Tag: mission

Vision and Mission

The SSCE Board and the principal have been working on revising (tightening up) the Vision and Mission statements.

The old Vision statement read: To develop godly stewards who glorify Christ academically, spiritually, socially, and physically. The new Vision Statement now reads: To develop godly stewards who glorify Christ spiritually, academically, socially, and physically. The key difference is switching the order of ‘academically’ and ‘spiritually’ so that the spiritual focus comes first. That way, what we teach academically is filtered through our spiritual lens (and not the other way around). As a Christian school, I want to ensure that God’s Word stays the foundation and authority for why we do what we do.

The old Mission statement read: SCS exists to assist Christian parents by providing a Christ-centred education that prepares and challenges students to strengthen the family, serve the Church, and influence the world. The new Mission Statement now reads: SCS exists to assist families by providing a Christ-centred education that disciples students to strengthen the family, serve the Church, and influence the world.

There are two key changes in the Mission statement. The first change is moving from ‘Christian parents’ to ‘families.’ Over the years I’ve found it very difficult to define ‘Christian’ in a way that makes sense to everyone. The various denominations have differing ways of describing what makes a person a Christian. Every time I ask a parent if he or she is a Christian, I feel like I am taking on the role of the Holy Spirit. I can’t see the heart and asking me to pretend is not fair to me. Rather than relying on a person’s self-declaration on whether or not they are a Christian, I would rather focus on what the end goal of the family is. What do the parents want for their children? To what extent are the parents in agreement with our vision and mission? If the parents want their children to become ‘godly stewards who glorify Christ’ in every arena of life, then I want those families to feel welcome here.

The other key change is that we changed ‘prepares and challenges’ to ‘disciples’. Discipling carries with it the concept of preparing and challenging and so we could shorten the mission statement without sacrificing meaning. Also, discipleship carries with it the idea of sanctification (increasing in holiness; growing in resemblance to our Lord Jesus). This is what brings glory to Christ and this is what the world is lacking.

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Alberta Update

In an earlier post, I commented on the challenge to Bill 24 by alternative schools in Alberta. There was an update on November 14 by the Justice Centre for Constitutional Freedoms (www.jccf.ca):

RELEASE: Alberta Government again threatens to defund schools which do not remove religious content from school policies

Posted on Nov 14, 2018 in Justice UpdateLatest UpdatesNews Releases

  • Ministerial Order forces government’s “Safe and Caring” policies on independent schools that are non-compliant in Minister’s opinion
  • Minister continues to refuse to explain his opinion

The Justice Centre has responded to the Alberta Minister of Education’s Order to impose blanket government policies on schools who he has deemed non-compliant with section 45.1 of the Alberta School Act.

The Order, issued this morning, imposes a policy of the Minister’s creation onto schools whose policies, in his opinion, are non-compliant with section 45.1 of the School Act.

The Order effectively replaces the schools’ own policies, which respect the unique religious character and identity of each school, with policies mandated by government.

The Minister’s Order also requires schools to commit to collaborate against the constitutionally-protected interests of parents by agreeing to restrict information from parents about their young children’s activities in GSAs.

In September, the Minister gave notice to schools that they cannot include references to “truth”, “male and female”, the Bible, and other religious references, in their Safe and Caring policies.  Further correspondence (123) shows the Education Minister justifying his ban on faith references in religious school policies solely based on his opinion, without explaining (for example) how or why “truth” is contrary to “diversity.”

“The Minister’s Order to impose his will without explanation, regardless of child safety and regardless of parental rights that are protected by the Alberta Bill of Rights and the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms, suggest this Order is not properly grounded in law,” states Jay Cameron, counsel for the Appellant schools and parents in the Bill 24 challenge.

The legal challenge to the constitutionality of sections of the School Act, including section 45.1, is ongoing. A court hearing is currently scheduled for December 3, 2018.

*************************************************************************************

With the court hearing coming up on December 3, let us take time to pray for this situation. The administrators and board members of the respective schools could use any encouragement we can give them as they have been in a difficult position over these last few months.

The court case will be heard at 10 am on December 3 in Calgary.

 

 

 

So It Begins

The above quote comes from the movie version of The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers. It is spoken by King Theoden just before the orcs attack him at Helm’s Deep.

In a similar way, we are facing the beginning of an onslaught in Canada. It started in Alberta, and, if it is successful in Alberta, will spread to the rest of Canada. Below is the text of the news story:

Canadian province demands faith-based schools purge religious content from policies

CALGARY, September 27, 2018 (LifeSiteNews) – Alberta’s deputy education minister Curtis Clark is threatening the funding and accreditation of independent schools in the province if they don’t scrub a broad range of religious content from their policies, according to a correspondence obtained by the Justice Centre for Constitutional Freedoms (JCCF).

