Thursday, February 28, 2013

A Sunday Afternoon Ramble

I know it is Thursday! Sunday afternoon was open before me and I pulled out some recent thoughts and dug in ~ here is the rambling result!

In preparing for our recent tutor meeting, I came across this definition of school in The New Compact Bible Dictionary. I found this dictionary at a thrift store at some point and notice it was put out by the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association for use at crusades.

Please note: I am not trying to make anyone feel wrong or guilty for their school decision, but processing with the lens of looking through our school decision. I've had an increasing number of questions about what Classical Conversations is and plan to post on this very soon!

School, place or institution devoted to teaching and learning. In the early history of Israel the home was the primary agency for religious training, which was imparted chiefly through conversation, example and imitation. All teaching was religiously oriented. Samuel instituted a school of the prophets. During the Babylonian captivity, the synagogue had its origin. It was a place of teaching, never of sacrifice. Later an elementary school system was developed with the synagogue attendant  as the teacher. Memorization had a prominent place. Teachers had an important part in the work of the church.

I love that for a few reasons.

Home was the primary place for religious education. 
This training was given through talking about it, living it and providing something worth copying. {That is Classical Education, my friends!}
Memorization is not a new idea. And, was given priority and prominence.

A logical next place to begin seems to be the Scripture references included in the above definition. I did not list them there just to simplify - but will list them below and jot a few thoughts next to each one.

1 Samuel 19:19-20, "It was told Saul, saying, 'Behold, David is at Nairoth in Ramah.' Then Saul sent messengers to take David, but when they saw the company of the prophets prophesying, with Samuel standing and presiding over them, the Spirit of God came upon the messengers of Saul; and they also prophesied."

Ok, I have to admit that when I first read this, I was a little confused and thinking um, what have I gotten myself into here?! I also admit that I was hoping to find some aha moment or big truth to sink my teeth into. But, I think there is simple truth here which can be big truth in its own way.

So, there was a group of prophets under Samuel's instruction and authority. They were gathered together and following Samuel's lead and example. They were prophesying. Of course, Samuel was a prophet - so with God's inspiration and leading - Samuel was instructing these others in prophesying. I don't want to get super analytical about the prophesying - I mean, did God call each of these men as He had Samuel or were they trying to become prophets of their own accord? Let's just set that aside for now because I think there are some great things to be gleaned here. {Of course there are, it is God's Word!}

They were gathered together. Community. Not trying to do it alone. There is great benefit in coming together. I think it is important to note that not all kind of community can be beneficial and edifying. But this kind of community described here must've been. They were there for one purpose and goal - to learn, to be taught, to sharpen one another. It reminds me that even though we have chosen to home educate - we are not trying to isolate our children. And, I think there is great value in my children being around others especially in learning that confidence in speaking in front of one another and remaining true to themselves. Not to mention, the opportunities to share the Gospel.

Their priority was God. I love it that when Saul's men arrived with a kidnapping errand for the king, they came face to face with a picture of God. And, it was catching! It says that God's Spirit came upon Saul's men as well and they began prophesying. I desperately want my focus in our home to be on God. To be about His Word and glorifying Him first and foremost. I see so clearly how I fall short in this, but am encouraged that when we are focusing on God and making Him a priority - it will be contagious to those around me. Saul's men were not able to carry out their deed because God's holiness prevailed. In the verses following, we see that Saul sent another group of men and a third and things went exactly the same way as they had the first time. In exasperation, Saul went himself and it was the same for him as well.

 They were under authority. Someone was in charge at this place of learning and while it was ultimately God, He had given Samuel authority over this group and Samuel was carrying it out. He did not run from leadership and responsibility but he was willing to be used of God. It is a beautiful vision of passing on what we have learned to the next generation of those who will proclaim His Name. Samuel was taught by Eli who was also taught by someone who was also taught - all being taught by the Holy Spirit Himself. I think we can be confident in Samuel's teachable spirit as shown when he was a child and thought Eli was calling him and answered right away. As I told my children, he did not huff and puff and say he did not have time to come right now or simply did not feel like coming right now. He went right away. And, as it turns out - it was God calling him. Samuel was now passing this on to more who would pass it on to more and so on. Spiritual Multiplication as it was called when I worked for The Navigators. One tells one, tells one, tells one, tells one and so on. And, of course - we can tell more than one! God has placed in us authority {with our husbands} over the children in our home. I want to be a good example, a willing vessel and diligent in passing on what I'm learning or have learned to to these tender ones in my care.

