An Educator’s Interpretation of 1 Cor. 13

I was working through some old files and found this gem. It’s too good to not share.

“If I learn my ABCs, can read 600 words per minute, and can write with perfect  penmanship, but have not been shown how to communicate with the Designer of all language, I have not been educated.

If I can deliver an eloquent speech and persuade you with my stunning logic, but have not been instructed in God’s wisdom, I have not been educated.

If I have read Shakespeare and John Locke and can discuss their writings with keen insight, but have not read the greatest of all books – the Bible – and have no knowledge of its personal importance, I have not been educated.

If I have memorized addition facts, multiplication tables, and chemical formulas, but have never been disciplined to hide God’s Word in my heart, I have not been educated.

If I can explain the law of gravity and Einstein’s theory of relativity, but have never been instructed in the unchangeable laws of the One Who orders our universe, I have not been educated.

If I can classify animals by their family, genus and species, and can write a lengthy scientific paper that wins an award, but have not been introduced to the Maker’s purpose for all creation, I have not been educated.

If I can recite the Gettysburg Address and the Preamble to the Constitution, but have not been informed of the hand of God in the history of our country, I have not been educated.

If I can play the piano, the violin, six other instruments, and can write music that moves men to tears, but have not been taught to listen to the Director of the universe and  worship him, I have not been educated.

If I can run cross-country races, star in basketball, and do 100 push-ups without stopping, but have never been shown how to bend my spirit to do God’s will, I have not been educated.

If I can identify a Picasso, describe the style of da Vinci, and even paint a portrait that earns an A+, but have not learned that all harmony and beauty comes from a relationship with God, I have not been educated.

If I graduate with a perfect 4.0 and am accepted at the best university with a full scholarship, but have not been guided into a career of God’s choosing for me, I have not been educated.

If I become a good citizen, voting at each election and fighting for what is moral and right, but have not been told of the sinfulness of man and his hopelessness without Christ, I have not been educated.

However, if one day I see the world as God sees it, and come to know Him, Whom to know is life eternal, and glorify God by fulfilling His purpose for me, Then, I have been educated!”

By Carolyn Caines, Supervisor
Columbia Heights Christian Academy * Longview, Washington

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What If Jesus Meant What He Said?

A missionary friend, Nate Bramsen, just recently published his book What If Jesus Meant What He Said? and I had a chance to read it just before Christmas. One chapter, in particular, really impacted me and I would like to share some excerpts over the next few weeks.

Part 1.

In Suffering and Persecution, our relationship with Christ is deepened

“That I may know Him and the power of His resurrection, and the fellowship of His sufferings, being conformed to His death” (Php. 3:10).

How frequently we pray, “Lord, I want to know you more!” It is the cry of a heart of one who has gotten a glimpse of the beauty of the Savior. And yet how do we expect God to answer our prayers? Do we anticipate being zapped with the knowledge and experience of Christ, or do we expect God to give us the opportunity to learn of Him more intimately?

To truly know Him as our Comforter, there must be pain.

To know Him as our Provider, there must be need.

To know Him as our Healer, there must be infirmity.

To know Him as our Restorer, there must be something taken.

To know Him as our Savior, there must be something lost.

To know Him as our Resurrection, there must be death.

The Lord Himself is the One who sets the stage for us to share His intimate fellowship – including the fellowship of His suffering. Don’t miss the precious opportunity to know God amid hard circumstances (that you would never have chosen). He may be answering your prayer “to know Him.”

When did Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego enjoy the most intimate fellowship with God? It was in the flames of Nebuchadnezzar’s furnace. They were in no hurry to come out. In fact, they had to be called out of the fire by the king’s command. The only thing the flames burned were the ropes holding them in bondage (Daniel 3:25-27).