The correspondences identify examples of language from several schools’ “Safe and Caring” policies, which allegedly conflict with various provisions of the School Act, as well as “disrespect” diversity by “suggest[ing] alternative viewpoints are not equally legitimate,” and contain “provisions which we consider unwelcoming, uncaring, and/or disrespectful to certain segments of the student body.”

Examples of objectionable language include:

  • the declaration that “men and women were created in the image of God, after His likeness, and therefore have transcendent, intrinsic worth”;
  • the stated goal of “develop[ing] godly attitudes toward marriage and the family”;
  • reference to “the unchangeable and infallible truth of the Word of God”;
  • affirmation that men and women are “equal in dignity and worth” but have “distinct and complementary roles”;
  • statements that student clubs must align with “the values, principles, mission and vision of the school”:
  • the declaration that “Obedience to God’s law supersedes subjection to human authority”; and more.

Any offending schools that fail to remove the cited language from their policies may face investigation, “funding implications,” or the suspension or cancellation of accreditation,” Clark wrote in an August 27 email.

These demands were sent to schools who had submitted their policies to Education Minister David Eggen in March 2016 and had not received any feedback from Alberta Education until September 2018, the JCCF notes, “well after the start of the 2018-19 school year.”

“By demanding that independent schools remove religious content from their safe-and-caring policies, David Eggen is attacking the welcoming, caring, respectful and safe learning environment that these schools have in place,” attorney and JCCF president John Carpay said. “In the name of ‘diversity’ David Eggen is attacking the constitutional right to have thoughts, opinions and beliefs different than his own.”

Carpay questioned how “respectful” it is to ask independent schools to “repudiate their teaching that every woman and every man has transcendent, intrinsic worth, as created in the image of God,” and noted that religious affirmation of students’ intrinsic worth has implications for the common educational goal of fighting bullying.

“This is a naked and aggressive attack against the Charter rights and freedoms of every citizen, and designed to intimidate schools which are now asserting their Charter rights in court,” Carpay concluded. “These bullying tactics are what you would expect in a repressive third-world dictatorship, not in a functioning democracy that respects the rule of law.”

Most of the 61 targeted schools “already have carefully crafted safe-school policies that protect all students equally, and do so in harmony with their cultural and religious traditions,” Ed Hoogerdyk of Association for Reformed Political Action (ARPA) Canada added in the Lethbridge Herald. “This diversity is, apparently, intolerable for the procrustean education minister, who insists that all policies be worded as he wants, despite the lack of evidence that uniformity is needed.”

“The philosophical hypocrisy is obvious, and the clash of worldviews likely inevitable,” David MacKenzie of the Evangelical Office of the Public Square (EOPS) said in response to the news. “It seems increasingly apparent that authentic and conscientious Christians must now prepare for resistance, and civil disobedience.”

https://www.lifesitenews.com/news/alberta-official-demands-independent-schools-purge-religious-references-val

This situation was commented on by the Justice Centre for Constitutional Freedoms:

Alberta Government demands that independent schools renounce their religious policies

Posted on Sep 27, 2018 in Justice UpdateLatest UpdatesNews Releases

The Justice Centre has released correspondencesent to independent schools by Curtis Clark, Alberta’s Deputy Minister of Education, threatening schools with defunding if they do not remove the following content from their “Safe and Caring” school policies:

  • “We believe men and women were created in the image of God, after His likeness, and therefore have transcendent, intrinsic worth.” (allegedly violates School Act because this is “unwelcoming, uncaring and/or disrespectful”)
  • As part of the school’s Personal and Social Value Commitments: “To develop godly attitudes toward marriage and the family along with the understanding and skills needed to establish a God-honouring home.” (allegedly violates School Act for being “unwelcoming, uncaring and/or disrespectful”)
  • “…parents have been given the responsibility to raise their children, and are the primary educators of their children.  Therefore, the school will involve parents as appropriate and necessary regarding their children’s participation in school student groups in accordance with the usual practices of notification.” (allegedly violates the School Act)
  • “the unchangeable and infallible truth of the Word of God” (allegedly violates School Act requirement that “diversity” must be “respected”)
  • “Upon receipt of a request for a club or activity, the principal shall determine whether the requested club or activities would create a safe, caring, welcoming and respectful environment and is consistent with the vision and mission of the school.” (allegedly violates School Act for being “unwelcoming, uncaring and/or disrespectful”)
  • “God created mankind as male and female, equal in dignity and worth, yet with distinct and complementary roles” (allegedly contrary to School Act requirement for “welcoming, caring, respectful and safe learning environment”)
  • “Proposals for student clubs and activities will be evaluated according to their promotion of the values, principles, mission and vision of the school” (allegedly contrary to the School Act)
  • “God’s institution of marriage, a covenant relationship between one man and one woman, is the sole environment within which sexual activity is permitted, and is the context in which children are to be raised.” (allegedly violates School Act requirement for “welcoming, caring, respectful and safe learning environment”)
  • “Obedience to God’s law supersedes subjection to human authority” (allegedly contrary to the School Act)
  • “… the above doctrines will be taught as truth in our school.” (allegedly violates School Act by disrespecting “diversity”)
  • “All school groups, clubs and activities must teach, demonstrate and embrace the biblical perspective that is the foundation for all school activities” (allegedly violates the School Act)
  • “Names of student groups will be in harmony with the teachings of Scripture and the values and faith perspective of the school community” (allegedly violates the School Act)
  • “The school’s teachers and staff need not teach ethics or religious doctrines that are contrary to the school community’s faith/value commitments in a way that portrays them as equally credible or worthy of belief.” (allegedly violates School Actrequirement to respect “diversity”)
  • “As appropriate, if a parent or student believes the faith and/or value commitment of the School and the parent’s or student’s faith and/or values are incompatible, and continuing to enroll the student in the School is not in the best interest of the student, then the School shall assist the parent or student to enroll in another school for the subsequent school year.” (allegedly contrary to the School Act as unwelcoming, uncaring and/or disrespectful)
  • As a requirement on a form for setting up a student organization: “Please explain how the formation of this club will help the school better achieve its mission and vision.” (allegedly violates School Act for being unwelcoming, uncaring and/or disrespectful)

