Critical thinkers wanted
Like many people, I am an indirect consumer of public education. My two wonderful girls go to an Edmond school, and for the most part, we are very pleased.
Before we continue, this is not meant to be a debate about public/private/home school. That is too hot of a topic to be discussed in my third post for Word Slingers. There is still a chance that some people may like me, and I would like to keep it that way.
One thing that I believe is education is important, and putting a priority on education is important. I have a selfless desire to see education progress because a reliable measure of a society’s success is proportional to a society’s level of education.
I also have a selfish desire to see education progress because, as a writer, I would like a population that is educated to the point where they can read and understand what they are reading, so they can read and understand the books that I currently have out and future works.
As one who is a big fan of critical thought, I join many people in concern about public education’s penchant for measuring success and failure through standardized tests. Like many, I have a fear that my kids will learn how to be test takers and not critical thinkers.
Nobody has looked back at a test and thought “Wow! That was inspirational!” The world has not been altered by a small, thoughtful, and committed group of test takers.
For general education, we are all in agreement that learning how to think is just as important as what to think. The concept of critical thinking though does not always translate to Christian education.
Don’t get me wrong, the concept of absolute truth is important, and I am not saying that Christian education progress into the world of relativism, because that would be heresy. What I am saying is that when the vast majority of people will admit when surveyed that they do not have a clue how the Bible applies to their everyday lives, that shows that we can do better in teaching critical thinking within our churches. Teaching scripture without application is a wasted opportunity because there is not avenue for life change, and as a church, we have to be constantly in the business of changing lives.
The truth of the matter is that, like all things, we will only reap the rewards of a faith that we invest in. That requires a relationship with Christ that is an everyday experience and not a weekly ritual. Outsourcing our spiritual development to a pastor, youth ministers, Sunday school teacher or podcast does an incredible disservice to our own spiritual progression.
As learners, our obligation is to take responsibility for our own spiritual development. The simple dynamic of a relationship with Christ would demand that it is something that is a personal experience and not one that can be supplanted by anyone else.
Our relationship with Christ demands that we dive deeper than the memorized recitation of facts as if we are preparing for a celestial final exam that doesn’t exist. Our relationship with Christ demands that we allow Christ to make us uncomfortable in our own lives to the point that he is turning over the tables of our own self creation that get in the way of allowing us to fully realize the width, depth, and breadth of His love for us as well as the designs He has for us life and its relative benefit. Stretching ourselves on an intellectual level when it comes to Christian education is paramount to that end.