Most of us believe the USA came out on the other side of 9/11 in fairly good shape. But it doesn’t take a NASA scientist to note that 7 years later Americans appear to behave better in space than they do here on earth. Something’s gone wrong. Politically, morally, financially, and spiritually we’re in far worse condition than could have been imagined in the “God Bless America” days after 9/11. Who hasn’t noted or been directly impacted by the profusion of pathology in a nation that has lost its way? Ronald Reagan’s hope-filled “morning in America” now more closely resembles a fog-shrouded nightfall in London, and our Puritan forefathers’ goal of a “shining city on a hill” is just a faded dream.
Spiritually, 50% of Christians act just like everyone else with divorce, addictions, depression, and disinterest in marriage/children on the increase. Eighty-five percent of our high school graduates reject the faith, either temporarily—just when they need it the most as young adults—or, often, permanently. Church-growth obsessed pastors, aka “chief executive officers,” ignore the spiritual crisis while ignoring the beneficial but tough lessons of Scripture. Instead we get faddish experiments in “relevant” entertainment. The GLBT homosexual lobby is in aggressive attack mode in every sector. Youth values stun us and we wonder who’s to blame; them or us? Sex and sports vie for top spot as the new national religion. Commonplace mass murders at colleges and universities are quickly on page two by day two and gone altogether by week’s end. Road rage, just as one biting example, reflects an underlying national virus of anger, frustration and unhappiness
Rising food and gas prices are taking their toll on most families. The “housing-mortgage crisis,” the falling value of the dollar and a tumbling stock market have all combined to create a domino effect of negatives. Instead of something to be looked forward to, a decent retirement for many looks risky or even impossible. Vote-buying, incumbent politicians merely laugh as they lie to us while piling up more and more perks for themselves and more taxes and hindering regulations for us. Legislation by an arrogant judiciary devalues our voting. Terrorism? Bizarre denial is the “don’t worry about it” response by our “tolerance, pluralism and multiculturalism” focused “leaders,” some of whom would exploit our concerns as a sneaky way to achieve one-world government.
All this dysfunction screams out “emergency moment,” but the opportunity it offers for Christians to turn lemons into lemonade is a fitting challenge. A good way to react is to probe for some common denominator of sin at work amid the crisis, and, clearly, there is one. It’s the stunning lack of inspirational leadership in every sector of society whether from church to city hall, from college to congress, from main-street to Wall Street or from left-biased news agencies to the living room couch. Once upon a time we had some pretty good leaders such as Bradford, Edwards, Madison, Henry, Franklin, Jefferson, Lee, Boone, et al. Thousands more saw Christianity as an overspreading aura that influenced all society. But now it’s the reverse. Today our supposed role models turn out to be scoundrels and frauds, cutting corners, lying, thinking only of themselves and scoffing at the need to uphold worthy standards. Worse, a recent survey of youth tells us of their blatant disinterest in aspiring to leadership roles. (Thanks, public schools, for that.)
But if better leadership in all community sectors is a way to stop the bleeding and to make cultural renewal possible, it only remains to define good leadership and to lay out the means to make it happen. A good leader should be a sincere Christian, ideally supported at home by an equally serious-minded spouse (Titus 2, Prov. 31). He possesses and applies an in-depth biblical worldview and knows how to tell people compellingly what they need to know; not what they’d prefer to hear. A touch of charisma, either learned or natural, is a valuable extra asset. So, how to create replacement leaders?
Deep down, all parents sense that they have the perfect potential plus the explicit biblical command to be God’s role models for discipleship. In Luke 6:40, Jesus reminds us that pupils will be like their teachers, thus parents have the ideal motivation for getting their own act together and shooting for “discipling excellence” with home the obvious venue for the task. But, training youth to be great leaders is only half the battle. The big hurdle is to recruit the necessary thousands of parents to be the Bible- and home-based trainers.
The good news is that homeschooling (home-discipling) is do-able in all but the toughest of cases. Contrary to the usual pastor cop-out that “it’s not for everybody,” the truth is that it is for nearly everyone. A mom who can read, loves her kids, loves Jesus and is reasonably self-disciplined can do it much better than teachers in group-think-oriented, crowded classrooms. Even as well, often, as trained teachers who later decide to do homeschooling. All 50 states allow it, and now, after a quarter of a century and with plenty of validating research available, over 2 million U.S. kids, and growing, are being home trained; home discipled. Studies show that academic proficiency is to apt to go up immediately. Colleges actively pursue homeschool grads. Best of all, new blessings at home are seen from day one. Intra-family bonding grows in gratifying ways and enviable love finds its way back into the family circle (Deut 6:1-9; Ps. 1; Prov. 1:7; 13:20; 22:6; Isa. 54:13; Jer. 10:2a; Matt. 18:6; Luke 6:39–40.
Time is flying by in this troubled culture, and the time to respond is now. If not now, when? If not you, who? If dad comes on board, success is virtually guaranteed so here’s your chance, dad; go for it (Eph. 6:24). Homeschooling need not be daunting and you already know others who are doing it. Speak with them and those at your church. Identify local support groups. If you like to shop you’ll love visiting the web sites and their links listed below (there are dozens more) where you’ll find everything you need to help get started. There is info on how to do it, legalities (legal in all 50 states), costs (minimal), curriculum decisions, teaching styles and more (Homeschool Headquarters; Homeschool Legal Defense Association; Christian Homeschoolers; Homeschool: Why, What How or search “homeschooling” using www.Google.com).
Good books include: Shepherding a Child’s Heart by Tedd Tripp; The Successful Home School Family by Raymond and Dorothy Moore; Seven Tools for Cultivating Your Child’s Potential by Zan Tyler; The Heart of Homeschooling by Chris Klicka; Let Us Highly Resolve by David and Shirley Quine; Homeschooling From a Biblical Worldview by Israel Wayne; The Homeschooling Book of Answers by Linda Dobson.