Alberta Education states that failure to remove the above content from a school’s “Safe and Caring” policies “may result in funding implications … and the suspension or cancellation of accreditation.”

Schools in receipt of these demands and threats from Alberta Education, along with all schools in Alberta, had submitted their policies to David Eggen in March of 2016.  Since March of 2016, in the past 2½ years, schools have not received a response from David Eggen as to whether he considered their policies to follow the School Act.

It was not until the week of September 4, 2018, that some schools finally received specific feedback about their policies from the Alberta Government, well after the start of the 2018-19 school year.

“By demanding that independent schools remove religious content from their safe-and-caring policies, David Eggen is attacking the welcoming, caring, respectful and safe learning environment that these schools have in place,” stated lawyer John Carpay, President of the Justice Centre.

The Justice Centre represents parents and dozens of schools in a constitutional challenge to the Bill 24 secrecy provisions, which require withholding information from parents about their own children as young as five years old.

“In the name of ‘diversity’ David Eggen is attacking the constitutional right to have thoughts, opinions and beliefs different than his own,” continued Carpay.

“The government is requiring schools to repudiate their teaching that every woman and every man has transcendent, intrinsic worth, as created in the image of God.  How is this respectful?  How is forcing schools to conform to the state’s beliefs welcoming, or caring?” continued Carpay.

“The government insists that a school’s core values, such as the intrinsic worth of every person, play no role in its anti-bullying policies.  In this way, the government insists on a lack of integrity, because schools can no longer allow their foundational beliefs to permeate all aspects of school policies and practices,” continued Carpay.

“This is a naked and aggressive attack against the Charter rights and freedoms of every citizen, and designed to intimidate schools which are now asserting their Charter rights in court.  These bullying tactics are what you would expect in a repressive third-world dictatorship, not in a functioning democracy that respects the rule of law,” concluded Carpay.

https://www.jccf.ca/alberta-government-demands-that-independent-schools-renounce-their-religious-policies/

Seeing that this may be the battle that we have to fight soon here in Saskatchewan, there are a few principles we need to remember:

  1. 2 Timothy 3:12 Yes, and all who desire to live godly in Christ Jesus will suffer persecution.
  2. Ephesians 6:13 Therefore take up the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand.
  3. Matthew 5:43-45 “You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’But I say to you, love your enemies, bless those who curse you, do good to those who hate you, and pray for those who spitefully use you and persecute you,that you may be sons of your Father in heaven; for He makes His sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the just and on the unjust.
  4. 1 Corinthians 4:2 Moreover it is required in stewards that one be found faithful.
  5. Proverbs 29:18 Where there is no vision, the people cast off restraint; But happy is the one who keeps the law.

Let us pray for the Christian schools (and Christian families) in Alberta:

  1. That they might stand strong
  2. That they would stay faithful
  3. That they support one another
  4. That they would seek to honour God in all they do and say
  5. That the government would back off.

 

The latest article is as follows:

Alberta’s Attack on Truth in Education, And the Church’s Response

Last week, Albertans learned that their provincial Ministry of Education has demanded that Christian schools remove biblically-based language from their policies governing how they will create “safe and caring” environments. The Justice Centre for Constitutional Freedoms not only posted an article summarizing the government’s demands, but released copies of the correspondence sent by Alberta government officials to the schools—complete with colour-coded highlighting specifying how each statement fell afoul of Alberta Education policy.

