Several years ago a lady and her son rented a house behind us. Her name was Pam. She was a reading resource teacher at the elementary school. Although she and I were not ever going to sit and have a glass of wine together, I really liked spending time with her. She was into natural healing and foods, life as education, was a Christian woman. Her son was a nice kid and my kids enjoyed playing with him. She got married to a local man, kind of known for being a zealot, and they moved away.
A couple of weeks ago I learned that they moved back to town. She came into the library the other day and recognized me. She asked if we were still homeschooling, and I told her that Eli wants to homeschool through high school but that Brynne had decided to go to public school because she wanted to play sports and take advantage of the A+ scholarship opportunities for college. She told me she had pulled her son out of school, told me she no longer works for the public school system, and then almost yelled, "I stand for Jesus!" And then she started in on a rant. The phone rang, and I needed to answer it, so she just walked out.
What I wish I could have said to her, other than "Chill, lady" and "library voices" was, "Can you not stand for Jesus in the public school?"
And here is where I start my rant ....
I love Jesus, yes I do. I love Him when I am attending worship services on Sundays. I love Him when I am reading my Bible and devotional in the mornings. I love Him when we are serving the community with delivered meals. I love Him when I listen to Christian music on Pandora or when I am listening to a Christian podcast. I love Him when I am at the grocery story and I have just enough money to buy our groceries for the week and I know it's because of Him. I love Him when I just barely escape a fender bender or worse. But I also love Him when I am enjoying a glass of wine at the end of the day, when I am wearing jeans, when I am dropping my daughter off at public school, when I get angry or gossip or fail to forgive someone. I love Him on my good days and, especially, my bad days.
I don't just love Him and stand for Him when I am around others who think and act just like I do.
When we get to that point, we have missed the whole point.
Our public schools may need Christians more than any other place. We have children in very dark places, most times because of no fault of their own. We have poor children, orphaned children, divorced teachers, teachers who sin, maybe a custodian who likes children a little too much, individuals who feel crapped on by life and need a little encouragement and hope. We have many living in a fog of darkness and need just a small flicker of light.
If all of the "Christian" teachers step out of the public school because they think their religion or devotion to God precludes them from being around sinners, then we are sunk. And those "Christian" teachers are modern day pharisees who are not going to get any closer to the pearly gates of Heaven than me as I stumble up there in my jeans with a glass of wine in my hand.
What I really wanted to say was, "Lady, get your butt back in that school and spread the love of Jesus!" But, really, I guess I am grateful that she's not. She is not wanting to spread the love of Jesus. She is wanting to spread the legalism of her religion. And that's what turns so many off from the Christian faith.