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Archives - October 2017

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Archives - October 2017

Should Christians Celebrate Halloween?

October 23, 2017
By John Morrison

In the early history of our school, we would send out an article around this time each year concerning the celebration of Halloween.  While we have not done so in recent years, we have had a number of folks ask us our "position" on this topic, so we decided it would be a timely topic for my blog.

Whether or not Christians should celebrate Halloween can be a controversial, even divisive topic.  I have spoken with parents from various perspectives who have articulated very thoughtful rationales concerning their personal beliefs.  

At GCS, we avoid any aspect of the celebration that touches upon any occult overtones, including witches, demons, ghosts, spells, etc.  Our emphasis in our classrooms focuses on fall, harvest-oriented themes.  In our earlier history, we sponsored an annual "harvest party" with age-appropriate games as an alternative for our families to the traditional "trick or treat" practices.  Since those days, a number of local churches have developed such events, so we phased out our own “party” rather than competing with their celebrations.

While I believe this issue is something parents must think and pray through for their individual family,  I do believe we can be somewhat naive in terms of certain seemingly harmless aspects of Halloween that incorporate what I referred to above as "occult overtones."  So, I would encourage my readers to click here to access an article that I believe represents a balanced approach to this topic.  I hope it will be seen as a helpful perspective.

In all we do, may Christ be honored in our families and the traditions we establish around special holidays and times of the year.

If you would like to respond to this blog, please email me at grace@gcswarriors.org.

 

Parent Meeting Follow-up

October 19, 2017
By John Morrison

We were encouraged with the turnout and response to our GCS parents’ meeting Tuesday night.

I find it more than coincidental that two articles related to the content of what we discussed came my way the day after the meeting.  First is a very disturbing blog by Rod Dreher referencing a celebration of LGBTQ History Month at the Michelle Obama Neighborhood Library in Long Beach, CA.  While the blog is not pleasant reading, it certainly underlines the reality of the aggressive agenda of powerful, special interest groups which are intent upon colonizing the values of our children.  Click here to access Dreher’s unsettling blog.  

In stark and welcome contrast, the second piece is an open letter to American school superintendents from Dr. Tom Benton,  President of the American College of Pediatricians, concerning the whole phenomenon of sexual orientation/identity that has overtaken so much of our culture, including our public schools.  Dr. Benton’s carefully documented and scientifically based voice of sanity is a must read for all who wish to be well informed with the real facts concerning this tragic issue.  I appeal to my readers to take the time to read this short but extremely well-written piece by clicking here.  You will also find this quite helpful in providing you with “the facts” when speaking with other folks about this topic.

Our parents' meeting Tuesday night was, I believe, quite timely, and I trust we will take the presentations to heart.  For all, including those who were unable to attend, I encourage you to purchase Stonestreet's and Kunkle's A Practical Guide to Culture, which we featured in the meeting, as an excellent  resource for equipping us in effectively mentoring our precious little ones!

Let me close with these words from sociologist and researcher Christian Smith: “Despite the arguments today that sideline parents by placing great importance on the influence of peer groups and media, we find that parents are still the most powerful sociological force in transmitting spirituality and religion to their children.” Proverbs 22:6.  

Let's make the most of our opportunity!

If you would like to respond to this blog, please email John Morrison at grace@gcswarriors.org.

Parenting and Spiritual Transmission - Part 5

October 11, 2017
By John Morrison

I have been blogging about the essential role of parents as primary mentors in passing along our Christian faith and values to our children.  If what I share in the following does not grab your attention, I am not sure what will.  I have to pinch myself to realize this is actually happening in my lifetime!

Let me begin with a keen observation stated by Dr. Charles Chaput, Catholic archbishop of Philadelphia: "The surest way to transform a culture is from the inside out.  And the surest path for doing it isn't through reasoned debate (too tedious) or violence (too costly) but by colonizing and reshaping the culture's appetites and behaviors."  These words suggest a deliberate strategy intended to "colonize" one’s assumptions about truth and reality in a way that forms his or her basic values without consciously realizing what is happening.

I will give two chilling, real-life illustrations.

First, our good friend, Dr. Christian Overman of Worldview Matters, recently featured guest writer Philip Irvin concerning the primetime TV series The Handmaid's Tale. Read this disturbing excerpt from Irvin:

Suppose a TV series presented a dystopian world where a religious group imposed something more severe than Shariah law. In this religious world, women were not only brutally subjugated and ritually raped but were also legally prohibited from working outside the home, owning property, handling money, or even reading. What would be the response to this series?

If the religious group were identified as Muslims, all those involved would be strung up by their thumbs and denounced as Islamophobiacs.

However:  

If instead, the series vented its venom at conservative Christians, you would find that “the series [The Handmaid's Tale] garnered extremely positive reviews and won the 2017 Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Drama Series, along with seven other Emmy Awards from 13 nominations."  …

Irvin continues: Do not be deceived into thinking that The Handmaid’s Tale is just harmless entertainment. Such a publicly acclaimed, grossly hostile representation of Bible-believing Christians is reminiscent of the displays of growing hostility toward Jews in pre-war Germany. This should cause conservative Christians concern.

I recommend you read Dr. Overman’s entire blog by clicking here.