The Alberta Government’s Objections to Basic Christian Beliefs

Even a cursory “skim” of the released correspondence is profoundly alarming. Four times, Alberta government bureaucrats highlighted the word “truth” and not its surrounding context, using a yellow colour that (in Alberta Education’s own words) means they “contain language which suggests alternative viewpoints are not equally legitimate, which is disrespectful of diversity and thus inconsistent with” the School Act.

For example, in one case, in the sentence “the educational philosophy of [the school] is based upon a God-centered view of man and truth as presented in the Bible,” only the words “and truth” are highlighted. In another case, in the sentence, “we are committed to promoting the truth of Scripture,” only the words “truth of” are highlighted. Besides the four times where the idea of “truth” was isolated and highlighted, one school’s stated belief in “the unchangeable and infallible truth” of God’s Word was similarly highlighted. Another school’s rather common-sense observation that “ensuring that all viewpoints are regarded as equally credible or worthy of belief would require a degree of disconnect from, and suppression of, the School’s own religious and/or value perspective that is incompatible with the school community’s freedom of religion” was also marked in yellow.

Besides these, educational officials used an orange highlighter (denoting “provisions which we consider unwelcoming, uncaring, and/or disrespectful to certain segments of the school body….and need to be removed from your Safe and Caring policy”) to mark out language such as: the Biblical distinction “between men and women”; the statement that “we believe that men and women were created by God in His own image (Gen. 1:27Genesis 9:6)”—yes, the prooftexts are in the original document, and yes, even they were marked orange!; the statement that “We believe that men and women were created in the image of God, after his likeness, and therefore have transcendent, inherent worth (Gen. 1:27); and, of course, the assertion that “The unjustified destruction of any human being from conception to natural death (e.g., through abortion, embryonic stem cell research, cloning, doctor-assisted suicide, etc.) is wrong.”

So, in short, Alberta’s ministry of education views even the mention of “truth,” and certainly “unchangeable and infallible truth,” to be “disrespectful of diversity” and wants to prohibit it. And Alberta government bureaucrats are demanding that Christian schools remove any mention of God’s creation of man and woman in his image—and even the idea that they have transcendent and inherent worth on that account—from their documents, even though this doctrine constitutes the very foundation of the Christian idea of the sanctity and value of human life.

Secular Irrationality And Hypocrisy on Display

Two observations simply have to be made at this point. Before I make them, though, I need to highlight one crucial fact as background: the officials making these demands are responsible for the oversight of basic K-12 education in Alberta. The government department arguing that these statements are unacceptable is the very same department which ensures Alberta’s children are given the intellectual tools necessary to live in the real world. Let that sink in for a moment, and then consider the two glaring problems with Alberta Education’s demands.

First, Alberta Education’s requirements of these Christian schools are incoherent, irrational, illogical, and self-refuting. They object to the mere mention of “truth” by a religious institution as “suggest[ing] alternative viewpoints are not equally legitimate”—well, yes, that’s exactly what “truth” means! Of course a religious institution is going to advance one viewpoint over and against others by arguing alternatives are not equally legitimate! But the problem is far deeper than just a (still, frankly, inexcusable) misunderstanding of the nature of religion.

After all, even Alberta Education’s assertion that, for instance, certain “language…is disrespectful of diversity” is itself a truth claim! Remember: these are schools, educational institutions, that are being told they aren’t allowed to suggest that all “alternative viewpoints are not equally legitimate.” Think about that for a minute. How is education possible without showing students how one viewpoint is more legitimate than others? Is the opinion that 2 + 2 = 5 now to be privileged equally with 2 + 2 = 4? Will an Alberta science teacher no longer be allowed to teach that the earth is round and not flat?

To be blunt, if “suggest[ing] alternative viewpoints are not equally legitimate” is a violation of the School Act, then education is now illegal in the province of Alberta.

Second, and what makes it even worse, Alberta Education’s demands of these schools is hypocritical and amounts to a case of special pleading. It’s rather revealing (of either the corporate culture in the Education ministry, or of the quality of education valued among its staff) that the individual who, while marking up these documents’ confession of “truth” and religious convictions as being allegedly “disrespectful of diversity” or “unwelcome [and] uncaring,” failed to realize how disrespectful of ideological and religious diversity these letters are. How is it anything but disrespectful for a government agency, which is supposed to represent and respect all Albertans, to tell a religious school what Bible verses they are allowed to cite as prooftexts?

It certainly looks as if the only people in Alberta who are permitted to be in any way intolerant of other perspectives are members and staffers of the Alberta government itself.

The Sinful Root of Irrationality in Secular Culture

Taken together, these letters illustrate the depths of the cultural—and more than that, theological—crisis that has captured Canadian society. Our educational elites have abandoned logic and reason in favour of the shifting sands of political correctness. Why? Because, like everyone else, they are sinners. Paul describes in chilling language one of the most profound effects of rejecting the Triune God: “For although they knew God, they did not honor him as God or give thanks to him, but they became futile in their thinking” (Rom. 1:21). I can’t think of a better illustration of “futile thinking” than telling a school that it must not suggest any viewpoint is illegitimate!