Christ never promised physical safety to His followers. He promised something far better: His presence. When commissioning His disciples before ascending to the Father, Jesus told them. “Go, therefore, and make disciples of all nations…” and then left them with this promise: “I will be with you, even to the end of the age” (Matthew 28:19a, 20). Sometimes the physical flame does touch our lives, but Christ took the furious flames of God’s wrath and judgment so that we might forever enjoy His life. Christ was forsaken on the cross so that we might eternally dwell in God’s presence. This present suffering is but a platform on which to display the presence and preciousness of Jesus Christ.”

 

A Christmas Story

‘Twas the Weekend Before Christmas and all through the town

Every creature was stirring, every face wore a frown.

Especially for those who traveled the streets

Vying for parking stalls, head-on they’d meet

And tempers and horns and music was blaring

And mothers were frantic with babies awailing.

OK, so my muse ran out. But that is just a glimpse of how it looked that last Friday before Christmas. It had snowed a few days earlier but now the snow was mostly slush. I had just a few more Christmas presents to purchase but I had probably picked the worst time to go Christmas shopping. It was sleeting, in the middle of rush hour for those heading home, but the middle of mayhem for those struggling to find a parking spot in the mall parking lots. The parking lots at the mall still had the piles of snow the snowplows had created. I knew better than to find a spot close to the entrances so I cruised the back few rows, looking for an opening. Every time I thought I found one, a car beat me to it. After what seemed like hours, in reality only 20 minutes (20 MINUTES!) I finally found a spot; of course, it was just about as far away from an entrance as could be. Oh well, at least I had a spot.

I opened my door and promptly stepped into a deep puddle that swamped my shoe. Oh great; ice water in my shoe. What a wonderful feeling. With water sloshing around in my shoe, I opened the back door to pull out my baby and the baby bag. I realized little Susie needed changing so reached in to the diaper bag to pull out a diaper and found…nothing. Great, I had forgotten to replenish the supplies. One more item to be added to the list. After tucking Susie into her stroller and balancing the diaper bag on the hood of the stroller, I trudged off to the entrance. As the cars passed me in their search for a parking spot, the slush sprayed until my lower legs were soaked. ‘Does it get any better than this?’ I wondered. As I approached the door, the tinny Christmas music became harder to ignore and I became irritated when I found myself humming along.

At least it was warm inside. I wondered what the squelching sound was until I remembered the water in my shoe. My first order of business was now buying diapers so that I could change Susie…. With that task completed, I would be able to start shopping for the items I initially came here for. I wanted this to be a quick in-and-out experience. Dinner still had to be made. Unfortunately, everyone else felt the same way I did. The lineups were long and the cashiers slow. Tempers were fraying, I admit mine was, as price checks slowed lines down even more. The cashiers frozen smiles were fraying too as they tried to maintain a friendly demeanor during this rush.

After finally making it through the first lineup (four more stores to go-ugh) I wished for a stroller that could work on the escalator rather than always having to wait for the elevator to take me from floor to floor. Mall elevators are not fast at the best of times, and during the Christmas rush they felt even slower than usual. The second lineup was even slower than the first. Susie started fussing a bit but I was ready for that and gave her crackers as a distraction. At least the third store had fast cashiers and I found my smile returning. Almost done. I checked my watch and my relieved mood dissipated. My planned one hour shopping trip was now approaching the end of the second hour and I still had one more store to go. The stroller was only able to carry the diaper bag and the other three bags were now bouncing against my legs as I tried to maneuver around the lineups and displays.

I made it into the last store but had trouble finding what I was looking for. Susie had finished the crackers and was fussing for something to drink. I found her sippy cup and handed it to her. I hoped that would tide her over for a while. Now, try to find an customer service representative to help me out. Nobody was around. Typical. I looked for a store directory and realized I needed to get to the third floor. It took three waits to get on the elevator. I made it to the third floor and still couldn’t find a customer service representative. After walking up and down the aisles for the umpteenth time I finally found what I was looking for. That is to say, I found the shelf that had held what I was looking for. The shelf was empty. Now what? I spotted a harried looking customer service representative rushing down one aisle. I began my demolition-derby style sprint to catch up with her to find out if they had more stock and just hadn’t resupplied the shelf. After dodging other shoppers and displays, I caught up with her. She was talking to another customer. The conversation didn’t sound all that friendly. I waited for their interaction to end so that I could ask my question.

