Teach Your Children Well

Bill Nye the Science Guy and a child with a verboten name…

This was a sermon I planned to preach last week…but postponed it when a difficult verse in Hebrews came up during the previous Wednesday’s Bible study…a verse that warranted a little more attention.

Although I do realize that some still disagree with me about how to apply Hebrews 6:4-6. 🙂

A boy named Hunter…

Either way, when it comes to social media, I probably follow Twitter most…and two tweets came through the same day that concerned me. One linked to an article about a deaf boy with a name that was problematic:

Hunter Spanjer says his name with a certain special hand gesture, but at just three and a half years old, he may have to change it.

“He’s deaf, and his name sign, they say, is a violation of their weapons policy,” explained Hunter’s father, Brian Spanjer.

Grand Island’s “Weapons in Schools” Board Policy 8470 forbids “any instrument…that looks like a weapon,” But a three year-old’s hands?1

Although the school district ultimately relented…it wasn’t the foolishness of the policy (or its overly-strict application) that bothered me most. Instead…well, let me tell you why it disturbed me after we talk about what the second tweet pointed to.

[ These are quick sermon notes…not cleaned-up…and missing the "extras" that come out in the audio (which is available here). All quotes are from the English Standard Version unless otherwise noted. ]

Bill Nye the Science Guy

The other tweet linked to a post about a video just released by Bill Nye the Science Guy. I personally only know of him…but I did realize he has been pretty popular with kids…and all would commend him on making what can seem like a dry subject, science, so interesting. In the video Nye says:

People still move to the United States…uh…and that’s largely because of the…intellectual capital we have, the…the general understanding of science. When you have a portion of the population that doesn’t believe in that, it holds everybody back…really.2

You know where this is going, don’t you? Right after those words he posits:

Evolution is the fundamental idea in all of life science, in all of biology.3

See there? If you don’t believe in evolution…you are part of the “portion of the population that…holds everybody back…really.”

Really?

But that wasn’t the most disturbing thing said in the video…and totally ignoring the fact that a guy who would consider himself very logical had implicit straw men and plenty of unsubstantiated (and unsustainable) pronouncements…just think a bit about these words:

And I say to the grownups, if you want to deny evolution and live in your…in your…world that’s completely inconsistent with everything we observe in the universe, that’s fine. But don’t make your kids do it, because we need them. We need scientifically literate voters and taxpayers for the future. We need people that can…uh…we need engineers that can build stuff, solve problems.4

Really?

Now, that video was produced by Big Think…who also posted it to YouTube with the title, “Bill Nye: Creationism Is Not Appropriate For Children.”4

Really?

Our views aren’t appropriate for children?

So…who cares so much about some nerdy science guy whose show has been off the air for over a decade? Well, let me read to you what the article the tweet pointed to said above the embedded video. Please first note that the title of the post was, “Bill Nye Tells It Like It Is, Calls Creationism Crazy”

Oh, Bill Nye. I rushed home every day after school so I could watch his show on my local PBS station before dinner. He exposed me to everything from the vastness of the universe to the mind-bogglingly tiny scale of atoms. It was even the Science Guy who showed me the difference between science and pseudoscience. Plus, bow ties. I honestly don’t think I would be the person I am without him. All I’m saying is, my nerd crush runs deep.

Bill Nye is once again proving himself to be a total BAMF. Here is a video of Bill telling it like it is. Anti-science thinking is dangerous and kids should be able to study scientific subjects without the religious baggage of their parents. Word.5

Now, I don’t know if the parents of the writer, Mindy Townsend, are Christians…but I imagine there were plenty of Christian parents when Townsend was a kid who were glad to have their boys and girls “rush home every day after school” to watch PBS. On the surface, that would seem tons better than pretty much anything else kids watch a lot of back in the 90s (and even more so now).

They probably felt pretty darn comfortable…but little did they know that Bill Nye the Science Guy helped make Mindy Townsend the person she is.

An atheist who thinks creation is crazy and that kids shouldn’t be stuck with your and my religious baggage—because religion is anti-scientific.

Really?

And trust me, if you are a Christian, you don’t want to look up what BAMF is.

Bill Nye helped Mindy Townsend become someone who, if things don’t change, is egotistically and smugly heading to an eternity in hell.