The secular and materialistic worldview that pervades Canadian culture as a whole and, evidently, Alberta education in particular, is a sobering example of sinners who, “claiming to be wise, they became fools” (v. 22). By rejecting the God of truth (Isa. 65:16) and his specially revealed Word of truth (2 Tim. 2:15), they have “exchanged the truth about God for a lie” (Rom. 1:25).

What we are seeing in this action by Alberta Education is the pitiful folly of sinful human beings trying to live in light of that lie rather than the truth. Without submitting to the God who “cannot deny himself,” and lacking in their materialistic worldview any foundation for immaterial and universal realities like, for instance, the law of non-contradiction, Canadian culture simply cannot avoid such irrationality.

Respond with Compassion And the Gospel, Not Pride or Vitriolic Outrage

It would be very easy for Christian believers to recognize this folly and be tempted to pride. No, we need to remind ourselves of the truth the Apostle Paul declared: “And such were some of you” (1 Cor. 6:11). What do we have—rationally and intellectually as well as in every other way—that we have not been given (1 Cor. 4:7)? The proper response to this flagrant display of sinful irrationality, then, must be grief and pity and compassion.

Politicians and bureaucrats are not faceless enemies, but fellow image-bearers of God (however offensive they may declare this truth to be!) who are desperately in need of new hearts and new minds. When we consider them, we, like Jesus, need to be filled with compassion on them because they are “like sheep without a shepherd” (Mark 6:34) who, because they are “straying like sheep,” need nothing more than to return to “the Shepherd and Overseer of your souls” (1 Pet. 2:25). They need the Gospel.

How, then, are we to respond? Consider that if you are planning to write to your MLA or to the Minister or Premier, your attitude should be that which we just described (grief and pity and compassion) rather than outrage. Yes, it is an outrage. But God promises that “vengeance is mine; I will repay” (Heb. 10:30). We don’t need to imitate the vitriolic politics of the world.

Instead, if you speak or write, or if you’re talking to unbelieving friends and neighbours, explain how self-contradictory and destructive to education and reason this government policy is—and then point them instead to the only “alternative viewpoint” which is ultimately and truly “legitimate” and invite them to love the God of Truth with all of their heart and soul and (yes!) mind (Matt. 22:37). Think of your letter-writing as evangelism!

The Ultimate Answer: Strive to Build Up the Church

As for Christians in Alberta and across Canada who recognize that logic and reason are rapidly fleeing our educational institutions, we cannot panic or despair. If we are not to trust in princes (Ps. 146:3) in the realm of legislation or jurisprudence, we shouldn’t put our trust there in the area of education, either. Rather, our most long-lasting and ultimately effective answer is to “strive to excel in building up the church” (1 Cor. 14:12) by proclaiming the Gospel and persisting in our disciple-making and disciple-teaching mission. It is the responsibility of parents to raise children “in the discipline and instruction of the Lord” (Eph. 6:4); it is the responsibility of churches to “make disciples” (Matt. 28:19); it is the responsibility of pastors to “equip the saints for the work of ministry” (Eph. 4:12).

A Bible-preaching church, and every Christian family committed to membership in it, has everything necessary, in the complete and sufficient Word of God and the watchful undershepherds and godly parents who teach it, to prepare both children and adults to be “complete” and “equipped” (2 Tim. 3:17)—such that, “honor[ing] God in your hearts as holy” they are “prepared to make a defense to anyone who asks you for a reason for the hope that is in you” (1 Pet. 3:15).

Parents, teach your children to be “acquainted with the sacred writings” (2 Tim. 3:15), for as they learn to interpret the Bible, they’re also learning to interpret a newspaper or college syllabus or assigned textbook. Churches, teach all ages how to “reason together” as God has commanded (Isa. 1:18), and you’ll equip them with the tools they need for life in both the church and in the world. Just as one example, I’m planning on discussing this very situation with our church’s young people this week as an exercise in critical reading and listening.

Jesus has promised that the gates of hell will not prevail against his church (Matt. 16:18), and one reason why is that “his divine power has granted to us all things that pertain to life and godliness” (2 Pet. 1:3). That is a truth we can stand on.

 

 

Death Valley

As a child, I loved our Christmas holidays. Every year we would burrow into our VW Rabbit and head down to California for a two-week skiing holiday. We would share a house with our extended family and spend the two weeks skiing, hiking, travelling to natural hot springs, and visiting with family. On the way home (if we were visiting our family in greater Los Angeles), we would sometimes swing through Death Valley .

Death Valley is the lowest point (over 30 metres BELOW sea level) in North America and a desert.

Image result for death valley

The surrounding mountains would be cloaked with snow and there was the odd winter that featured snow on the desert floor.