The conversation ended but that only meant that the customer service representative had to go to the back to check stock on what that customer wanted. I waited. And waited. Susie started fussing more and I had no more snacks. I had only planned to be away for an hour but the second hour was now well over. Finally, the employee came back and the customer ahead of me was finally satisfied. My turn. I could see the customer service representative take a deep breath before facing me. My sarcastic comment died before I could give voice to it as I realized how tired she must be after dealing with impatient customers all day long. I tried to muster the last shred of kindness as I asked for current stock of the last item I was looking for. It required another trip to the back for the customer service representative. Susie was really fussing now and wouldn’t accept my attempts at calming her down. Finally…the employee came back and had one left in stock. What a relief.

Now to endure the checkout lineup one more time. Susie started getting louder, letting me know how frustrated she was. People around me started giving me dirty looks as I tried to shush Susie (all to no avail). With only six more people ahead of me (6!) in the lineup, the paper ran out at the till. Now another delay while the paper was being replaced. It was getting more difficult to ignore the grumbling of my stomach and the pounding of my head as the noise of squalling children, Christmas music, impatient customers, and harried cashiers seemed to reverberate within my head. Finally, my turn. And then my cell rang. I waved the customer behind me ahead to take the call. It was my son calling, asking when dinner would be ready. I told him I was still shopping and would get something ready as soon as I got home. He didn’t like that answer but I hung up on him before he could really start to complain so that I could get through this lineup. Susie was now really demanding my attention so I tried to carry Susie while dumping all the bags into the stroller. Not only was she getting noisier, but she was also getting much more fidgety.

The cashier gave rang up my purchase, but now I had to balance Susie while getting my wallet open and my credit card out. Susie was crying now, the customers behind me were frustrated, the cashier was demanding my attention and I still had to remember my pin. Finally done. I tossed the bag onto the other bags already on the stroller and headed for the elevator. My cell rang again. I had to stop to fish out the phone while holding Susie, still crying, just to find that it was now my daughter on the phone asking for dinner. I snapped at her that I would get to it as soon as I could. I shut the phone off and continued to head to the elevator. I got in line…and waited…and waited. The fourth load finally brought me to the front of the line. I wrestled the stroller into the elevator and then had to make way until the elevator was full. Susie was crying and a cell phone went off, not mine fortunately, and the mom answered it. You could hear the frustrated voice on the other end demanding attention and the mom’s voice getting more and more frustrated. The tension and frustration level was already high and then the elevator stopped. We waited. Susie started shrieking. People gave me dirty looks. The same Christmas carols were stuck on repeat. The elevator lurched and froze again. Now my cell rang again but I could not reach it. I had to let it ring until the message service took over. One person told me to quieten my baby down. I gave him a dirty look. My frustration reached a boiling point.  I spoke out into the crowd over Susie’s wailing, ‘Whoever invented Christmas should be taken out and shot!’

‘Too late,’ a voice responded from the front, ’we’ve already crucified Him.’

A Light in the Darkness

These are the dark days of December. They are dark for a variety of reasons. For those suffering from SAD (Seasonal Affective Disorder), these shortest days of the year often lead to emotional darkness as depression sinks in its talons of despair. For others, they are mourning the death of a loved one (and that is a reality at SCS) or are dealing with the shock of a medical diagnosis or a worsening medical condition. As we look around society, we can also see the spiritual darkness spreading (read https://www.lifesitenews.com/news/breaking-canada-wont-fund-student-summer-jobs-unless-employers-demonstrate). What a trifecta: physical, emotional, and spiritual darkness.

When I think about the encroaching darkness, I am reminded of this quote from The Lord of the Rings: Return of the King.

