Pastor Don Wolan

Pastor Donald Wolan
Downriver Christian Community Church
Melvindale, Michigan

Saturday, June 9, 2012

School's Out

The arrival of June brings with it the usual summer traditions we've all grown to love and remember. The familiar sound of the ice cream truck making its way down the street, the sights and sounds of local parades and carnivals commemorating Memorial Day and the arrival of summer, the smell of neighborhood barbecues filling our noses with tempting and mouth-watering aromas, or the sounds of oldies being played are all wonderful memories most of us have with the arrival of summer.  One tradition that still brings excitement, joy, and a sense of new hope to young and old alike is the yearly celebration of students graduating from high school.

I recently attended a high school graduation in the area and immediately noticed a highly charged atmosphere preceding the graduation event. People were waiting outside the auditorium for the graduates to arrive for the program. Parents, grandparents, family, and friends were all on hand with cameras and video recorders for the culmination of their children's public high school education.

When the buses arrived transporting the students to the auditorium, a huge cheer went out as students exited the buses and made their way into the building. Shouts of congratulation rung out loud, long, and repeatedly as parents identified their children walking in the crowd with their caps and gowns on.

Inside the auditorium, the crowd was excited and waited patiently for the program to begin. The usual announcements and requests from school administrators went largely ignored: don't yell and make a scene when your child's name is announced, don't stand in the sight lines of those behind you who are trying to watch, please turn off your cell phones during the ceremony, and please don't talk when someone is speaking on the platform. So much for civility and consideration for others!

When the program began, we were all inundated with the usual trappings of high school graduations - The Star Spangled Banner, a short and condescending speech from the high school principal, and a couple of speeches from the salutatorian and the valedictorian. What intrigued me the most about the whole program, however, was the humanistic worldview and pride that permeated every speech or comment by faculty or student alike! Encouraging words and accolades such as - you must change the world and make it a better place, you have the power within you to accomplish anything you want, or your education has prepared you to face life and be successful, you're all so very special - were meant to motivate, but instead came across to me a shallow and cliquish, lacking any definite motivation, direction, or ultimate goal!

Questions regarding this flooded my brain and screamed out for answers that evening. How were they to change the world and for what purpose where they to do it? When would the goal of changing the world be reached, and how would they know it had been reached or that they were close? What is the motivation for changing the world or the plan for doing it? Why should we change the world? Do we know what's better for others than they do? Why are you all so special - what have you really accomplished?

As these students were being sent out into the "real" world, I questioned myself as to whether these students were "really prepared" to face life with tools adequate for the job of "living" their lives successfully. Were the redundant public school lessons on diversity, tolerance, bullying, democracy, praise for everything attempted, and non-judgmentalism going to produce better citizens and employees or were these students deprived of something that would have truly helped them circumvent the issues of life with total confidence?

The Bible states in the book of Proverbs 1:7:

The fear of the Lord is the BEGINNING of wisdom, fools despise wisdom and knowledge.

Colossians 2:2-4 adds:

My purpose is that they may be encouraged in heart and united in love, so that they may have the full riches of complete understanding, in order that they may know the mystery of God, namely, Christ, in whom are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge. I tell you this so that no one may deceive you by fine-sounding arguments.

Unfortunately for the graduates I witnessed that day, they were being led like unsuspecting sheep to the spiritual slaughter. Having been deprived of the only true source of knowledge and wisdom in the public school setting and having been repeatedly told that they are "now ready to face the real world," a dangerous world and its anti-Christian philosophies eagerly await and anticipate them. Armed with nothing more than pious sounding humanistic platitudes, these young people will likely easily succumb to and be destroyed by sophisticated sounding philosophies and ideologies hellbent on destroying their souls.

When these students ultimately come to the realization - if they do - that they missed or were deprived of the most important aspect of their education, they'll remember those who could have made a difference but didn't! When that day arrives, then school really wont be out, it will only have just begun!   

Stay Holy, My Friends!

Pastor Don

P.S. If you would like to hear an excellent graduation speech, watch this!

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