Image result for snow in death valleyImage result for snow in death valley

Driving through, we could see the tracks of the borax wagon trains and see where seasonal rivers (flash floods) had carved paths.

Image result for snow in death valleyImage result for dried riverbed in death valley

Most years we drove through, we saw no flourishing plant life. There may have been the odd Joshua tree or other cacti, flowers withered on their stems, or the frequent bleached logs.

Image result for joshua trees in death valleyImage result for death valley

One year we decided to visit our extended family in Los Angeles in the summer. My dad rarely had time off in the summer, but one year we did. My dad wanted to see Death Valley in the summer, so we drove through and saw the same valleys covered in wildflowers. As the winter snow melted (in the valley and from the surrounding mountains) the flowers had been provided with sufficient moisture to germinate and flower (ever so briefly). The appearance changed so dramatically, it was hard to believe that we drove through the same valley. It was amazing to see what a bit of water could do.

Image result for death valley

All of this is a lead-in to the verses I just recently re-read in Isaiah. Isaiah 43:1b-3a, 19 says, “Fear not, for I have redeemed youI have called you by your  name; You are MineWhen you pass through the waters, will be with youAnd through the rivers, they shall not overflow you. When you walk through the fire, you shall not be burned, Nor shall the flame scorch you. For am the Lord your GodThe Holy One of Israel, your Savior; 19 Behold, I will do a new thing, Now it shall spring forth; Shall you not know it? I will even make a road in the wilderness and rivers in the desert.

We have such amazing promises in these few verses. First, God has redeemed us. He found us where we were but did not leave us there. He is making something wonderful in and through us. Second, He shows us how precious we are to Him by announcing that we are His. (Everyone else, hands off!) Third, God promises that He will be with us when we pass through the waters and walk through the flames (trials and tribulations). Finally, we have His promise that He will make roads in the wilderness and call forth rivers in the desert.

Sometimes we feel like we are in the desert: nothing seems to be flourishing and the little life that is there seems to be all prickles. And yet….

When the waters come, there is life in abundance.

And God promises to provide that water.

I can’t wait to see what God will do this year. He will provide water and we will flourish. I don’t know how or where the water will come from, but that is not important. What is important is that we wait upon God and His timing for the waters (of blessing) to come. Let us do our part in being faithful to His Word and then He will do His part (in His timing) and bring the blessing that only He can give. That way all glory belongs to Him and we will have the privilege of praising His name.

Who’s On First?

Rather than allowing Abbot and Costello to continue their bickering, I thought I would answer their question by giving you an idea of who will be teaching what next year. At this date, some of this information is still tentative.

Tentative Staffing for 2018/2019

Lorene Hind                                     Kindergarten/Prep Release

Naomi Brecht                                   Grade 1 (Possible Grade 1/2)

Natasha Stonehouse                       Grade 2 (Possible Grade 2/3)

Tammy Parker                                 Grade 3

Christina McVittie                           Grade 4

Rachel Kopperud                             Grade 5

Ashley Palm                                      Grade 6

Pat Taylor                                          Grade 7

Andy Baetz                                       Grade 7/8

Jenelle Lepp                                      Elementary Prep Release

Tracy Cherry                                    Arts Ed 9; Visual Arts 20 (for Grade 12); Chapel Band                                                                    10/20/30; Prep Release

Ken Desjardine                                Computer/CWE 9; Accounting 20; Photo 10 (Grade 10);                                                                  Photo 10 (Grade 11); History 10; Graphic Arts 20;                                                                          Computer Science 20; Economics 20

Jocelyn Friesen                                Pre-Calculus 20; Pre-Calculus 30; CoCo 10 (Grade 10);                                                                    CoCo 10 (Grade 11); Calculus 30; Accounting 10;                                                                              Foundations and Pre-Calculus 10; CoCo 20 (Grade 12)

Esther Gokavi                                  History 20; History 30; CE 9; CE 10; Psych 20; Psych 30;                                                                History 30; SS 9

Katrina Whelan-Korchinski         ELA A30; ELA A30; ELA B30; ELA B30

Murray Long                                    Math 9; Math 9/Health 9; CE 20; Life Transitions 20;                                                                     Dinner Theatre; Prep Release

Aletta Luma                                     CE 20; CE 30; CE 30; ELA A9; ELA B9; ELA A10; ELA                                                                        B10; ELA 20

Glen Ukrainetz                                 Wellness 10; Law 30; PE 9; Sc 9; PE 20/30; PE 20/30; Prep                                                               Release

Temp Teacher                                   Math Foundations 20; Math Foundations 30; Sc 10; CH                                                                 30; PH 30; PSC 20; HSC 20; BI 30

The time table will be made available when the secondary students register for their classes.

