Sunday, November 30, 2014

Regaining Purpose

The longer something has been around, the easier it becomes for it to waver from its original purpose. Two of the oldest institutions are church and school, causing susceptibility to wayward paths.
Because I’m not attempting to write an entire book, I’ll summarize and generalize the original purpose and agenda of both the church and school as this:
Churches and schools exist to promote healthy and productive lives for earthly citizens.
I understand that any statement like this (a severe generalization) is flawed and highly debatable but I’m hoping you don’t completely disagree with the descriptors of “healthy” and “productive”.
·      Healthy: socially/culturally aware, empathetic, realistic perspective of self
·      Productive: engaged, collaborative, nonjudgmental, creative

If you don’t agree with any of that, we can at least agree that a nap is now in order. We are both exhausted after putting enormous ideas like that into a tiny pinhole.

I think part of the reason that was so exhausting is because church and school has become so many things other than the original agenda.
For an example we’ll look at Hugh Halter’s view of religion:
“The most disorienting factor that keeps people from seeing God clearly is religion: empty ritual, overbearing rules, hypocritical judgment of others, rhetoric without reality, worship without good works, and exploitation of people under the guise of faith.”
(From his book Flesh: Bringing the Incarnation Down to Earth, Learning to be Human Like Jesus.)

Similarly I’d like to make a parallel statement about education:
The most disorienting factor that keeps people from seeing education clearly is traditional schooling: labeling students, standardized tests, scripted lessons, devaluing the arts, data analysis, and exploitation of people under the guise of school.

Sadly, the original purpose has become untraceable among the muddle of the current characteristics, to the point where the institutions have become a hindrance and damaging to the health and productivity of people.
I believe a major way church and school got off track was due to the deconstruction of community. It has become more about the corporation and less about the people. Why do people have negative perceptions of Christianity and public schooling? I think many people  have been hurt by their judgments. No human should ever be given the perception that the core of their created being is wrong or unacceptable.

How do we get our community back? Accept everyone and judge no one. Community brings a unique individuality that no ritual or test could replicate. It allows the authentic navigation of life with openness and honesty, rewarding health and productivity to all lives involved.
   John Legend "True Colors"