They Are After Your Children

Now…I promised to tell you why the article about Hunter Spanjer’s verbotten name bothered me so much. No, it’s not because I believe in the principle behind the 2 amendment…although I do. It is because it shows yet another area where the government…contrary to what their parents might think…has decided to energetically enforce their enlightened view.

Because, not just in the case of that school, the government decided that guns are so, so very bad there has to be zero tolerance.

We’d all agree that real guns shouldn’t be brought into a school by children.

But, no toy guns…and even more…

No finger-guns…even if it just looks like a gun because, of all things, your name is Hunter and you are deaf?!

The fact is that whether it is creationism or firearms…as a whole the government and its schools have taken a side and they do not care about what you believe. They will teach your kids the truth…their truth…

And unless you homeschool or send your child to a private school, for at least 12 years the government gets your kids for at least 180 days. You may think they are just teaching your kids reading, writing, and arithmetic…but especially in states like California, it is becoming more and more an indoctrination into liberal, secular thought than it is an education that will result in productive citizens in society.

Think about it again.

12 years times 180 days…2,160 days total…almost half their life from ages 6 to 18. And remember…Hunter was only 3 1/2…with many kids they have their claws on our kids starting as early as 3…

And it’s not just PBS and schools…

If you do home school and don’t let your kids watch PBS, don’t think you are off the hook. For instance, when bring your child to the doctor there is a pretty good chance he or she will ask your munchkin if there are guns in the home…under the guise of being concerned about safety.

Or how many times do your kids watch other television shows that talk about how things were when we were still monkeys?

And I’ve just scratched the surface…we could go deep into the afternoon if I expanded it beyond guns and evolution and started talking about all the other moral (make that immoral) things that they are being taught by TV personalities, schools, billboards, popular tunes, video games, television commercials…being taught by pretty much anything outside your Bible…

Conscious of it or not, they are doing the bidding of our…and their…adversary:

Be sober-minded; be watchful. Your adversary the devil prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour (1 Peter 5:8).

Children

When I read those two articles, all I could think about was how wise these words in Deuteronomy are:

4 “Hear, O Israel: The LORD our God, the LORD is one. 5 You shall love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your might. 6 And these words that I command you today shall be on your heart. 7 You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, and when you walk by the way, and when you lie down, and when you rise. 8 You shall bind them as a sign on your hand, and they shall be as frontlets between your eyes. 9 You shall write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates (Deuteronomy 6:4-9).

We may think that our kids have greater things going against them today (and that’s what I believe)…but wouldn’t that just mean that we should follow Deuteronomy’s divine advice all the more?!

Deuteronomy 11:19 says Deuteronomy’s point in an even more concise manner:

You shall teach them to your children, talking of them when you are sitting in your house, and when you are walking by the way, and when you lie down, and when you rise.

Just like I asked you to think about how your kids spend half their life from ages 6 through 18 in school…think about those two quotes from Deuteronomy.

  • Do they say, “Be sure to bring your kids to church at least on Christmas and Easter?”
  • Do they say, “Be sure to talk to your kids at least every Sunday about God”? [No.]
  • Do they say, “Be sure to have your kids in church at least every Wednesday night and Sunday morning?” [No.]
  • Do the say, “Be sure to mention God at least once a day during family devotional?”? [No.]

What do they say?

They say that we should be teaching our children about God and His wise precepts all the time.

All the time.

  • When you are sitting in your house
  • When you are walking by the way
  • When you lie down
  • When you rise

All the time.

I don’t know about every one of you…but I stand before God today being a complete failure in this respect.

Sure, God doesn’t expect us to have every single word with our kids be religious…but it should permeate our conversations and actions so much that when they become adults and our grandkids ask them about grandma and grandpa our child will say, “Well, growing up grandma and grandpa talked about Jesus when we were just sitting around the house, when we were out-and-about, when we were going to bed, and when we were getting up. It seems like it was all the time, and I’m so glad they did.”

I don’t think April, Jenn, or Mikey will be saying that…and I ask God’s forgiveness for it.

Not that that those three have turned out bad…quite the opposite…but there is a reason that Proverbs says:

6  Train up a child in the way he should go;

even when he is old he will not depart from it (Proverbs 22:6).