NEW

Currently we offer awards for academics, athletics, and citizenship. We will be discussing new awards for our secondary awards ceremony next year. The discussion will pertain to the following list:

Academics: Honour Roll, High Honours, Administrator’s List, Top Academic Award

Athletics: Cougar, Most Outstanding Athlete, Most Improved Athlete (for each sports)

Character: Paul – Workmanship – Minimum 80% in Honour Roll Subjects; Spiritual –                                            Displaying the Fruit of the Spirit and involved in church and                                                    outreach; Integrity – Committed to keeping and supporting all school                                      rules; Respect – showing respect to teachers, fellow students, and the                                       property of others; Extra-Curricular Involvement – serving the                                                 broader Christian school community by a willingness to attend and                                         serve at non-compulsory activities; Attendance – being punctual and                                       attending consistently

Jonathan – genuine friendship and concern for classmates

Caleb – perseverance and diligence to assigned tasks

Daniel – godly development and testimony of body, mind, and spirit;                                                       being willing to stand alone for righteousness, regardless of who                                             else is

Ruth/Job – female/male student who has ensured extraordinary hardships                                               with a positive, God-honouring testimony

Christian: Berean – displaying a love for God’s Word through memorization and study

Joshua – exemplary Christian leadership characterized by participation                                                  ‘heartily, as unto the Lord’

Golden Apple – Memorizing the book of Proverbs ($400 monetary gift)

Silver Apple – Memorizing Proverbs 1-16 or 15-31 ($200 monetary gift)

David – students who strive after God by knowing and showing Him more

Fine Arts: Asaph – outstanding music student based on leadership, scholarship, and                                              character

Bezaleel – outstanding visual arts student based on leadership, scholarship,                                             and character

Jeremiah – outstanding drama student who has displayed consistency,                                                         creativity, strength of conviction, perseverance, enthusiasm, and                                             co-operation in proclaiming the Word of God through drama

PAAKoinonia – given to the top Commercial Cooking student based on                                                               academic achievement and hospitality mindset

No name yet – given to the top photography student based on academic                                                            achievement, creativity, and attempts to glorify God

Caveat: These are earned awards; not every award will be handed out every year.

 

 

The Boy Crisis

I just finished reading The Boy Crisis by Warren Farrell and John Gray. It is a thick book, which, in this case, means that Farrell and Gray have been very thorough in their documentation. For this week’s blog, I’d like to copy the opening few paragraphs from his concluding chapter and make some comments about them [my comments will be in these square brackets].

“It was December 7, 1941. For years, we had been in denial of the crisis that was Hitler and the Axis powers. With Pearl Harbor, our denial ended.

Transforming denial into a response meant sixteen million of our sons being willing to sacrifice their lives. Yet our sons stepped up. And our daughters and parents joined them.

The new enemy is not Hitler. It is dad deprivation. [Dad deprivation has been linked to all sorts of issues, including ADHD and school shootings. According to Farrell and Gray, all of the school shooters in the US since Columbine have suffered from dad deprivation.] It is not the Axis powers. It is a ‘purpose void.’ It is not a need for your son to sacrifice his life but to find a purpose for his life. [This lack of purpose is a significant issue for boys in terms of education, vocation, and marriage. We should have a better track record because we are a part of the church, but it has not worked out like that. According to the Shorter Westminster Catechism, ‘Man’s chief end is to glorify God, and to enjoy him forever’. The Christian Apologetics and Research Ministry defined our purpose in this fashion: ‘According to the Bible, our purpose, the reason we are here, is for God’s glory.  In other words, our purpose is to praise God, worship him, to proclaim his greatness, and to accomplish his will.  This is what glorifies him.  Therefore, in this we find that God has given us a reason for our existence, a meaning for our existence.  We were created by him, according to his desire, and our lives are to be lived for him so that we might accomplish what he has for us to do.  When we trust the one who has made us, who works all things after the counsel of his will (Ephesians 1:11), then we are able to live a life of purpose.  How the particulars of that purpose are expressed is up to the individual’. It seems to me that we have lost sight of this purpose: we are not effectively communicating this to the next generation (I don’t think we have communicated this well to our generation).]

How do we get our sons to step up to a crisis for which there is no Pearl Harbor? A crisis that is more internal than external?

Whether our sons step up depends on how they are brought up. In the past, boys learned ‘I exist, therefore I serve.’ Today, many boys learn ‘I exist, therefore I deserve.’ [These two statements accurately describe the shift in culture; this is not merely generational but symptomatic of society in general.]

Being needed to serve creates a sense of purpose. Being served creates a sense of entitlement. Most parents know this intellectually, but our own need to be needed seduces us into serving our sons rather than teaching him to serve. [This is true. Leonard Sax, in his book The Collapse of Parenting, explains this phenomenon by reporting that parents desire to be buddies with their children rather than authority figures. Because parents have abdicated their role, their children, sons in particular, take the easiest road which, in this case, means being served. They see this example in the media (music videos and the like). As a result, the sense of entitlement grows and creates a greater downward pressure to be served.] Which contributes to our sons’ purpose void.Once our sons value serving over being served, they are more likely to step up when we both alert them to a crisis – such as the crisis of dad deprivation and the mission to be a great dad, and therefore an inspiration to others to be the same. [This is actually our responsibility to our sons, biblically speaking.]

