A Blog is an opinion rather than an article. While CSM teaches through its articles and books, the CSM Blogs are efforts by CSM consultants to struggle with difficult ideas in Christian education and move to some kind of clarity. Please read any CSM Blog in that light.
Holy Language and the Christian School
I googled Christian schools to see what came up. The first school on the page that came up had this mission statement:
“The mission of XYZ Christian School is to develop students with a heart for God, who grow as Jesus did in wisdom, stature and in favor with God and men”
Now I happen to like mission statements and think they can have great power. My intention here is not to criticize or even critique this mission statement but to use it as a starting point for the issue of holy language and Christian schools. I think of and experience holy language in our schools as being the use of catch words, phrases, favorite Bible verses, theology, doctrinal statements that gets in the way of running an excellent educational institution that is financially viable, organizationally sound, and actually dedicated to children. When I am in schools, I interrogate whether the holy language I hear is borne out in the lives of children and sometimes get into trouble. I’ve found that people can get quite hot under the collar if you seem to be impugning their faith and/or their education.
Here’s the problem. Holy language is not helping us compete in our neighborhoods with other schools. The National Center for Education Statistics tells us that we have suffered a 12% drop in students attending our schools and that, at the same time as the number of children is rising, it estimates that we will suffer a further 6% over the next 8 years.