“Far above the Ephel Duath in the West the night-sky was still dim and pale. There, peeping among the cloud-wrack above a dark tor high up in the mountains, Sam saw a white star twinkle for a while. The beauty of it smote his heart, as he looked up out of the forsaken land, and hope returned to him. For like a shaft, clear and cold, the thought pierced him that in the end the Shadow was only a small and passing thing: there was light and high beauty for ever beyond its reach.” (Tolkien, Return of the King, p. 901)

From here, I like to move to Scripture. Isaiah reminds us that:

The people who walked in darkness
Have seen a great light;
Those who dwelt in the land of the shadow of death,
Upon them a light has shined (9:2).

We have the light of God’s Word to comfort and encourage us. As we look at Christmas lights, either on houses or on trees (or elsewhere), let the light remind us of the light that we have through Jesus Christ. Let us continue to look ‘unto  Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith, who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God’ (Heb. 12:2). And the best way to do that is to continue to turn to Scripture to read and re-read the many promises that God has given us through His Son.

Appearance or Reality

I had an interesting conversation earlier this week. I won’t try to re-create it here, but it got me thinking about what we value more: truth or optics (reality or appearance).

The argument was basically that we value optics more than truth. We would rather see (and hear) what we expect to see (and hear) than the truth. Of course, when I hear an argument like that, I try to apply it to my work context. Would we rather see (and hear) that everything is well with our students or would we rather hear the truth (and that assumes there is a difference between the two)?

I have seen several examples of optics being more important than truth. If we look at SAT scores, the numbers were dropping for a while before surging back up. The surging scores seemed to indicate that students were again doing well. That is what the optic indicated. The truth was that they re-wrote the SAT to make it easier so that students could get higher marks. The truth indicated that marks would have gone down more if the test had not been simplified. Another example of this has been in scholarships handed out on the basis of grades. Grades started to climb. This looks good; students are obviously doing better. The truth was, however, that teachers engaged in grade inflation. This was obvious when comparing student classroom grades with their provincial exam results. The gap between them was increasing. The grades were much higher than the provincial exam results.

The question that I am left with, then, is what the preference is here at SCS. The answer to that question does not start with what is reported to parents. The answer to that question starts with me. Am I ready to ask myself the hard questions and then go where the answer leads me? As an educational leader, the most important aspect of leadership is starting with truth. But what if we don’t like the truth? What happens then?

Another dimension to this question relates to our expectations. Does what we see meet or exceed our expectations? Our expectations can be either positive or negative (ie. things may be better than expected or worse).

At this stage I have no answers, only more questions: questions about results (are they accurate?), process (is it the right one?), implementation (are we doing what we ought to be doing?), and resources (are these the right ones?). As I work through these questions, I will share the results….

Cardus 2016 Education Survey

This past week I was in Banff for the annual ACSIWC Board/Administrator Conference. This years keynote speaker was Dr. Deani Van Pelt who is a senior researcher with Cardus (think Barna but specifically for education). Cardus just released its latest survey in 2016 focusing on some of the differences between public schools, Catholic schools, evangelical Christian schools, and homeschools. I will be quoting a number of conclusions reached by Cardus:

There is also a[n] uncomfortable story within the data for non-government schools (particularly the religious schools) about insularity (or religious encapsulation) and public life. For this reason, the following report looks at the data with this question in mind: What is education for? Our contention is that education in most (if not all)
school sectors is falling prey to a failure of imagination. The public sector and many of the non-government sectors have adopted a utilitarian attitude that reduces learning to something that provides graduates with the requisite skills and knowledge they need to obtain a job and be a productive (hopefully wealthy) member of society. While we would
not deny the goodness of such things, seeing this as the “final cause”—telos, purpose, or “end”—of education is dangerous for students, communities, and the institutions of education.

