Robert F. Davis on Recognizing the Problem and Righting the Wrong in Christian Education (Part 1)

It appears to me that at least once a week, no once a day doesn’t pass without someone “talking” about their disappointment with education.  In particular there appears to be lack of freedom of speech or an environment of indoctrination at all levels from primary education through graduate school.  Digging a bit deeper you can find a departure from original beliefs and what could be called “mission drift.”  Furthermore “talking” about it is understatement, individuals are angry about it and others feel helpless!  These individuals offer examples in profusion yet appear not to know what to do or with whom to speak.  Which way should they turn?  Where can they take their concerns?

Having worked in the education field for several decades I can empathize with this frustration.  Since my experience has been at Christian institutions I apparently have baggage which doesn’t fit well outside the Christian environment.  I say this because I have attempted several times, aggressively and unsuccessfully because of my Christianity, to make the transition from Christian to non-Christian educational institutions.  This, however, isn’t the essence of my concern with the disappointment and frustration to which I refer above.  My concern is with Christian education in America.  Working in, communicating with, simply understanding the current climate of Christian education is like trying to function on a voyage with a “ship of fools.”

In all fairness I have to admit that this isn’t the case everywhere, but it is far too frequently encountered.  Inside the institution and also outside gives a whiff of ideological concern which leads me back to the idea of freedom and honesty.  What can be done when virtue appears to be gone and Christian institutions begin to drift from Christian orthodoxy?

My concern rises from my personal experience covering the breadth of institutional life. The history of my professional life in education led from the classroom to the administration offices.  This wasn’t something I worked for or established as an objective, it just happened.  This journey from classroom to administration repeated itself a number of times because I chose to return to my educational roots.  It was only after several disappointing situations of this nature that I accepted the fact that I would probably have to find satisfaction in an administrative position.

This is where greater dissatisfaction began for me.  Administration provided a glimpse of things not easily recognized as a teacher/professor.  I began to notice schools and colleges leaving the road of serious inquiry and venturing down an ideological pathway veering off from the mission and objectives of their spiritual founders.  The administrators and ultimately faculty embarked on a reflexive response to cultural mores forgetting that they are to be in the world, but not of the world.

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SOURCE: Christian Post, Robert F. Davis