I grew up in Grand Rapids, Michigan. I never dreamed I would be leaving my family and friends for a journey west, but God had other plans. Soon after Sue and I were married, we moved to Milwaukee, Wisconsin. A short move west, but a move none the less. In our four years there, God saw fit to build a family of friends to surround and encourage us with shared meals and cheap tickets to baseball games. Once Sue and I completed our Master’s work, it was time to leave that family and move to Sunnyside, Washington. Again, we were gifted with a group of friends who became a part of our family who entertained us with late night pinochle and countless basketball games. Five years later, we moved to Seattle to be a part of a family so special that my daughters’ visits home have to include time with the “Seattle Family.”
God never meant for us to be alone. I think one of the often overlooked elements of the Reforming world and life view is the emphasis on community. The perspective drives education from an attitude of “me and mine” to “us and ours.” This is why the second distinctive of Shoreline Christian becomes so important:
Each student is an image bearer of the Creator and discernment should be used to foster responsive obedience. This means that the school should be:
a. A place where we unwrap the gifts that God has given the students.
b. A community that shares each other's joys and concerns.
c. A family that seeks to be in shalom (living as God intended).
First of all, the school is a community of hospitality where students are appreciated as gifts to be unwrapped. Too often, education practices are more like cookie cutters made to cut off all the stuff that keeps us from looking and acting alike. Each learner is unique and needs to be appreciated for what they add to our community.
Secondly, the school is a community that cares about students and their families as people who are more than just students and parents. We celebrate the joys of life, and we stand with the people who are suffering.
Finally, God created everything and stamped it as good. Simply stated, sin is not the way it is suppose to be. Redemption begins to develop as we show our children what it means to live as God intended. We are not just brought together to fill their heads with stuff. We are bound to each other so that we can use all that knowledge to be a transforming influence for the glory of God.
A couple of years ago, I was golfing with an administrator from a Christian school that does not share our depth of perspective and purpose. About the sixth hole, he blurted out “You guys have it right.” He too had recognized that we have a vision, that education has a purpose within that vision that includes both rigor and grace, and that we exist within a community of faith. I could not have agreed with him more.