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For example, international measures of attainment, such as the PISA rankings together with provincial testing, demonstrate that Canada’s scores in reading, science, and math “have been trending downward for a decade” (Cappon 2014, 16). Business associations in Canada regularly complain about graduates who lack a fundamental work ethic and
the basic competency in literacy and numeracy required to function in the workplace (Green, Dijkema, and Van Pelt 2016), yet per-student spending on the government system of education is up by 25.8 percent (when adjustments have been made for inflation) over the last decade in Canada (Clemens, Neven Van Pelt, and Emes 2016).

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Across Canada, public education aims to prepare students to:
• Be valuable participants in and contributors to the economy
• Be informed citizens who value democratic participation and civic engagement
• Be confident, responsible, self-sufficient adults
• Be honest, fair, and ethical members of society
• Contribute to a peaceful, pluralistic, and cohesive society
• Live personally fulfilled and healthy lives
• Value further education and life-long learning. (Pennings et al. 2012, 12)
These seven aims promote the kind of reciprocity that makes living life together possible. They suggest that there remains consensus around the idea that reciprocity is an appropriate way to engage in the “public” space. One does not need to be an anarchist anthropologist to agree with David Graeber (2011) that treating friends, family, neighbours, and even strangers strictly on the basis of profit and loss would make life intolerable. It was common through the 1970s and the first part of the 1980s to argue that educating students of different social, economic, and religious backgrounds in a secularly neutral “public” school was the way to accommodate difference and teach
young people to live together (Troyna and Hatcher 1992). The social-contact theory (which maintains that a diverse student body is necessary for cultivating students to live in diverse communities) lies in part behind Canada’s multicultural education project and the “melting pot” of US secular education (Green and Pennings, forthcoming). The problem is that dealing with diversity at this level within the institution works neither philosophically nor practically. Mixed schooling is equally capable of aggravating ethnic, racial, and religious tensions as religious schooling (Shortt and Lenga 2010). In practice government-funded schools in Canada, whether secular or religious, and secular schools in the United States are all vulnerable to structural inequalities and social sorting (Green 2015).

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Canadian philosopher of education Elmer Thiessen (1993) argues that we have to recognize that all education indoctrinates and that not all indoctrination is at the expense of individual autonomy. This is especially important if we reject the premise that it is ever possible to adopt a secular and neutral position from which to educate. Respect and tolerance, or love of neighbour, needs to be rooted in authentic growth from within a cultural, religious, and ideological tradition. It is simply not the case, as Signe Sandsmark (2002) has argued, that eschewing confessional approaches in education suggests that all faiths are equal; rather it proposes that all are equally irrelevant.

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This report was followed in 2012 by the publication of the first round of Canadian outcomes data. The second Cardus Education Survey refuted claims that religious and other independent schools do not prepare students to contribute positively to Canada’s multicultural society. Rather, the study found that graduates of independent schools were at least as likely to be involved in society and culture working toward the common
good as their counterparts attending government schools, and in some cases they were doing better.

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More particularly, public-school graduates are less likely to have a college degree than are graduates of separate Catholic, nonreligious independent, and evangelical Protestant schools.

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We find significant distinctions between graduates of public and independent schools in terms of time spent together at home. Public-school graduates eat meals together as a family less frequently than do graduates of nonreligious independent, evangelical Protestant, and separate Catholic schools, and pray as a family less often than do graduates of all other sectors. In addition, we find that graduates of all types of religious schooling environments talk about God and read the Bible together more often than do
public school graduates.

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Overall, while there is evidence of some religious encapsulation with the evangelical
Protestant school graduates, there are many similarities with the public school  graduates, indicating that encapsulation is not as strong of an identifier for these graduates as might be expected.

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Graduates of evangelical Protestant and religious homeschool environments have a significantly higher frequencies of church attendance than public school graduates, and they are more likely to observe regular religious disciplines, try to strengthen their relationship with God, donate 10 percent of their income, pray alone, and read their Bible than public school graduates.

