Dear Friends in Christ,
One of the great privileges and opportunities I have at Beverly Heights Church is teaching our Senior High Sunday School Class called Construction Site. It is one of the premier opportunities we have to foster growth in Christian discipleship among our young people ages 14-18. I typically develop the curriculum in consultation with Joe Williams, our Director of Student Ministries and his team of volunteers so that there is some coordination with other aspects of the student ministries programming.
In fact, I have enjoyed real freedom in teaching on many aspects of Christian discipleship over the years and I have been looking forward to the start of the new curricular year in September. I have, however, been somewhat quizzical about my subject matter for this coming year. I have turned over in my mind and researched a good number of options, all of which seemed good to me but none of which grabbed my attention and begged to be addressed.
That is, until I came across the above advertizement recently posted by Royal Dutch Airlines: The caption under the photo read It Doesn’t Matter Who You Click With! There is a great deal of irony attached to this ad. Notice that there are two male safety belts, two female safety belts and one pair that is a male and female belt. The ad is meant to affirm, equate and celebrate “meaningful relationships” between homosexual men, homosexual women and heterosexual couples. The problem, of course, is that there is only one set of seat belts that actually do what they were meant to do. Two male seat belts won’t work; two female seat belts won’t work, either. The only seat belt combination that works is one male and one female. In fact, when it comes to safety in an airplane it really DOES matter who you “click with.” And, of course, the only marriage relationship that works, is the one ordained by God from the beginning, the one between a man and a woman. In marriage, too, it really DOES matter who you click with.
So, what does this have to do with my Senior High Construction Site? One of the things I have been reading and thinking about, lately, is the topic of culture and, particularly, the impact that culture has on our young people. I have come to the opinion that if we wait to address questions of culture until young women and men grow into their 20s and 30s we have waited too long and the ubiquitous and negative influences of culture will have already done irreversible damage to our kids whom God has placed in our care. I believe that a significant part of Christian discipleship involves understanding culture – its good parts and it bad parts, as well as the role that our young Christian women and men must play as they live in it for their entire lives.
The reason the Royal Dutch Airlines ad caused the penny to drop and the scale to tip on my curriculum decision is NOT because the class will be about homosexuality, or same-sex marriage. Rather, the advertizement underscores the pervasiveness of one of the strong undercurrents of culture that has the potential of pulling all of us, young and old alike, in a particular direction of thinking, deciding and acting. That undercurrent, and there are others I plan to address in the class, is that of personal identity. Apart from an embrace of the Christian worldview, the culture in which we are all living (and our young people are forming their ideas about life) is one in which it is promoted that every individual has the freedom to identify themselves however they choose. Sexual identity is just one (important) part of a larger discussion and about identity prompted by the culture today.
Two out of the three seat belt configurations in the advertizement above has no correlation with reality. One may call two male ends of a seat belt (or two female parts) a “safety belt” but the label does not accord with reality. However, the undercurrent of our culture is a strong movement toward radical, personal autonomy that suggests that, apart from all meaning, apart from all reality and apart from the world as it has been created by God a person may call a donut a squirrel and the rest of the world must agree or be faced with the charge of intolerance and bigotry with the added threats of persecution, firing and bodily harm.
Boiling all of this and other elements down into a curriculum that will meet the needs of our 14-18 year olds will be a challenge, for sure. But I’m going to give it a go…it is too important a topic, and our kids are too precious to us and to the Lord, not to give it a try.
Faithfully in Him,
Posted on Sat, August 19, 2017
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