I know I seem to be diverting from the main topic a little much over the last few days so please bear with me because I will get into what we creatives can do about this at the end. I was asked via e-mail to sign a petition to reinstate prayer in schools. It might surprise you to know I could not, in good conscience, sign it. Here’s why:
In our pluralistic society, I do not want organized prayer in school, because in the process our kids will be forced or at least strongly encouraged to pray to all kids of idols and false gods. I don’t believe in many gods, I believe in one God and He is the only God I want my kids praying to, period. It’s not that I hate people of other religions, I just don’t believe in their religions. Before anyone wants to call me a bigot, please understand every true believer in any religion, feels the same way. There was a time where we could disagree, have a conversation or even try to convert people to our faith without being seen as anything but a believer being a believer. The new tolerance has changed this, but then gain the new tolerance is much different from actual tolerance.
The other thing to consider is this, prayer has not been kicked out of schools. What has been kicked out of schools is organized, adult led prayer. Our kids still have tremendous freedom to pray and organize prayer groups etc. in our schools, if your school’s administration says different, they are wrong. Our best move as Christian parents is to get our kids into a Bible believing church AND to teach them to pray at home. We need to train them up ourselves. The schools cannot and probably should not be depended upon to do this. We need to teach our kids right from wrong. We need to parent them and the church needs to do a better job with ministering to our kids and training them in Scripture.
Further, the church needs to be certain that youth ministries are not islands unto themselves. If they are, we will continue to graduate kids from the church when they graduate from high school. Older adults need to make a point of building relationships with the young people in the church so that they see the whole church cares for them. Further churches need to do a better job at ministering to their youth leaders. The average stay for a youth leader in an American church is 18 months. That’s terrible.
So what can we creatives do to turn the tide? Well all the above relational stuff is huge and probably should be at the forefront, but there’s more.
What if we sought out the creative kids and mentored them or created projects that they could be a part of?
What if we built ministries designed to help young creatives to build on their gifts and show their progress?
What if we set up performance and exhibition venues in the church and invited people from the community to participate? Remember what t was like to want to create but to have no place to do it? What if we made the church that place?
What if we put our creative energies into ways to make sure people remain in the Church after they leave high school and to make sure their faith survives college?
Looking back over my life, I see so many things I could have done better both as a church leader and a parent to help kids remain in the faith, but I can’t redo the past. The best thing we can do is start now.
There still can be prayer in the schools. It is just taking on a different form, we cannot return to the way things were, but maybe, just maybe, we can make it better.
It’s time to get creative.