The second illustration of powerful, well-funded interests that are aggressively colonizing the values of our young people is a new animated sitcom entitled Big Mouth, which Business Insider describes as "Netflix's wickedly funny new show about puberty." The article continues: "On Big Mouth, every teen has a 'hormone monster' who follows them around and fuels their sexual desires ... . Big Mouth will remind you of some of those terrible memories you've probably repressed all these years,  but will help you look back on them with joy rather than pain.  And it has been a hit with the critics ... becoming Netflix's highest-rated animated show."  

I watched the short trailer to this series, and I must tell you it is one of the most disgusting, vulgar, and upsetting pieces I have ever seen.  It is disgusting because it is smut advertised as a "wickedly funny new show."   It is upsetting because it is targeted at adolescents who are going through the challenging changes associated with the onset of puberty.  But, it is strongly biased toward promiscuity and encourages sexual experimentation and the whole identity/orientation mindset of the LGBTQ culture.  Quite simply, it is raw propaganda aimed at colonizing the values of our young people.

My generation experienced the sexual revolution of the 1960s.  It was bad enough then, but at least the larger culture still clung to some semblance of public decency and values.  But,  folks,  let us fully realize that we have descended from those days into the New Dark Ages in terms of our popular culture.  These two programs are nothing less than demonically inspired.  I can't overstate this.  

Sometimes I feel like a broken record, a repetitive voice "crying in the wilderness"  and concerned that I may be perceived as an alarmist.  But, to my defense, moral philosopher Alasdair MacIntyre warned that today's barbarians "are not  waiting beyond the frontiers; they have already been governing us for quite some time.  And it is our lack of consciousness of this that  constitutes part of our predicament."  By "governing us," MacIntyre was not referring merely to politicians, but to those in the power centers of culture who are driving social change.

We must understand our times and the powerful influences that are working to win the minds and hearts of our children by colonizing them from the inside out by popular forms of culture.  Parents must be proactive in being the primary role models and spiritual mentors for their children.  Parents cannot turn their children loose in our popular culture; rather, we must diligently walk with them through its incredibly dangerous minefields.  We must show them, through our example, how to be in the world, but not of the world.  Parents cannot have one foot on both sides of this fence and hope to be successful with their children.  Many in my generation tried that and failed.  I pray this current generation of young parents will have the courage to decisively engage with their children in preparing them to stand as Christians in the face of a hostile culture.

I again encourage all of our GCS parents and staff to attend our October 17
parents' meeting, where we will address this issue of culture,
its potential impact upon our youth, and ways that we can prepare them
for the days ahead.

Meeting time: 6:45 PM at the GCS High School Campus
Childcare available on RSVP basis.  Call 886-9109
Guests are most welcome.

If you would like to respond to this blog, please email John Morrison at grace@gcswarriors.org.

 

Parenting and Spiritual Transmission - Part 4

October 05, 2017
By John Morrison

In last week’s blog, I introduced our October 17 GCS parents’ meeting, where we will feature an outstanding parenting resource entitled A Practical Guide to Culture, written by the Colson Center president John Stonestreet and an associate, Brett  Kunkle, a nationally known youth worker.  In our meeting, high school principal Brian Fitzgerald will share  opening remarks related to this outstanding book, followed by break-out sessions dealing with some of the book’s specific topics, including pornography, sexual orientation, gender identity, and entertainment.

We are urging all GCS parents to attend, including our elementary school parents. Sadly, some of these issues are filtering down to even our youngest children.  Indeed, we live in a time of intensifying cultural storms, and our children and youth need a clear beacon to guide them through these troubled waters.

Let me share with you a quick overview of the book by quoting an excerpt from Brett Kunkle’s introduction:

How many kids do you know who have been raised in the church only to be lost to the world after they leave home?  How many Christian students, who seem to be grounded in the faith, end up making poor decisions that harm themselves and others?

Some Christian parents, oblivious to any danger, send their kids into the culture headfirst.  Others think total protection is the answer, prohibiting their kids from ever dipping a toe in the cultural waters until they’re out on their own.  Most of us vacillate between  these extremes,  depending on the issue and maybe the child.  Neither extreme,  however,  will  bring about the vision of a courageous, new generation of Christ followers, able and willing to navigate the cultural waters without drowning but also emerge as leaders in the days ahead.

It  [has] always been rough out there, but the palpable sense of many American Christians--especially parents--is that the cultural currents have shifted and intensified..  The  past few years have brought a tsunami of change,  and not for the better….

We’ve aimed this book at parents,  grandparents, mentors, teachers, and pastors who have some little image bearers (children and youth) in their lives … and who want to see them navigate this cultural moment as champions for Christ.

I hope each of our GCS families will make a point to attend this October 17 meeting (6:45 PM at the high school campus).  And let me encourage our parents and staff to take this opportunity to invite others -- grandparents, pastors, friends -- any who might benefit from this meeting as well as experiencing the GCS community first hand.  Indeed, guests are most welcome!  

If you will need childcare for the meeting, please RSVP with either of our school offices (886-9109 or 886-0937).

Much is at stake with our precious little ones.  Let’s pray that this October 17 event will be a special time of encouraging and equipping for all who attend!

If you would like to respond to this blog, please email John Morrison at grace@gcswarriors.org.

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