter the conversation about whether quarantining has worked to “flatten the curve” or whether it was the right or wrong action to take or what it has done to the “Economy.” I mean only to make a prediction about how staying locked in our houses and away from the world has affected our humanity.
If we surveyed 100 Americans in the year 2020 for their understanding of vita bona, or the good life, we probably would not get 100 different answers. In fact, we would likely get an overwhelming consensus. Our popular conception of the good life, according to Francis Schaeffer in his timeless classic, How Should We Then Live, is peace and affluence. We desire to live in undisturbed comfort with every possible convenience at our fingertips. We have developed an uncanny ability (or maybe we were born with it) for justifying anything that helps us maintain peace and affluence. Change is not in our nature and especially if it means taking a contentious or unpopular position or diminishing our wealth. But Jesus came with a sword, not peace (Matt 10:34), and he commanded us to lay up treasures in heaven, not on earth (Matt 6:19-20).
As Christian parents, our most important aim is to see our children walking with the Lord all the days of their lives. When they live under our roof, we can see to it that they are reading the Word, praying, and going to church because those are things we do together as families. We can demand from them, and then hold them accountable to, living like a Christian should live, practicing Christianity. At some point, however, a child has to take ownership of his own faith. At some point it is not only the God of his fathers, but it has to be his God too, his Lord and Savior. Have you ever considered what role the school plays in that?