Friday, December 17, 2010

It's not enough

A recently graduated high school student wrote to the Australian press, complaining that the school did not teach him things he needed to know. It taught acedemic subjects, but not, he says, how to handle life. You might reply that the school is not there to teach him all there is, his family and others around him have a role there, too. But still, I could see what he means. It reminded me of something I read in MAD Magazine, years ago. A father was saying to his son, "You need to work hard, son! Go to college, and get a good job!"
The son asked "Why?"
The father replied, "So you get paid good money, and then you can send your kids to college, and then they can get good jobs."
The son said, "Well, then what happens?"
The father said, "Well, uh, then they make money, so they can send their kids to college, so that they can get good jobs."
And so on. You see how the father hesitated, because he could see how it became a bit of a repetitive thing, a circle that kept repeating itself. And all he seemed to see was that you needed to get a 'good' job, whatever that is, and make good money, so you can....and that's it. The son was looking for meaning in life. Are we just like animals, which just live to produce offspring, provide for them while they grow to adulthood, so that they too can provide for their offspring, and so on....
The young letter writer could see that there is more to life than just working and earning, although of course those things matter. We need to live, and if we have children we should provide for them as well as we can.
But we don't live by bread alone.
If we don't exist just to reproduce and keep the species in existence, what are we here for.
As the old cliche goes, what is life about?
Back in the 1960s, the hippies and others wanted more than just the materialism that their elders seemed to live for. But then the generation before them remembered the Great Depression, and all the destruction of World War 2, and building up material security was important to them. It's a problem that they lost sight of something here: why are we on Earth? Is it just to survive and leave descendants behind?
Jesus said it first: Humankind does not live by bread alone. The body is not all there is. The soul has needs too, and those needs include a direction, a reason to live.
If I could get all the population of my country to hear ONE thing I said, that would be it. You exist because God caused you to be conceived, to be born, and to be alive today. He has a purpose for you life.
Ask Him what it is.
If the young letter writer did not see how his high school education showed him that, it shows that secular education has a major shortcoming. It does not deal with the matters of the Spirit. In fact thanks to some 'reformers' and 'social progressives' who try to get God out of schools, the school is not allowed to deal with things of the Spirit. And that is its shortcoming.
I can see why Christian schools are being set up. The fill a need that secular public schools do not. I can see why more parents want to home school their children. That way they don't have to leave the nurture of their kids to people who either deny God His place, or simply don't care, or who are not permitted to mention such things.
So who is going to tell them? Education itself is not enough. Evangelization is the life-blood of the human spirit, without which it can develop spiritual deformities and become distorted in what it seeks. It might lapse into hedonism, personal gratification, or it might get duped into bizarre forms of mysticism that come from Satan, although that being tries not to be seen doing it.
We do not live by bread alone. We are spirits in bodies for a time, not bodies with spirits.
Let no-one hide the fact.