Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Values Clarification, part one

I have a whole list of Christianisms that I can't stand, but the term "worldview" isn't one of them. I rarely use the phrases "die on that hill," “put a hedge of protection," or "put out a fleece" for two reasons: number one, I just don't talk like that and number two, I think they are somewhat cliquey when spoken in the presence of someone whose Biblical knowledge is still in the formative stages.

But "worldview" ... "worldview" is a rich word. Literally, it means the eyes with which you see what's around you. Where you're coming from. What makes you tick. Yes, worldview is a word that I embrace.

Because my worldview is based on a set of Christian values, I see the society around me and am often dismayed. I know I'm not alone; check out John Holzmann's recent blog post to read about some of the disturbing goings on around the world, and see if you don't walk away with your eyes turned heavenward and your heart breaking.

A few nights ago, I spoke with a friend whose daughter is in our local public school. This friend has shrugged her shoulders over the state of education in our area, and has even dabbled in afterschooling as a way of making up the difference in what she thinks her daughter ought to be learning and what the school board actually requires. I usually walk away from our conversations wondering how anyone so disillusioned with a system can continue to participate when said involvement is not mandatory. This particular evening was no different.

After outlining the fact that she had just spent an entire dinnertime countering a lesson in ethics that her 3rd grader received that day, my friend went on to tell me what, exactly that lesson entailed. Are you ready? It was the classic lifeboat scenario, resurrected. If you aren't familiar with "lifeboat," watch this short video for a primer:

Back? Horrified? Good.

Yes, her daughter was asked to rank the value of life, a job that most Christians agree is best left to the Author of Life. Appropriate for a 3rd grader? Apparently, someone thought so. Despite having been effectively debunked in 1976 (, values clarification is back.

All the more reason to homeschool, in my opinion. If that's not an option, at the bare minimum, sound a very vocal alarm. To my friend, it was another annoyance she had to unravel at the end of an already busy day.

"Are you going to talk to the teacher and let her know you thought it was inappropriate?" I asked.

"No. I already talked to my daughter."

"So you don't do anything? You just let it happen?"

"Pretty much. I don't want to rock the boat. They know I'm Christian down there, you know," she answered.

I'm still processing all that that answer implies. Christians shouldn't rock the boat? Christians should be doormats? Christians shouldn't let others know when they are offended? Christians just go along with society's ideas?

Imagine where the civil rights movement that culminated in an end to Jim Crow laws would be today if they held to those points. At the back of the bus, that's where.

People who know me know that a large part of why I homeschool stems from my worldview. Spending a few hours with me will reveal even more about how I see things. Ask me why I don't work outside my home, eat pork, watch certain movies or frequent particular stores. Worldview.

In truth, every one of us makes choices on a minute-by-minute basis that reflect what we care for, what we value and how we see the world. And folks, if people know that you're a Christian, they are watching. You represent Christ and His words in action here in earth. It's not a small order to be the Public Information Officer for an entire faith, is it? But we are!

So please, join me as I take a moment to ask myself--what is my worldview? How do I display it to others? Is it inconsistent with my actions? And, last but not least, am I willing, when necessary, to rock the boat?


gracie :) said...

Thank you for sharing. I've been doing some thinking about this after having a representative from Voice of the Martyrs speak at our church on Sunday. Christians all over the world are speaking up for their faith in the light of intense persecution, but we in America have accepted the "politically correct" gag rule. You've added some more cud to chew on...

Tara Rison said...

As a girl growing up in the south, I was taught it was impolite to "rock the boat". In high school, I decided for myself that this was definitely untrue. I began speaking my mind in a polite and respectful way. It is so important to acknowledge that, as Christians, we should respectfully disagree and speak up when necessary.

Thank you for your thought provoking entry.

Kristin said...

You bring up many excellent points here. I personally don't like "religispeak" either but do like "worldview".

As a 7th grader, we did this little exercise (back in the early 80s in NYS). I never cared for that teacher. I read about the purpose of the exercise in my 30s. Shocking the sort of manipulation that occurs in our public schools.

Fortunately, I'm now a Christian and certainly not a doormat.

Thanks again for posting this. More people need to see that this sort of brainwashing is going on.

Luke said...

I loved rocking the boat--and if I was lucky I was able to sink the ship--in high school [smile]. I have since found that most of those efforts were less than gracious or effective, and am now struggling to find a balance between holding strongly to my convictions and driving people away.

...hmm... this reminds me of one of the reasons I like the series Lost so much: It builds a case for a moral judgment--this person is evil--and then demonstrates why your initial view is wrong. While it may be seen as promoting moral relativism, I see the show as demonstrating our inability to make such judgments. Thus, while we may initially see a clear moral choice--toss over the handicapped, the old, and the "dead weight"--we could easily miss out on the fact that the man is, say, an embezzling CEO.

...interesting stuff. Glad I "missed out" on that activity in school [smile].


Amblin said...

Who is to rock the boat if not us as Christians? I think Jesus, while He did calm the waters when appropriate, definately rocked the boat quite a few times!

John Holzmann said...

Wow, Mary Grace! What a compelling and thought-provoking post.

Thank you for thinking this through as you have. And for speaking up!

Interesting: I have been working on a post on my blog in which I was going to reference Martin Luther King as one of my models that helped shape me while growing up.

You have encouraged me to finish that post!


obladi oblada said...

Wow. That post hit me between the eyes. Ive been having similar thoughts (and struggling with them, to be honest), you are absolutely right. The most straight foward piece of advice Ive come across in a long time. So obvious but so overlooked....

Sandi (aka Mrs. M) said...

Unbelieveable! I never experienced this myself but certianly glad my kids won't ever have to. It must take so much time for your friend to correct everything they hear in school, if your able to catch it all.
It is akin to abortion in my mind. Let's just ditch anyone who doesn't meet some predetermined standard in the name of choice. Oh well, you look different and don't provide some service so....see ya. Anyway, don't get me going on this. I have my own personal experience with doctors trying to rid the world of the unworthy....who determines who's worthy anyway? Certianly not them!

Really been enjoying your blog. And I am all for you posting "The List"

Liz said...

yep yep. all good- this game is nasty. rocking the boat is definantly what we are called to do

Robin's Reports said...


I wish I was as wise at 34 as you are. Amazing, powerful and convicting. This is why you keep getting nominated for GREAT BLOGS!!

I'll probably link to you or use that video for something. This needs to be amplified!

Oh... and I rocked the boat yesterday (much different cause). I gave testimony at a public scoping & hearing for certain bans/amendment changes on fishing in the Atlantic ocean. I was soooo scared but I'm so glad I did it.