A Night Sky Full of Promise

There are a few things you just don't want your kid coming home from school and telling you.

"Hey, Mom, we got to read a story about gang rape today.  And then they cut her up into pieces!"

That would be one of them.  If your child said that, you'd be right to jump on the phone with the school head and demand to know what was up.  Filthy literature in a Christian curriculum?  What happened to my child's innocence?  Are the classical pagans worth studying?  Even the ladies from "The Music Man" sang about how bad Chaucer and Rabelais were.

True.  Except there's a slight difficulty: the gang rape story story is from the Bible  (Judges 19:1-30), and the Bible is a book we call infallible. It's God's perfect word.  What should we do?  No wonder we don't find this doozy in The Jesus Storybook Bible.  And how are we supposed to deal with the remaining big chunks of grit and sin in the Old Testament?

The answer is that, as Christians, we must deal with those chunks.  But as a school, we must let you, as parents, deal with them first.  ACA is in the business of teaching God's whole counsels unapologetically, but it is not in the business of preempting your parental discretion and responsibility in key issues.  There is no part of the Bible that we are ashamed to read in school, but there are further discussions and deeper questions for parental authority only, particularly in the younger years.  Sometimes, the best answer is that you will explain more when they are older.  But the worst answer is to indefinitely ignore parts of the Bible because they are yucky, or because they have blood.

"All Scripture is breathed out by God . . . ." (2 Timothy 3:17)  All, not some.  The uplifting parts, and the dark parts.  At ACA, we embrace this truth wholeheartedly. But we also understand that kids are still kids.  So when it comes to selecting passages for students to memorize, we prioritize.  We do not avoid, or over-emphasize, but we are strategic.  All Scripture is breathed out by God, and some of its stories are good to teach early on.  Some of them not till later.

We also realize the glorious truth that Scripture is food even when we don't understand it.  While we're committed to not assigning students a passage out of context, like "My wounds stink and fester" (Psalm 38:5a), or "Chelub the brother of Shuah begat Mehir, which was the father of Eshton" (1 Chron. 4:11), we still acknowledge that our students' understanding will always be imperfect.  Yet the passages cannot fail to be life-giving.  We are confident that, as they work God's Word into their bones, he will work it out in them someday for his glory.

Our fundamental hope is that our children will learn to love the gospel, and over time, begin to grasp the simple and astonishing story-arc of the whole Bible: that like Abraham, we are old and weak under a night sky full of promise; that we are sinners in need of forgiveness, that the infinite-personal God became frail flesh, died, and rose for our sakes, and that he is coming again with glory to rule over a new Kingdom of Peace on earth.

Grace and Peace,

Nate Ahern