There are no re-dos on childhoods…and from an eternal sense there are only two results to your performance in their upbringing. They can turn out like Mindy Townsend…or someone else described in these words from 2 Timothy 3:10-17:

You, however, have followed my teaching, my conduct, my aim in life, my faith, my patience, my love, my steadfastness, 11 my persecutions and sufferings that happened to me at Antioch, at Iconium, and at Lystra—which persecutions I endured; yet from them all the Lord rescued me. 12 Indeed, all who desire to live a godly life in Christ Jesus will be persecuted, 13 while evil people and impostors will go on from bad to worse, deceiving and being deceived. 14 But as for you, continue in what you have learned and have firmly believed, knowing from whom you learned it 15 and how from childhood you have been acquainted with the sacred writings, which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus. 16 All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, 17 that the man of God may be complete, equipped for every good work.

From childhood Timothy had “been acquainted with the sacred writings, which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus.”

And that was good…because “all who desire to live a godly life in Christ Jesus will be persecuted”…and when that persecution comes…they will either have a foundation of rock that supports them in the wind or the rain…

Or they will have a foundation of sand and will join the Bill Nyes of this world, the Mindy Townsends of this world, and the billions others who either fall for the false religion of materialism or other faiths that accept the supernatural but worship a different, non-existent God.

Because, ultimately, unless you worship the only true God you are worshiping Satan…and Satan doesn’t care which lie traps you…he “wins” just the same…he devours you just the same.

Two Final Points

Before we wrap up, I’d like to make two final points…well, maybe one depending on how you count.

Perhaps your children are already grown and out of the house…or you don’t have any children.

Does that mean you are off the hook?

Of course not!

The church is a family, and we are all brothers and sisters in Christ. Although you should respect a parent’s right to bring their own kids up the way they want…especially a lot more than our government clearly believes…

Every kid in this church is your responsibility too.

When you chat with them, what is the subject?

How often is it God? Is it ever God?

It should be.

But, even when we adults talk with other Christians…even here in church…if it isn’t a Bible study how much more likely is it we’ll talk about the weather, about family, about sports…about anything but that spiritual?

Does that fit God’s command that we be teaching about Him when

  • When we are sitting in your house
  • When we are walking by the way
  • When we lie down
  • When we rise

?

Sure, we can (and should) talk about other stuff…but let’s let our interactions with each other…and especially our church’s children…be seasoned with many words about our Lord.

What about Jesus?

Remembering that Jesus (a) was ministering for less than 4 years; (b) was training others to carry His message during that short period; and (c) that the Bible doesn’t capture everything Christ said and did…

Even Jesus made a point of taking time for kids:

13 Then children were brought to him that he might lay his hands on them and pray. The disciples rebuked the people, 14 but Jesus said, “Let the little children come to me and do not hinder them, for to such belongs the kingdom of heaven.” 15 And he laid his hands on them and went away (Matthew 19:13-15)

Let’s show the same concern for our children that Christ did. Let’s not avoid them, or worse…try to send them away because we figure we are too busy with other stuff…even ministry…

Instead, let’s tell them about Jesus when:

  • When we are sitting in your house
  • When we are walking by the way
  • When we lie down
  • When we rise
  • When we see them in church
  • When we see them at T-Bird
  • When we see them on the streets of Antrim

Well, obviously I could go on with the list forever.

Let’s tell them about Jesus whenever we can…

And maybe they’ll turn out like Timothy instead of Mindy…

Footnotes

1Ross, S. (2012, August 24). Grand Island Preschooler Asked to Change the Sign for His Name in School. 10 11. Retrieved September 8, 2012, from "Grand Island Preschooler Asked to Change the Sign for His Name in Schoo"

2Bill Nye: Creationism Is Not Appropriate For Children. (n.d.).YouTube. Retrieved September 8, 2012, from http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gHbYJfwFgOU

3Ibid.

4Ibid.

6Ibid.

5Townsend, M. (2012, August 27). Bill Nye Tells It Like It Is, Calls Creationism Crazy [Video]. Care2. Retrieved September 8, 2012, from http://www.care2.com/causes/bill-nye-tells-it-like-it-is-calls-creationism-crazy-video.html


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