The Holy Spirit is really the one in charge. Yes, these prophets were under authority. I want to remember that Samuel was not the ultimate authority and I know I already wrote this above but I think it is worth another note. The Holy Spirit came upon Saul's men as they arrived. Not the spirit of Samuel or the men prophesying. It reminds me that without His power, strength and Spirit - we cannot accomplish anything truly good for Him. It reminds me that even when it feels like outside forces are against me, His Spirit is in charge. It reminds me that on days I think I simply cannot do this mothering, home educating thing - His Spirit is in charge.

 Keep doing what I know I need to be doing. He can take care of anything and everything and fretting about it on my part will not change the outcome. Samuel and his "students" did not turn into a puddle of fears, worry and what-ifs when Saul's men arrived. They kept on doing what they knew they needed to be doing. They did not look at the Joneses to see how they responded or wonder what was going to happen. They just kept right on doing what they were there to do. Oh, that I would adopt that kind of heart attitude and behavior. Something God has been impressing on me over these past few years of home schooling is that He will impress upon my heart an area we need to be working on as the need arises. I don't need to worry if I'm doing enough or if I'm going to ruin these children. He is taking care of it. My responsibility is to be available, to obey what He has shown me to do and just to move forward in confidence in that.

Hmmm, ok - that turned into way more than I thought it would after first reading it! A second reference mentioned in the definition was Luke 4:20, "And He closed the book, gave it back to the attendant and sat down; and the eyes of all in the synagogue were fixed on Him."

Wow - what must that have been like to have Jesus present and teaching in the synagogue? You know what - He is present and teaching us through His Word. Noticing that He used a book and if we only have one book His Book would be the only one we would need to teach our children. There are tons and tons of sources available today - so much that I can get overwhelmed at choosing sometimes! It is a good reminder that no matter which reading curriculum I use or which spelling book I decide on, the Bible is the first and most important book to be opening with my children.

Another thought emerges from this verse as well. There was an attendant, so one who was likely there more regularly and used to some measure of responsibility in the synagogue. It doesn't say exactly what his responsibility was or if he was usually the teacher or what. But, it does say that Jesus was there and read from the scroll or book and gave it back to the attendant and sat down. Would that not have been a hard person to follow? Who was supposed to get up and speak after Jesus?! I know that it is common for me to think that someone else could do a better job than I could, that I am not the most equipped or most practiced in home educating my children not to mention Classically educating my children. But the bottom line is that God can use us if we are willing and teachable. Thoughts of inadequacy may be real, but are not from God. I must choose to say no to those things and walk in confidence that I am doing what He has led me to do and He will meet me there and equip and strengthen me in my weakness.

James 3:1, "Let not many of you become teachers, my brethren, knowing that as such we will incur a stricter judgment."

According to Romans 12:7, teaching is one of the spiritual gifts that God may choose to impart to His children. And, in James above - it is not something to take lightly but as a serious calling with lots of responsibility and accountability before God.

It also reminds me of a verse I love in Deuteronomy 11:18-21, "You shall therefore impress these words of mine on your heart and on your soul; and you shall bind them as a sign on your hand, and they shall be as frontals on your forehead. You shall teach them to your sons, talking of them when you sit in your house and when you walk along the road and when you lie down and when you rise up. You shall write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates, so that your days and the days of your sons may be multiplied on the land which the Lord swore to your fathers to give them, as long as the heavens remain above the earth."

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Photos just from around here and a walk at the park. If you read and followed this entire post - you should receive some kind of award!
Next time, I hope to continue this train of thought and consider how parents are teachers regardless of their schooling choices.


Gretchen said...

Wisdom is the outcome of direct insight into spiritual truth, the knowledge of God and His ways which comes not so much from study as from communion. Oswald Sanders

flyonthewall said...

AMEN! Thank you for sharing, especially including Scripture, and please be encouraged to keep doing what you are doing! **Deuteronomy 6:5-9** PS Just love the picture of the little piggy-toes in the mud!

Amy said...

Looking forward to your CC posts. I would like to know how much being a CC tutor lowers the cost and how much time tutoring takes. Does every CC group learn the same thing or does each group do their own thing?