[Note: This is an exhortation I gave to the teachers and staff of White Horse Hall this morning.]
It’s been an interesting summer. Kicked off with the Obergefell decision mandating homosexual marriage, and then David Daleiden and the Center for Medical Progress began dropping undercover sting videos on Planned Parenthood. The videos have confirmed what we have always known was true: small human beings are being tortured and killed under the auspices of legal abortion in our land. But what the videos are underlining, highlighting, and making unavoidable is the extreme banality of evil. Children are being crushed and dismembered, and it’s discussed over salad and wine. The organs of human beings are being sold for a price, and Planned Parenthood officials joke about wanting a Lamborghini.
One of the central points in this discussion has always been the dignity of human life: the value, the meaning, the worth of being a human being. Of course in a schizophrenic culture like ours that wants it both ways – wants human life to be meaningful and refuses to acknowledge why it is meaningful or who makes it meaningful – you end up with contradictions all over the place. So it’s illegal to kill a baby outside its mother’s womb, but its legal to kill the baby if it’s still inside the mother’s womb. Or the mantras of educators in our land: every child is special, every child is unique, every child has a purpose: no child left behind. And yet of course this is meant in a highly selective sense. Every child is special if the mother of the child decides it’s special. Every child is unique and has a purpose if the mother of the child deems it unique and purposeful. No child left behind except for the 50 million children we’ve left behind in dumpsters and harvested for medical research.
And so this brings us to the point of Christian education and the high calling of Christian educators and teachers. Anymore, the education of children is a revolutionary act. Of course there is much that goes under the heading of education, and it’s still polite to honor teachers publicly and politicians can demand funding for schools. But what I mean is that the contradictions can’t hold. Either human beings are valuable, meaningful, and inherently worthy of respect and honor or they aren’t. You can’t legalize abortion and then say infanticide is immoral. The ground has come apart under our feet, and we’re trying to straddle two ledges while the chasm below us grows steadily wider. People are being forced to choose one side or the other or else they will fall. While we all know honorable, good people in the public education system, there can be no doubt that its systemic failure to educate and the increasing moral cesspools in public schools are directly related to our true views of the value of human life. If some children are mistakes in the womb, you can’t help but wonder if some children are mistakes in kindergarten, fourth grade, and even middle school. True, only rarely is anyone actually contemplating murder of a school aged child, but Jesus told us centuries ago that murder begins with resentment and hatred in the heart.
Children are not merely cute, not merely funny, they are also challenging. They are also difficult. They make mistakes, do not listen carefully, do not follow instructions, and then when you put 90 of them in the same building together it all gets multiplied exponentially. It’s like you put an electrical current through them all, and sometimes it feels like nothing you do can get them to sit still and pay attention. By God’s grace, we have the blessing of working together with many likeminded families here at White Horse Hall. We can’t underestimate the huge running start we get with the fact that the parents of our students share our vision of moral formation and educational rigor. We are an explicitly and confessionally Christian school, and we exist in obedience to the Word of God which requires parents and the covenant community of the Church to raise up our children in the nurture and admonition of the Lord. We are discipling the part of the nations that are right here in Moscow just like Jesus told us to. We are teaching these little people all that Jesus commanded, and we are trying to show this people how the fact that Jesus died and rose again to take away sin, to conquer death, and to remake this whole world – we’re trying to show them that this is why it’s worth learning how to write well, how to paint and color, how to stand in lines and raise their hands, how to speak well, to study history and science, to read stories, to sing, to laugh, to feast, to pray.
But all of those things fundamentally are all different ways of expressing our humanity. They’re all ways of flexing our maleness and femaleness, our image of God-ness. Look at us, we seem to say, we are the kinds of creatures who can stand in a straight line. We care about order. We care about beauty. We care about our words. We care about our stories. And the reason we care is because we are human beings made in the image of God. All of the wiggles, all of the distractions, all of the meandering questions, even the confusions, even the hurt feelings, even the failures – all of those things in some way point to the fact that we care, that we matter, that human life is valuable, purposeful, and an enormous gift.
I want to close by pointing out that in less than two decades, all of these small people will be running families, businesses, churches, and states. Which on the surface is pretty terrifying. But there’s not really anything to be done about it. If you think about it for a minute, you realize that’s exactly what happened to all of us. We were playing with dolls and transformers one minute and then we were walking down an aisle, and then we woke up with four children. It sort of happens like that. So instead of resenting that, instead of worrying about all the ways they might mess everything up, why not teach them to love? Why not teach them to delight in beauty and order and stories and dragonflies and sunsets? Why not teach them to dream? What will they be when they grow up? Inspire them. Laugh with them. Delight in them.
We are the prolife generation. By God’s grace, I pray that in our lifetime we will see the end of abortion in our land. And one of the ways we walk in that faith is by celebrating the human lives all around us, by giving thanks for their oddities and silliness, by valuing their unique contributions while caring enough to help shape them into men and women of virtue and compassion and conviction.