Boys who become a failure to launch are most frequently devoid of the two Ps: purpose and postponed gratification. Boys devoid of the two Ps are often also devoid of the equal checks and balances of the other two Ps: two parents. When your son is dad enriched, he not only avoids the crisis of being dad deprived but is inspired with the mission to become a great dad.

Becoming a great dad is not a mission for every son. [Matthew 19:12 For there are eunuchs who were born thus from their mother’s womb, and there are eunuchs who were made eunuchs by men, and there are eunuchs who have made themselves eunuchs for the kingdom of heaven’s sake. He who is able to accept it, let him accept it.”] Your mission is to guide your son to discover his mission. [Not quite true. As parents, it is our mission to guide our sons to find their mission, but that includes helping him understand the role of the Holy Spirit in this process (according to Eph. 2:10 For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them).] No piece of cake, because there’s no precedent. Our fathers did not learn to discover their mission; they learned to fulfill a mission someone else discovered. The ‘discoverer’ was the need to survive. His mission was provider-protector. [In one sense, fathers did not ‘discover’ their mission; they were given their mission by God. We are called to provide for our families (1 Timothy 5:8 But if anyone does not provide for his own, and especially for those of his household, he has denied the faith and is worse than an unbeliever. This provision also includes the idea of protection. Robert Lewis, Raising a Modern-Day Knight, Michael Gurian, The Purpose of Boys, The Wonder of Boys, Leonard Sax, Boys Adrift, The Collapse of Parenting, Steve Farrar, King Me, Point Man, Standing Tall, Eric Ludy, God’s Gift to Women, and David Murrow, Why Men Hate Going to Church, The Map all deal with the topic of the purpose of men. There are many other books and authors on this topic, and we ought to look into this more in schools, in our homes, and in our churches.]

Your dad had two options: be the provider-protector or be a loser. Which didn’t allow for questions like, ‘What creates the glint in my eye?’ He learned to be a human doing first, and a human being second. Or not at all. Which often led him to withdraw from loving himself, and ultimately from the family he loved [This process has been around for a long time, but accelerated after WW II. This also speaks to our identity in Christ and our understanding of what God has actually called us to. Somehow we need to bridge the idea of being a provider-protector AND being able to do that which ‘creates a glint in my eye.’ With the messages that society is sending to our youth, most of our youth seem frozen in terms of what their purpose is and what they want to achieve/accomplish as they move into adulthood. Dads are sometimes required to provide in ways that take them out of the home for longer than they want. One issue around this, as Farrell and Gray explain, has to do with expectations. There is a much higher expectation of a fathers involvement with his family today at the same time that there are increased obligations on a father to fulfill his work obligations. Most jobs now require a father to be on-call almost 24/7 and to bring work home.] To him feeling that his life insurance policy is more valuable than his life [This reminds me of It’s a Wonderful Life].

Your mission to help your son discover his mission begins with helping him discover himself as a human being first, and then helping him find a way of being a human doing – of making a living – that supports him as a human being” (pp. 388-389).

Bibliography

Farrell, W. and Gray, J. (2018). The Boy Crisis: Why our boys are struggling and what we can do about it. Dallas, TX: Benbella Books.

Secondary Electives

One of the changes I am introducing to SCS is an overhaul of the electives offered at the grade 10-12 level. We have had certain electives offered for many years. I wanted to give the students an opportunity to complete a survey on electives they would be interested in taking. There are more electives at the grade 11 and 12 level, so I will list the students’ top 5 selections for grade 10 and the top 10 selections for grade 11 and 12.

Grade 10 (top 5 in order of interest)

  • Food Studies
  • Photography
  • Accounting
  • Communication Media
  • Career/Work Experience

Grade 11 (top 10 in order of interest)

  • Photography
  • PE
  • Economics
  • Spanish
  • Life Transitions
  • Wildlife Management
  • Accounting
  • Social Studies
  • Communication Studies
  • Career/Work Experience

Grade 12 (top 10 in order)

  • Chemistry
  • Psychology
  • Pre-Calculus
  • Spanish
  • Biology
  • Foundations of Math
  • Calculus
  • Physics
  • Law
  • Life Transitions

From this selection, it looks like students are interested in seven new course options that we have never taught at SCS. Other than Spanish, all other courses are ones we can teach with the staff we have on hand. I also know that parents have expressed interest in having SCS offer a second language; Spanish was the preferred second language chosen by parents as well. We can’t promise to offer Spanish next year, but that will be a subject area we seriously consider as we move forward.