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Donating resources, however, is a different story. Here the evangelical Protestant school graduates are much more likely than their peers from public schools to donate. They donate more to their congregations and in greater amounts; they also donate greater amounts to political causes, more often to other religious causes, and they even donate greater amounts to nonreligious organizations. They are the only ones more likely than the public sector to regularly give 10 percent of their income for donations. Overall, we conclude that evangelical Protestant schools play a  significant and meaningful role in shaping their graduates to share their financial resources, but not necessarily their time. Evangelical Protestant school graduates are also more likely than public school graduates to go on mission trips. For instance, they are more likely than graduates of public schools to have ever been on a mission trip as a teen or as an adult and have gone on a greater number of trips, and more likely to have gone on either an evangelism trip or a relief trip.

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Evangelical Protestant school graduates are actively part of civic life to the same extent as their peers from public schools. In addition to this, they are more willing to give blood, volunteer, and donate to charity, which is all, perhaps, connected to the fact that they are also more likely to feel a responsibility to help those in need. This indicates that the evangelical Protestant sector is managing to cultivate graduates with a healthy sense of love for their neighbour in a manner that influences behaviour well past the secondary school years.

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Evangelical Protestant school graduates, much like the nonreligious independent and Catholic independent school graduates, report having more exposure to various STEM courses during their secondary school days than graduates from public schools. Specifically, they report being more likely to have had algebra, calculus, and biology. However, they are just as likely as public school graduates to have had geometry, trigonometry, pre-calculus, chemistry, and engineering courses.

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Nonreligious independent and Christian independent school graduates also felt that their schools provided them with a stronger quality of relationships with teachers and students than did public school graduates. In addition, when compared to graduates from all independent sector graduates, public school graduates are less likely to think their schools were “close-knit”. In addition, they were less likely than graduates from evangelical Protestant and nonreligious independent schools to think their teachers cared and that students got along.

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Evangelical Christian school graduates:

No difference with public school graduates in being fully employed, but a greater likelihood of being in managerial or professional roles. Educational attainment after high school indistinct from public school.

More likely to be married, but just as likely to be divorced or cohabitate; increased likelihood of eating, praying, and reading the Bible together as a family; less interested in creativity for their work; just as inclined to look for work that fulfils a religious calling as public school graduates; social ties just as diverse as those of public school graduates.

As trusting and confident in society and its institutions as public school graduates; they trust religion to a significantly greater degree yet are no less likely to see society as hostile to their values.

School sector is significantly more likely to form graduates who attend church, observe religious disciplines, and strengthen their relationship with God than public school graduates.

Much more likely than public school graduates to donate money and to go on relief and mission trips.

Equally engaged in public life as their public school peers; more likely to volunteer in non-congregational organizations.

More exposure to STEM courses than public school graduates; less likely to believe technology and science will produce opportunities in the future.

Significantly more positive view of their secondary education than public school graduates; believe that they were prepared for life after high school to a greater degree than the public school graduates.

A Day of Prayer

This week I am taking a break from the topics I have been discussing. This week I would like to promote the day of prayer for TWU on Sunday, November 26. Below is a Globe and Mail article on this situation.

The Ontario government is likening a proposed Christian law school’s requirement of no sexual intimacy outside of heterosexual marriage to a bar against Jews that existed in the province’s legal profession nearly 200 years ago.

Ontario says it has insisted that access to the profession be open to all, beginning in 1833, when it abolished a requirement that effectively barred non-Christian lawyers through an insistence on receiving the Sacrament of the Lord’s Supper, a Christian ritual. In 1892, Clara Brett Martin became the province’s first female lawyer, with the support of the Attorney-General.

“Ontarians have a right to expect that they or their children can seek to become lawyers without facing impediments because of their religion, gender or sexual orientation,” the province says in a written filing with the Supreme Court.

The court has set aside two days this fall to hear arguments on whether law societies in Ontario and British Columbia may refuse to license graduates of Trinity Western University’s proposed law school in Langley, B.C.

The private university, established in 1962, has a “Community Covenant” obliging students to sign a promise not to engage in sexual activity outside of heterosexual marriage. Law societies in both provinces voted against licensing the graduates, calling the school discriminatory. B.C.’s Court of Appeal overturned one such rejection, while Ontario’s top court upheld the other.

Ontario is the only government intervening in the case. In all, a record 26 intervenors are scheduled to appear, after the court added a day for the hearing, and in an unprecedented move granted permission to 17 intervenors it had earlier rejected.

In its legal filing, Trinity Western says the law societies are discriminating against its graduates on the grounds of religious freedom. Such discrimination, it says, harms all religious minorities by forbidding them from joining together to express their beliefs.

Barring its graduates “removes the option for members of the evangelical community to attend a law school that respects, encourages and supports their beliefs.”

If the law societies are correct in refusing to recognize Trinity Western, the school says, “the Charter [of Rights and Freedoms] does not adequately protect the ability of all religious educational communities-schools, churches and other organizations to obtain required state approvals and recognition to carry out their private activities in the context of their protected religious beliefs.”

 TWU was established by the Evangelical Free Church, and describes evangelicals as a distinct religious subculture in Canada, amounting to 11 per cent or 12 per cent of the population.

“Evangelical Christianity is a minority religious group, having distinctive religious beliefs, including an emphasis on practising the beliefs and moral standards expressed in the Bible. These beliefs and practices can put its members in tension with broader societal norms and popular opinion.”

An intervenor that supports TWU’s position, the Christian Legal Fellowship, argues that the law societies are wrong when they say they are acting in the public interest by refusing to accept graduates of the law school.

“The public interest is not a sword to enforce moral conformity with the Law Societies’ approved values,” it says in a filing with the Supreme Court. A blanket exclusion based on the Community Covenant casts unwarranted aspersions on all lawyers with traditional beliefs, it adds.

Two same-sex advocacy groups, Start Proud and OUTlaws, say in a joint filing that the Community Covenant means LGBTQ persons, including married ones, “can never be their authentic selves while attending TWU. … No one should be forced to renounce their dignity and self-respect in order to obtain an education.”

The Law Society of Upper Canada, the self-regulating body for the legal profession in Ontario, says it cannot discriminate directly or indirectly.

 “The Law Society’s accreditation of TWU would have amounted to the Law Society condoning TWU’s discriminatory policy and exhibiting a preference for the religious tenets of Evangelical Christianity,” it said in its written argument filed with the Supreme Court.

This case is now coming to the Supreme Court of Canada and will be heard November 30 and December 1. The decision will have very wide-ranging implications.

Why would the court rule against TWU? The single point of contention is the community charter that TWU has for its students (upholding a biblical definition of marriage and sexuality). If TWU wins its court case, then Christians will continue to have the right to hold and share their beliefs in a public forum as well as meet together in groups for religious observances (church), education (Christian schools), and other Christian organizations. If TWU loses its case, then that will have a ripple effect across all Christian institutions across Canada (and beyond). For example, how would we be able to argue that our graduates (from SCS) holding Christian beliefs should be allowed to graduate with a diploma in Saskatchewan if they also hold to such a biblical definition of marriage and sexuality? This conclusion may not happen in a year, but it would certainly be reached within a short time.

The biggest issue the judges face is how to reach a decision. There are two main responses possible. The judges can either rule based on law (precedent) or they can rule based on a progressive interpretation of the law (what popular opinion dictates the law should mean). [As I am not a lawyer, this is a very simplified explanation.]

November 26 has been set aside as a day of prayer for TWU. Please join me in prayer for the Supreme Court judges and their decision, the stand that TWU has taken to maintain a biblical standard for marriage and sexuality, and the lawyers arguing the case. Above all, that God would be honoured in this whole process through the behaviour and prayers of the lawyers arguing on behalf on TWU and those, like us, who would intercede before the throne of grace.